Charles Bronson Moustaches Defenders release one of the best live albums in recent years
Live albums generally don’t work. Just by their nature they are flawed. How can you expect to capture what makes a band live? Seeing music live is a three dimensional experience. You aren’t just listening to music, you are jostling for a good spot, where you can see and not block anyone else’s view. You feel the heat from lights and the amplifiers. There is the smell of feller gig goes. Sometimes this can be pleasant, but generally it’s not. When you go to the bar you’re feet get stuck by spilt drinks on the shabby carpet, and you’re fingers always end up in a puddle of something you’d never order. This being said, the Charles Bronson Moustaceh Defenders live album – Live at Les Citrons Masqués is one of the best live albums released in recent years.
First off, the set is phenomenal! The band are tight, but there is an element of freedom to the playing. They all know their roles, but they are also aware that if they wanted to they could go off on ones and the rest of the band would carry the tune until they decided to come back to the fold. While this isn’t anything new, it is refreshing to hear it happen unexpectedly. In fact through Easy it sounds like it’s all going to fall over, but somehow the band manages to right itself again and move on without too much damage done. When the member crowd whistles, they do what we are thinking, show appreciation for righting a particularly iffy moment of the set.
Secondly the way the set was recorded feels very organic and natural. It feels more like a bootleg than an ‘official’ live recording. That you can hear the crowd talking in between the songs, and in quiet bits is as refreshing as the band themselves. As mentioned before, there is a lot of space in the set, but the recording techniques help to show us where this space is. Everything is light an airy, and not as claustrophobic as live albums tend to be.
Whether Charles Bronson Moustaches Defenders will re-record these versions are some point in the future will remain to be seen, or heard, but these four songs will do more than any re-recordings ever could hope for. They show a band finding their form and trying to create something that isn’t just memorable but enjoyable. And what’s wrong with that?