Lagwagon - Live In A Dive (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Live In A Dive (2005)

Fat Wreck Chords

Can I say this is the best live punk band ever? Yes, I can, since I have lost count on the number of shows I attended for Lagwagon. It must have been close to ten since 1994 or something. Whether it was in a small club at the start of their career or larger venues when they were making a name for themselves or at festivals at the time almost ALL kids wore their shirts, this band has never ever disappointed me.

Sure, there's the typical party bands that have the potential of getting people off their feet with their music like Flogging Molly or Mad Caddies for example, but there's only a couple bands that play "my dearest" melodic punk rock live and succeed in getting me as ecstatic as their studio albums did.

These 22 live songs recorded in Hollywood's House Of Blues in spring 2003 dig through their 6 magnificent albums, of which their 4 first ones rank with my top 30 albums of all time, no doubt, with Trashed being one of the best punk albums ever written. Joey Cape's voice has been praised enough I guess, and maybe is the main reason for this band's live success, but the guy is sounding always in tune, something which is one of the most difficult obstacles any band in our punk scene has to deal with and too often fails if you ask me.

No need to describe their sound for sure, but let me tell you that these recordings taken care of by Ryan Greene just sound deservingly clear and close to the original I'd expected it to sound live. I never liked the comics that came with these Live In A Dive series, but that's probably because I lack good taste when it comes to humor.

A few downsides: I know they hate to play "Brown Eyed Girl," but was disappointed that they didn't include it anyway, and the version of "Back One Out" wasn't the best I heard them perform that song either. Why in hell didn't they play their "All Aboard the Lagwagon" or "Know It All" classics, and why wasn't "Bye For Now" not the closing song? Well, you can't have them all I suppose. Although I still prefer their studio albums above a live recording (something that goes for every band) this one sounds clean enough to get some spins in the next few weeks here, and is for sure one thing a diehard fan like me will grab back to with nostalgic feelings after this band has disbanded one day. Let's hope I'll have grandchildren before that happens.