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Fu Manchu: Go For It ... Live!

There's an old episode of Eight Is Enough where Tommy Bradford can't, for some reason, make it to a Jethro Tull concert. He's bummed. Really bummed. And someone (probably his little brother, Nicholas) says, "Can't you stay home and turn up one of their records really loud?" Tommy's disdain was palpable. Still, Nicholas did have a point. I mean, for me, that's always sort of been the point of live albums (good ones, anyway, not the contractual obligation filler that some bands toss out roughly every two weeks). If you can't get out to see a band, or if they can't get in to play for you, you have some indication of what they sound like in a cramped club, smoke-filled arena or huge stadium (provided,of course, that they don't overdub the life out of the thing). There's also the bonus that if you're a newbie, you can get a great overview of a band's best material without buying a greatest hits package.

See, in the record buying world, a greatest hits package is akin to dating the nice guy/girl at school, the one without any friends, while buying a (good) live album is like scoring a date with the most dangerous guy/girl around. Sure, he/she'll dump you after only a few nights on the town but you'll remember those nights forever. (In the old days, you'd probably have a poster to hang on the wall for your efforts.) You can't help but feel like a chump when you buy a greatest hits record 'cause it either means you're such a diehard that you'll buy material you already have, along with a watered-down remix or sub par new material or that you're too chickenshit to plunk down cold hard cash for an album that *might* suck. (On the other hand, if you know, for a fact, that Bon Jovi's 7800 Fahrenheit reeks to high heaven, but you still like one of the songs, then all's forgiven and buying a GH package is perfectly okay, though we should probably talk about your Bon Jovi fandom. )

Anyway, this is all just a way of saying that Fu Manchu, some of the baddest mothers in all of stoner rock have unleashed a double live album on par with the likes of Blue Oyster Cult's gloriously over-sprawling On Your Feet Or On Your Knees. (In fact Fu cover BOC's "Godzilla here with enough vigor that you forget for a moment that BOC, not FM, wrote it.) Yes, there's the typical live album bloat. The closing "Saturn III" goes on far too long, exactly the same way the final tracks (and in some cases sides) on so many great live albums do. That said, whatever fat is here shouldn't keep you away.

In fact, the only real disappointment is that the CD doesn't come with little live album extras (posters, stickers, a fake tour program) but that's a story for another time and it doesn't, for one second, detract from the listening process. In all, this is probably the most dangerous date you'll have all year.

Added: August 28th 2003
Reviewer: Jedd Beaudoin
Related Link: Fu-Manchu Official Website
Hits: 2996
Language: english

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