HOT WATER MUSIC: Live in Chicago: CD

Culled from their two sold-out Chicago performances during their second reformation, this package contains two CDs and one DVD that demonstrate the band hadn’t lost any power during the preceding hiatus, break, or whatever you want to call it. The material contained is pretty career spanning, though perhaps favoring the output from their later years a little too much for my taste. Longtime fans will certainly find much to like here, though the band sounds a little ragged and loose in comparison to the superior Live at the Hardback disc from 1999. Everything that made HWM so great in the first place—the dual guitars tautly snaking around each other, heartfelt songcraft, and passionate delivery—are all in evidence here and really serves to remind me what an awesome band they were. It was easy to forget what amazing musicians bassist Jason Black and drummer George Rebelo are, but these discs reminded me very quickly. So, while I would be hesitant to call this set essential, it serves as a nice snapshot of the band up to that period. In that context, there is plenty to like on this release.

 –Garrett Barnwell (No Idea)