TV Party - T

THIN LIZZY - Live In Concert 1983 {XXL Media} Let’s clear up one big misconception: THIN LIZZY was never a ‘Heavy Metal’ band. Even by the time this live concert was filmed, when the arrival of John Sykes and his million-notes-a-second, cold, tuneless guitar-soloing signalled a harder, heavier direction, the band still never breached the world of Saxon and Iron Maiden pomposity. In Phil Lynott, they had an emotive, soulful vocalist and songwriter who, in the best of Irish traditions, told a story with a hint of romanticism - he was also a true blooded Rock ‘n’ Roller. THIN LIZZY was also the first band I ever saw - on this very tour in fact in Ipswich.
It’s a shame then, that this DVD has seemingly been thrown together in a most haphazard way. Nowhere on the cover are we told where it was recorded or what musicians are featured. Even worse, the actual DVD is devoid of any credits - be it performance, venue, songwriters or performers - let alone acknowledging whoever filmed or edited the footage. Not that they should mind as the editing is pretty appalling - much of Lynott’s between-song banter has been edited out, unbalanced songs fade out before they end, often the camera freezes (especially where drummer Brian Downey is concerned) before cutting to another camera. In many ways it resembles a bootleg - only difference is most bootlegs appear to have had a lot more time invested in them than this.
Thankfully the camera work is good and focused, filmed on multiple cameras.
As for the performance, well, it was actually filmed in Dublin, which was discovered thanks to a few of the remaining bits of Lynott banter that evaded the cutting room floor. It’s probably not vintage LIZZY - opener ‘Thunder And Lightning’ sees Lynott muddled; not quite delivering the rapid-fire vocal with his usual aplomb and John Sykes is given far too much room to be the Eddie Van Halen-wannabe axe-hero. On the plus side, ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ is classic LIZZY - rocking, melodic, swaggering. ‘Emerald’ is always a highlight - surely one of the best Hard Rock songs ever and the set ends with the classic ‘Whiskey In The Jar’. There are some glaring omissions from the set - ‘Boys Are Back In Town’, ‘Jailbreak’, ‘Wild One’, ‘Killer On The Loose’, ‘Waiting For An Alibi’... The list goes on.
Even the packaging is a little bit deceiving, listing 11 songs when in reality ‘Rosalie’ has a brief (as in less that 90 seconds!) rendition of ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ and ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ incorporated into it as a medley.
Unsurprisingly, when there are no credits, the possibility of ‘extras’ is less than zero. So, no surprises here!
Beyond the music itself, there’s little to recommend here; not only is it a shame but an insult too as this was the last tour the band did before Lynott’s death - surely something more respectful and fitting of the band’s stature is deserved rather than this 50 minute cash-in? (12.08.11)   

TSOL - Live From O.C. {MVD/ LA Access} Recorded on 23 March 1991 at the UCI campus in Orange County, this DVD captures one of the early reformation shows of the original line-up of the legend that is TSOL. It’s made even more poignant by the fact that drummer, Todd Barnes (with whom there is a small interview right at the start of the DVD), would pass on a mere eight years later. And as you would expect with anything involving a personality as volatile as Jack Grisham’s, this makes for excellent viewing.
Jack announces his arrival by bouncing one of his road crew off the mic as he grooves through ‘Super Funky Love’. Jack’s also in drag, looking not dissimilar to the scariest, toughest hooker you are ever likely to see. As he bounces his roadie off the mic, he grabs the band by the balls and blares into a tempestuous take on ‘Superficial Love’. From there, Jack takes over by goading the crowd to invade the stage before ‘Sounds Of Laughter’, tells the security to, "Go take a coke outside" before ‘I’m Tired’ and, shockingly, requests "Two 14-yr-old girls with budding young nipples" to join him on stage. I don’t think the girl who gets on stage and gets her tits sucked by Jack is as young as 14, but I don’t think Jack was too concerned! Musically the band is cutting without being clinically precise. The aforementioned ‘I’m Tired’ is violently belligerent, ‘Property Is Theft’ comes over turbo-charged while ‘Abolish Government’ is as ragged and bitter as you can imagine. This is all shot on a single camera too, and documents a band which has a confidence few can match. Given the band’s name had been bastardised by some poodle-haired pompous rock dorks, there is the distinct sensation that this version of TSOL - the real TSOL - are out to make a point. And hell - do they!
Extras come in the form of another live show, this time recorded in a small club in 2007 in front of what appears to be an incredibly nonplussed crowd. This time Jack is dressed in a dinner jacket and long skirt. He’s not quite as verbose as on the main show, but he does deliver the killer line of, "Put on the strobe light! There’s nothing like a strobe light to come up with a good injury!" Musically the band is just as impressive and, if anything, this show really highlights the ability of guitarist Ron Emory - particularly on those crunching opening chords of ‘Sounds Of Laughter’. It’s a good bonus clip, lasting 30 minutes and a neat parallel to the previous show.
The final extra is of some skate boarding footage. Kinda went over my head really. I think it was supposed to display Old Skool Vs New Skool styles. I didn’t notice any difference.
This is great viewing for fans new and old. It’s hard to imagine anyone with affiliations to Punk Rock not enjoying the antics of Jack Grisham or the powerhouse that is the band. No matter your opinion, this captures a part of Punk Rock history with the initial reformation of the original TSOL - you won’t be able to see it again. (02.07.09)

TV SMITH AND THE BORED TEENAGERS - Crossing The Red Sea Live At The 100 Club {WDF} Filmed in April 2007 to celebrate 30 years since the original, classic ADVERTS album was released, this one-off show sees ADVERTS mentor TV SMITH backed by Spanish band, LOS QUATTROS. It’s recorded at the old Punk stamping ground of The 100 Club, filmed on at least four cameras, and coincides with TV’s 51st birthday. I shouldn’t need to tell you that ‘Crossing...’ stands as one of the finest UK Punk albums ever. It’s an intelligent album that bristles with energy and anger and, most importantly, classic songs that sound as vital today as they did in 1977.
Of course, the show starts as the album does with ‘One Chord Wonders’. Although TV now has a crop of grey hair that would not look out of place in any Conservative Club, he retains his malicious snarl and it is more than evident as the song kicks in. Gotta say, it’s maybe the one weak song of the whole show as the band don’t quite hit the mark. For whatever reason, the song sounds a little forced. The song ends with a wry, knowing smile from TV. Then there’s no holding back.
Each successive song is executed with passion and attitude - fitting for songs of such classic stature. ‘New Church’ is resplendent, laced with a violent, treacherous urgency; the opening of ‘Bombsite Boy’ is extended building tension before the crescendo of the song is delivered in nothing short of incendiary style while album closer ‘Great British Mistake’ is simply explosive and remains the highlight of this show as it is on the original album. You then get five encores of b-sides and non-album tracks with ‘We Who Wait’ being sublime - the song always had enough quality to have fitted on the original album instead of reserved as a humble b-side. Of course, ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ is a crowd pleaser while the inclusion of ‘Good Times Are Back’ from TV’s solo career is the perfect closer as it fits, both sonically and lyrically, with ‘Crossing...’ but rings with a 21st Century relevance. Throughout the show, TV says little between songs but what is said is pointed, effective and, ultimately, genuine.
Extras come in the form of an interview with QUATTROS bassist Jonathan Vidal and a solo TV show recorded at The Bull and Gate in 2006. The TV show is filmed on a single camera and features a couple of ADVERTS songs but the real highlight is ‘Not In My Name’ that sees TV angry and spitting bile with a vehemence that many of today’s Punk Rock ‘stars’ can but dream of.
It really is a mark of the original album that the songs still sound incredibly fresh and, tragically, it’s a black mark on the world at large that the lyrics are still so relevant. It’s an accreditation of TV as a musician also to see him reveling in the power of these songs; many may have felt inhibited due to the gravity these songs have grown to possess during the last 30 years, or over acted the whole thing to come on like a caricature of his former self (ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?) - but no. Tim treats these songs - HIS songs - with dignity and presides over them with all the vivacity he no doubt did when he had no time to be 21. Classic stuff indeed. (06.11.09)

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