Outformation’s first attempt at rock and roll documentation – … Been A While – drops right in on the action with a superb “Valley Blue.” The band's DVD recording took place at Atlanta’s Smith’s Olde Bar. If any place in the Southeast would be considered home-field advantage for Outformation, it should be Smith’s. The band has played more than a couple smoking-hot shows in the upstairs venue, and the two-night run that spurred this taping was at the top of the charts.
A couple of songs in, the band delivers a very tasteful “Dark Severinsen.” The camera angle starts out with a bird’s eye perspective of Lee Schwartz from behind the kit, and it would have benefited from staying there. At times the overall delivery suffers from too much movement; however, the production makes up for shortcomings with beautiful camera angle overlays that offer a feeling of multiple exposure imagery.
The band also pulls extra weight to make the video a hit with flawless play. The intro to “American Spirit” will send chills up the spine, and the band follows with spot-on delivery. Guitarist Sam Holt plays in your face, with blistering bending and a masterful, crunchy tone. The first set ends with a powerful “Edgewater” into “Carnac.”
The second set assaults with a slap in the face, and “Start It Out Again” continues to climax until the crowd reaches frenzy. The band does not relent for one second, keeping the set moving with “Game On.” No doubt, the June heat in Atlanta continued to rise as the night went on, the band segueing into “’Bout My Money,” a psychedelic monster that revs the already redlined audience to dangerous levels, Holt’s guitar soaring out in front of CR Gruver’s mind-warping keys.
The other side of drums finds a reprise of “'Bout My Money,” with a massive swell of toms that almost topples Lee’s kit, and the band is joined by the lone special guest, guitarist Benji Shanks who joins in on “Centerstage” and stays through “Sweet Louisiana.” His soothing tone and monster slide add great dimension; the dual guitars are fresh and very inviting with a spacey and loose playfulness.
If you are a fan of concert videos, this is a worthy score. Outformation shows their relentless desire to make good music, while offering up a damn fine party. The overall production is solid, and, hopefully, it will serve as a milestone on the band's road to greatness.
… Been A While is out now.