LIVE, WILD & FREE
Released on December 16, 2016 (Rusted)
As I was interviewing Rusted guitarist ManiaK last month and listening to his answers to my questions, I couldn’t help but be a little embarrassed about silently agreeing with him. I had only had the opportunity to experience Rusted once in a live setting but those memories from that concert in the summer of 2014 still persist that I witnessed an absolutely amazing show from two of the best younger bands out there (Rusted and Hessler). Rusted exuded so much energy and their songs really came to life for me during that fateful night. As I was interviewing ManiaK, he mentioned that Rusted had noticed that their live energy was missing from their prior studio releases. I couldn’t agree more. ManiaK‘ went on to say that many Rusted fans would tell the band members that they loved Rusted live but never really listened to the group otherwise. I didn’t verbalize my agreement in that regard to ManiaK but yes, I was guilty of that myself. My memories of seeing Rusted live were still strong in my mind but I really didn’t listen to their studio albums Hit By and Rock Patrol that often (even though I do enjoy them). Why is that I wondered? The answer lies when I listened to Rusted‘s new live album Live Wild & Free.
Before I get into Live Wild & Free, the ultimate example in my mind of a band sounding completely different in a studio setting compared to a live one had always been early KISS. Both Alive! and Alive II are two of my favorite live albums hands down but listening to KISS‘ first six studio albums and especially the first three — KISS, Hotter Than Hell and Dressed To Kill — feels like listening to outdated slowed down, sometimes even boring, versions of what can be found on the shock rockers’ first two live records. The difference between the songs on Rusted‘s studio albums and new live record are definitely not as stark as the ones between KISS‘ first six studio albums and first two live records but there are definitely some similarities in that Rusted‘s infamous high “energy” finally comes through on Live Wild & Free.
What has surprised me the most while listening to Rusted‘s live album is that the band truly possesses a lot of great songs and way more than their likely two most well known songs “Rock Patrol” and “Young Wild & Free.” Live Wild & Free boasts 14 live tracks plus one brand new studio track — the aptly named “Hittin’ The Road” — and frankly all of the songs stand up quite nicely. In other words, there are no songs that I think about skipping when listening to Live Wild & Free, which if you’ve read some of my past reviews is no easy feat. Just like when I saw Rusted live in the summer of 2014, lead singer Tony Rust warns the Montreal crowd after the first song on Live Wild & Free that they are going to get their asses kicked! When I had interviewed ManiaK last month, he also spoke about how Rusted live was a little dirty and not perfect, and I couldn’t agree more. Rusted‘s songs sound so much faster, heavier and simply better live and the glam rockers have now captured their magic on an album. Rust will not be mistaken as the next Rob Halford on Live Wild & Free but his singing has a lot of passion and enthusiasm to it which I really like.
There are many little things on Live Wild & Free that I think make the album very special. You can feel that crowd interaction with the band during the live album. In addition, the background vocals are really good throughout the entire album. Given that Live Wild & Free was recorded in Montreal, which is in the mostly French speaking province of Quebec in Canada, Rust addresses the crowd in both English and French. Funny enough, Rust mostly addresses the crowd in English for the first half of the live album but eventually appears to switch mainly to French as the evening wears on. It turns out to be a good move as the Montreal crowd seems more responsive to his French banter. Given that I speak French, I understand all that Rust has to say but I wonder how a non-French speaking individual might appreciate the frontman’s French addresses to the crowd. I think that I would have some difficulties in fully appreciating a live album if I did not understand the band’s comments to the crowd.
Rusted offer one new bonus studio track called “Hittin’ The Road” at the end of Live Wild & Free. While I definitely enjoy the song, which is a bit heavier than the usual Rusted fare, I find it would have been actually better not to include the track as it is a bit anti-climatic after the rousing live finale of “Young Wild & Free.” I think I have always felt that way about the inclusion of studio tracks at the end of a live record because even though I find that there are some really good studio tracks such as “Rocket Ride” and “Larger Than Life” at the end of KISS‘ Alive II album, I have always found it a bit of downer to listen to those tracks after such a splendid live album.
It’s been more than two years since Rusted first launched their fund raising campaign for a live album so it definitely took longer than expected for Live Wild & Free to come out. That being said, good things are worth waiting for and Rusted‘s Live Wild & Free is a splendid live record that was totally worth the wait! All I know is that since obtaining a hard copy of Rusted‘s Live Wild & Free album last week, it has been getting played in my CD player pretty much all day while I’m working. When I had interviewed ManiaK last month, he indicated that Rusted wanted to have a live album like the great bands from the ’80s. I think that Rusted have come up with a live record in Live Wild & Free that stands up very well to all those great live albums from the ’80s.
01. Partners In Crime
02. Just A Dream
03. Two At A Time
05. Rock Patrol
06. Last Stand
07. Scream In The Night
10. So Far So Strong
11. Wanted Man Boogie
12. Midnight Man
13. Summer Day
14. Young Wild & Free
15. Hittin’ The Road
Tony Rust – lead vocals
ManiaK – rhythm and lead guitar
Tommy D. Eagle – lead guitar
D. Izzy – drums
Mark Shark – bass
Recorded by Marc-André Boily (1 to 14)
Mixed by Marc-André Boily and Tom Daigle (1 to 14)
Mastered by Jonathan Lefrançois-Leduc (1 to 14)
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jonathan Lefrançois-Leduc (15)
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, January 2017
Rusted‘s “Rock Patrol” (live) video:
Filmed on Tour (Canada, USA, Europe) RUSTED – Rock Patrol (Live) – 2016 Lyrics and music by RUSTED Recorded and mixed by Marc-André Boily Café Campus, Montréal, QC Footage courtesy of Cerise Pouillart, Arturo Sanchez Corona, Maxime P.Hébert, TVC9. Video edited by Alexi B.C.
Rusted‘s “Hittin’ The Road” video:
Directed by Jérémie Monderie Larouche and Productions Balbuzard Filmed in Rouyn-Noranda, QC, Canada Huge thanks to Michael Dupuis-Souligny for the RV.