The dirty, sweaty, hole-ridden shirt on the cover of Live in Liverpool attests to what a force of nature the Gossip are in concert, and this CD/DVD set offers more proof of the energy Beth Ditto, Hannah Billie, and Brace Paine whip up when they hit the stage. The set was recorded at Liverpool's Carling Academy, and since the U.K. was at the forefront of embracing the Gossip as stars -- even if NME was initially reluctant to put Ditto, in all of her large glory, on the cover of the magazine when she topped their 2006 Cool List -- it makes sense that the band chose to capture one of its British tour dates for posterity. The crowd certainly treats the Gossip like huge stars as they whip through the bulk of their breakthrough album, Standing in the Way of Control, some deep cuts, and some well-chosen covers, including their breathtaking version of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?," which originally appeared on the Listen Up! single. Here, the studio polish is stripped away, presenting the band's ferocious strength, need, and sexuality in their rawest state. That goes for the rest of the set list, which gets an extra dose of punk adrenaline. "Yr Mangled Heart," "Jealous Girls," and "Keeping You Alive" soar and sear, thanks to the band's muscular playing. While that means some of the more delicate songs lose some of their subtlety, like the previously torchy "Coal to Diamonds," it doesn't detract from the set's overall power. It's intriguing that Live in Liverpool is the Gossip's first release for Columbia's Red Ink imprint -- it's not exactly an ideal introduction to the Gossip's fiery music, but it is a great testament to why fans are so devoted to the band.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2