The Explosion

Live in Boston

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Recorded as part of FM rock outlet WBCN's Christmas show on December 1, 2004, Live in Boston captures the Explosion at full blast, warts and all. And that's the way it should be. A straight board recording, there's no tweaking of Matt Hock's vocals (he strains out of key sometimes) or post-production amplification of the instruments (the rhythm section can sound tinny). There's even random hometown stage chatter. But for Explosion fans -- particularly those residing outside of Boston or away from a stop on the Summer 2005 Warped Tour -- Live definitely does the trick. Black Tape tracks like "Mothers Cry" or the revivalist anthems "Here I Am" and "Deliver Us" are ragged and immediate, and Hock sounds even more like a young Ian MacKaye live than he does on record. "I Know" is a set highlight -- even if they sort of lose it in the setup to the solo, the song powers along with throwback gusto. It's worth a listen just for that slashing guitar tone. "Tarantulas" is an old favorite that again looks to D.C. hardcore, while "Terrorist" and "God Bless the SOS" date from the 2000 Jade Tree effort Flash Flash Flash. Don't expect Live in Boston to sound perfect. It doesn't. But it captures perfectly the Explosion as a working band, and that means there's more vitality here than a lot of live albums out there.

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