Audiobender – Live At The Whiskey album review
Alright With Me9
On And On9
MFH (Here Comes That Girl)9.5
Let It Bleed10
A live record may be the most humble of documents – an audio family photograph of a particular place and time. It may be the best place to find the spirit of real rock ‘n roll, despite the humble origins.
When we last encountered the Bay Area’s Audiobender they were laying down their stripped down and efficient working class rock ‘n roll in a polished studio setting. Reverb, their inaugural debut, was not exactly swathed in studio trickery, it still had a bit of polyethylene sheen about it. Nothing wrong with that, but rock ‘n roll thrives on guts, nerves, and immediacy, and Live At The Whiskey has all three in spades.
Live At The Whiskey was recorded at Hollywood’s legendary nightclub The Whiskey A Go-Go. It’s awesome to hear the San Jose stomping the same floorboard as The Doors, The Jefferson Airplane, and The Grateful Dead. Some of the rock ‘n roll Holy Ghost must’ve gotten into their amplifiers, as passion, heart, and chops drip from this short and sweet live document.
Like the best live show, Live At The Whiskey never stays it’s welcome. Nine tracks that are here and gone in the blink of an eyelash. Here and gone, but able to be lived again and again.
And that’s what’s amazing about Live At The Whiskey. It’s a slice of rock ‘n roll life, that happens to catch Audiobender at their finest, in their natural element. The guitars wail, sing, and soar, while the bass stomps the earth like a thunder lizard. Trebly breakbeats cut through the mix like tapdancing tom-toms, stopping things from every getting mired down in sludgey, muddy bottom end.
The rarefied air of Live At The Whiskey is its greatest strength. Instruments rage, hissing and spitting at the punters, while Jared Richard’s vocals soar like David Lee Roth doing aerial ballet.
Just to be clear, this is not rock ‘n roll of the knuckle-dragging, switchblade-shredded variety, although there is a hint of proto-punks The Sonics psychotic yowl in their DNA. There’s a few sensitive heartfelt ballads to temper the adrenaline, like on “MFH (here comes that girl)”, to soak up the booze in your bloodstream. “MFH”‘s jerky blues drawl will tickle the strings of roots rock appreciators who miss The White Stripes while digging for Rolling Stones bootlegs.
Audiobender are a band of real musicians, who can really play. They have heart, soul, and dedication in spades, which are all captured in splendid Technicolor detail on Live At The Whiskey. Let this be a stopgap filler, until you can make your way to San Jose or The Bay Area and check out Audiobender’s r ‘n r in the flesh.