I’d love to know how many bands I’ve declared to be my favourite. From my early years when I couldn’t imagine not loving My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy to the fiery passion that Nirvana still raises in me. I fall in love with a different band on a near weekly basis, and the truth is I don’t have a favourite. I have a family of albums and songs that surround me and which make my life better. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I haven’t been introduced to a band in the last ten years that mean more to me than letlive.
Which meant that in a world where the bad news comes roughly every fifteen minutes the news that ‘there will be no further activity for the foreseeable future’ from letlive felt like some of the worst. A band who since 2010 have released three perfect albums are hanging up the guitars because of what essentially amounts to creative differences, and it is devastating.
But I’m not going to focus on that. Instead, I’m going to talk about why letlive are the band that I feel I can make such claims about. I’m going to talk about why if you are someone who has never sat down and listened to them then you are both a fool and a lucky bugger. A fool because you missed out but a lucky bugger because you are about to discover something awesome. It’s a shame you missed those live shows though.
I’ve ranted on here before about the frankly ridiculous claims that there are no political bands today. One of the examples I consistently went to was letlive, and I think as they’ve gone through their career the things they stand for have only grown stronger. ‘Good Mourning, America’ is the obvious example, and its fiery attitude was by no means lessened by the fact it is a total banger. In fact, If I’m The Devil… is packed with songs that have a message and seeing them support a band like Pierce The Veil and take those tunes to that audience was incredible. There was a glimpse on that tour of a letlive that sold out arenas, and if they had written another album like that one, I genuinely think they would have.
I didn’t fall in love with that band for their potential to sell out arenas, though. I fell in love with Fake History because it was a clusterfuck of an album that burned with an intensity that made it impossible to turn off. It mashed together jazz, hardcore and who knows what else to create something that was both fragile and yet also a fuck you to the world. An album that to this day I hear new things in.
It was that attitude which extended into the live shows. Live shows where Jason Butler seemingly put it all on the line to impress. There are a million stories out there about his antics, and I won’t bother repeating them here, but the catharsis of watching him on stage was real. He was a Tasmanian devil of a frontman with a voice so smooth you could have surfed it into shore. He was capable of making you want to punch down a wall but also of reducing you to tears.
Which I think sums up what make letlive the band they are. They were that kick you in the balls and spit in your eye punk band, but they were also the emotion of ‘Muther’. They managed to be both of those things in a world where so many bands struggle to be just one. You can never blame a band for breaking up. It’s a choice that they have to make, and I can’t imagine it was made lightly. However, letlive were truly one of a kind and a world without them, is a sadder place.