LAGWAGON – Live in a Dive

When making a live CD, it’s always important to keep in mind the longevity of the album. Will this be a good representation of the band years down the line? For example, Bad Religion: Their live album came out shortly after the Gray Race and you can tell because almost every second song is off of the Gray Race (Which is considered one of their weaker albums) It makes the classic mistake of dating itself by focusing on the most recent album at the time.

Lagwagon has successfully made a live album that encompasses every release in their career and will stand the test of time! The song choice is a mix of old and new and a few fun songs that they could only get away with live.

It has “Beer Goggles” from “D’uh” which they mention as being a song they don’t like to play so if it’s a favorite, this could be your only chance to hear it. Other highlights include “Violins” from their 1995 album “Hoss” and fan favorite “Stokin’ the Neighbors” from the 1994 classic “Trashed”.

One of the strengths of live albums is that you get to hear all the between song banter and get a sense of the band’s personality and stage presence. Unfortunately a lot of the humor just doesn’t translate well to a CD. For example they have a song “Coconut” that would be fun live once, but really wasn’t necessary to be on the disc and disrupts the punk rock flow. The humor does work on “Back one out” which is a variation of their cover of “Mama said knock you out”. This is actually one of the best segments on the CD with some great dialogue between Joey Cape and Chris Flippin.

As with all “Live in a Dive” albums the CD booklet contains a mini comic book. It depicts the band as a bunch of serial killers and also features that scary chick from the cover of “Let’s talk about feelings”. There’s also some extra CD ROM features to check out. They have a live video for Mr Coffee (Which wasn’t included as a song on the CD… why?) and then after that a pretty entertaining interview with by Fat Mike.

They also have a couple of new songs. “The Chemist” which has the classic Lagwagon sound. It’s worth having on here and gives fans another justification to buy the CD. There’s also a 40 second song called “Mister Bap” that has to be an old punk cover or something. Before the song Joey sarcastically declares “This is the best song we’ve ever written” but it totally sounds like a cover. It sounds good though and is a good departure for the band.

If you like Lagwagon and you like Live albums, this is a well done package with only a few minor flaws.