HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Rory Gallagher - Live At Montreux

Rory was an Irish guitar legend who wore lumberjack shirts before Tad and rocked us hard early through his band Taste and about a third of most of his solo albums in the '70s. Later, like Gary Moore and Pat Travers and Rick Derringer, he went bluesy, and then he died of the drink in 1995, emphatically unlike those other cats. Hard to believe, but Gallagher had played Montreux five times, with this 12-tracker gathering highlights (or maybe just lights) from his stops in '75, '77, '79 and '85. The sound quality is quite duff, or maybe even naff (get '80s Stage Struck for the definitive live set), at least until the strapping '79 samplings, from which Mississippi Sheiks is a blues metal classic. Best is saved for last, with blasting boogie rocker Shin Kicker and poignant Hendrix-like riffster Philby showcasing the man's strong sense of hard rock melody as well as his under-rated vocal prowess. Noted scribe Chris Welch and Purple engineer Claude Nobs add liners, while a bunch of live photos fill out the set, one that could have done without the acoustic side trip.
Rating 6.5

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Grand Opening And Closing
(The End)

Upon hearing this wonderful mess of eccentric tangles, I immediately thought of suffering heroes The Ex and Stump, but to put it more in the world of reality, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum are closer to nightmarish Zappa with metal wiles, Primus crossed with Tool and banging-things Tom Waits, Fugs covered by Gang Of Four, the aura and collective gangdom of Slipknot, but few of their sounds, applied to the gaping maw that was King Crimson up until Red. Like Hammers Of Misfortune and labelmates Giant Squid, there's this spooky girl singing thing going on as well (let's keep it special guys - not a trend), but the collagist art rock careening about her head, chest, neck and shoulders is... well, this should be a stereo test record in a fancy hi-fi shop, because the frequencies this collective address through all manner of oddness... there's like 25 you've never heard. Like its frustrating anti-cover front cover, Grand Opening And Closing lacks use a lot of the time (picture Idols practicing voice exercises in an iron works while Peart sweeps his chimes), but something like 1997 is a corker of a swinging hard rocking Clutch thing - man, more of these get-to-it songs, combined with this band's immense grasp of coming up with cool percussive arrangements and village-grown noises, and they could be... more useful. As it is though, they are super smart and classy and all that, but there's too much of what could only be classed as tinkling. Note: apparently they change your whole mind forever live, so the upcoming DVD - that freaky thing I wanna see.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 3