Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 7/10
For every live recording produced, there is always the anguish of the sound inside the mind that is a cross between a squeal of satisfaction and the anguish of possible discontent; it really does depend on the ability of the band or the capturing of the moment to see which emotion comes out on top, which one carries the hopes of contentment to make plans to see the particular band live or to just exist on in the realms of the studio album releases.
For Kansas City’s Braggers the Bragger’s Live album is one that honestly falls somewhere in the narrow gap that lives between the two states, the listener undoubtedly enjoying the deep sense of raw passion employed as the seven tracks play out with urgency, the persistence of firmness and the heat of battle joined but also one that feels as if there was something more to give, a sense of pressure that Time installs, the fierceness and the roar of the waterfall is all well and good but it needs to be unequivocal and unmistakable from a distance as well as up close and holding onto the barriers as photographs are taken.
Esteban Leon, Brad Miquelon, Brit Schlesser and Jon Cagle make sure the roar is heard, that the flatlands of Kansas is geared up for the approaching whirling, possibly devastating, tornado and from there it is in the hands of the listener to make of the album what they will. It is no Johnny Cash as he takes on the establishment inside Folsom Prison but then again it is not languishing in the realms of the vast majority of live albums which only seem to be served as a potential money spinner for a band and in which to keep the conscious of public from wandering away from the investment shown.
In Be My Friend, Brighter Day and Too Much Fun Braggers Live exploits brilliantly the sound that the fan is accustomed too, tenacious, the teeth biting down on hard steel and leaving a dent of anger in its core. The punk ethic is alive and well in Braggers Live, the Kansas air, the serenity of being able to see miles ahead is tempered by the punk of tornados, come in, be loud, be natural, be merciless in taking musical prisoners and above all, be above what people would expect; such is the live album when it does capture the moment.
Ian D. Hall