Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stone Axe - Captured Live at Roadburn


If you've been reading any of the stuff I drone on & on about here on Ripple then you know that I'm really, really into live albums. The first thing I ever submitted to the blog here was a review of Grand Funk's Live Album. I've written up rock classics like Tokyo Tapes by Scorpions, Motorhead's No Sleep Til Hammersmith and Iron Maiden's Maiden Japan. James Brown, Otis Redding and Booker T & The MG's concerts have also been drooled all over. So when it was announced that Stone Axe was putting out a live album recorded at last years Roadburn festival in Holland I told the Ripple bosses that I need to get first crack at reviewing it.

The cover of Captured Live! takes inspiration from Grand Funk's overlooked Caught In The Act double live album and the opening instrumental "Stonin'" brings to mind the footstompin music of Grand Funk at their pinnacle. Stone Axe makes great records, but guitarist Tony Reed usually plays most of the instruments. Live, bassist Mike DuPont and drummer Mykey Haslip blaze a full on heavy rock groove like few others can these days. Damn, these guys are tight! Tony's guitar sounds great and he's equally adept at cranking out killer riffs and blazing solos. Frontman Dru Brinkerhoff is in great voice and great spirits and gets the crowd rocking. Good singing', good playin' indeed.

In the 70's it was normal to put out a live album after 3 studio records, but to date Stone Axe has only released 2 full lengths. However, they've done enough singles and EP's that they're not breaking any major rules. The Captured Live! CD contains 14 songs and the vinyl has 9. The vinyl sounds especially great. Double vinyl would be my preference but I know how expensive that shit is to manufacture. The CD sounds killer, too, and will be a hell of a lot easier to play in your car. The all killer no filler set list includes crowd favorites like "On With The Show," "Black Widow" and "We Still Know It's Rock 'N' Roll." Stone Axe show no quarter on the incredible "Skylah Rae" and will have you fogging up your bedroom or van accordingly. There's a reason why most bands don't put out live albums anymore - because they're not that good live. Stone Axe aren't able to do extensive touring so do yourself a favor and pick this up and see what you've been missing.

--Woody



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