Music-lovers know there’s a special kind of experience they have when one of their favourite bands releases a live album: it’s like a private rock concert for your living room.
Fans of Wetaskiwin’s swing-rock champs Punch Drunk Cabaret, comprised of power trio Randy Bailer (vocals, guitar), Teddy Roy (bass) and Capt. Sean E. Watts (percussion) will soon know that feeling, as the band has spent the summer sweating over 10 defining tracks for their first live effort.
What could make that even better?
The album, “Live Under The Darkest Sky,” is on vinyl, notes singer-songwriter and lead guitarist Randy Bailer. “We’d been getting requests to release something on vinyl,” said Bailer by phone Nov. 12. “The time seemed right.”
Watts spent the better part of the summer poring over live tracks recorded at different venues, but Bailer said the band wanted the best of the best and wouldn’t settle for anything less. He said once the band sat down and listened to tracks, they realized how much a live performance affects a song. They managed to isolate the 10 tracks they wanted on the album and found solid recordings at different venues.
Bailer said he’d been reading about vinyl’s comeback and the format seemed a perfect fit for a band with a strong steampunk vibe; however, as PDC would come to learn vinyl, though touting a strong, warm sound, has some limitations all its own.
First, one side of a vinyl record can only hold so much music. Ditto the flip side, so the album features 10 tracks, a greatest hits of PDC. But picking the songs that fit each side was tricky. “It sounds like an easy thing,” said Bailer.
Picking a cover wasn’t tough. The lead guitarist said he had a concept in mind after perusing photos from Edmonton-area shows. The photos were taken by a close friend of the band and Bailer said when the pieces were put together the band embraced it.
It was also pretty cool to pick what a band could do with the actual physical vinyl the songs were imprinted on. Bailer said the band chose a marbled blackish-white that ensures no two records are identical. Bailer said the top quality finish on the album sleeve ensure it’s aesthetically pleasing and does its job protecting the vinyl.
One of the toughest parts of the process, he said, was picking a title. Bailer said you want a solid title that does the album justice but not something similar to other bands.
For now, the only way to buy the PDC live album is to attend a live show, where it will be for sale. Purchase of the album also includes a download code for the entire album, so if you don’t have a turntable, you can still listen right away. Plans call for a 2020 retail release of the album.
Punch Drunk Cabaret will be appearing live in Wetaskiwin’s historic Manluk Theatre Friday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. to celebrate the release of their live album. Tickets are $20 and are available online at http://manluktheatre.com/
The band will perform the following weekend in Camrose.
Bailer said PDC plan to finish 2019 with several upcoming shows, then focus on a new album. ‘We’re going to be off the stage for a while,” he said. Look for the new album sometime next spring.