Thursday, December 31, 2009

Arc Angels Release Long Awaited Live Album

Texas blues rock band Arc Angels have released their long awaited live album Living In A Dream. It's a work that has been what, 5 years in the making?! The live portion of the CD/DVD combo was recorded primarily at Stubb's in Austin and is document of that which is, Arc Angels live.

Earlier this year, Doyle Bramhall II (lead guitar/lead vocals), Charlie Sexton (lead guitar/lead vocals) and Chris Layton (drums) reunited and hit the road minus original member Tommy Shannon (bass) whose work is documented on this effort. If you've seen any of these guys be it together or working with other artists or even solo, you know these cats are first rate musicians. They individually and collectively have a strong and loyal base of fans who have been eager to get their hands on this package. I myself was excited.

I got Living In A Dream in my quirky little hands and tossed it in my player. I sat back and I listened. The first time I listened to it I couldn't quite figure out why I couldn't fully wrap my head around the record. This puzzled me greatly. After all, these are high caliber musicians and the music and vocals are all very solid. Why wasn't it giving me some sort of guitar based musical orgasm?! So, I listened a second and third time. That's when it hit me. It was missing some fire. Ooh, did I just hear a round of boo hiss boo from my fellow Arc Angels fans?

Well, before I get hunted down and strung up by a bunch of pitchfork toting fellow fans I should point out something. I'm not so sure it's the recording so much as it's the fact that my memory of seeing them back in May is still reasonably fresh in my mind. When you've stood in front of Bramhall and his guitar listening to him blow your friggin' mind, anything less than standing right there in front him (and the rest of the Angels) just doesn't measure up. It wasn't until eight songs in when they got to "Crave and Wonder" that things kick in and made me say to myself, "yeah, these are the guys that blew my mind at Irving Plaza."

The package, in addition to containing both the audio and video of the concert at Stubb's, comes with a documentary and a bonus disc that includes three studio tracks, one each by Sexton and Bramhall ("Crave and Wonder" & "What I'm Looking For" respectively) as well as a cover of Paul McCartney's "Too Many People." Overall, this is a good record, one that fans I'm sure already have in their possession. No, I don't think it fully captures their fire. Would I recommend Living In A Dream? Yes. I'd recommend it for the casual fan and I'd recommend it to people who like good old fashioned blues based rock played by top notch musicians.

Track Listing
  • Paradise Cafe
  • Carry Me On
  • The Famous Jane
  • Good Time
  • She's Alright
  • Always Believed In You
  • Sent By Angels
  • Crave and Wonder
  • Nadine
  • See What Tomorrow Brings
  • Shape I'm In
  • Living In A Dream
  • Too Many Ways To Fall
Bonus Disc Track Listing
  • Crave and Wonder
  • What I'm Looking For
  • Too Many People
  • Spanish Moon (Live At Antone's)