Reviewing a ‘Live’ EP is generally not something I find particularly easy, nor for that matter very satisfying. Invariably the material has been released on previous albums and is, nine times out of ten, purely published for super-fans of said band. However, Moon Duo’s psych infested ‘Live in Ravenna’ did prick up my ears a little more than previous live EP’s I’ve come across.

The EP came about after a 2013 European tour that “was defined by sweltering heat,” as described by Sanae Yamada. The San Francisco band had just increased their personnel from 2 to 3, with the addition of drummer John Jeffrey, and the stage was set to take the music to the next level.

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The result is a very atmospheric EP that, while not giving the full effect of actually being in attendance, does showcase a band whose live set is clearly something not to be missed.

Ravenna was memorable for a number of reasons, the most prominent being the really very intense heat, and the setting — Hanabi has an outdoor stage on the beach, the Adriatic Sea only meters away,” Yamada explains. “The show that night, and the recording of it, sort of encapsulates everything that was happening at the time – the heat wave, the journey, and the shift in the energy and composition of the band.

The track-listing is taken primarily from the ‘Mazes’ and ‘Circles’ LP’s and it’s a song from the latter ‘Free Action’ that is the star attraction here. It’s a wonderful ten minutes of high tempo’d, guitar thrashing music that had clambering upcoming UK live dates (there are some and they’re below). ‘Goners’ has the same effect and it’s breathless, quite relentless pace brings John Jeffrey’s drumming to the fore.

This isn’t one of those live ‘stadium-releases’ that’s advertised constantly in the music press and comes with an accompany DVD and t-shirt. This seems to be quite a personal EP drawing on specific moments from a memorable summer of touring. Also, it’s a pretty good advert for the band generally as the quality of the live performances here sound vibrant and fresh.

The full track-listing for the Moon Duo ‘Live in Ravenna’ EP is as follows…

1.In The Sun

2.Mazes

3.Free Action

4.I Been Gone

5.Motorcycle, I Love You

6.Goners

Forthcoming UK tour dates for Moon Duo are…

September 1st – Hebden Bridge, UK @ Trades Club
September 2nd – Sheffield, UK @ The Harley
September 3rd – Aberdeen, UK @ The Tunnel
September 4th – Edinburgh, UK @ The Caves
September 18th – Cardiff UK @ Club Ifor Bach
September 19th – London UK @ Queen Elizabeth Hall

Moon Duo ‘Live in Ravenna’ EP is released on Sacred Bones. The EP is due out as a limited, one-time vinyl pressing of 2,000 and digital only on August 18th

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