Steve Lieberman – Viva the Gangsta Rabbi – Live

By Tiffany Razzano

Steve Lieberman is a true rocker through and through – and one of the last to have been recorded at the now defunct Downtown in Farmingdale. This live disc was recorded when he opened for the Viva La Bam show. Lieberman is all over the place, borrowing a bit from experimental rockers Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, British punk rock, such as the Sex Pistols and even ’80s hair metal, creating his own unique sound.

While the recording isn’t the best – his vocals are muffled much of the time – his musical prowess, his searing and playful guitar styling, shines through. He kicked off the night with “Garbage Man” before launching into “Punkifier” with its crunchy guitar, simple melody and incredibly raw, in-your-face, rock vocals.

He paid homage to The Ramones, playing a medley of “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” and “Blitzkrieg Bop.” However, he gave the tunes more of a British punk feel. He opened up the tune “Bonkey on the Donkey” playing the flute, giving the song a bit of a Jethro Tull sound.

He closed the album with another medley of covers, this time paying tribute to Green Day. He played “American Idiot” and “Good Riddance” along with “St. Jimmy.” He definitely makes the songs his own and his vocals are much more punk rock than Billie Joe.