Gongzilla - Live

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Lo Lo Records
Catalog Number: LOLO016-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:33:00

Having released two studio albums, Suffer and Thrive, Gongzilla decided next to release Live and the world is a better place for it. Featuring a line up that includes Hansford Rowe on bass, Bon Lozaga on guitar, Benoit Moerlen on vibes and xylo, David Fiuczynski on guitar and Vic Stevens on drums and percussion, the band take us through 7 tracks, all but two from their debut, Suffer. "Mr. Sinister Minister" begins the outing, the slinkyness of the studio track is here, with a slighty more funky aspect to Rowe's bass. But it also sounds more raw, more...well, sinister, with its searing guitar leads.

This is a very solid live outing, the balance and separation of the recording are spectacular and very dynamic. Moerlen is very much in the mix providing the "light" end against Rowe's "dark" end. Fiuczynski's guitar playing adds a different punch than Allan Holdsworth's does on the studio versions of the Suffer tracks, but as there, these are very good tracks. As with their studio counterparts, the arrangements are tight, but not lacking for room. It is for this reason that the CD seems so very short -- it's over and you want more. Recorded at the Festival Du Beat Molson Dry in Québec City, Canada in 1998, the band were no doubt limited by the time alloted their set.

The two tracks that are (I believe) from their second album Thrive are "Image" and "Soli." With "Image," Stevens provides a struting backbeat while over which we hear darting and streaming guitar effects, throbbing bass, and tinkling vibes. The image shown us here is cool and sexy -- a Hollywood kind of cool, cruising along Santa Monica Blvd at dusk (or sunset) in a convertible Mercedes -- the groove here is one part Bowie's "Fame," one part Palmer's "Addicted To Love" (the latter just in that steady, head-bobbing kinda groove way). I love Fiuczynski's staccato guitar lines here, fuzzy and distorted they ooze a rough sex appeal. It's a short 10 minutes and you know they could go on forever, but instead kick it into the stepped up gear of "Gongzilla." Amonster studio track, a bigger monster live.

"Soli" is another muscular track, with a quick groove and some stunning guitar work from both guitarists, making it seem like there are 4 guitarists -- I'd say that each has an extra set of hands, but the pictures that grace the booklet indicate otherwise (though with airbrushing....) Like "Image," this track was composed by bassist Rowe, who also penned "Gongzilla's Dilemma." (Lozaga is credited with "Sinister..." "Hip-Hopnosis" and "Gongzilla," with Moerlen composing "Bad Habits."

Terrific live set and one that can bear and demands repeated plays. You need to seek this one out without hesitation.

Mr. Sinister Minister (8:05) / Bad Habits (5:34) / Gongzilla's Dilemma (3:46) / Hip-Hopnosis (3:49 / Image (10:03) / Gongzilla (4:39) / Soli (7:37)

Hansford Rowe - bass, Just Intonation bass
Bon Lozaga - guitar, e-bow
Benoit Moerlen - vibes, marimba, mallet kat
David Fiuczynski - guitar
Vic Stevens - drums
Samuel Rowe - vocalizing
Ben Perowsky - drums (S: 5

Suffer (1995)
Thrive (1996)
Live (2001)
East Village Sessions (2003)
Five Even (2008)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin VA

Added: February 23rd 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.lolorecords.com
Hits: 898
Language: english


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