OK here’s the thing. I’ve never been a massive fan of live albums. I love going to gigs and I love listening to records, but records of gigs have never particularly been my bag. Until this year that is, because there have been a series of live releases this year that have just blown me away. Five albums in particular that have acted not only as a faithful chronicle of the respective bands’ live prowess, but have been great to listen to in their own right. Perhaps it’s because these are recordings that are raw enough to feel authentic, not the sort of ‘live in the studio’ style albums that are overdubbed and over produced within an inch of their lives. Here then are my five favourite live albums from 2016 that have made me thing again about the genre (in no particular order).

 

Burning Up With…The Heads

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“I now understand why The Heads are so revered, and why people travel much further to see them than the would do other bands. I have no idea whether I have seen The Heads at their best over the last year. What I do know is that I have seen one of the best bands this I have ever witnessed in over 35 years of gigging, and that the Roadburn crew have perfectly captured what I have been fortunate enough to witness for myself. So if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, or your a far more seasoned fan of the band than I will ever be…this could well be the recording to get. It’s brutal and it’s brilliant: get it and you with get them!”

Read the full review here.

‘Burning up with…’ is a joint Rooster/ Roadburn release, limited to 500 double albums (250 green/ 250 pink).

 

Live 2010 Dominion Tavern by The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol

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“As you would expect from such a gig, and such a band, what you are getting here are not the sort of faithful renditions of album tracks but loose improvisations and jams that encapsulate the independent scene…nothing is ever the same twice, more skilled artisanship than manufactured process. What you do get here is a real feel for how special the gig was: a band playing what sounds like a small packed venue, on a stage so small that some of the members are playing in the audience, and a nice dirty recording that captures the gig faithfully.”

Read the full review here.

‘Live 2010 Dominion Tavern’ was released by Drone Rock Records.

 

Electric Eye Live at Blå

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I saw Electric Eye live for the first time this year at the Liverpool PsychFest, and was totally blown away by the band. One of the reasons I definitely wanted to catch them was on the back of a cassette/ download release of the band’s gig at Blå in Oslo.  I have to say that I’m so happy that the concert was captured and released on Jansen Plateproduksjon, because it is just amazing, catching Electric Eye as a live act just perfectly.

Further details of the release can be found here.

 

Feral Ohms Live in San Francisco

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“Well Feral Ohms do because they are such a tight together and sheer singularly fucking exciting band that they can pull it off and make it seem to be absolutely the right thing to do. This isn’t a long set, not many bangs for your bucks…but the bangs that are there are absolutely phenomenal combining scuzz (did I mention that) punk (The Damned variety) and psych in one lethal high velocity toxic combination that will get your pulse beating, your body jumping and knock roughly 65% off how old you feel.”

Read the full review here.

Feral Ohms’ Live In San Francisco came out November 4th through Castle Face Records.

 

Dead Skeletons Live in Berlin

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“Live albums are always something of a compromise between presenting the band ‘warts and all’ and delivering something that is a little too lo-fi for its own good. This recording seems to have found a good balance in the sense that it is a well produced and mixed album which for me does just about enough to retain that live feel. But for me the strength is in the track listing featuring certainly some of my favourite Dead Skeletons tracks notably: ‘Om Mani Peme Hung’, ‘Buddha Christ’, ‘Kundalini Eyes’, ‘Psycho Dead’ and, of course ‘Dead Mantra’.”

Read the full review here.

‘Dead Skeletons Live in Berlin’ was released on Fuzz Club Records.

 

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