First off, let me apologize for the delay in this review. It just getting pushed back because I kept getting all these fantastic new releases…and I kind of take it for granted that everyone already knows how amazing Hot Water Music is, and therefore knows that a live recording would be pretty dope. Simply put, Hot Water Music are legends in the punk world, more than half the bands that I review for CC2K wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for Hot Water Music. There is really something amazing created when these four dudes some together.
A few months ago, Hot Water Music released a three disk (two audio and one dvd) set recorded at their 2008 Chicago shows. I probably haven’t seen Hot Water Music live since I was in high school, and this recording brought back all those memories flooding back. I discovered Hot Water Music when a friend put Moonpies for Misfits on a mixtape for me when I was a freshman. That was it, everything around that track became silent and Moonpies seeped into the air around me and I breathed it in. I was hooked. I still think that Moonpies is one of their most profound and moving songs, but not even that song can hint at what these guys are like live.
So what can I say about this recording? It is fucking amazing, because Hot Water Music is fucking amazing. As a fan I am elated that they decided to do this and make it available to fans. A little bit of their live show to hold on to. There is a fury, a passion, and urgency that is in the vocals, in the music, in the inflection, that instigates the audience and then feeds of their adoration. That feeling is captured on these disks.
The audio only disks are some of the best quality live recordings that I have heard and will remain on my shuffle list. But what really grabbed me (on both the audio and the video disks) is the rapport between the band and between the band and the audience. In between songs there is a great banter that makes you realize that even after all their success, they are just some punk rock dudes who love playing music and appreciate and respect their fans. From, “We wouldn’t be here if you guys weren’t here. We know that, I hope you know that. We don’t take it for granted. It means the world to us.” to “You guys fucking kick ass man…Thanks again everybody…In all honestly we cannot thank you enough for what you’ve given to us and what you have done for us over the years. So, we are going to remember this for the rest of our fucking lives. Thank you guys so much for coming out tonight. You guys are so fucking cool, man. Have fun and take this one home with ya.” Their love and appreciation for the experience is expressed as honestly and raw as one can be up on stage.
The video disk offers fans who have not gotten to see Hot Water Music live a taste of the experience and fans who have been lucky enough to experience it, a permanent reminder of the feeling. It is not quite as good as really being there, but it is pretty close. The video is filmed in a professional way with multiple high quality cameras, yet it never feels false or pretentious. Again, the songs and sound quality are great, but it is the passion, the interaction, the rapport, the sweat, the moments of crowd sing alongs, that really captured me. “We are having the time of our fucking lives up here.” And you saw that they meant it. And it all came to a head, as the credits rolled and the band members hugged on stage. It was such a simple, raw, humble, beautiful moment.
Hot Water Music will always stir up memories and emotions of being young and deeply in love with music, they will always remind me that, “we were invincible then.” If you aren’t familiar with Hot Water Music, take a listen to Moonpies for Misfits, then check out these live recordings. I promise you, you will be buying their whole catalogue and telling everyone about one of the greatest punk bands around.