There’s a reason why countless of media outlets have dubbed Brother O’ Brother the best live act in or around Indianapolis Indiana. A lot of that might have to do with the duo’s over the top on-stage theatrics, from swapping instruments, crawling and slithering around on and off the stage like nympho lizards, and sometimes hilarious banter. However, as important as the visuals are, the biggest component of the live show praise is clearly the fact, they’re just a good band! Their first live album Live At Radio Radio, does more than enough to solidify it.
Recorded at the legendary Radio Radio venue in Indianapolis’s historic Fountain Square district, the live album kicks things off with a pastor-esque opening by vocalist/guitarist Chris Banta, encouraging the audience (and listeners) to raise our hands as he feels the rock n roll spirit moving within him and venue. Soon Brother O Brother’s other half, Warner Swopes joins in with his John Bonham meets Keith Moon percussion, leading right into the duo’s latest hit ‘R.O.S.E’..
Throughout the rest of the set, the listener is treated to eight garage rock grooves that combine the arena rock poise of The MC5, distorted poetry of Jimi Hendrix, with the showmanship swagger of James Brown. As mentioned on my previous coverage of Brother O’ Brother’s releases, this is a band who understands being a successful two-piece means to rely on chemistry to fill out the empty spaces on the stage. They have a very simplistic approach to song writing and production but at times you’d swear there’s three guitars playing and multiple live drummers.
I wasn’t present during this particular show, but I had the opportunity to see Brother O’ Brother perform live before. Despite being on such a tiny stage, they completely owned the crowd and took over the entire venue with their charisma and showmanship.
This album is exclusively released on vinyl through Shed House Records, a label who is making a name for it’self by releasing music from today’s most promising indie acts, but also some of the best live albums I’ve ever listened to. Generally I’m not sold on live albums because I always feel the listener is losing out on a lot of the magic by not being there in person. I’m not sure what this label’s secret is, but they have somehow managed to capture the exact feeling of every single show they’ve released. It doesn’t feel like you are hearing an album, it legitimately feels like you are there! Feedback, body heat, sweat, and ringing ears, Brother O’ Brother Live At Radio Radio just may be one of the finest live recording ever pressed on vinyl!
To purchase Live At Radio Radio on extremely limited vinyl, please hit up Shed House Records
For more info on Brother O’ Brother, check out their Facebook page