District 97 – Live at Calprog

This is the first live album by US band District 97, you may say it is a bit early because they have only released one studio album, and having on par one live is not something that we can see every day. This is a performance in the Cal Prog Festival which was completely recorded and released, and now enjoyed by District 97 newcomers and future fans.

What this live show features is a set of seven songs, including their long 27-minute epic Mindscan, so this is an ambitious live introduction which in my opinion works as a revulsive for the band, because in this high-quality performance we appreciate that they are not only good on studio.

The first track here is the single “I Can’t Take You With Me”, with symphonic keyboards, nice harmonies, cool drums and nice female vocals. This may be their introductory piece, but not their best.

“Termites” has a heavier sound, which does not really mean the music goes towards prog metal, not at all. When keyboards appear they really help, putting even more power to the music, which in addition with the vocals make a strong, heavy and good track. I also like the short changes and the backing male vocals. The final two minutes are crazy, with a weird but cool guitar solo.

“Who Cares?” is a track not included in their “Hybrid Child”, and I don’t know if it will be featured in their next album. It is a shorter song with nice vocals and cool instrumentation, it also has some catchy flavor that explains a little bit why this band has been often labeled as a crossover prog one.

“The Back and Forth” is a wonderful track. Eight minutes in where we can listen and appreciate the band’s compositional skills, as well as their wonderful performance, they really create a communion, the sound is pretty clean and challenging, and the vocals perfectly work and complement the music. I like also the instrumental passages, the heavier ones are cool, well-placed so one can enjoy these changes without losing track. I bet people who witnessed this performance had a great time.

The following is a nice rendition to UK and Genesis, with the performance of “Presto Vivace / Back in NYC”. They do it pretty well, I love the especially the keyboards, but worth mentioning Leslie Hunt vocals, which are excellent.
Now, what may be the strongest part, their 27-minute epic “Mindscan” which is divided in ten short parts which I will not describe one by one this time, I did it when reviewing the studio version, now I will limit to mention that this is an ambitious, well-crafted song with several changes in mood, time and tempo, and sound which actually fit in perfectly, acting as ten pieces of the puzzle, without one, the song would not have that success. Here you will have a nice mixture of symphonic prog, heavier moments and even some spacey ones.

The concert finishes with “Open Your Eyes” which is a nice song, but not their best and honestly after that strong combo (Back and Forth, the covers, and Mindscan) I believe they closed the album in a weaker way.

A great concert, a nice live introduction that allows us to follow District 97 first footsteps. Now I can say that I would like to see them in concert, hope they come to Mexico someday.

Enjoy it!


1. I Can’t Take You With Me (5:59)
2. Termites (6:27)
3. Who Cares (4:50)
4. The Back and Forth (8:34)
5. Presto Vivace/Back in NYC (7:01)
6. Mindscan (27:17)
7. Open Your Eyes (4:26)


* Leslie Hunt – vocals, tambourine
* Rob Clearfield – keyboards, additional guitar
* Jim Tashjian – guitar, backing vocals
* Patrick Mulcahy – bass
* Jonathan Schang – drums

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