Guster Guster On Ice — Live From Portland, Maine

Guster have somehow been propelled from darlings of the U.S. college radio circuit to a band with a large, rabidly loyal following in a relatively short period of time. That means that they have already gotten to the point in their career where they can release a live album, although they’ve decided to go the fashionable route and release a CD/DVD combo, making it possible to enjoy Guster no matter where you might be. The 18 songs (13 on the CD) cover all four of their albums, and sound pretty much the same as they do on the studio versions — Guster sing happy, poppy songs and are all about making everyone feel good about themselves. And that’s just fine because they do it well and even a cursory look at the DVD will tell you that everyone in the audience is having a good time. There’s absolutely no doubt that Guster have a loyal following, with every member of the audience (which seems to be predominantly female, or maybe the director decided they just make better visuals for the DVD) singing along with every word of every single song. So if you enjoy hearing several hundred other people singing along with your favourite band, this is the live disc for you. Naturally Guster make the most of this, letting the audience sing solo during most songs for a few lines. After viewing the concert and the extra stuff on the DVD though, it seems that Guster might be the nicest band in the whole darned world. They are really nice guys who really like their fans and the whole thing is just so darned nice that it is hard to be offended by anything that Guster ever does. That just means that Guster On Ice is going to appeal to their fans and not anyone else. But considering that the band continually sell out every date on every tour, it could end up appealing to an awful lot of people. (Palm Pictures)