TV Party - H

HANOI ROCKS - The Nottingham Tapes {Cherry Red} The 80s Jettisoundz videos provided those who didn’t have access to endless shows with an opportunity to see some wild nights. They were usually filmed on several cameras but not always perfectly focused or even finding the camera’s subject. The sound was not always spot on either. But they did capture the atmosphere of a show better than any of today’s ultra-expensive digital cameras. This 1984 performance by Helsinki’s infamous HANOI ROCKS is possibly the perfect example of how good Jettisoundz videos were then everything was right.
HANOI ROCKS was the archetypal rock ‘n’ roll band incorporating the outrageous glam of singer Michael Monroe and some of the sleaziest, most pulsating, volatile guitar-driven cool ever. Andy McCoy is the definitive rock ‘n’ roll guitarist looking like a gunslinger in a Spaghetti Western, riffing like the bastard offspring of Keith Richards and never, ever over-indulging in the guitar solo. The band wore its collective influences on the sleeve with its NEW YORK DOLLS/ THUNDERS obsession but beefed up with IGGY AND THE STOOGES craziness, GUN CLUB cool, ROLLING STONES sus and the Punk spite of THE DAMNED and THE BOYS.
This one-hour show includes all of the band’s best moments - and captures the band on fire. ‘I Can’t Get It’ is wonderful strutting arrogance which segues effortlessly into the sound of a runaway train that is ‘Motorvatin’. ‘Don’t You Ever Leave Me’ is especially poignant because, not that anyone knew at the time of recording, within the year drummer Razzle would be dead thanks to a fuckhead outta Motley Crue and said fuckhead’s driving. ‘Tragedy’ is as reckless as anything you can imagine while the burn through THE STOOGES’ ‘1970’ is total adrenalin. ‘Taxi Driver’ steals the show with scary, screaming intensity. Finally, Razzle takes the mic to lead the band through THE RAMONES’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. The stage invasion is awesome - so many smiling faces - although the meathead bouncers ruin all the fun.
There are often comparisons between HANOI and those turds, Guns ‘n’ Roses. What a joke. While Axel plinked around on a piano during torturous ballads, Mike Monroe was blaring on a saxophone amidst the mayhem of ‘Malibu Beach’ and the sleaze of ‘Underwater World’.
As stated, Jettisoundz videos didn’t always get their cameras focused and that’s the case here - Monroe often disappears into darkness, hands and heads get in the way - but that is the DVD’s strength - it’s literally filmed from the show-goer’s perspective and includes all the sweat, intermittent views and feedback with it.
A great live DVD (although sadly no extras) featuring a great band in its prime - and one that brought back many memories for me.

HERESY - 1987 {Boss Tuneage} Recorded between January and May 1987, this takes me back to days of dreads, crust, sub-one minute songs, super-strength lager and intense, thrashy UKHC. Thankfully, HERESY was one of the best of the era. Filmed over four shows on hand-held video recorders with the minimal sound quality that was available to bands of the day, this is a relatively comprehensive testimony of what this influential UKHC band was about live.
The first three tracks, recorded at Amersfoort Holland are disappointing due to the lack of guitar sound. ‘Network Of Friends’ is impressive as the lack of guitar emphasizes the whirlwind drum action of Steve Charlesworth. The next show, filmed at a squat in Amsterdam, steps things up aurally with actual guitar sound and a formidably tight performance. ‘Trapped In A Scene’ is particularly blazing while vocalist, John March, is real chatty between songs. Action then moves to Belgium, recorded at a place called Parochiezaal in Scherpenheuvel. It’s filmed in the biggest hall of all these shows and features a sizable lighting rig and neat sound. We then head back to the Amsterdam squat for a sound check that allows for closer filming and greater sound clarity. Of all the shows on this DVD, what’s filmed at this squat is by far my favoured footage. The sound is good, the band is smoking and the crowd respond - unlike the final performance filmed, disappointingly, in the band’s home town of Nottingham UK. Apparently it was a show with CHUMBAWAMBA and CULTURE SHOCK (an excellent bill), staged at a neat pub-like venue called The Garage and while HERESY perform with a fire as blazing as a Molotov cocktail pitched into the British Gas supply, the crowd is nonplussed. Finally there is ‘Make The Connection’ filmed in the studio as the band recorded the ‘Thanks’ EP at Nottingham’s Radio Trent Studios.
Extras include incidental footage recorded on the road between shows be it on the minibus as the band leaves Dover or on the ferry heading for Europe. Van driver Trev seems to come in for lots of good-humoured abuse and general japery (well, that’s what van drivers on tour are for!). It’s all packaged with a booklet featuring liner notes from be-dreaded bassist Kalv and a few photos.
As well presented as this is, this is not the place to start for the HERESY-curious. But for fans or even the casual fan, this presents some familiar memoirs of a band that was one of the biggest and most cutting on the UKHC scene of the time.