2nd December 2016
The Los Angeles quartet letlive have been creating a healthy buzz in the post-hardcore music scene for the past fourteen years delivering four highly regarded studio albums, the latest If I’m the Devil… was released earlier that year which along with the customary rock and metal roots incorporated influences including new wave, hip-hop and soul. Louder Than War’s Katie Clare went along to take in letlive’s Manchester Academy performance to see if the live show lived up the releases.
From the moment the band take the stage it was evident that lead singer Jason Butler’s forceful, energetic stage presence was going to steal the show; this initial thought proving itself conclusive by the time their first track Renegade 86′ finished. Butler’s spirited get-up-and-go was clearly addictive. The audience initially a little tamed instantly became revitalized as That Fear Fever and A Weak Ago provide some elated rock, a strong bass line from Ryan Jay Johnson and Jeff Sahyoun’s playful guitar riffs adding just the right amount of peppiness to refresh the intense lyrics.
Even when slowing everything down for Foreign Cab Rides there is something that keeps you hooked with every movement on stage and transfixed by Butler’s vocals: regardless of them being primal screams or clean vocals they are, throughout, on point. The Dope Beat, Reluctantly Dead and Banshee show case some of the strongest elements of letlive as a band such as the exceptional rapid-fire drumming from Loniel Robinson, commendable politically and socially-minded lyricism to anthem like choruses that take the live experience to the next level in terms of audience inclusion.
As the set nears its end the band keep momentum high, as Hannah from Creeper joins, for Muther the track managing to retain its heart wrenching currents of vulnerability, pain and defiance. Closing out with Good Morning, America its strident heaviness is afforded a bouncy element; such is the crowds need to end the letlive set on a physical apex.
Bands that genre crossing, like letlive, are less of the exception these day, however, these guys have been doing it since 2002; all the while standing firm on their political ground and stating their opinions without concern. If letlive’s back catalogue is not enough to solidify a place as a creatively distinguished band their remarkable live performances certainly will.
If I’m The Devil… (Epitaph Records CD. LP, MP3) is out now and available for the usual retailers and for download via iTunes and Amazon.