Soundgarden : Live from the Artists Den9th August 2019
I have a bit of a strange relationship with Soundgarden. I bought (or rather my parents did, I was a kid) Badmotorfinger back in September 1991 (what a year that was) and it soon became one of my favorite albums. Or at least, side one did (I had the tape version, kids, ask your parents). I wore out the album listening time and again on my walkman (google it kids). I loved “Outshined” “Jesus Christ Pose” and “Rusty Cage”. However, the second side, I just couldn’t get into it, so I didn’t even try.
When they released Superunknown in 1994 I fell into the trap of loving “Black Hole Sun” but couldn’t get into the rest of the album. So when I made a mix tape (kids, it’s like a Spotify playlist but in physical form) I included 1 or 2 of the above songs. That was it.
When they released Down on the Upside, I didn’t even borrow a copy off a mate to copy (this was a time before Napster and internet piracy). When they split up, I didn’t care. When they reformed, I didn’t care. So when I was given this alum to review I knew there would be five or six songs that I knew and liked, but that was about it. However, with an open mind I gave it a go and I’m glad I did.
The album was recorded on 17th February 2013 at the end of the ‘King Animal‘ tour and with a total of 29 tracks you get plenty of bang for your buck. Coming at the end of a long tour, the band are tight, however, this is a live album so there are always those subtle differences compared to the studio version.
As you can see from the track listing below, the set was made up of songs from throughout their career mixing new songs such as “Blood on the Valley Floor” with the classics like “Jesus Christ Pose”.
In fact, one of my highlights is a four track segment starting with “Jesus Christ Pose” followed by “Flower” from the 1988 album ‘Ultramega OK’, then it’s “Taree” from the ‘King Animal’ album released in 1992 and finally “Spoonman” from ‘Superunknown’. These four tracks encompass all 24 years of the bands studio album and they sound really good played one after the other.
My absolute highlight however, is “Fell on Black Days”. This is such an atmospheric tune that sounds so good live. Another highlight is “Outshined” which shows off Chris Cornell’s vocals really well.
The album contains a couple of songs that they’ve never performed live before and it seems that they put a lot of thought in the track listing. A sign of a good bad who care about their fans.
Whilst none of the tracks are going to make my playlist, that’s pretty much cause I’m a musical snob at times and prefer the studio versions of almost all songs. So if you like Soundgarden, this is for you.
Personally, I’m very happy to have taken the time to give them the chance that I didn’t when I was a kid. I’m going to, happily, go back over their back catalog with a different point of view and I’m sure I’ll find some gems.
“Hang on a second. You said you really liked it but you only gave it a 7.5/10 WTF!”
Listen folks, it’s a live album. There are very few live albums that actually capture what it’s like to be there, Live After Death and Unleashed in the East are pretty much it. So yes, it’s good, but it’s live so a 7.5/10 it is.
1. Incessant Mace
2. My Wave
3. Been Away Too Long
4. Worse Dreams
5. Jesus Christ Pose
9. By Crooked Steps
10. Blind Dogs
12. Non-State Actor
13. Drawing Flies
14. Hunted Down
15. Black Saturday
16. Bones of Birds
17. Blow Up The Outside World
1. Fell On Black Days
2. Burden In My Hand
3. A Thousand Days Before
4. Blood On The Valley Floor
5. Rusty Cage
6. New Damage
7. 4th Of July
9. Black Hole Sun
10. Ty Cobb
11. Slaves & Bulldozers
26th July 2019