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Live And Well Band’s ‘Throwing Copper’ Lifted Them Out Of Musical Obscurity

All it takes is one.

Just one hit album and a band can go from an alternative music obscurity to one of rock’s biggest names.

For Live, its sophomore effort, “Throwing Copper,” elevated the group to the top of the charts, led it to appearances on “MTV: Unplugged,” David Lettermen and the cover of numerous magazines, landed it infinite hours of air play on both MTV and radio and garnered the quartet triple platinum sales and four hit songs.

Released in April 1994, “Throwing Copper” continues to sell strongly.

Most of all, the album’s success afforded Live the opportunity to embark on a summer-long national amphitheater tour with groups PJ Harvey and Veruca Salt. Live stops at The Gorge tonight.

Live first arrived on the scene in 1991 with its debut album, “Mental Jewelry.”

Barely emerging from their teens, the four members of the York, Pa., band produced a remarkably mature album. Fueled by the MTV hits “Beauty of Grey” and “By the Riverside,” “Mental Jewelry” had a fiery, socially conscious, anthemic edge to it.

The long-player also showcased the band’s burgeoning style, now matured in “Throwing Copper.”

In a sense, the riveting hit “Lightning Crashes” from “Throwing Copper” best defines the extremes of the quartet’s sound. Much as an electrical storm would, Live’s songs build with soft, urgent melodies. With the sudden strike of singer Ed Kowalczyk’s biting, wiry vocals, the band explodes into a monstrous crescendo. Then the storm calms only to erupt all over again.

Rarely does the band stray from this formula. Yet, Live’s music rarely gets redundant, mainly because it plays with so much emotion and drive.

On stage, the band’s sound and energy make it a thunderous force. It’s music meant for live arena.

Following its national tour, Live will disappear from the pop eye for a while, taking respite from more than a year on the road.

Live personally invited PJ Harvey and Veruca Salt on its national tour. With this stint, British singer Polly Jean Harvey has been startling audiences with her theatrical display and commanding vocal performances.

On her latest and third conceptual piece, “To Bring You My Love,” she shrouds her songs in themes of love. It’s by no means a syrupy love album with the vocalist gushing all over it. Rather, Harvey’s haunting voice and the brooding musical soundscapes inflict an eerie mood on “To Bring You My Love.”

In essence, Harvey is the female counterpart of Australia gothic singer Nick Cave. Both have distinctive qualities about them that place them among the most powerful of singers.

Expect Veruca Salt to shell out a 40-minute blast of spirited, power pop that will no doubt make it a crowd favorite.

Tonight’s show marks one first for Veruca Salt, which had to cancel month’s worth of concert dates after guitarist/vocalist Louise Post ruptured a disc in her neck.

Last week, with Post still ailing, Veruca Salt re-joined the Live tour. A summer ago, the Chicago quartet generated a major buzz when it released its debut recording “American Thighs” on the tiny independent label Minty Fresh. Soon after the LP’s release, “American Thighs” dominated college radio airwaves.

And it wasn’t long before the major labels came sniffing.

Veruca Salt chose DGC, which re-issued “American Thighs.” The album’s single “Seether” became one of MTV’s most widely played songs last fall.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Live Location and time: The Gorge, tonight, 7:30. Tickets: $24.95.

This sidebar appeared with the story: Live Location and time: The Gorge, tonight, 7:30. Tickets: $24.95.