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Fu Manchu 

Go for It . . . Live! (SPV)

Fu Manchu has always been the Jeff Spicoli of the stoner-rock scene. The troupe sings about vans (vehicles, not sneakers), skating, and first-generation video games, and generally celebrates a Californian mythos that's rooted in the 1970s of the movie Over the Edge, rather than the show-biz dreams of Roth-era Van Halen. The band's songs are fairly simple and kind of same-sounding, which has made its albums objects to be chuckled over in record-store racks rather than purchased and enjoyed. (Fu's fantastic graphics don't help the contention that the four-piece is more image than substance.)

This live record, though, may finally bring Fu Manchu the cred it deserves. Onstage, the group tears it up, transforming its songs into powerful, throb-along numbers. And Fu Manchu has great taste in covers: Its mind-roasting version of Blue Öyster Cult's "Godzilla" is a highlight here. Two discs may appear to be too much from a band that makes AC/DC seem experimental. But once Go for It . . . Live! starts cranking, it's easy to just go with the flow and let the riffs and rhythms wash over you like the Pacific surf.

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More by Phil Freeman

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