Warts and All, Vol. 1

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Far more lively than L, moe.'s previous live record, the first volume in the Warts and All series captures a complete show from the upstate New York quintet at the Scranton Cultural Center in Pennsylvania, recorded shortly after the release of Dither. A good cross-section of the band's career is represented over the show's three discs, including some of their earliest songs ("Timmy Tucker," "Meat"), songs from 1998's Tin Cans and Car Tires ("Nebraska," "Head"), tunes from Dither ("The Ghost of Ralph's Mom," "Tambourine"), and songs debuted only a few months before the show ("Crab Eyes," "Kyle's Song"). The focus is on the improvisation, which is still somewhat predictable compared to what the band is capable of, though there are certainly myriad exciting moments throughout, notably on "Meat" and the segue from "Happy Hour Hero" to "Seat of My Pants," a live favorite. In particular, multi-instrumentalist Jim Loughlin shines here, adding electronic vibes and piccolo bass throughout to create a densely melodic wall. Also of note is the album debut of "Crab Eyes," a stunning song which -- with Loughlin's vibes in full effect -- is reminiscent of Ruth Underwood-era Frank Zappa. Though the band is tie-dyed, its post-punk roots are still quite visible with songs like "The Ghost of Ralph's Mom" and an encore cover of the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated."

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
2 15:47
4 4:55
5 10:02

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 17:33
2 30:39
4 15:13
5 9:48

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 8:37
2 16:40
3 13:43
4 29:18
7 3:14
blue highlight denotes track pick