If you swan dive into the rabbit hole of notable live albums, you’re bound to find some solid arguments of great performances justifying an artist or band’s stage presence. Inevitably, there’s some guy in the crowd drunk-screaming between each set so he can hear himself on the live recording. Shout out to the random guy from the Incubus Red Rocks show in 2007 – which was not recorded.
Alabama-based Model Citizen has released Live at Dial Back Sound, a ten-track record ripe with pulse-pounding, in-your-face rock and zero obnoxious drunk fans…that we can hear. Perhaps it’s not a live album in the sense of playing some legendary tourist trap or dank venue, but I’ll be damned if this record doesn’t exist in all the full-throttle live energy you could ask for.
The mix of ten electrifying tracks, presenting themselves in an unrelenting wall of sound, bring the heavy fuzzed guitar and relentless beats fans of Model Citizen have come to know, if not expect, over the years. Reaching back into the Drive by Truckers days, Matt Patton recruited fellow Trucker Jay Gonzales to bring keys to Model Citizen and made a decision that will forever change the landscape of the band. Frankly, they can never release another album without them.
This live recording isn’t a rehash of what Model Citizen knows how to do (and does it damn well). This is a demonstration of immensely skilled musicians who refuse to be complacent and aren’t afraid to bend their art as they see fit. For example, laying down a three-track run of the fierce “Protégé,” slicing immediately into the personal favorite “Little Dummy” (now with keys!), then launching into Save it for the Campfire opener “Empty Room,” Model Citizen reimagines how they could bolster their already tenacious sounds and we’re reaping all the benefits. Harnessing their punk prowess, adding the organ flair, Model Citizen’s Live at Dial Back Sound is a non-stop ride you don’t want to get off of.
As far as Indie albums go, Model Citizen’s Live at Dial Back Sound is a must-have for serious collectors. If you disagree, that’s fine, we just can’t be friends. Go grab it, don’t stream it. To quote the maniacal Vic Deakins from the 1996 cinematic John Woo thriller Broken Arrow, “I say God Damn, what a rush!”