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TV Party - D

DAMNED, THE - Tiki Nightmare: Live Live Live In London 2002 {MVD} For a number of years, I was a big collector of THE DAMNED. I bought the records that had different sleeves, different coloured vinyl, different record labels, imports, bootlegs – pretty much all I could get my hands on. After the release of ‘Anything’, I kinda lost track a bit. Scabies left leaving an impossible-to-fill-gap on the drum seat and then former GUN CLUB and SISTERS OF MERCY bassist (and Dave Vanian’s wife) joined. Then there was a record on Nitro Records and THE DAMNED dropped off my radar. This was around the time I was travelling back and forth to New Zealand before my eventual move.
So this DVD is from an era of DAMNED history I’m not too familiar with. It’s only during the last two or three years that I have picked up the ‘Grave Disorder’ album.  It’s alright – not really a match for any of the classics. It’s also the album that was being promoted at this gig. So, whaddaya get??
It’s a 19-track live performance filmed on multiple cameras with a few camera effects thrown in. Musically, all the obvious tracks are there, along with five or six from ‘Grave Disorder’ and a few surprises. Highlights would have to be a surprisingly vintage sounding ‘Song.com’ from the Nitro album which sees the Captain laying down some serious riffs. Other goodies include the surprise inclusion of ‘Under The Floor Again’ that is faultless featuring a great lead from Captain and what must be Vanian’s best vocal of the whole gig. Highlight though has to be ‘Disco Man’ - it’s always been among my favourite tracks and I have never heard a poor live version but this is a cracker! However, as has been the band’s want of many years, ‘Neat Neat Neat’ is drawn out to an overlong rock drama. ‘Ignite’ suffers a similar fate while the inclusion of ‘Happy Talk’ is interesting if a bit misplaced. The Capt is met with lots of disgusted Punk faces from the crowd but manages to get a sneaky dig at the EXPLOITED at the end.
It’s the first live footage I have seen with Patricia Morrison on bass and she does an able job, while the stage set is an odd mix of palm trees and islands.
The extras come in the shape of band interviews. Capt’s is the highlight as he reveals he liked the ‘Phantasmagoria’ album (justifiably so in my opinion) and also seems to have a passion for concrete. Vanian isn’t seen during his interview and is much more considered in topic and tone while Morrison talks about country music but unfortunately not THE GUN CLUB. There’s a good little snippet of the band on the Warped Tour before a fairly dull gallery and a discography round things out.
As DAMNED gigs go, I’ve certainly seen better but I have seen plenty worse too. I certainly enjoyed it from a point of view that this is an era I never witnessed the band during and it’s filmed professionally with great sound. It’s probably for die-hard fans though rather than the curious, but for me? It did its job well. (18.07.14)

DINOSAUR JR - Live At The 9.30 Club: In The Hands Of The Fans {MVD} Back in 1988, DINOSAUR JR previewed their third album by dropping what remains the band’s best and most defining track, not to mention one of the most sonically explosive guitar workouts ever with the ‘Freak Scene’ single. The album, ‘Bug’, without question, influenced the whole Grunge movement that followed a few years later and with vocalist/ guitarist J. Mascis’ drawled, somnolent vocals, proved to be the best thing that came out of the overrated and short-lived (thankfully) Slacker scene. Whatever it influenced or defined, one thing is unmistakable - ‘Bug’ is a towering slice of aural potency that comes on with the mind-bending collision of Neil Young playing on a Hardcore record after listening to advice from Husker Du.
This DVD, filmed live at DC’s 9.30 Club, sees the original DINOSAUR JR line-up get back together to play the album in its entirety while being filmed by six fans who won a YouTube competition to film and interview the band.
The DVD starts with the legends that are Mike Watt and Keith Morris (OFF actually supported at the gig) espousing about the band, the original winning ‘fan’ YouTube entries and a few photo-ops. Under the direction of Dave Markey (the fella responsible for the The Year Punk Broke movie), it’s all spliced together in an artistic but focused way.
Once it’s showtime, the band amble on stage without any intro before J rings out those ‘Freak Scene’ chords with stunning effect. The song still has an absolutely sublime power and beauty, even 25 years since it was first recorded. Highlights from there include ‘No Bones’ that sounds gigantic and ominous - especially when considering the Grunge boom that followed a few years after the original album, ‘Let It Ride’ sees Mascis in particularly laconic and ambivalent tone of voice for possibly the Punkiest song on the album while an encore of ‘Raisins’ sees J’s guitar bristling with a colossal power - but with three Marshall stacks circling J, it should be a massive sound. Have to say though, I did find the over-reliance on a wah-wah pedal to be a bit annoying in places (‘Yeah We Know’ in particular).
Extras come in the form of an on-stage, pre-show interview with the band and Henry Rollins. Hank asks some good questions but the band don’t respond as well as hoped (J especially is totally soporific). Possibly, given Rollins did this at each date on the tour that some of the questions lost some spontaneity... No matter, when some dude in the crowd shouts over Rollins, "Play the hits," Hank’s reply is a gem - very subtle but a massive heckler-stopper! There are also the ‘fans’ interviews some of which are a bit gushing but Lou Barlow does make them interesting. Then there are a couple of additional songs - ‘In A Jar’ and ‘The Wagon’ - both of which are stunning with some almost transcendental playing between Lou and J. Rollins gives us a brief history lesson on the 9.30 Club and finally there’s an interview with J from Dave Markey.
This is a really satisfying reappraisal of a great album and with the mass of extras makes an essential package. (18.07.12)

D.O.A - To Hell ‘n’ Back {Sudden Death} A live DVD culled from four Canadian gigs from these Canuck Punk pioneers. Three of the gigs were filmed in 2011 with the final one in 2013, providing a great snap-shot of the band as it comes to the end of its tenure.
The first gig is in Vancouver and features eight songs. It’s pretty solid with a vaguely Rock ‘n’ Roll yet sneering ‘2+2’ while ‘Fucked Up Ronnie’ gets a neat name change to ‘...Stephen’ in honour of the Canadian Premier, Stephen Harper.
The second gig is probably the pick of them all. Recorded in Calgary, the band crank out the sound from a small stage just above floor level to an up-close and rabid crowd. The sound is better, the shots are clearer and when they launch into a riotous ‘Class War’ or an insane ‘Prisoner’, I thought for a few minutes about moving there.
The following gig at Canmore was a let down, especially sandwiched between that raging Calgary show and the final gig here which goes back to Vancouver and is the sole 2013 gig. This is by far the most professionally recorded of the gigs with big lights and clear sound. There are 13 tracks from this show with highlights being ‘Liar For Hire’ in which Keithley does a most impressive bellow and some blitzkrieg-inducing drumming on ‘America The Beautiful’. The last five songs here include additional guitarist, Ford Pier, and the difference is immediate - the sound is fuller, there’s more visual dynamics and the version of ‘War’ is raucous!
For extras you get some interviews while the band records ‘We Occupy’ and some other, rather throwaway interview snippets. This also includes a CD of the band’s 2012 album ‘We Come In Peace’ (which includes ‘We Occupy’) and a small insert giving credits from the gigs.
You get a total of 30 D.O.A classics and anyone who has seen the band on a number of occasions over the course of several years (and decades!) will testify that this is a band that has always delivered live. That alone will make this a worthy purchase for any ardent fan, but the fact is that Calgary gig could match any performance from the band’s past and might even give the classic Shithead/ Gregg/ Rampage/ Biscuits line-up a run for its money.
Without a doubt, this is one of the few bands that can be considered a genuine legend and this, being filmed entirely in Canada, has a certain intimacy that would’ve been lost had the gigs been filmed elsewhere. (07.09.14)

Hit HERE for material reviewed prior to 2012 including:
D.O.A.