Review Summary: Near-flawless live album but who cares?
Live albums are a hard thing to judge. In order for them to really be worth anything they should present something that the original albums didn’t. It could be something as simple as hearing a new member perform older songs or the live album having a better sound than the originals but there needs to be something. When a live album recreates the songs exactly as they sound on the studio recording there is very little incentive to ever really listen to it. That is the exact problem with this album - it has a great sound and the songs are faithfully recreated but there is nothing that is going to make this worth listening to over the original recordings.
With only two-and-a-half albums under their belt, the song selection for this album is unsurprisingly perfect. The band has picked the songs that should work best in a live situation and, as expected, they do. In fact, songs such as “Lovers End” do benefit from a live rendition if only due to vocalist, Chibi, providing a much more sinister and visceral vocal performance during the harsh portions of the song. Another song that receives a minor enhancement in the live setting is “Red Stars” due to the stronger percussion and fatter guitar sound. Unfortunately little gems such as that are few and far between. The norm is the band recreating the songs exactly as they appear on the albums with only the occasional crowd noise or off-key moment from Chibi to remind that this is a live album.
The only demographic that Show and Tell
might really be worth anything to is the people that have never heard this band. The songs are re-created pretty well and the album does have a great sound so it would work as a solid representation of their discography. Those that had never heard The Birthday Massacre would find songs that seem to draw as much from industrial metal as they do rock and goth. They would get a chance to hear the appealing, occasionally dark, vocals of Chibi and her cute, macabre lyrics. Really, those are the main draws for this band; the conflicting sounds of a metal guitar with poppy synths and the cute, innocent-sounding vocals with the twisted meanings. Basically, they’d find a band that seems to flirt with a warped “Alice in Wonderland” vibe and it works really well.
Again, live albums are hard to judge and this offering from The Birthday Massacre is no different. It’s executed flawlessly and works as an excellent representation of the band’s discography but there’s still no appeal for an interested fan. There’s nothing on this album that isn’t done just a little bit better on the studio albums, which effectively renders it wholly unnecessary. The only reason to pick this album up is if you find yourself intrigued by the band, but have never taken the time to listen to them. For all others, your time would be better spent searching out some of the similar bands that are out there.