Loaded In Lawrence - "live
from the bottleneck"
From 1993 to 1995, Loaded In Lawrence
was an annual event, as was the release of the album recorded at the
shows. The idea behind the whole production was to showcase the best in
Pipeline Productions has revived that tradition, and has partially
succeeded. They've got the show and the disc. As far as showcasing the
best in local music, they've got a ways to go.
I understand that bands like the Get Up Kids, the Anniversary, Ultimate
Fakebook, and the Appleseed Cast -- the heavy hitters -- were all out
of town during the dates of the performances.
However, the other bands that were left out are somewhat surprising. No
Creature Comforts or mi6? Two of Lawrence's more "name" acts being left
out is rather surprising, given the inclusion of two bands from Kansas
City, Full Feature and Last of the V8s, one from Manhattan, Ruskabank,
and two that rarely play the area at all, Fifth Ticket Fraud and the
Jesse Jackson 5. The exclusion of any hip-hop, such as Mac Lethal,
Approach or Archetype is also confusing, given the way that genre has
blown up in the past year.
The recording quality of Loaded In
Lawrence is surprising. There's a low-key hum that runs
throughout the entire disc and is quite noticeable on some of the
quieter portions of the disc, such as the start of Brent Berry &
the Roots Crew's "Back to England." The whole thing sounds remarkably
underproduced, with some vocals being incredibly difficult to hear,
especially on the louder tracks, like Truth Cell's "Evolution" and Last
of the V8s' "Drunk Again."
The number of bands to record each night might have lead to some of the
problems, but the MidWest Regional Aggressive Music Fest had nearly
twice as many bands on its second day. You can go to lifefrombeyond.com
and hear streaming sets of the bands that played, and each and every
one of them sounds superior to this recording, even sans mastering. The
only exception to this is the Jesse Jackson 5's track, "Solar System,"
which sounds as if was taken from another set of recordings entirely.
Loaded In Lawrence 2002 is a
decent basic introduction to the Lawrence music scene, but the chances
of it being afforded the same sort of reverence and recognition given
its predecessors is fairly slim. Perhaps a second go-'round in 2003
would result in a better product.