When was the last time we had a truly great classic live rock album? One that would stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Live and Dangerous or If You Want Blood You’ve Got It. Aerosmith’s Rocks Donington 2014 comes close. But other than that, the well is dry. Don’t get me wrong, I love live albums and there have been great ones through the years. But a truly legendary one…
With the ethos and sound The Dead Daisies capture, you’d figure they’d be a shoe-in. Live & Louder has been crafted to satiate their audience; one which can remember those legendary live albums. We’re going to skip to the end: it’s not. So is it a good live album in its own right? Well…not really. It’s a fun album but not an essential purchase unless you simply need it to make your catalogue complete.
Firstly, there’s the mixing and it’s this which cripples the entire album. It’s other flaws can be overlooked but this is a big one. Marco Mendoza’s bass work is largely buried as is David Lowy’s rhythm guitar. Then comes the sucker punch: the audience. It makes for a jarring experience. It sounds as if the band went into a studio, played a set and the audience’s cheers dubbed in at a later stage. The best live albums make you feel as if you’re part of the audience, as if the band are playing right there in front of you. This doesn’t do that. This is like being outside the venue and trying to scrounge a ticket to get in.
Then there’s the songs themselves. It’s not over the course of one night in the vein of the best live albums but instead each track has been cherry-picked from a different night of the band’s last UK and Europe tour. One minute John Corabi is speaking to London, then Vienna. It takes the momentum out of the album and whilst the tracklist has been built to re-enact a full set, pick one town and one venue and make that your live album. However, it does come with an upside – it shows that the band can deliver night after night, giving reliably tight and entertaining performances.
As you can expect most of the songs are centred around John Corabi’s time with the band with a couple of songs from Revolucion and the lion’s share coming from the recent Make Some Noise. Or as I like to call it: the album we deserved after the self-titled debut and the one we needed after Revolucion. It shows off Doug Aldrich’s involvement alongside their great cover versions of “Helter Skelter”, “Fortunate Sun” and “Midnight Moses” and there’s the very enjoyable jam as the band run through their introductions, taking in some recognisable riffs from rock’s vast back catalogue. Sadly, there’s the problem I had when I saw them at the tail end of 2015: only one song from the debut album. However, when you hear Corabi make a vigorous attempt at the vocals for “Lock N Load”, it becomes apparent why they’ve largely ignored the album: Corabi can’t hit Jon Stevens’ high notes.
Live & Louder doesn’t capture the energy of seeing The Dead Daisies in a live setting. They’re one of the best live bands I’ve had the pleasure of seeing but this release doesn’t reflect that. Sure you’ll want to sing along with the songs but you can do that with the studio efforts. Really, this is only going to satiate the diehard fans and collectors. Instead, bide your time, buy a ticket and witness the spectacle for yourself.
Live & Louder is released on 19th May