Live! In California
I've never been to The Satellite club in Los Angeles, so my knowledge of the building's architectural construction is somewhat limited.
But being somewhat familiar with the basic theory of physics, I'd say that The Satellite must be constructed of Titanium walls and the roof is probably fortified with Kevlar, while three-foot thick concrete reinforces the perimeter of the night club.
That's the only conceivable reason that The Satellite could have withstood the sonic pounding it took on the back-to-back evenings of Dec. 10 and 11, 2015.
Arguably, not since Cream nearly leveled venerable Royal Albert Hall at their farewell concert some 48 years ago, has a music venue been subjected to the level of punishment that Radio Moscow dished out at The Satellite late last year.
Luckily for those of us that were not there in person, the audio blitzkrieg of those nights was captured on tape and is now available on Radio Moscow's latest album, the aptly-named Live! In California (Alive Naturalsound Records).
Through the course of five studio albums, the power trio that originally called the heartland of Iowa home, has been one of the leading providers of brain-damaging, high-octane, fuzzed-out, freak-flag-flying, guitar-driven rock, with a sound that tips its hat to the glorious 1970s.
I certainly don't mean to dismiss their studio output, because those albums are all worthy of (and have received, by this writer) multiple spins, but the only true way to experience the exceptional power of Radio Moscow is in a live setting, as Live! In California forcefully proves.
Radio Moscow doesn't really sound anything like Savoy Brown, Ten Years After, Free or Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green's version, not the Buckingham/Nicks era of the band), but is cut from the same spiritual cloth as those hallowed British bands from three decades ago. There's plenty of hard-and-heavy blues on the outside with a chewy center of brawn and boogie in the middle when Radio Moscow takes the bandstand.
There's also a ton of awe-inspiring guitar playing, courtesy of front-man and vocalist Parker Griggs, who is one insanely-talented axe-slinger.
It doesn't matter if he's cranking out chunky power chords or whether he slashing out psychedelic-inspired solos that seem to fly at you from all angles, the riffage that Griggs grinds out inspires technicolor memories of cats like Frank Marino and Uli Jon Roth. He's also blessed with the kind of vocal chops that can power through the instrumental mix with relative ease.
Bass player Anthony Meier and drummer Paul Marrone form the kind of supreme rhythm section that's rarely heard in these days and times. Sure, they congeal into a rock-solid and meaty foundation that allows Griggs to wail all over the top of, but the duo also act as lead instruments in their own right. When listening to Meier and Marrone do their thing, I can't help but flash back to Mountain's legendary one-two punch of Felix Pappalardi (bass) and Corky Laing (drums). Meier and Marrone help instill Radio Moscow's music with a true sense of abandon and fearlessness that makes them a unique entity in 2016.
Starting with the first squalls of feedback from Griggs' stack of Orange amplifiers on the album-opening "I Just Don't Know," to the wah-wah workout of "So Alone" some 75 minutes later, Live! In California is a full-throttle affair from the get-go and should most definitely appeal to those craving a loud and heavy dose of organic guitar, bass and drums.
Thirteen of the songs are originals penned by Griggs, with the one exception being a smokin' cover of a highly under-rated tune ("Chance Of Fate") by an extremely-obscure group from the early '70s, Sainte Anthony's Fyre.
The liner notes to Live! In California end with, 'Play this alum as loud as possible and as high as impossible.'
Highly recommended ... but a cautionary piece of advice; make sure your hacienda is properly 'Radio Moscow-proofed' before sliding Live! In California onto your turntable or into your CD player.
Check them out at: www.alive-records.com and www.radiomoscow.net.