REVIEW: Mothership – Live At Freak Valley (2016)


The Dallas intergalactic rockers document their Euro debut and it’s rather good

The live album, bless it, has some bad press over the years.

“It’s a stopgap”, that’s always the accusation. Something bands chuck out when there’s a need for a new product and they don’t have an album yet.

Yet that ignores the fact that there’s been some magnificent live records. Maiden’s “Live After Death” anyone? Kiss’ “Alive II”, Poison’s “Seven Days Live”? (Ok that’s just MV probably) and if we assume that Thin Lizzy’s ” Alive And Dangerous” is the pick of them (theres no debate to be had about this) we can crack on.

So it’s into some stellar company that Mothership step with this, the document of the live debut in Europe, at Germany’s Freak Valley gathering, and far from being a stopgap of any sort.

Of course, Mothership are a phenomenal band, that helps when dissecting these seven tracks (the majority from their incredible debut record) so it’s onto a winner from the start, but even if you’d never heard these songs before it’s delivered with so much glee that you get swept along with it.

Appropriately for Freak Valley, it begins with a freak out. “Hallucination” is a swirl of psychedelics, yes, but it’s also very metal too. If Iron Maiden ever wigged out decided to become a jam band it’d be like this. It’s not Govt Mule, this is a gritty kinda Corrosion Of Conformity thing.

There’s no hint of self-consciousness here, when frontman Kelley Juett screams “Germany let’s get wild!” on “Serpents Throne” – one of two new songs that at the time were new that they tried out here – it sounds like the most natural thing on the planet, similarly when his brother bassist Kyle yells “much love, much love!” He does so because he does so every night of his life.

That’s why this seven tracker – their whole set – is so good. A band who loved this set and loves what they do, has the monumental Thin Lizzy style groove of “City Nights” as their calling card, with its “we like to rock and drink a lot” it is as simple as kick to the balls and a lot more fun.

A faithful facsimile of everything you thought Mothership would be like live, and that’s pretty wonderful. You can’t imagine that this was touched up in a studio.

Still not as much fun as being there you’d guess, but if like MV you weren’t, then at least you didn’t miss it totally. Moreover, if you haven’t come across Mothership yet, then allow us to introduce you to your new favourite band, and this isn’t a bad place to start the love affair.

Rating 9/10

Live At Freak Valley is released on 15th January via Ripple Music

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