When a live album is done correctly, it can be one of the most powerful tools in a band’s arsenal; capture a high-octane show just right and it can actually save a band’s career as KISS found out (and they’ve not done too badly, have they?). By and large though, especially in the case of Swedish blues rock outfit BLUES PILLS, there are two overriding factors to the delivery of a good live album.
First, it sorts out the wheat from the chaff; it’s all well and good having a studio record or two of strong material, but if it can’t be brought to life on stage, your career won’t go very far. Secondly, fans who have umm’d and aah’d about buying tickets for a band can actually be swayed to attend a gig if they get sucked into a live recording, which brings us nicely to Lady In Gold Live In Paris. Recorded just over a year ago in front of 1,200 people at Le Trianon in the French capital, it’s BLUES PILLS‘ first live album and is out today via Nuclear Blast, which also comes as a DVD/Blu Ray.
As a live act, BLUES PILLS are no slouches at all; their shows have garnered praised from all corners, they were the toast of Hard Rock Hell VIII back in 2014 and played the Zippo Encore Stage at Download Festival the year after. A beautiful mix of vintage, 1970’s hard rock and psychedelia with a 21st-century freshness, Lady In Gold Live In Paris is exceptional at encapsulating them in their strongest capacity because it’s no nonsense. There aren’t any frills to BLUES PILLS in the flesh, just four individuals who do what they love and love what they do and that pure essence is caught so beautifully here that it’s impossible to not be swept up in it all. The rhythm that swirls around songs like Little Boy Preacher and Ain’t No Change is wonderful and it’s no secret that Elin Larsson is one of the best vocalists in the world right now; she’s on the form of her life and I Felt a Change, which is just her and a piano, is simply spellbinding.
Their cover of Elements and Things, originally by TONY JOE WHITE is an absolute rip-snorter in the very middle of the entire 75 minute set whilst Black Smoke and High Class Woman also provide individual highlights. The production deserves a massive mention too; at times you’re firmly in 2016 when this was recorded, but there are others where it’s all too easy to slip back forty years and it still makes sense. In addition, there is a wonderful rawness that stops the whole show from sounding too slick and fine tunes and – very importantly – there’s barely any white noise between numbers so the set flows near perfectly and avoids any moments where the listener could easily be brought back to reality.
BLUES PILLS are performing across the UK this month and if you can, make one of their shows, because you’ll end up exactly like the 1,200 Parisians present at this show; completely immersed, totally engaged and enthralled to the ninth degree.
Lady In Gold – Live In Paris is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.
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