Masters Of The Hemisphere

Last Show Ever

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Athens, Georgia foursome Masters of the Hemisphere put a resounding stamp to the end of their career with this double-live, 38-song recording. Recorded by Athens producer Chris Bishop, the November 23, 2002 concert at the legendary 40 Watt club included the bulk of the band's catalog of songs, and is full of stellar performances and amusing between-song banter. Taking a cue from some of the best live albums in rock history, the entire show is preserved, and the band's fans surely appreciate it. The band performed 38 songs over three sets, including offerings from each of their releases, as well as some special rarities. The sound is remarkably crisp, starting with the first official track, a relaxed version of "Coat of Arms," with Bren Mead on vocals. Sean Rawls first chimes in on vocals on a steady version of "On the Streets the Key," from the band's first single on Kindercore Records in 1997. Starting with "West Essex," the band plows through most of their self-titled debut 1998 disc during the first half of the evening. Included are renditions of "Saucy Foreign Lass" and "Everybody Knows Canada," among others.

A number of songs from the band's I Am Not a Freemdoom album are included, starting with "Gorgar's Room." Two more songs from that album close out the first disc. Disc Two begins with more songs from that 2000 album, culminating with the breathtaking "Calm Calm Coma." Adrian Finch steps up to vocal duties on the fiery "Uncola," and the breezy "Summer With You" on the second disc. Live versions of tracks from the band's last full-length, 2002's Protest a Dark Anniversary include "200 Heads," "Rules of Life," and "Take Time." Jeff Griggs performs solidly on drums throughout, as well as adding some consistently witty stage banter. Rarities include staggering versions of "Elevator Action" and "Die Mustafa Die," the stunningly enthusiastic "Creatures (the Roper Song)," and a lively covers of Fleetwood Mac's "Second Hand News," and New Order's "Age of Consent." The first song Mead and Rawls ever wrote together, "I Hate Mortal Combat," completes the set with energy and glee, closing the book on the band's brief history. While the disc might only be truly compelling to the band's most ardent fans, it will surely serve as a record of the band's live shows, which always included moments of refreshing and unabashed tomfoolery. In the end, the disc shows Masters of the Hemisphere calling it quits at the top of their game. The band was eager to play a stellar show in front of their hometown crowd, and they succeeded. A split release by Bumblebear Records and Orange Twin Records, Last Show Ever was released in August 2003.