Shark attack 

Nato Coles nails the live album sound on Grumpy's

Live albums often just feel like you're getting served up lesser versions of the studio songs you already know and love. There are great live albums out there, of course. Motorhead's No Sleep Til Hammersmith rules because those versions of the songs are so ramped up and fluid. The Stooges' 1974 show in Detroit where they butted heads with a motorcycle gang is forever documented on the B-side of Metallic K.O., and that's great for history/music nerd reasons. But when it comes to your average, everyday live recording, a lot of bands just don't know how to take advantage of the format.

click to enlarge noise_natocoles.jpg

Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band are an example of musicians who know exactly how to do it right. Live at Grumpy's is a collection of several nights recorded at the beloved Minneapolis watering hole. Coles engages the audience just enough, giving brief but ecstatic introductions to songs. On "I'm a Shark" he yells dramatically, "What's this song called? I can't remember! Oh, wait a minute. It's coming to me. It's called ..." And then he bursts into it. There are no embarrassing ramblings (Axl Rose, Mike Ness, take note) and just enough shout-outs to the venue and the crowd to energize the album.

Just as importantly, the songs Coles chose showcase an unusual setlist: some fan favorites, but also songs like "Coffee Cup," from his previous band Radio Faces. Coles has a big, anthemic presence, like a combination of Bruce Springsteen and Cock Sparrer's Colin McFaull. He's salty and charismatic, and Live at Grumpy's is as good as it gets without being actually live.

Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band play the VFW Wed., Sept. 7, at 9 PM, along with Buddy Jackson. $3.

  • Email
  • Favorite
  • Print

Tags: ,

Readers also liked…

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Good Vibes Tour Summer 2017: Rebelution, Nahko and the Medicine People + more

Good Vibes Tour Summer 2017: Rebelution, Nahko and the Medicine People + more @ Big Sky Brewery Amphitheater

Fri., June 23, 6:15 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

© 2017 Missoula News/Independent Publishing | Powered by Foundation