MGF Reviews Arcangels – Living in a Dream

Arcangels – Living in a Dream [CD/DVD]
Self-released (10/27/09)

Austin’s notable and outstanding supergroup, Arcangels, reunited recently and opened a U.K. tour for Eric Clapton beginning last May. Since the guys are on the road, it looks like the heavily anticipated, second studio album will be in the oven just a little longer. Luckily, the band recorded a couple live shows a few years back and were eager to finally get the music to their fans. And Living in a Dream is definitely a great CD/DVD package when it comes to capturing the live essence of the group, almost giving you the feeling of being there at the show.

Originally scheduled to be filmed at Stubbs in Austin, in February of 2005, the two shows were rained out and later recorded in March. But even with the new dates, the pesky rain would show up again as a light drizzle right, right before the band would hit the stage. It was no problem for the enthusiastic crowd to endure, but pieces of the lighting and other electrical equipment were not on the cooperating end. Because of this, the live show on the DVD has a jump-cut look and feel to it, due to the fact the video is spliced from a combination of shows (Stubbs, Antone’s, Galveston’s Mardi Gras and House of Blues in Dallas). Even with this kind of feel, you really don’t notice that vibe of different venues because the audio recorded from Stubbs is so good.

Consisting of the legendary rhythm section, Double Trouble, the Arcangels are also made up of lead guitarists/vocalists Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton. The two singers have a common songwriting formula which consists of alternating turns on vocal lines and harmonies. This lends to the ability for the artists’ distinct styles to blend, and was actually an idea that their first album’s producer, “Little Steven” Van Zandt (best known for his stint as guitarist with Bruce Springsteen), had in order for the band’s two songwriters to sound like they were both going in the same direction musically.

Arcangels are a very tight blues-rock band with a touch of pop, though they definitely are not a Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble rip-off either. The band kind of breaks out of that “blues” mold by finding that fourth chord and traveling away from the standard I-IV-V blues chord progression when penning their tunes. Both singers are talented with equal songwriting skills while their guitar playing is even more impressive, having both learned from the likes of the Vaughan brothers and other very capable musicians, starting early on in their lives.

Not only do you get an energetic and emotional set on CD and DVD, but the package also includes a 14-page color booklet that lays out the history of the band and their current status. The DVD also includes a documentary and a tribute at Antone’s. And if you still need more, a bonus four-song CD is added as well, which features three new songs and a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Too Many People”. The Arcangels are a band formulating rock, blues and pop just how you like it—smooth.


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