Outside of Seattle, Washington, Candlebox has been unfairly placed on the Grunge scene of the ’90s. Undeservedly and fairly generalized, anyone who’s ever heard of Candlebox knew they were more of a blues Hard Rock band than anything Grunge-related. However, critics may have done the band an injustice when their self-titled debut record came back at 93. In fact, some harshly call them props or derivatives. Well, what do the critics know… because here we are in 2023 and Candlebox is still going strong.
Returning full time in 2006 with an exciting reunion tour culminating in the 2008s to the sun, Candlebox’s second tour as an active group took longer than before the relaunch. It’s impressive and a testament to their music, it hasn’t been many years since the original cast played together. This lineup of Kevin Martin (vocals), Peter Klett (guitar), Bardi Martin (bass) and Scott Mercado (drums) reunited here for live performances (2006, 2012, 2018 and most recently 2021). Which brings us to the band’s last album, Live at Neptune Theater.
Released through Pavement Entertainment on June 23, 2023, this album is the band’s third live album, but is entirely acoustic for the first time. Their sophomore album includes the entire original line-up that reunited at The Neptune Theater in Seattle on November 5, 2021 to celebrate the 26th anniversary of 1995. Lucythe set list includes ten songs from their self-titled album; Lucyand the 1998s antidepressant.
A wonderful collection from this period in the band’s history, the live acoustic performance is smooth, relaxed and atmospheric. Additionally, each song is presented in a fully dynamic presentation that sounds beautifully organic, while Kevin Martin gives a vocal performance that is not less than outstanding. In fact, these acoustic versions let you feel the music in a different way, so their captured recordings are very reminiscent of Alice in Chain’s classic 1996. mtv not plugged in album.
On the other hand, it’s all very exciting, the sad news is that Candlebox will actually be withdrawn as soon as they prepare for the release of their latest album. Long Goodbye. The final record, set to be released on August 25, 2023, will include the current lineup and will include some more touring. With these factors in mind, encapsulating this acoustic live set, where the original members reunite on stage, Live at Neptune Theater is an absolute must. That’s why Cryptic Rock gives this album 5 out of 5 stars.