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Music Reviews

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Sub Pop
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Live: South Central Illinois Halloween Hogwash

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
There are three types of live albums that bands seem to put out today. There's the "Wow that was a good show! Good thing we had it taped!" Then there's the "We're recording live tonight so everyone scream louder than usual and we're going to concentrate extra hard so it sounds better." The third type is the most honest, when the band just says, "Roll the tape and we're gonna do our thing and see what happens."

NIL8's live album seems to be the latter type. It flows from song to song, giving the listener the feeling of actually being at the show, not just listening to file audio footage.

The 19 song set list draws heavily from NIL8's past two LPs, Eunuch and Doug, due to the scarcity of those two recordings. There are a couple of tunes from Hallelujah, (I'm Going to KISS (kill) Myself) thrown in, along with a dandy cover of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" and a couple of new songs. These new songs are only available on this disc.

"Sheep" embodies all that is NIL8 while tackling the subject of farm-animal molestation. The song is full of stops and starts and witty, tongue tying banter that we've come to expect falling from singer Jeff Williams' mouth. "Maximum Rock and Roll Magazine Thinks We're Hopped Up on Goofballs" is a pointed and full-on punk romp, responding to an article about the band that said magazine published which falsely accused them of marijuana use. The lyrics explain it plainly and clearly and the song jumps off the disc and volunteers itself for an automatic repeat.

The live record also captures the experience of the NIL8 live show: between-song conversations with the audience and ad-lib vocals during the extended intros. The crowd is a large part of this show/record, and it's evident. The songs are not perfectly executed as sometimes the band members are laughing, falling down, or obviously winded. It all combines to make South Central Illinois Halloween Hogwash a band-to-fan relationship, even if it is being transmitted through the six-by-nine's in the back of a station wagon.

Reviewed by Ryan Guffey

See other reviews by Ryan Guffey



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