Local Record Review: 'Live from the Lab' by Roosterhead

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Live From the Lab

The Lab in this case being the studio setup that Huntington Beach's favorite Midwest transplants recorded this at–but they really should do a show at the Lab in Costa Mesa one day, it'd be a blast. In any event, Roosterhead recorded this free half-hour effort in front of a crowd of fans as a live-in-studio effort in the vein of The Beach Boys Party!, and if they had thrown in a cover of “Barbara Ann” it would have only been appropriate. (Though drummer Luke Johnson's brief story about how a previous live album attempt inadvertantly ended up like the end of the Beatles' “I Want You (She's So Heavy)” adds another angle.)
With only two songs reappearing from previous releases — their most recent single “Yo (What's Up)” and their debut EP's “Cosmic Shipwreck” — Live from the Lab is a handy way for the duo to showcase what could be coming next from them formally while otherwise just kicking up some noise for the heck of it. The partway-to-80s-hip-hop moves of “Yo (What's Up)” turn out to be a bit of signpost, given the beats and back-and-forths on “Vertigo Williams” and other songs, but it's not the only thing at work — not when “Cosmic Shipwreck” gets a full on extended jam workout of an ending.

The giddy freneticism that was evident from the start, whether in the stage show or the studio recordings, is far from absent as, with “Graffiti Finger” kicking along at a quick, enjoyably ridiculous clip while still including space for a couple of slower jams along the way, while “The Funambulist” tells the story of a tightrope walker meeting the ground in the wrong way — admittedly, is there a right one? About the only thing to criticize is the sometimes curious mix but then again, isn't that the point of most live recordings? Better that than endless overdubs.

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