I’m not usually a fan of live albums because the energy and overall excitement you get out of seeing a band in the flesh is very rarely conveyed well on a shiny disc. ‘Live At The Metro’ doesn’t actually buck this trend, but at least it has a good stab at trying to give fans a real memento of an Ataris gig. I was a little sceptical about how this would sound after their poor performances on the recent UK tour, but thankfully the songs on offer here are of a high standard. I wouldn’t say it was great, but it’s certainly ok.
The CD was recorded last October at the Chicago Metro and features an entire live set (including 3 covers) as well as a stack of acoustic songs. It’s typical stuff from any Ataris show, the ‘Hey Chicago’s’ aside – which means there’s a little bit of banter and Kris’ energetic vocals. Oh, and the annoying ‘1,2 fuck yous’ Kris insists on singing. The tracklisting is reasonably varied, featuring oldies such as the excellent ‘Between You and Me’ and ‘Your Boyfriend Sucks’, to newer efforts like ‘Unopened Letter To The World’ and ‘So Long Astoria‘. But for me there are obvious songs missing, and in ‘San Dimas..’, glaringly obvious. I guess that is the trappings of having so many songs to play from – you cannot satisfy everybody.
The acoustic songs are probably the best addition to this disc, with charming renditions of ‘1*15*96’ and ‘Fast Times At Dropout High’, all interspersed with stories and tales from Kris. He tells the tale of how he learnt he has a brother he has never met, and playing the Reading and Leeds festivals, as if he was a folk singer in a coffee house. It’s quaint and honest and ends in a solid version of fan-favourite ‘San Dimas.’
There’s nothing outstanding on offer here, but it’s certainly a disc that will entertain the fans and Ataris purists. If you were disappointed by their recent live offerings, this will simply pick you up. Plus there’s nothing better than winding down the car windows and screaming ‘you’re better off without him’ at the top of your voice, is there?