Veruca Salt

Live at the Chocolate Factory

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This bootleg from Australia's KTS captures Veruca Salt shortly after hitting the road in 1994 to support their Minty Fresh/DGC debut American Thighs. At the time of this show's recording, the group's power pop single "Seether" was dominating radio play lists, expanding the commercial scope of girl rock as practiced by post-grunge artists like Hole, PJ Harvey, and Tracy Bonham. Amidst perhaps the largest modern rock buzz of the '90s, fans came in droves to witness the heretofore unknown Chicago band, led by singer/guitarists Louise Post and Nina Gordon. The slow pace of this live set (recorded on Gordon's birthday, November 14, 1994, at the Seattle Moore Theatre) mirrors American Thighs with it's often introspective, plodding sludginess. Six tracks from the debut are featured along with "Straight," a track from the group's 1997 follow-up Eight Arms to Hold You, and a smattering of B-side material. Discussions of illness, boyfriends, girl bands, and sex fill the brief non-musical moments as the ladies of Veruca Salt get personal during their between-song banter. The recording quality is excellent, and, although the music seems to be in mono, a stereo audience track is blended in that captures some amplified sound from within the theater, giving the whole production a nice sonic edge. The last four tracks are reportedly outtakes from a BBC live session in August 1994 that equal the sloppy concert performances. The whole big mess has a chaotic feel that possibly reflects a band slightly lost in themselves as showbiz pressures began to engulf them. It's as if Post and Gordon were living in a dense unreality that inspired them to make this big sick noise -- just to listen as it echoed off the grinding "youth culture" machinery spiraling around their heads.