Though Catch 22 may have already lent a handful of live tracks to their compilation album / EP re-release, Washed Up And Through The Ringer!, Live is definitely the full package. A 21-song set set to the live setting in both compact disc and DVD should be quite a treat for a good handful of fans. So how does the band hold up?
Not too shabby, I suppose. Though the geek rock/power pop influence of Dinosaur Sounds makes for boring times for a good portion of the album's contributions here, Live holds up decently as an admirable profile of the band, who seem a bit tighter than usual. There's some good vocal harmonies in places, especially "It Takes Some Time," even though the leads just seem flat a lot of the time. The set is comprised of a pretty fair balance between the band's three proper full-lengths too, as the breakdown looks like this:
Keasbey Nights - 7
Alone In A Crowd - 5
Washed Up! - 1
Dinosaur Sounds - 7
A big question for a lot of people, guaranteed, is how fast the band speeds up Keasbey Nights songs. Well, now that we have full documentation of a live performance (with little in-between banter helping solidify results), you can see for yourself:
|SONG||STUDIO LENGTH||LIVE LENGTH|
|On And On And On||3:14||2:58|
|Riding The Fourth Wave||1:50||1:25|
|Sick And Sad||2:21||2:23|
|9mm And A 3 Piece Suit||1:56||1:52|
[minus fake show ending]
[minus "thank you"'s]
So, for the most part, basically, it seems like the band starts out speeding up the songs a bit, only to settle in at a speed that seems very equal with the studio versions. Even though whoever happens to be responsible for lead vocal duties at the time can't quite match Kalnoky's vocal ability, and even has to literally spit out gibberish for a second here or there, the band seems to match the tempos and combat common complaints about the issue.
The DVD just about makes the package a worthy purchase. It's shot well - save for one quick problem we'll address in a second - and you can see the band members as well as the audience perfectly, with just-appropriate cuts to the crowd occasionally. Though the sound just seems tinny for some reason, as I had to really turn up my TV to even enjoy it a reasonable level, every instrument is audibly balanced nicely. I have no trouble hearing the raw feel of the drums or Pat Kays, unintentionally doing his best Rick Moranis impression, flinging away at his bass. The funniest part of it by far, though, is to watch close to a dozen show patrons literally position themselves as "It Takes Some Time" is announced before transitioning into skanking mode upon the song's start. The aforementioned video problem is when this flat-out annoying video effect (or slip up) makes it look like the screen is shaking or vibrating during "Good Times," which almost made me nauseaus just watching. It seems intentional as it does happen during Pat Calpin's guitar solo. It's honestly just a poor-looking effect if that's the case.
You can also select the performances of the individual songs, which, while is basically a common sense feature, is sometimes disregarded in band DVDs. I suppose in order to cleanly introduce and end each of those however, there is a small black-screen fade that occurs between songs when playing the set the entire way through. It doesn't cut into the audio at all but from comparing the DVD against the CD, there's a little bit of stage banter that's cut out, though the transitions seem so aurally clear that it's hard to tell without having heard the compact disc version.
Plus, there's roughly 30 plus minutes of bonus material, including music videos for "Hard To Impress," "Point The Blame," and "Wine Stained Lips." Though you have your token filler of "On The Road" bullshit antics and a photo slideshow, "Humble Beginnings" is a cool little creative collection of footage from the individual members' early beginnings, obviously, including middle school band footage, plays, and even a Christmas morning. Also, "At The Show" has minute-long clips from various shows in the Jeff Davidson era, which is definitely interesting, though it obviously would've been the ultimate to have at least several Kalnoky-era clips. I digress.
So overall, the live audio version, which is really what the package revolves around, is a little boring and barely beyond background music at a get-together for your three friends that still listen to ska, but the DVD portion is well fleshed-out with fairly interesting features.