West Side Heat

Live Bootleg

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An almost boggling release, West Side Heat's Live Bootleg captures the Chicago blues band in action in Fort Wayne, IN, as they run through nine songs, six of which are covers. The band's renditions of the material -- which includes "It's My Soul," the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," Bobby Bland's "Love Light," Jimmy Oden's "Going Down Slow," Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," and Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" -- don't add anything particularly new to the songs. In fact, in places, they are seriously detrimental, as singer Mark Hoekstra endlessly over-emotes and sings any tenderness the songs might have once had into curled submission. The recording quality is distinctly subpar, instruments blending uninterestingly into each other with Tim Logan's bass and Kevin Johnson's drums sounding as if they were playing under large, thick towels. The disc is best exemplified by a lone person attempting to clap along with the introduction to "You Can't Always Get What You Want." The clapping is ridiculously off-time and out of place. If it is a bandmember, it reveals the musician's ineptitude. If it is an audience member, it is one of the few. West Side Heat is a bar band, and not a very good one at that.

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