Candlebox – Live at The Neptune Theatre (Live Album Review)

Out of Seattle, Washington, Candlebox were unfairly lumped into the ’90s Grunge scene. Unfair and highly generalized, anyone who heard Candlebox knew they were more of a bluesy Hard Rock band than anything Grunge related. That said, critics might have been unfair to the band when their self-titled debut record hit back in ’93. In fact, some harshly calling them scenesuckers or a derivative. Well, what do critics know… because here we are in 2023 and Candlebox are still going strong. 
Returning full-time back in 2006 with an exciting reunion tour that resulted in 2008’s Into the Sun, Candlebox’s second go-around as an active band has lasted longer than before relaunching. Impressive, and a testament to their music, it still has not been many years since the original lineup has played together. Consisting of Kevin Martin (vocals), Peter Klett (guitars), Bardi Martin (bass), and Scott Mercado (drums), that lineup has reunited here and there for live performances (2006, 2012, 2018, and most recently 2021). Which leads us to the band’s latest release, Live at The Neptune Theatre
Released June 23, 2023 through Pavement Entertainment, it marks the band’s third live album, but first ever solely acoustic. Featuring the entire original lineup who got together at The Neptune Theater in Seattle back on November 5 of 2021 to celebrate the 26th anniversary of their sophomore album, 1995’s Lucy, the set list includes ten songs encompassing their self-titled album, the aforementioned Lucy, and 1998’s Happy Pills
A great recollection from this period of the band’s history, the live acoustic performance is smooth, relaxed, and atmospheric. Additionally, each song is offered in a full dynamic presentation that sounds beautifully organic, all while Kevin Martin gives a vocal performance that is nothing less than outstanding. In fact, these acoustic versions allow you to feel the music in a different way, thus making the captured recordings very reminiscent of Alice in Chain’s classic 1996 MTV Unplugged album. 
All very exciting, on the flip side, the sad news is that Candlebox will in fact be bowing out soon as they prepare for the release of their final album The Long Goodbye. Set for release on August 25, 2023, the last record will feature the current lineup, and will include some more touring. These factors in mind, the encapsulation of this acoustic live set with the original members together again on stage, makes Live at The Neptune Theatre an absolute must have. That is why Cryptic Rock gives this album 5 out of 5 stars. 
Candlebox – Live at The Neptune Theatre / Pavement Entertainment (2023)
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