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SPOCK'S BEARD Gluttons for Punishment - Live In '05
Inside Out (2005)

Gluttons for Punishment is Spock's Beard second live album following on the heels of 2001's double set, There And Here.

This of course is the first live recording since the departure of main man and multi instrumentalist, Neal Morse. Apart from just the one song, End Of The Day, there is nothing repeated here.

Live albums, love them or loave them, seem to be hip these days, double even triple live sets coming thick and fast from every man and his dog. They either add something to their studio counterparts, or in a few recent cases, are poorly recorded and do little to gain any new fans.

Gluttons for Punishment draws mainly on the most recent Spock's Beard studio album, Octane, released only in January this year. With drummer, Nick D'Virgilio taking over as frontman and lead vocals from Morse, nothing really is lost too much.

D'Virgilio has a strong enough voice to carry the new material and to do the older songs justice. Disc one is almost entirely made up of material from the aformentional Octane album, which is a little strange, especially when the songs are played in the same order as the studio release.

Mixing things up just a little would have made things a tad more interesting and less predictable, but none the less, works well in a funny sort of way.

Disc 2 offers some older songs, which the band tear through, adding new life to some Beard classics. It goes without saying just what a talented band Spock's Beard are, for most bands the loss of such a powerful and influencial man in Morse, would be too much to take.

But give Spock's Beard a lot of credit, they have come out all guns blazing with Gluttons for Punishment and shown all the douting Thomas's that they are a viable and powerful live band without their former leader.


Review by Graham Boyle

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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