I don’t usually enjoy live albums. I enjoy listening to live bands and I enjoy listening to albums, but I’ve never really felt that live albums do a gig justice. After all, you miss out on almost all of the experience: you don’t get beer spilt on yourself, you don’t have to put up with the stench of someones flatulence, what should I do with my bag? I wish I’d checked my coat etc etc.
That said, I actually only have one other live album, Leprous Live at the Rockefeller Music Hall, which is actually an amazing album. I hold Between The Buried and Me in the same high regard as Leprous, so I had high hopes when I popped this album into my ear holes.
Between The Buried And Me Live! Is the entire of their most recent album, Coma Ecliptic, played end to end, no breaks, no waffle, flim flam or noise. Pure live BTBAM. The album I have to review as actually the audio from a show that was filmed live on location October 4th, 2017 at The Observatory North Park in San Diego, CA (which is in the USA, obvs). You can get it, according to the blurb, on DVD, Blu-Ray, CD and, of course, digitally. This makes me wonder how much of the “experience” you miss from just listening to it as bassist, Dan Briggs sez: “The genesis of the ‘Coma Ecliptic’ filming was based around capturing the look and feel of the show our lighting director Chris Hill produced for the full album set. It’s such an important record for us and our progression as a band and the visual representation captures the moods of our tragic tale so well. It’s the perfect way to wrap up the last two years we’ve been living with this album day in and day out!”. Coma Ecliptic Live was directed by Vince Edwards and edited by Blake Faucette and Justin Reich. The audio was mixed by Jamie King @ the Basement Recording NC. Live GoPro camera placement by Blake Richardson.
The PMM crew actually saw BTBAM play a date on this tour, in Brighton, at The Haunt, which is a ridiculously tiny little venue where you can touch the band as soon as you step into the room, they were supported by Haken (another incredible band) and it was, frankly, one of the best gigs of the year (other than getting home, Brighton is a pain to get back from after having enough beers to forget when the last train is).
It opens, as does the album, with the haunting keyboards of Node and the crowd goes nuts. It’s beautiful and any worries I had about the live show not being as good recorded are (almost) gone. The rest of the band joins in slowly and they’re tight – really just showing what playing the same album for two years goes to achieve. Apart from the odd cooing and clapping, it’s hard to imagine this as a live show, but it is, you can hear it in the echos of the room, the not-quite-the-same vocals.
It then crashes into The Coma Machine which is standard fayre, but I’m waiting for my favourite, Dim Ignition. It’s only two and half minutes of music, but played at maximum volume, it’s fucking astounding – the sounds are more astral, dispersed and mysterious. It’s during Dim Ignition that you can really hear the band pick up the vibe from the room – Tommy Rogers is simply astounding, switching from the shouty, throat searing noise to clean, melodiuousness. Then it slides into Famine Wolf and I know this isn’t the only time I’m going to listen to this album. The intro solo by Paul Waggoner is sharp and on point, the drums make me tingle and I wish I were there again, swaying and drinking a warm can of Red Stripe amongst my sweaty metal brethren.
I actually don’t even mind the clapping at the beginning of Turn On The Darkness and, if I wasn’t on a train, I might even join in, grinning like an idiot. This isn’t a record you can dip in and out of, or play on random – it’s a testament to the album, it’s musicianship and the talent of the fellas in the band, it deserves your undivided attention. The piano on The Ectopic Stroll makes me want to leap up and down and then, the beginning of Life In Velvet makes we want to put my arm around Lee and grin into his face while cheersing the 8th whiskey of the night.
And all of a sudden, it’s over and I’ve felt like I re-lived the gig (even though it wasn’t this one), without the bad parts, or the journey home (although, if it’s in London, I always look forward to a Katsu curry on the train). I’ll definitely be picking up the video when it’s out – I want to see what the “look and feel of the show” with the lighting looked like.
Between The Buried and Me are a monster of a band and have so far not released a dud album, I’m looking forward to what they come up with now they’ve finished their tour with this release.
Check out the trrailer here: