Majic Sam - If you can sit through a Last Exit/Decoding Society bootleg,then that is the true stamp.
Coming at their music from a punk previous rock background,any RSJ/Last Exit is better than none,as it wasn't meant to be sentimental,or over produced.They played and it was captured live...luckilly...but,yes,not easily listened to.As you say,any RSJ and Sonny.They had just as much energy as any punk/metal band at that time.
Funny you talk about the Punk/Metal... I heard RSJ's Mandance. And a bit later I heard Blood's Black Rock. A friend of mine who was in a speed metal band made the comment, regarding the latter, "this stuff pins you to far wall even when played at quiet volumes". I loved that. I can't think of any punk or metal band that struck me as HALF as powerful as what those guys were doing at the time.
Speaking of Last Exit bootlegs... just today for the first time, I heard one recorded in Tampere, Finland, from 1986. A guy on another forum did some remastering (de-clicking and speed correction) from a vinyl bootleg. It sounds better than the official stuff. And the band is freaking RAGING. Thanks for reminding me to seek some of that out, Majic Sam!
Thing about bootlegs... those guys weren't really getting paid for the official releases. Old "blues man" story of record companies not sending royalties. And I feel super guilty about hearing boots, and those guys just scuffling.
I occasionally buy things directly from RSJ's website to offset all that. So what if it costs $30 for a recording of Power Tools with Cosey... I'm paying for all the music I got to hear that RSJ NEVER got a dime for. Makes me mad.