The Bright Light Social Hour
New Year’s Live
By Al Kaufman
Austin, Texas has more than earned its reputation as The Live Music Capital of the World. So when a band takes an unprecedented six trophies from last year’s Austin Music Awards, they must be onto something.
The fact is, Bright Light Social Hour aren’t on to anything new as much as they thrive on everything old. They produce high energy, jam-style, bluesy, classic rock with a hippie mentality. Their self-titled 2010 release went a long way in capturing their attitude, but it takes a live release like the EP New Year’s Live to truly flaunt their manic live energy.
New Year’s Live opens with two cuts off their 2010 release, “Shanty” and “Detroit.” The first features a Curtis Roush guitar solo that would make a 1970s Peter Frampton proud, while “Detroit” features A.J. Vincent’s swirling organ.
The last two cuts are covers of Mose Allison’s “Young Man Blues” and Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy.” Again, both songs are played with raw passion and power. Their version of “Young Man Blues” holds its own (but is still inferior) to The Who’s, and they add some crude lyrics and the obligatory Joseph Mirasole drum solo to their ten-minute version of Muddy’s classic blues tune.
Recorded at the Parish in Austin, the band wisely leaves in all the crowd noises, which only enhances the sound. Both Roush and bassist Jack O’Brien reach deep down into their souls to release their guttural vocals. The sweat pours out of the speakers. It’s just a damn shame they didn’t release the whole concert. Four songs is nothing more than a tease.