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01. The Roots And The Ruins
03. In Hundreds
04. Original Spies
05. Number 6
06. There Are Ghosts
08. Caffeine Or Me
Total Running Time: 49:51 mins
595 shows after Karate first stepped on stage together, Geoff Farina, Jeff Goddard and Gavin McCarthy found themselves in Leuven, Belgium, sweating out what felt like just another tight set at the end of a long tour. A recording of this May 5th, 2003 show eventually found its way back to the band, who were surprised to hear the clarity and balance that they strive for in the studio. It became the band's favorite live document, and they considered these performances on par with their best studio records. Here is a snapshot of a great band at their peak - not just "great" in measure of appeal and taste, but as players and performers.
These live versions of "The Roots And The Ruins" and "Number 6" sound fresher than Unsolved's calculated studio takes. On "Number 6," Farina's impressionistic guitar is draped over Gavin and Jeff's simmering groove, as the song's simple melodic theme blooms into a lush improvisation. "There Are Ghosts" from The Bed Is In The Ocean and "Caffeine Or Me" from their debut album hearken the indy/punk ethos of their earlier material, and prove that the mature band can still build up a head of steam. Although Karate was once lumped in with early-90s indie bands, the spontaneous, collective approach to live performance captured on this recording shows how far they ventured from that scene, and how well their music has stood the test of time. This is especially true in the frantic, edgy improvisations that make up this version of "In Hundreds," the song Farina picked for the packaging because of its thematic relation to the title.
Karate finally ended their 12-year run in the summer of 2005, citing personal reasons for the split. They remain friends and still make music together in other bands. They leave this live recording in their wake, dedicated to their fans who continue to listen to their music, and to all their friends who helped them along the way. This brief setlist takes the band's strongest material into new realms, and is evidence of what they sounded like at their best, with their tour legs on.
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