V/A - Live at the Blue Room

The Blue Room Theatre is located in Chico, California, and in addition to
housing productions of various plays, the Blue Room offers touring bands
the opportunity to play.

Judging from this disc's track listing, though, few bands of note take this opportunity. The biggest names on here are Braid, Dismemberment Plan, and Burning Airlines, each with two tracks. Unfortunately, there is no recording information, so who knows if the two songs come from the same show, or what tour they were from, etc.
The recordings on this disc are pretty good, although I noticed a bit of feedback in one of the Dismemberment Plan's songs. It seems like a rather odd choice to put a feedback-ridden version of one of the Plan's finer songs (The City) on this disc, but I didn't choose the songs.
While I applaud the inclusion of audience interaction (aka clapping) on this disc, I must say that the crowd sizes sound a bit weak. I am almost embarassed to hear what sounds like barely two dozen people clapping to Burning Airlines.
Enough about the big bands -- Live at the Blue Room offers selections from a dozen lesser-known artists. The biggest stand outs from these artists are Richard Buckner and Edith Frost. The former's song, although not musically intense, provides an intense experience. I had previously heard many good things about Buckner, and this live track offers further encouragement. Frost's track stood out as being one of the few female artists on here, and it is a good slow song.
There seem to be quite a few local bands on this comp, which is good for their exposure, but I'd rather hear some good bands than these unknowns. I don't recall the tracks by the Imps, Stinking Lizaveta, Tsar, Gardener, Ant Farm or Fun World on Fire to be terribly interesting. Then again, my memory is falling apart, so I could be wrong on these.
Overall, this comp is worth it for a half dozen of it's nearly two dozen tracks. The Blue Room folks would due well to keep in mind that if there is a Live Volume 2, it might be better to put more diversity on it (do we really need two tracks each from three of these bands -- especially when one of these bands just released a full-length live album?), and get some better recordings.
...john heisel...

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