Direct from Fat Wreck Chords’ Live in a Dive series comes a release from a band that everyone had to know was coming, eventually – Lagwagon (a band that’s seemingly been on Fat Wreck since 1765 or something).
There’s really not much to say about this particular Live in a Dive release, though. By this point, it’s pretty well set that one either enjoys Lagwagon/Fat Wreck releases or doesn’t. This disc isn’t going to change any minds or knock down any existing mental blocks associated with listening to this band. Lagwagon fans will color themselves impressed, however.
The sound quality of the recording is completely top notch (Joey Cape’s voice is in fine form throughout, actually sounding a bit stronger/more capable than on the band’s studio releases), the stage banter between band members is hilarious, and the actual concert showcased on this disc is tight and energetic. “Making Friends” comes off very subdued partway through the set, thought it makes for nice moments when the song breaks down a bit and the crowd is audibly singing along in the background (a cool bit that actually happens earlier in the disc as well, during Cape’s acoustic intro to the set opener “Alien 8”).
The inclusion of “Beer Goggles” sets the crowd off the most (especially after Cape’s introduction for the song that states, “We never play this song anymore because we think it’s really stupid … but we’re playing it because people always wanna hear it”); still, the most absurdly entertaining moment of the set comes when the band members switch instruments and guitarist Chris Flippin leads a childishly amusing metal-cum-rap “Mama Said Knock You Out” knock-off about using the restroom called “Back One Out.”
As an added bonus, six-and-a-half minutes of CD-ROM footage adds complete live footage of “Mr. Coffee” (not included on the setlist, and complete with Cape doing calisthenics during the musical break), as well as a faux-interview of Lagwagon as conducted by Fat Mike of NOFX.
This isn’t the best place in the world to start listening to Lagwagon (Double Plaidnum or Trashed would be best), but it’s certainly an interesting release for longtime fans of the band. As far as live albums go, Lagwagon’s Live in a Dive release is fun, tight, and loud – and it sounds great, as well. What more could a music fan ask for?