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by Dan Weiss

December 5, 2013

Live Alt Rock Highlights

by Dan Weiss  |  December 5, 2013

Some still insist rock is meant to be heard live, and it's true: Without live shows, Neil Young might just be one more eccentric folkie, Pearl Jam a string of hit-makers, Old 97s a band that Elektra felt justified in dropping. Here is more than two hours of proof that Gogol Bordello make their best magic with crowd participation, that The Fiery Furnaces get even more slippery and technical in person than on their studio recordings, and that Soul Coughing's vicious intraband tensions manifested, on stage, in some spring-loaded funk.

Gavin Rossdale recently brought his wife, Gwen Stefani, onstage for Bush's '90s classic "Glycerine," just in time for its 20th anniversary next year. And the more intense "Brian Wilson" that Barenaked Ladies fans cherish is in our mix, too. Radiohead nuts finally learned the words to "Like Spinning Plates" (and that it's played on a piano) when Thom Yorke opted to perform it "forward" on I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings. And check out Built to Spill sinking their teeth into a "Randy Described Eternity" that jumps from the speakers in a way the Perfect from Now On version didn't. Every Wussy fan knows not to miss the noisy, pounding climax that is "Rigor Mortis."

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