The Steepwater Band has been tearing up stages across North America and Europe for over ten years now with their infectious brand of dirty sounding blues based rock. Formed in Chicago back in 1998 by Jeff Massey (vocals, guitar), Tod Bowers (bass) and Joe Winters (drums) the band quickly graduated from performing blues covers to writing their own original songs that remind you just what good old fashioned boogie rock is supposed to sound like. Now five albums deep into their career the trio has just issued their latest live disc entitled Live At The Double Door which was recorded in front of their hometown fans back in the spring of this past year.
In case you didn't happen to be at this show then snagging yourself a copy of this disc, which features the majority of the songs played that night, is definitely going to be the next best thing. As good as their studio albums are, live onstage is where they really thrive.
The band storms out of the gate and offers up a true barn burner to get things going with "Indiana Line", a track that not only features Massey's confident and equal parts piss and vinegar vocals, but some absolutely scorching slide guitar work as well. After setting the bar so high one could easily forgive them if the energy level dropped somewhat but the boy are having none of it as they tear straight through a couple of tracks from their last studio effort Grace and Melody, with "Roadblock" and "Fire Away" respectively. The fabulous sounding old school, separate channel mix is never more evident than on the rollicking version of "Revelation Sunday". Just as Massey drops the rhythm and begins to lay into another one of his fiery, trademark solos that comes blasting at you out of one speaker like a cannon, Tod's thick and meaty bass lines pick up the slack out of the other speaker. This lost art of the separate channel mix is also used to great effect on "Healer" as Jeff goes from a blistering slide to a full on wah wah sprayed solo while Bowers and Winters expertly hold down the bottom end with all the power of a runaway freight train.
The material covered here is a fairly evenly balanced mix of songs from their Revelation Sunday album as well as the aforementioned Grace and Melody. Other highlights include blazing renditions of "Lord Knows", "Steel Sky" and a nine minute version of "World Keeps Moving On" where Massey really unleashes his full arsenal of guitar licks through his extended solo. As the dust settles after the final notes of their new single "The Stars Look Good Tonight" has fully played out, it's hard to imagine this show being anything less than a masterful performance from what has to be one of America's best kept secrets.
Live At The Double Door contains almost eighty minutes of some of the finest classic, blues based rock that you'll ever come across. Picture a dirty sounding hybrid of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Humble Pie, and then throw in a bit of the good old fashioned southern boogie of The Black Crowes, and that should have a pretty good idea of what The Steepwater boys are all about.
1) Indiana Line
3) Fire Away
4) Revelation Sunday
5) Dance Me A Number
7) All The Way To Nowhere
8) Baby, You're On Your Own
9) A Lot Of Love Around
10) Lord Knows
11) Steel Sky
12) One Way Ride
13) World Keeps Moving On
14) The Stars Look Good Tonight