The Dead Daisies Live & Louder Box Set Review
Generally when reviewing new albums, we get access to an electronic version of it a couple of weeks or so in advance of its release. There’s always a drive to get these reviews out really early and be one of the first webzines to be spreading the word. So when we learned that The Dead Daisies were to release their first live album Live & Louder, my initial reaction was to get my hands on an advance copy of it for review ASAP. Then I changed my mind. Why the hell would I do a thing like that?
It was something Black Star Riders frontman Ricky Warwick said during a recent gig. When talking about buying the vinyl edition of their new album as opposed to an electronic version, he asked the audience kinda bluntly “What are you gonna pass onto your kids when you die – a fuckin’ iTunes password?” Quite! So I decided that I’d hang fire with a Live & Louder review until I got my hands on a vinyl version. Or more specifically, the fabulous limited edition box set.
After pre-ordering it a while back, the box set finally arrived while I was out of the country last week. But now, at long last I’ve finally had a chance to open that box…
And as I sorted through the contents I couldn’t help but smile. You just don’t get this kind of feeling from buying a download from iTunes. You have your button badge, sticker, band patch, poster and photocard – all the nice little merch bits ‘n’ bobs any fan could wish. Then you have the CD & DVD pack, which would be a cool thing to buy on it’s own. The pack contains a CD of the album, and a DVD which delves behind the scenes of Live & Louder tour with plenty of interviews, music videos, plus lots of tour and fan video footage. Who knows, if you were at one of their gigs you might be in it! And just for good measure there’s also a booklet featuring many cool photographs of the band by Oliver Halfin.
But it’s the vinyl part of the set which really stands out. The centrepiece being two gorgeous 12″180g transparent purple vinyl discs. Those of you who are old enough to remember the cheap mass produced vinyl of 30 years ago really need to check out these babies, because they’re a world apart in quality from those discs of yesteryear. Likewise the exclusive 7″ Covers EP in stunning transparent red vinyl. Coupled with the sleeve notes and general sense of quality, these records are just as enjoyable to look at and handle as they are to listen to.
I have to admit to feeling a slight sense of trepidation when I cued up the record for the first time. I’m a huge fan of The Daisies and have always been blown away by their live performances. But there’s always a worry that a live album doesn’t quite convey the energy and power of the actual performance. A concern that some of the magic somehow gets lost in the in the production process somewhere along the line.
A few seconds into first track Long Way to Go was all it took to confirm that this recording has absolutely nailed it. I’ve said previously that seen live, The Dead Daisies have managed to distil all the things that made us fall in love with rock music in the first place – titanic riffs, great hooks, blistering guitar solos, sheer rock ‘n’ roll swagger – into something that you can seriously rock out to, but leave at the end of the gig with a massive smile on your face. Live & Louder is everything a good live album should be, conveying every sweat-soaked second of those performances in a way that makes the listener feel that they are right there in the middle of the action. Crank the volume, close your eyes and you are there.
The physical presentation of the box set is also top notch with the vinyl discs being among the most stunning I’ve ever clapped eyes on. It’s an expensive purchase for sure, but is such a lovely thing to own. You simply don’t get that with a download. In saying that however, you should buy Live & Louder regardless of the format. It’s a fantastic live rock album which fans of the band or fans of rock music in general will love.
The Dead Daisies head back to the UK next week for a couple of shows on the latest leg of their Live & Louder World Tour. We’ll be there to bring you a full review. In the meantime I’m off to blow the roof off my house again…