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Grobschnitt - Volle Molle CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.58 | 28 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I was disappointed to find the overall rating of this live recording by one of Europe's best Progressive Rock bands hovering so near the Mendoza Line (in the game of baseball, a batting average of .200). Obviously too many fans were expecting another "Solar Music Live", which doesn't make any sense. By the same logic, this disc deserves an unconditional five-star recommendation for also not being another "Frampton Comes Alive".

In truth, I bought the CD precisely to hear what Grobschnitt sounded like on stage when they weren't performing their epic, impromptu 60+ minute jam. The answer is a more haphazard collection of songs recorded during their Autumn 1979 tour, lacking (unlike "Solar Music") the continuity of a true live performance (no two tracks are from the same gig), and further handicapped without the necessary visual element, but still an entertaining snapshot of a more or less typical Grobschnitt concert at the time.

Grobschnitt was always as much a cabaret act as it was a music group, combining oddball comedy skits and amateur theatre into their live repertoire. A lot of the humor will of course be lost to anyone (like myself) not fluent in German, but even from the wrong end of a language barrier it's still possible to appreciate their wacky vaudeville antics: just look at the inner CD sleeve photo here of the band on stage dressed in underwear and Arab turbans.

The bad news is that there's a lot of filler on the disc, at a mere 45 minutes already too brief by compact disc standards. The track "Beifall" is nothing more than 85 seconds of applause (in fairness, it was the tail end of Side One on the original vinyl LP); "Waldeslied" offers a brief exchange of stage banter and a nice but negligible acoustic guitar interlude. And the comedy skit "Coke-Train-Show" probably entertained the actors more than the audience (maybe you just had to be there).

The few actual songs are fortunately much stronger. The concert opener "Snowflakes" is a more stately English-language revision of a silly number previously heard on Eroc's second solo album. "A.C.Y.M." is a cheerful anti-disco parody of the Village People. And the mis-titled "Wuppertal Punk" is an upbeat jam marking the end of the tour (note the brief fanfare of "Taps" surfacing in the mix), allowing the band an amusing valedictory moment of introductions and farewells.

Which leaves the highlight of the entire album, and the best reason for buying it: an affectionate, slightly abbreviated version of the 20+ minute title track from their popular, YES-inspired 1977 album "Rockpommel's Land", always a fan favorite. Never mind the hackneyed, pure-Prog storyline about a lonely little boy and his fabulous giant pet bird. Stick to the music itself: a glowing slice of quintessential mid-'70s Progressive Rock, performed here with energy and style, especially during its grand finale, highlighting the mellotron dexterity of keyboardist Volker Kahrs (a.k.a. Mist).

"Volle Molle" (the title translates as "a full glass of beer", or words to that effect) is certainly not the best introduction to this unique band. But it makes a decent companion volume to the masterpiece of "Solar Music Live", presenting the other side of the schizophrenic Grobschnitt coin.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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