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It’s been four decades since their first gig, and we’re all still wrapping our heads around Human Sexual Response.
The Boston new wave band, active in that golden musical era between 1977 and 1982, has become the stuff of legend: Those who were there are eager to tell tales of their musical debauchery and excess, and those who missed out have the records and a treasure trove of video to back up the wild claims.
Tonight (November 3), the band reunites at The House of Blues in Boston, nearly five years to the day of their last reunion, and word on the street is that this could be the last time they ever play together.
“We were always trying to make it an event,” guitarist Rich Gilbert tells WGBH this week. “Not just for the audience, but for us as well. We really enjoyed making our own costumes and coming up with new ideas, the thrill of it all, making it a real show, not just a gig. Some people did deride us for that. That we were too campy or flamboyant or not true to the punk aesthetic or ideal, but we all loved [Brian] Eno and look at Eno on the cover of that first Roxy Music album.”
A lot of words have been published on the Humans over the years, but perhaps the best way to gaze longingly into the colorful past is through video. And given the band’s timeline of existence, there’s one person from that era who truly has the goods: Jan Crocker of KINO Digital, who last year unveiled his incredible Boston Flashpoint website chronicling the bands that came through town and those from here who defined it.
Crocker provided the video clips below, shot and co-produced with MIT’s Benjamin Bergery, who was also instrumental in capturing and preserving these relics of Boston rock.
“Funny thing about these guys,” Crocker says of the Humans, “entertaining is in their blood, and I saw them play a dozen times back in the heyday. But that last show at the House of Blues might have been one of their best. Expecting they will bring their A-game for what will most likely be their final curtain call.”
Crocker has graciously provided a few clips from that heyday, to help us prepare — mentally, emotionally, and physically — for tonight’s gig. The videos (here’s the full library) were filmed by him and Bergery at long-gone Streets in Allston, located near the intersection of Commonwealth and Harvard avenues, where what we now think is now The Avenue. Scan through them below.