Live “Walk The Starlight” ( Midnight Beat MB CD 053 )
Selling The Drama / All Over You / The Beauty of Grey / Shit Towne / Top / Supernatural / Pain Lies On The Riverside / Iris / Lightning Crashes / I Alone / 10,000 Years (Peace Is Now) / White, Discussion (54:04)
Live are a band who who formed in 1988 in York, PA covering new wave songs. After a couple of years on the small club circuit including CBGBs in New York they were offered a record deal with Radioactive records. The record deal promised them more opportunities in the way of promotion and with help from MTV, Woodstock ’94 and by way of supporting Peter Gabriel on his WOMAD tour, the bands second album was picked up on for commercial success. Fronted by gravel voiced frontman Ed Kowalczyk, they’re on the vein of a Pearl Jam or Nirvana – This isn’t the extent of their value but, if you were a new comer to their work, this should give you a reasonable idea on who you could represent them against.
The only Live release from Midnight Beat was recorded in New York (Not Europe as the cover suggests) and is taken from a promo from the Academy, 19th November 1994. (The Album Network’s “Throwing Copper Concert Broadcast” (Show #94-51) CD.) As it’s a radio station disk the sound is, obviously, pristine coming from a pre-FM source (I’ve also seen mention that I’ve seen note on the internet that this source is a soundboard .. don’t believe it, it’s not that dry.)
The Disk begins with “Selling The Drama” one of the lead tracks and first single from ‘Throwing Copper’ and from the audiences reaction either one that must have been on heavy rotation since it’s release or the crowd are just happy to see the band on stage. It’s a true representation of the bands sound – heavy, brickbatting, rock that sends a thunder through the tummy.
The second track (“All Over You” the second single from ‘Throwing Copper’) faces up grunge’s ‘loud, quiet, loud’ theory brilliantly. Of the time you can see how it would hold out well of alternative rock radio.
“The Beauty Of Grey” has the crowd singing along to nearly each and every word as it starts. Live fans aren’t known for reluctance in getting to know their bands oeuvre and very often plunge themselves in to everything they release, collecting every single, promo, bootleg that exists so the memorising of lyrics shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.
The following track “Shit Towne”, awful title aside, is the epitome of modern grunge. The dissatisfaction of the city where you live, picking at the monotony of it’s day to day smallness, the inhabitants that you don’t choose to mix with. The song was a lesser veiled attack on York, PA but somehow, despite the public drubbing of it’s name, the town was good enough to offer the band a place back in it’s hearts.
“Supernatural”, the mandatory cover song of the set, is by Vic Chesnutt, another cult artist from America who fought against disability after a car crash in his early life and became a martyr for other disenfranchised youth through his first 2 albums. the song is briefly introduced by way of being on the same bill as the band a few months previous and is one of the quieter tracks from the set played by Ed on acoustic guitar alone for the first half, the band joining in quietly before Chad Taylor throws in a crunchy guitar solo in towards the end of the track.
“Lightning Crashes” is announced as a song that Ed thought was first about “Living and Dying but I think now it’s more about rising and falling .. and it goes out to a friend of ours who is undoubtedly, inevitably, totally, absolutely .. in heaven.” It begins with the only other quiet moment in a furiously raucous set, the audience clap and sing heartedly along but as always, the noise batters through and the finality is a blustery crunch bedded with ghostly harmonies.
A quote from Henry Miller opens “10,000 Years (Peace Is Now)” in typically apocalyptic fashion, this hypnotic, thundering diatribe on the seasoning of mankinds will against the planet. At over seven minutes it’s the pre-watershed point of the show, a knowing nod to the fact that the band are coming to the end of their time on stage.
“White, Discussion” is a lyrical continuation of the themes on “10,000 Years”, a “Dear Prudence” styled bass line, droops under and around a clicking trigger of a guitar riff before the band cascade in to heavy fire histrionics once more.
While the CD is derived from a radio promo CD it’s still a nice way to get your Live fix. At just less than one hour some of you may feel a little short changed. As I point out though, many collectors of the band seen to be fetishistic about collecting these things so if you are having trouble picking up the promo, this is a good, cover already printed, way to go.
If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)