This live recording documents a December 2000 show in Chicago during which the Handsome Family entertain, performing a good mix of material, drawing songs from all of their albums to date. The sound is decent and fans will definitely enjoy the teasing banter -- nine of the 25 tracks -- between Brett and Rennie Sparks and the random personal details that get revealed (the magic balls story is hilarious). Of the 14 songs, half are from Through the Trees, including the chokingly sad "So Much Wine," "Down in the Ground," the only song in the band's repertoire in which Rennie sings lead (albeit in an affected, old-lady-on-the-porch, nasally tone), the darkly incisive "Weightless Again," and another fan favorite, "The Woman Downstairs," which closes the show.
Throughout the set are also heard a few songs each from In the Air and Milk and Scissors ("Winnebago Skeletons" falls apart, but "Amelia Earhart Vs. the Dancing Bear" and "Drunk By Noon" go well), two from Odessa ("Arlene" and "Moving Furniture Around"), and one that would end up on Twilight ("I Know You Are There," which Brett effectively delivers with a crooner's tremolo). While not the place for newcomers to start, Live at Schuba's Tavern is a good listen. ~ Joslyn Layne