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Alive As F**k

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Album Review

If you want to know if a band really has the goods, one of the best tests is to simply have them set up in front of an audience and see if they can make the crowd move. After making a pair of solid studio albums, the Black Diamond Heavies demonstrate that they're just as good (actually, even better) laying out their high-test and hot-wired blues-rock in front of a roomful of fans on this set recorded during a gig in Covington, KY. Alive as F**k easily lives up to its name, and if musically this doesn't add much at all to the formula this band staked out with their studio work, the sweat-soaked intensity of these performances seriously ups the ante in terms of energy and passion, and with this sort of music that makes a big difference. With just John Wesley Myers on keyboards and vocals, and Van Campbell on drums, the Black Diamond Heavies don't have much room to trick up their sound, and Alive as F**k shows they don't need to — the fuzzed-out blare of Myers' electric piano manages to cover the melodies with force and swagger, Campbell's splashy drumming fills up plenty of space while keeping the beat, and the rough, howling textures of Myers' vocals are tougher and more effective in a no-frills live setting. Johnny Walker and Reuben Glaser get this music down on tape with no fuss but plenty of presence, and if you ever wanted an inducement to check out the Black Diamond Heavies in person, Alive as F**k makes it clear that a furiously rowdy good time is guaranteed with the price of admission, and until the band shows up in your town, this album will tide you over.

Customer Reviews

Good Stuff

Its just good music to jam with, if you dig hard and kind of dirty this is a must have.

One of the BEST duos of the decade

Great jam band - a total classic rock / blues sound. These guys sound like the Black Keys, and the Doors, but way heavier.... Their style is completely raw. The drummer has some great beats and the singer's voice will definitely grow on you.

Heavy, sweaty growling two-man punk-blues

As on their first two albums, Black Diamond Heavies crank out a lot more sound, and a lot more musical mass than one could imagine from a two-man blues band. It’s all the more impressive on this set for having been recorded live. John Wesley Myers plays the Fender Rhodes and provides bass via pedals (ala Ray Manzarek), and Van Campbell provides the drums. Their jamming actually does evoke the instrumental jams of the Doors, but heavier and grittier. The tone of Myers’ Fender may also remind you of Ray Charles, but it’s a guttural keyboard sound that Charles never laid down on tape. Myers plays both melody and rhythm on his keyboard, freeing Campbell’s drums to add a lyrical voice on top of their primary mission as the group’s timekeeper. Myers’ vocal growl still sounds like Tom Waits, but with distortion added to his piano, there’s a heavier punk-rock quotient, and the warble in the ‘50s-styled ballad “Bidin’ My Time” suggests a down-and-out Louie Armstrong. The roadwork that followed their studio releases solidified the interplay between Myers and Campbell, leaving little room for another instrumentalist and no sense that there’s a guitar missing. Recorded on a July night in a Covington, Kentucky Masonic lodge, the humidity clings to their performance, thickening it from the primal density of their studio work. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

Biography

Formed: 2004 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Stripping the deep blues to its frame and running the music through a big stack of amps while shaking it into a cold sweat, the Black Diamond Heavies are a band from East Nashville, TN, who prove that in terms of sonic impact and soulful energy, size doesn't matter much at all. The Black Diamond Heavies were formed by keyboard man and vocalist John Wesley Myers, Mark "Porkchop" Holder on guitar and harmonica, and drummer Van Campbell. Myers was previously a member of the feral blues-punk combo the...
Full Bio
Alive As F**k, Black Diamond Heavies
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