Project 86 is a band made for live shows. The energy and fists-in-the-air passion of their music begs to be enjoyed live and in person. Fortunately, for those of us who have never seen a Project live show, we can now enjoy the band's new live album, 15. Live.
Made in honor of the band's 15-year-anniversary, 15 is one continuous live show covering most of the band's musical high points. The tracks performed are picked fairly evenly from the various albums, with the exception of there being no tracks from their self-titled debut. There is also only one selection from ...And The Rest Will Follow, the appropriate opener "Sincerely, Ichabod." Songs To Burn Your Bridges By is the most represented album, with "Safe Haven," "Oblivion," and the must-include "Spy Hunter." Listeners will also be delighted to hear Drawing Black Lines classics "Me Against Me" and "Stein's Theme."
It's always disappointing to discover that an otherwise great band can't perform well live, and fortunately Project 86 does not have that problem. Andrew Schwab's vocals are naturally somewhat harsher than what you would hear on their studio albums, but in general he does an excellent job. Similarly, the instrumentation and arrangements on each track follow pretty closely to the studio versions. Unfortunately, it seems that the crowd they recorded for was pretty small, and not very loud. Schwab does an admirable job trying to pump up the crowd, but if there was any significant response, it wasn't picked up in the recording. It's a small thing, but it does detract some from the overall energy that one expects from a live album.
This is a solid, enjoyable live album. It doesn't add anything extra to the music, but it does showcase the band's ability to perform live shows at the top of their game and provides a nice summary of Project 86 history up to this point. If anything, this is a great motivation to get out to a Project show and hopefully add to the crowd noise!
- Review date: 12/21/10, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com