Live In Chicago is a three-disc live album/DVD from Hot Water Music. CDs one and two contain songs from the Feb. 1-2 2008 performances at Chicago’s The Metro, whereas the third disc is a 30-minute DVD from the Feb. 2 show exclusively. Live albums can go one of two ways: They can capture the true essence of the band or they could end up falling short. For a live disc, Live In Chicago is produced in a crisp manner and gives off some of the energy from the shows captured. Of course, it’s not as good as being there live, but it comes close. One thing worth noting is that compared to other live releases I’ve listened to, the crowd is barely audible, with the exception of a few cheers, hoots and hollers at the end or beginning of a song.

Throughout the three-disc collection, Hot Water Music feature tracks from their earlier days, such as “220 Years” off of Fuel For The Hate Game, and some later releases including “All Heads Down” from The New What Next, the band’s last album before going their separate ways in 2006. Along with the release is a live DVD, which actually does capture the essence of the band’s live shows for those who have never seen them. Overall, for someone who has heard of Hot Water Music in passing but never really sat down and listened to the post-hardcore band, it’s easy to see what one has been missing. Live In Chicago is perfect for the seasoned fans who were either at the show or wish they were there, and the novices who need a starting point.

In A Word: Eye-opening

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