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Something for the youth to spit on | a live execution with BABYLAND

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Babyland Gilman

By Conan Neutron

It’s difficult to describe how important BABYLAND was to me formatively. Here was a band with an absolutely absurd setup, one dude banging around on oil drums and bric-a-brac that looked they were from a junkyard. Another fellow occasionally banging around on a keyboard but mostly singing so intensely it was as if he was told he only had 45 minutes to live. Sequenced keyboards coming through as catchy as a New Order tune, but played with the power and aggression better suited to a Big Black record.

It was daunting, it was scary, it was absurd, and it was fascinating. It was all of these things at once. It was nerdy, it was powerful. For somebody that fancied himself, at the time, as into “punk rock” it was quite possible the most punk rock thing I’ve ever seen.

This wasn’t just a band; this was a ding dang call to arms.

And the call? It’s OK to be you. The freaks, the nerds, the outcasts. The last ones picked, the ones never picked. Fuck! There’s power in that. All of this done with the same ethics as huge counter culture legends like Fugazi or Minutemen.

Even their slogan: WE WILL NOT GO AWAY.

The effortless rebellion that so many lesser acts pine for and try to simulate. This was no affectation.

I met lifelong friends, compatriots, and lovers all at BABYLAND Shows; since their legend was built almost exclusively by word of mouth there was a culture around that band that was like no other. I had the rarified treat of sharing a stage with them many time over. To this day one of the highest bars set for live performance, every show was standing with giants. We’d have to bring our A game just to be in contention. They made the other bands work harder, but not in a competitive way, it was with this sense of freak community.

Let’s be clear about this. I am a rocker, I rock out.

If you look at most of my music collection it trends that way. BABYLAND was one of those bands that exemplified their genre and transcended it. Fuck, they were just that good. I used them as a litmus test for people, if I took them to a show and they didn’t have the best time ever. They were no friend of mine.

The thing is? Their records were great. Some people could never get past the instrumentation or immediately pigeonholed them as “OK, cool… industrial music or electronic music” or whatever. And that’s too bad because their records were absolutely awesome. It was different though. Live Execution, released four-five years after one of their final shows, brings it.

I always felt that BABYLAND were one decent break away from reaching a next level of some kind. Somewhere they deserved to be.

That never happened.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

Good things die all the time. Life is NOT fair.

“I watched you take them all on , with no weapons at all, No weapons , No weapons at all
You conquer and cry, Hold and divide”

Live Execution is a reminder of that power. Of that hope.

I miss them like I miss a lifelong friend that was taken too early by car accident.

You can get it for free if you want, or pay whatever you want. Or just listen to it on the computer, whatever.

If I were a man of means I would have paid $10,000 or something. For the life lessons, for the years of joy, for the music. Definitely for the music. Pay something if you can, but most importantly just Get it, know them.

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