District 97 - Live At De Boerderij DVD review

The unique Chicago band keep it real on their fluffs ‘n’ all concert video

District 97 - Live At De Boerderij DVD cover

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Since their 2012 debut Trouble With Machines, District 97 have been purveying a heady mix of catchy melodies and hardcore prog instrumentation, all topped off by the irresistible frontperson smarts of Leslie Hunt.

While superb, their current album In Vaults lacked that final level of production polish, but that problem disappears on this quality concert video. Recorded last April at Progdreams Festival, on the last night of the In Vaults tour, this captures the gig-hardened band on great form at the much-loved Dutch venue. Guitarist Jim Tashjian’s tones are bulked up, newbies Andrew Lawrence (keyboards) and Tim Seisser (bass) have bedded in well and founder Jonathan Schang’s Bruford-approved drumming is a sight to behold. As for Hunt, she remains one of modern prog’s consummate performers. With a glint in her eye, she engages with the crowd and truly performs the songs, grooving to odd rhythms with moves that’d spell painful doom for less supple joints. This is warts ‘n’ all, real-life gig stuff, words and notes are fluffed, a guitar busts. If you can be arsed to sign up to their premium web service, this is an excellent document of an undervalued band. Schang’s mom Pam awaits you at the merch table…

Grant Moon

A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Prog, Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.