13 Songs, 59 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Songstress65 ,

The Verve Pipe: Live & Acoustic is a triumph

In 1996, The Verve Pipe released Villains, their first major label release. In 2016, the 20th anniversary of Villains, Brian Vander Ark, charismatic and talented front man of the band, decided to release The Verve Pipe: Villains, Live & Acoustic. He and the rest of the band set out to create onstage a less hard rocking but no less brilliant recreation of their 1996 studio album. The band, now consisting not only of Brian Vander Ark on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, but Lou Musa on electric and acoustic guitar, Joel Ferguson on bass and backing vocal, Randy Sly on piano and accordion, Channing Lee on backing vocals, Sam Briggs on drums and percussion, and Brad Phillips on mandolin and fiddle, recorded a live version of Villains at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan on October 14, 2016. The Verve Pipe: Villains, Live & Acoustic is an anthem that hearkens back to this album that was unique for its thematic scope and artistic integrity that garnered much popularity and the enduring fan-base that still exists today.

The album, played in exactly the order of the original release, is a fluent and tremendous montage of sound. The mandolin and fiddle add an undefinable yet incredible texture and beauty to songs like “Cup of Tea”and “Photograph.” Channing Lee, the only female to ever join The Verve Pipe, adds a wonderful and unique contribution to songs with her outstanding technique and range. Always a treat to see The Verve Pipe live, this album showcases what was already clear in 1996: this is an amazing accomplishment of both songwriting and musicianship, and it is a mastery of artistry and talent by all involved. Every musician onstage deserves recognition for their incredible contributions, but Brian Vander Ark deserves credit for not only his incredible songwriting and conception of both the original and live versions of Villains, but also his talented performance as lead vocalist and acoustic guitar player on all songs. No one who is familiar with the original Villains could not say that this is a monumental moment for fans of The Verve Pipe. It is such a rare treat for the ear and its execution is phenomenal. The Verve Pipe: Villains, Live & Acoustic is special in its capacity to surprise even long-time fans with an amazing and completely satisfying homage to the Villains of 1996.

Snozberry ,

Live & Acoustic will drive you mild

I get it, Brian and the new boys wanted to recreate the album that made the band a household name back in '96 off the crossover appeal of The Freshman on Top 40 radio. The problem is that the orginal album charted three songs on the Alt Rock charts. Point being that this is and was a rock album. I still get chills listening to the whine of the opening note on Barely, and the heavy cords and guitar solo on Drive You Mild. Acoustic versions of songs have always been a disapointment to me. The brain learns a song through repetition and when you hear it again you expect the same experience, but it just isn't. Fans like myself who were lucky to hear this band before they got signed to a major lable likely had the same issue with the version of The Freshman that was included on Villains. If you like The Verve Pipe but prefer the mellow stylings of Ed Sheeran this version might be for you.

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