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Monday, March 23, 2015

Live at Kelvin Hall (1968)

by the Kinks
Overall Rating =
11

Best Song: MILK COW BLUES/BATMAN THEME/TIRED OF WAITING FOR YOU

You're probably wondering why the Kinks felt the need to release a live album at this juncture of their career. For starters, this wasn't the first release of this particular live set; it was originally released in the States under the name The Live Kinks (omitting that it was performed at a Scottish theatre to hide their British-ness, I see) in the summer of '67, in an effort to remind the group's American audiences of their live sound at a time where the group was banned from performing on that side of the Atlantic due to supposedly extreme behavior such as on-stage fights between band members. If it were me, I'd love to see that kind of live show, but I guess Americans in the '60s were as prudish about stage attitude as I am about jokes made on television.

Don't let these late dates fool you though. This isn't the probably recorded live document like Cream's Wheels of Fire or The Who's Live at Leeds. This is practically inaudible, screaming girl-infested, hit singles run-through with occasional surprise mid-'60s live stuff à la Got Live If You Want It! If it's possible, I might even say the production is even worse off; every once in a while, one of the speakers goes dead in the LP's stereo mix (I haven't heard the mono, but I'm assuming on headphones it would produce the same result), and with some extra screaming overdubbed, it becomes quite annoying to sit through at times. It's actually quite a shame, because the performance seems pretty good. Despite the Dickens-flavored Face to Face – the gig was performed in April '67, several months before Something Else was released – the band's live show was still energetic rock 'n' roll, and its position next to the album it was touring is no different from the Who's Leeds show to the rock opera it showcased.

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