Live albums tend to be fan-only affairs, as the only people really interested in how bands sound live are people already emotionally invested in said bands. Jose Gonzalez’s Live At Park Avenue is no different. Taken from a live show at Park Avenue in Orlanda, Fla., and available only at brick-and-mortar record shops as a limited-edition EP, the album presents nine live takes of Gonzalez’s two studio albums (split almost evenly between the pretty great Veneer and the pretty OK In Our Nature). They don’t provide for any revelations other than that Jose Gonzalez is really great at making his songs sound live the way they do on tape.
The highlight on Live At Park Avenue is also Gonzalez’s career highlight. His cover of the Knife’s “Hearbeats” is incredibly affecting in a live setting, as Gonzalez appropriates the song’s feelings as his own. “Down the Line,” the standout track from his sophomore album, In Our Nature, is a close second, as Gonzalez’s warning of “problems down the line” becomes a clarion call to change whatever you can in your own life.
But in the end, Live At Park Avenue is nothing but a fine appendix to Gonzalez’s studio work, as it just affirms the portrait of the artist that has already been painted.