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Lagwagon - Live In A Dive

  by Alex Halls

published: 25 / 2 / 2005

Lagwagon - Live In A Dive
Label: Fat Wreck
Format: CD


New 22 song compilation of live material from durable Southern California punks' Lagwagon, the seventh instalment in their label Fat Wreck's 'Live in a Dive' series

Southern California’s Lagwagon formed in 1990, originally under the name Section 8 . They boast the fact that they were the first band to be signed to the now famous Fat Wreck label, debuting with 'Duh' in 1992. Despite early changes to the line-up, currently Lagwagon stand as five; Joey (vocals); Flip (guitar); Jesse (bass); Leon (guitar); Dave (drums). Their so-cal brand of punk rock continues to be the inspiration for kids today, or at least inspired from bands who themselves were impressed with Lagwagon years ago. It is ironic that Fat Wreck chose Hollywood as the location for their next instalment of the 'Live in a Dive' series, the 7th to be exact. More appropriately, however, may be Lagwagon as the label’s choice to play that venue, a band befitting of any venue, anywhere in the world. Having seen Lagwagon live, having been disappointed with the unenergetic performance and a tendency for the songs to all sound similar, it made sense to expect much of the same on this live record but surprisingly Lagwagon almost seem to play up to the fact that their performance is being recorded, or did I just catch them on a bad day ? Recorded over a year and a half ago on two separate occasions at Hollywood’s House of Blues venue, the 'Live in a Dive' album certainly is a collection of Lagwagon’s best material to date, combining the old and the new, and includes previously unreleased track 'The Chemist' amongst the 22 songs. It includes all the old favourites, those tracks that made Fat Wreck compilations come to life, such as 'Sleep 'and the incredible 'May 16th' that featured on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 computer game. 'Alien 8' and Violins kick start the festivities, with the crowd perfectly audible on this record and due to the wonders of modern technology they even sound good on an atmosphere-killing sub-standard home sound system. Lagwagon’s 'Live in a Dive' gradually invites the listener into the gig environment and with 'Sick', one of the highest calibre live songs around, the band demonstrate that they are still able to entertain, even if it has been a two-year wait since their last studio album. It is noticeable that there is a good mixture of seriousness and relaxation in Lagwagon’s live sets, with the sing-a-long 'Coconut' attempting to involve the audience as much as is possible. On top of this the band has included a healthy fusion of tempo changes, as well as reggae interludes, best exhibited in 'Never Stops', allowing time for the audience to breathe before becoming bound to racy punk rock once more. Lead singer Joey’s voice seems to remain as crisp as it ever did, even if he does have a slight tendency to whine vocally, leaving 'Live in a Dive' as the definitive live album. It presents a band often observed as having lost their edge. Certainly Lagwagon has slowed down of late and who can blame them. After 14 years the band will surely expect the highest standards of themselves and thus, will not be forced into releasing sub-standard material. The 'Live in a Dive' record therefore stands as a fitting tribute to a band who has given its all to a punk scene that has lapped up every last drop of energy exuded, from studio to concert halls and, will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, have more to give imminently.

Track Listing:-
1 Alien 8
2 Violins
3 Messengers
4 Never Stops
5 Sick
6 Island Of Shame
7 Give It Back
8 Making Friends
9 After You My Friend
10 Razor Burn
11 Falling Apart
12 Sleep
13 Mister Bap
14 Beer Goggles
15 The Chemist
16 Coconut
17 May 16th
18 Bombs Away
19 Back One, Out
20 Burn
21 Coffee And Cigarettes
22 Stokin' The Neighbors

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