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Mad Season: Live At The Moore (Vinyl)

Mad Season

Legacy 2015

Reviewed by David Bowling

 

Mad Season was a grunge super group who issued one studio album, 1995’s Above, during their short existence. The band consisted of vocalist Layne Staley (Alice In Chains), guitarist Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees), and bassist John Baker Saunders (Lamont Cranston Band).

In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of their final live performance of April 26, 1995, the full concert has been released as a two-disc record album, which is its vinyl debut. The concert included all ten tracks from their debut album plus a cover of John Lennon’s “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier.”

The concert provides a setting for Mad Season’s music to be presented on a more basic level than the studio versions. The layering is replaced by energy and power. Staley was one of the better rock singers of his generation and his work here has a haunting quality.

“River Of Deceit” is what can be called spiritual grunge. “I Don’t Know Anything” is a droning master piece. “Long Gone Day” was their most experimental song with elements of jazz, blues, and rock coming together in a weird but effective mix.

As with many modern day vinyl releases, Live At The Moore has a crystal clear sound. State of the art turn tables make the listening experience more than equal to CD’s and digital transfers. In many ways this is a format made for grunge.

The members of Mad Season quickly returned to their respective bands and this side project faded away. The untimely deaths of Saunders (1999) and Staley (2002) make this concert poignant and propel the band into the “what if” category. Left behind is a small but critically acclaimed and commercially successful catalogue of music. Mad Season: Live At The Moore, is a glimpse into a band that shone brightly for a short spell. A must release for any fan of the grunge movement.

 

Rating: ****

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