Swingin' Utters - Live in a Dive (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Swingin' Utters

Live in a Dive (2004)

Fat Wreck Chords

When I picked up the seminal Give 'em the Boot compilation in high school, I thought I had found heaven. It turned me on to nearly every band I currently hold in high regard, and remains a constant favorite. It had memorable tracks from amazing ska and reggae acts, and some extremely potent punk forces as well. One of these was the amazing song "Fifteenth and T", by the Swingin' Utters. From this song, and "The Next In Line" from one of the Fat Wreck comps, I went on to purchase A Juvenile Product of the Working Class and have been hooked ever since. Now the Utters release a long overdue high quality representation of their live show, and I'm incredibly stoked.

After nearly 10 years of love for them, I finally got to see them live my senior year of college, with Pistol Grip and One Man Army in Cleveland. I had my fears, because of the massive amounts of energy and rawness that their albums contain. I was afraid they would be loose and sloppy, too "punk" to play well live, and oh boy was I wrong. They put on an incredible live show, and I have seen them another time since, with Max Huber. When this CD was announced, I was again afraid, because I felt it was now impossible to capture the live spirit and energy of this band on tape. Proving me wrong, the Utters released an amazing CD, fully of piss, vinegar, quality, speed, and great songs.

The CD starts out with "Don't Ask Why" and ends with "Catastrophe" and the in between is pure live goodness. The sound quality is great, Jonny's voice sounds awesome, Darius' rocking guitar is heard, and everything else just falls into place. To put it simply, the CD is a quality testament to the Utters as a live band and a legend in the "punk" field. They throw in some of the more laid back "adult contemporary" (as the put it) tunes like "All I Can Give". They play classics like "London Drunk" and "Teenage Genocide", the latter coming in perfect segue from the amazing rendition of the aforementioned "Fifteenth and T". Overall, there isn't a whole lot to say, aside from that this CD is awesome for fans of the Utters.

And that's what a live CD should be. It's for the fans who may never get to see them, or for those who want to remember fondly the live shows after the band is gone. The only complaint I could have with this CD is that it's too short. It has 23 songs, and leaves me wanting for more. This is a problem that you'll see with live CDs or "Greatest Hits" compilations of older bands. They strike a good balance of the old and the new, and the setlist can't really disappoint, but I want to hear every song they've ever recorded live! However, what you walk away with is a quality document of the Utter's superior musicianship and wonderful personalities.