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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Concrete Blonde

Live In Brazil

Review by Gary Hill

With Live In Brazil Concrete Blonde have given us a solid album showcasing their live performance. Those whose only introduction to the band are the singles might find this to be a bit raw, but truly that edge really adds something. Given the chance the disc will prove itself to be entertaining and real. This is one of the better live albums to come around the pike in a while in terms of authenticity.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Disc 1
God Is A Bullet
A hard burst of guitar jumps in, then the band joins in a killer fast paced alternative groove. This quick rocker has a great texture and is quite cool.
Valentine
Bass starts this raw and punky track. It is another tasty one.
Tonight
More melodic and unique, this one has a strong alternative rock texture. The cut comes across as quite dramatic and one of the more thoughtful ones on show.
Everybody Knows
Here the band takes on a Leonard Cohen piece, and this one is presented as slow and bluesy. This is one of the strongest numbers in the set.
The Vampire Song
Always one of my favorite Concrete Blonde songs, this one starts here with lots of effects. They do an energetic and faithful rendition.
Take Me Home
Slightly off-kilter and a bit countrified, the cut is quirky and rather jarring at times. It has its moments, but is not one of the stronger showings here.
Little Conversations
If the last track had country overtones, the droney instrumental accompaniment to this one has oodles of them. Still, when the vocals enter, they pull the track into solid alternative rock territory. This one is competent, just not a stand out.
Caroline
One of the band's more famous songs, this is a bit sparse and raw here, but the awesome flavor of the piece still shines through.
Joey
Probably the band's best known cut, this live version captures all the magic of the original while bringing a new immediacy to it.
Disc 2
Days and Days
This rocker works quite well in the live performance, feeling a bit like the Clash at times. It includes a tasty bass only segment.
I Was A Fool
This is a sparse cut, part folky, part raw punk. Overall it is basically a stripped down rock ballad.
Violent
This one is dedicated to a US President for whom bassist and vocalist Johnette Napolitano seems to not have a lot of respect. The song is rather fun, punky and potent.
Someday
This stripped down rocker is fairly effective.
Scene of the Perfect Crime
This slower rocker is one of the most melodic and tasty on the album. This is a definite winner. The instrumental break is especially meaty.
Your Haunted Head
Fast paced and raw, this extended instrumental is nicely punk-oriented rocker and quite effective. It includes some of the tastiest guitar work on the whole CD.
Roxy
This is a more commercial sounding cut that still has some solid quirkiness. The chorus is very accessible.
Mexican Moon
This has a stripped down verse, but is another with a catchy chorus.
Tomorrow Wendy
This rocker serves as the encore, and Napolitano that it was written by a friend about a woman with AIDS. As performed here it includes a spoken work segment. This is rawer than the original, but seemingly more powerful, too.
 
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