Nine Below Zero
Live at the Marquee
added: 23 Oct 2012
// release date: 22 Oct 2012 // label: Universal
reviewer: Paul Chapinal
Live albums are a strange beast. Very much associated with the excesses of the seventies, there was always the whiff that they were little more than stop gaps or contractual obligations. There was also the suspicion that some werenít quite that live having had been massaged in the studio. Nevertheless they were fun, for some a personal record and occasionally served as decent compilation.
Which is a very roundabout way of getting us to Nine Below Zeroís Live at the Marquee album. Originally released in 1980 it captured one of the best live bands on the circuit at the time in great form. However limited by the vinyl format they could only release around 50 minutes of the original sets recorded over two nights. We now have the full set with the Ďleftoversí tacked on as bonus tracks.
So now we have 21 tracks instead of 14 and while thereís no doubting the energy that the band put into the gig and fed off the crowd, maybe too much of a good thing? Nine Below Zeroís brand of rhythm and blues is about having a good time, all the time, and this album is a testament to the relentlessness of that pursuit.
Itís obvious that band and punters are on the same wavelength which leads to some good natured banter between the band and crowd. The sweat and the smoke are palpable; just oozing from the speakers. Of the music itís pretty pointless looking for highlights. Opener Tore Down, sets the level; a whirlwind set of a some original material and standards. And there are some hoary old chestnuts here; cracking versions of wedding reception favourites Wooly Bully, I Can't Help Myself and Keep on Knocking. Thereís a change of pace with the lounge blues of I Canít Quit You Baby, and Stormy Monday. Of the their own material Homework and Stop Your Naggin' stand up best to the standards around them
Itís pretty much warts and all; some of the vocals and performances are a bit ropey and at 72 minutes does seem to drag at times. Itís probably one where you-had-to-have-been-there. If you already own the album, the added tracks, excellent booklet and the DVD make this a worthwhile re-purchase. And if you havenít give it a listen, use your imagination and you just might get an idea of what it must have been like.
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