To think twenty-five years have passed since the debut full-length from Pennsylvania four-piece, Live landed on our shelves. Initially known as Public Affection, after releasing The Death of a Dictionary (1989) and the EP Divided Mind, Divided Planet (1990), a name change was on the cards and Jerry Harrison, best known as keyboardist/guitarist for The Talking Heads, produced Live’s debut EP, Four Songs (1991)
Also that year Harrison produced what was to become Live’s iconic debut Mental Jewelry. Due to the time of recording and limitations for vinyl twelve songs were chosen with those extras tracks disappearing into the abyss. Harrison had chosen fifteen tracks which he sent to the label for them to choose twelve out of them to use for the final product. Those missing songs are included in the 25th Anniversary Edition which include the unreleased studio track, ‘Born Branded’ and two songs which featured on Four Songs, that being ‘Negation’ and the energy-fuelled ‘Heaven Wore a T-Shirt’, which should have really been included on the full-length.
Not only that, the second disc captures the energy of Live on stage at The Roxy – July 16, 1992, notably vocalist Ed Kowalyck’s birthday. You are all invited to the party as it sure is one way of bringing the band directly into your living room.
We are hit from the get-go with the distinct vocals of Kowalyck and the stand-out bass of Patrick Dahlheimer, which is a real highlight on this album in particular. ‘Pain Lies on the Riverside’ is a perfect way to get things rolling and one is opened up to the world of one of the best songwriters in musical history, up there with John Lennon, when it comes to putting pen to paper, proving to be masters of their craft.
‘Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)’ is a highlight, which will get the invalid out of their wheel chairs and start dancing. Kowalcyk, known as one of the spiritual performers of today, alongside Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros), unleashes positive energy which must be experienced in concert.
The Beauty of Gray is a fan favourite which always goes down well, particularly when Kowalcyzk performed it on his solo acoustic stint down-under. The beat is contagious and will have one toe-tapping their troubles away. ‘Brothers unaware’, is a cool blues tune, with similarities to ‘TBD’, taken from Throwing Copper (1994)
‘Tired of “Me”’ is a personal favourite, which brings back nostalgia on levels beyond. The musicianship of all parties comes together in unison for one funky jam. The lead guitar of Chad Taylor never short of nifty riffs, backed by drums played to precision by Chad Gracey.
The acoustic jam of ‘Mirror Song’ is a breath of fresh air, with Kowalcyzk’s vocals hitting all cylinders of greatness, with reference to the album title; this song comes closest to the title track. Taking up the pace with the in-your-face bass of Dahlheimer, ‘Waterboy’ is one funky romp to groove along to.
From the catchy ‘Take My Anthem’ to the stomping ‘Good Pain’ and album closer ‘10,000 Years (Peace Is Now)’, which becomes one jam session and tribal vocals from deep within the spiritual world of our beloved front-man there is no dud track in sight.
Be sure to add this must-have into your musical collection by ordering yourself a copy below. Crank it and be set for the Reunion Tour of a Lifetime when Live hit our shores this November.
Catch Live on the 25th Anniversary Tour of “Mental Jewelery”
Purchase Your Tickets here:
Pre-order the Mental Jewelry 25th Anniversary Deluxe digital album and get “Pain Lies on the Riverside (Live at the Roxy)” instantly today!
Pre-order now: https://UMe.lnk.to/Live25