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Fight: Live

Format: CD   Release Date: 05/19/2009
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Krist Novoselic's post-Nirvana musical career has seemed like something of a letdown compared to Dave Grohl's rise to bona fide rock stardom with the Foo Fighters and Kurt Cobain's posthumous deification, and after Sweet 75 and Eyes Adrift failed to connect with either audiences or critics, Novoselic announced he was walking away from the music game for a while. Clearly it took the right band to get him to change his mind, and that band was Flipper. While Novoselic's decision to join this ragged band of noisy cult heroes might seem curious, he's often cited Flipper as a key influence on his work, and who would turn down the opportunity to join a favorite band (especially since Novoselic doesn't have to count on the group as a source of income)? Novoselic's presence on Flipper's 2007 reunion tour (standing in for the late Will Shatter) turned out to be an inspired choice; Fight, recorded during shows in Seattle and Portland, doesn't quite match the frazzled brilliance of Blow'n Chunks or Public Flipper Limited, the authorized live documents of Flipper's first era, but it confirms there's still a lot of life left in these grizzled veterans. Guitarist Ted Falconi, drummer Steve DePace, and singer Bruce Loose sound remarkably lively considering the often meandering nature of their material, and if the new songs that dot the set reveal no fresh masterpieces on the level of "Sex Bomb" or "Love Canal," they come much closer to the inspired chaos of Flipper's salad days than anything from their misbegotten 1993 comeback set, American Grafishy. Novoselic's nimble basslines and thick, distorted tone are just the right fit for the songs, and he's a good student of the Flipper approach, just energetic enough to keep the music moving forward without getting in the way of Falconi's gusts of noise. Though there's plenty of slop in this recording, it's heartfelt and committed slop, always a hallmark of Flipper's best music, and if Loose sounds like he's drunk during his between-song patter, he also sounds like he means whatever he's trying to say. Flipper 2007 may not be on the same level as Flipper 1982, but they're a massive improvement on Flipper 1993, and having a famous ringer on deck hasn't hurt them one bit -- in fact, it seems to have helped. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

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