REVIEW: Natural Child – “Freakin’ Weekend VI”

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In this day and age, how we listen to music is all over the place. We listen to ipods while jogging, Pandora while working in the yard, Apple Music while doing homework, YouTube before bed. Then there is the diminishing compact disc scene, with discs being used as coasters in dorm rooms, as well as the wax revival with the resurgence of vinyl in the hands of common music listeners that used to be exclusive to audiophiles. With all the different ways to listen to our favorite bands and checking into new artists, from dying formats to resurrected formats, one format is constant: Live music.

There is nothing that matches the feeling of experiencing live music. Whether it’s a band you’ve followed all of your life, or a band you’ve never heard of as an opening act, an intimate acoustic set in a coffee house, a gritty mosh pit, a smokey dive, outside festival, or an arena that seats thousands, live music is music in it’s wheelhouse. The sweat of artists under lights, the squeal of amplifiers feeding back, less than perfect vocal delivery, and that all too important, audience interaction between fan and artist. All of these things make up why we love music to begin with! Seeing a good band live is like seeing a miracle happen before your very eyes. For that little time you can escape the real world and focus on the art one on one. Even a terrible band can be enjoyed in the right setting! There is just something magical about seeing art displayed in live form, that is somewhat difficult to explain without witnessing it.

Capturing that live feeling normally yields mixed results. There have been incredible live albums issued over the years such as Peter Frampton Comes Alive! as well as KISS: Alive! and then there is some of the less than perfect releases like Van Halen’s 2015 live album Tokyo Dome Live In Concert. You have to understand that hearing a band live in person is a much different experience than hearing a live record. A lot of things have to come together to pull off a decent live recording, and not all of it has to do with technology or the recording process. I’ve heard multi-million dollar live records that sound horrible and lifeless, and I’ve heard extremely lo-fi  live albums that sound amazing. It all comes back to that un-explainable magic. One album that has  that x-factor, would be the new live release from Natural Child.

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Recorded live in Nashville’s legendary Exit/In club in March of 2015 during a yearly three day music festival, Freakin Weekend VI is a live album that hits all the right notes when it comes to crafting the perfect live record. From the first new notes at the top of the setlist, you are greeted with the sound of the light chatter of audience interrupted by a distorted guitar riff that doesn’t let up until the album is over.

Being somewhat of legends themselves, Natural Child is a trio of rough-around-the-edges rock n rollers that couldnt care less about trends and gimmicks that most blues based rock outfits are obsessed with. They are equal parts Stooges, Rolling Stones, and Kris Kirstofferson (if that makes sense) and even though they have only been functioning as a band for the last 5 or 6 years, they perform as if they have been on the road since 1970. Their masterful know-how shines through from each song to the next within this live album. Listening to any of their releases and you will see what this band is all about, but hearing them live proves that the format is their proverbial comfort zone.

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Going back to resurrecting formats, Freakin’ Weekend VI is being issued on cassette tape only, and exclusively through Shed House Records (a label that focuses on capturing live music) and limited to only 300 copies. I’m not exactly sure how this concert was recorded but I guess not knowing adds to the mystery and lore of capturing live music in such a way that it sounds as interesting as a studio cut record, yet showcases all the sweat, hearing damage and excitement of attending a concert from a larger than life garage band. Every note is crystal clear, every riff is crunchy, and every beat is deafening all how a good rock n roll should be. Hearing the audience hear and there feels natural, and never pretentious like some wide released live albums, who clearly add pre-recorded audience banter to heighten the sound of live excitement. Freakin’ Weekend VI is a complete gimmick free zone. Just straight up rock n roll, played with confidence and hunger in a setting that feels just as alive as the sound. Truly a special case within live releases, pick this album up, you will not be disappointed!

Check out Natural Child  on their Official Website as well as Facebook

Purchase Freakin’ Weekend VI on cassette, exclusively through Shed House Records

 

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Aaron The Audiophile

Son, brother, uncle, musician. I enjoy music of all genres, shapes and sizes, preferably the good kind.

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