Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hunters & Collectors - Living in Large Rooms and Lounges (1995)

If this double live set is any indication, I was born in the wrong country. Easily one of the best live albums I've ever heard, Hunters & Collectors exude a chameleon-like live energy that adapts to the size of the venue they're playing.

Disc 1 features H&C playing a rather intimate and more acoustic gig at the Continental Cafe. Among the highlights are their Aussie hit Throw Your Arms Around Me, their cover of John Hiatt's The Most Unoriginal Sin, The Slab, their anthemic Holy Grail, and the infectious Easy.

Lead vocalist Mark Seymour doesn't sing, he bleeds the emotion out of every song, every lyric. Even on The Most Unoriginal Sin, Seymour manages to make the song all his own.

Disc 2 features a selection of live performances from some of the larger pubs H&C played. There's a decidedly more electric feel to the material and there's something positively electric to hearing the audience singing "You don't make me feel like I'm a woman any more" on H&C's live staple Say Goodbye.

While there is some overlap of songs (Easy, Say Goodbye, and Holy Grail appear on both discs) the performances of the songs on the 2 discs are different enough to keep the album consistently interesting.

In addition to Seymour's empassioned vocals, the rhythm section is tight-- and much as it should be, the electric bass tends to be higher or at least equal in the mix with the guitar and the tight horn arrangements round out and give their songs that extra brass punch which sets Hunters & Collectors apart from so many other groups.

For those who are unfamiliar, the best way to describe Hunters & Collectors:

Bono + Michael Hutchence + a killer rhythm section + The Tower of Power horn section = Hunters & Collectors

Unfortunately, in 1998 Hunters & Collectors released their final album, Juggernaut, and proceded to go their seperate ways. Luckily, Living in Large Rooms & Lounges encapsulates the live performances which made this great band such a fixture of the eighties and nineties Aussie pub rock scene.


Ben Heller said...

Sounds good, and for you to offer such a high accolade for a live album must mean a lot. I have found live albums generally dissapointing over the years (bar a handful).

Perplexio said...

Ben: I think it has to do with the size of the venues, On both CDs, the venues they were performing at were smaller and more intimate. There are some bands out there that have a certain "energy" in their live performances that takes those performances to another level, Hunters & Collectors were one of those bands.