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Fu Manchu | Go For It Live | review | rock | Lollipop

Fu Manchu

Go For It... Live! (Steamhammer/ SPV)
by Brian Varney

The one emotion that I can confidently proclaim nobody has ever experienced while listening to a Fu Manchu album is surprise. Fu Manchu do what they do, they do it well, and they don't deviate from the path they've been following since 1990 or so. You know what you'll be getting when you buy a Fu Manchu release, and if you don't like it, you wouldn't be buying it in the first place.

Throughout its life span, the double live album has served to collect a band's finest songs from the handful of albums which preceded it, add some witty stage patter and audience participation segments for extra fun, perhaps the oddball cover, and perhaps a lengthy jam or two. Fu Manchu, who understand the double live era of music (i.e. the 19-fuggin-70s, duh) better than most of the bands who are now practicing under the "stoner rock" banner, follow this template admirably, resulting in a fine double live album which you can proudly file alongside things like Humble Pie's Performance: Rockin' the Fillmore, the first KISS Alive!, etc.

There are 22 tracks spread out over these two discs, the song selection nicely covering the whole of the band's career, from debut album No One Rides for Free to recent long-player California Crossing, with each platter in-between represented as well. Because Fu Manchu are not a band prone to jamming, the song arrangements are left more or less untouched, though the energy level notches 'em up a crank or two. And for the whiners who complained about California Crossing's lack of fuzz, Go For It... Live! may be a good opportunity for you to re-appraise those songs, since they're given the full fuzz treatment here as they bump against oldies like "Regal Begal," "Saturn III," and personal fave, "Asphalt Risin'."

There's enough of everything here to satisfy those who claim to only like certain Fu Manchu albums - comic as it seems, there are folks who only like "the early stuff," which to me seems like saying, "I think Bon-era AC/DC really went downhill after Powerage." Regardless of where your sympathies fall within the band's discography, if you like Fu Manchu, I can't see you not liking Go For It... Live!


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