What band impresses on stage (but not on record)? | EW.com


What band impresses on stage (but not on record)?

What band impresses on stage (but not on record)? Check out today's Ask the Critic question and post your own

Brian Jonestown Massacre

(Anton Newcombe: Tristan Fewings / Camera Press / Retna)

What band impresses on stage (but not on record)?

Who’s the best artist to see live who never released a decent album? —Lucas Rolland

Great — and difficult to answer — question. My first thought was to go with Barry Manilow: Not long ago, I realized it was time I finally saw the rooster-haired schmaltz icon in concert. And even though I couldn’t imagine myself ever plowing through one of his albums, he delivered a show far more entertaining and emotional than I had any right to expect. (And no, I’m not being ironic.). But in terms of a more recent — and more highly touted — act, I’d have to go with indie-rock legends the Brian Jonestown Massacre. I find their records to be largely tedious — each crammed with what sound like half-finished songs built around chord changes lifted from various, hard-to-place ’60s rock psychedelia. But onstage, especially at Austin’s South By Southwest conference a year or two back, their wall-of-acid-rock-sound assault, combined with leader and supposed genius Anton Newcombe’s stern, dictatorial stage presence, was hard to deny. If Manilow seem like the last of a dying breed in his way, so did the BJM — they captured the rise (and fall) of the guitar-rock era, and, for an hour or so at least, they made it live again.

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