Alice Cooper – Live In Montreux 2005

Unbelievably, Alice Cooper has been shocking the world with his outlandish rock and roll shenanigans for the past 35 years and there are still no signs of him letting up. At a staggering 58 years old, and affectionately known as the granddaddy of shock rock, Alice Cooper was creating scandal and outrage long before Marylin Manson could say ‘eyeliner’.

Still ever the showman, in this DVD filmed at the Montreux Festival in 2005, with no sign of a zimmerframe anywhere, he continues to provide one of the most entertaining, tongue in cheek stage shows around. Although scaled down somewhat for this recorded performance in Montreux’s Stravinski auditorium which only holds around 3000 people, it’s still clear that Alice is having a ball.

Guillotines, coffins, lances and fake money from the bank of Alice is all in a days work, and with Alice’s daughter playing the part of dopey media doll Paris Hilton in ‘Wish I Were Born In Beverly Hills’ it’s a characteristic Cooper show for sure.

With classics like ‘Poison’, ‘School’s Out’ and ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ teamed with newer tracks like ‘Dirty Diamonds’ Alice is still on top form and this DVD and bonus CD is a worthy addition to any collection.

Jane Hawkes

Gorillaz – Demon Days Live

When Damon Albarn’s animated group blew everyone away with their last album Demon Days, it didn’t seem possible that people would have the chance to hear the record live. However, Gorillaz managed to get almost every performer on the album to come together for five nights in Manchester, and put on a show that was recorded in its entirety for this DVD.

Instead of seeing the cartoon band playing live, as had been done in short blasts for MTV awards and the like, the stage was full of musicians, from guitars and drums, to a line of vocalists and a full orchestra of strings. The musicians were all cast in shadow, but regardless the silhouette of Damon Albarn as the intro started garnered huge applause.

There were many highlights in the set, but in particular the appearance of a kid’s choir for the single Dirty Harry and the emergence of a beaming Booty Brown to join them, Ike Turner coming out looking more dapper than ever before and belting out a jazzy piano solo and finally the encore which signalled the emergence of the humble Albarn into the light, alongside a beautiful Chinese zither backing before he introduced each section of the stage.

With brilliant music, a constantly changing vocal line up on stage and amazing graphics playing on a giant screen at the back of the stage, this wasn’t just a concert. It was a visual and sonic extravaganza, and this DVD captures it in all its glory. It can’t touch the real thing, obviously, but it’s as close to it as you can possible get. After watching this, you’ll definitely be part of Feel Good Inc!

Abjekt

Dig!

[Tartan Video]

When a documentary is made from seven years of filming, you know that you’re in for a lot of action, and Dig! certainly doesn’t deviate from that. The documentary charts the fortunes of two groups, The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, both of whom start off as friends, especially the two front men, Courtney Taylor-Taylor [Dandys] and Anton Newcombe [BJM].

The two groups both start off the journey as small groups on the West Coast of the States, but soon after the start of the documentary, the road splits and takes the groups away from each other, with the Dandys gaining a deal with Capitol and BJM starting as they meant to go on by ruining their own label showcase.

From the very beginning, label execs and journalists are throwing superlatives the way of Anton, calling him a genius and saying he could well be the most important person in music at the time, but Anton throughout the film only cares about Anton. It’s not a case of the frontman spiralling downwards, because even at the very beginning he’s a larger than life madman. As they tour, Anton beats up various bandmates, fires entire line ups and even tries to sabotage the Dandy’s concerts.

The path of the Dandy Warhols is a tale of a mix between success and let downs. Whilst they do gain a deal and have a lot of money thrown at them for videos, Anton’s speech about not wanting to be taken for a ride by major labels is true as the Dandys receive very little support or exposure as the film goes on. However, eventually the use of one of their tracks on mobile advert sees them break it big in Europe.

But it is the constant whirlwind of Anton’s life that stays as the basis of this documentary. Clearly so into his music that nothing else matters, Anton can’t stay off the drugs or the violence on stage and the documentary ends with him kicking a fan in the head, much to the surprise of everyone in the room and no doubt those watching the DVD. It clocks in at under at just under 2 hours but it flies by, and this is definitely a must see DVD, regardless of whether you like, or even know, either band.

Abjekt

Bad Religion DVD

‘Live At The Palladium’
(Epitaph)

If you have a strong interest in punk or, indeed, skate culture, then you probably have at least a rough idea of who Bad Religion are and what they sound like. For the uninitiated, these Californian punk veterans originally formed in the early Eighties, and have since influenced countless other bands; not just through their own music, but also through Epitaph Records, the now hugely successful record label started by band founder and guitarist Brett Gurewitz.

Now celebrating 25 years together as a band, Greg Graffin et al have finally seen fit to release a live DVD, and have made a pretty impressive job of it too. Filmed at a near-hometown show at the Hollywood Palladium last year, it features a mammoth 31-song set list, with a choice of songs to keep just about any Bad Religion fan happy (Generator’, ‘We’re Only Gonna Die’, ‘Atomic Garden’ they’re all here). Plus, for non-Californian fans, there’s the added bonus of seeing the band playing live with Gurewitz (who rejoined the band in 2001 on a recording – but not touring – basis).

However, the main appeal of ‘Live At The Palladium’ lies in the various between-song interviews with the band and their fans, which give an interesting (and often entertaining) insight into the genesis of Bad Religion, their history, their influences and various other aspects of the band. Amongst the fans interviewed are a couple of the guys from Rise Against, one of the many latter-day punk bands who have taken inspiration from Bad Religion and their legacy. There’s also an’Extras’ section featuring some amusing television footage of the band from the early Eighties, as well as a selection of promo videos and photos.

Overall, this DVD is an excellent document of a band who not only boast an impressive back catalogue, but have also recently produced some of the best music of their career. 25 years and still going strong – you can put your faith in this Bad Religion.

Alex Gosman

The Casualties DVD

‘Can’t Stop Us (Mexico/Japan)’
(Side One Dummy)

If there’s one thing that ‘Can’t Stop Us’ proves, it’s that punk rock is truly a global phenomenon; uniting like-minded people in areas where you might least expect the genre’s influence to exist. This DVD is essentially a two-part documentary, featuring plenty of live Casualties footage, which follows the band on extensive tours of Mexico and Japan.The band play strictly old-school street punk in an Exploited/GBH vein, and unsurprisingly incite moshpit chaos at every show. It all sounds pretty repetitive after a while, though, and the quality of sound is varied, at best. The band/crowd interaction is far more interesting; especially in Mexico, where vocalist Jorge – a son of Hispanic immigrants – is able to sing and speak to the band’s fans in their native tongue. Don’t worry, folks, there are English subtitles included.

Elsewhere, there’s plenty of amusing tour bus footage; rioting fans in Mexico City; interviews with excited Mexican and Japanese punks; and a particularly touching scene where Casualties bassist Rick rescues a kitten trapped on a high roof. Aw, bless.

‘Can’t Stop Us’ is only truly essential for Casualties fans, but it’s well worth a look if you generally like UK82 style punk, or if you’re simply curious about how punk culture manifests itself in Hispanic or Asian territories.

For all your Casualties news and updates, check out www.thecasualties.net

Alex Gosman

Mike Relm – Suit Yourself

Mike Relm is a master of his craft, there is absolutely no doubt about that at all. The turntable king, who likes to be seen as an all round technician, rather than just a turntablist, has wowed many fans over the years with his original mixing, scratching and visual work at his live shows. And with the release of this DVD, you can see exactly what it is that makes Relm so popular.

Filmed during his support slot on Gift Of Gab’s tour for 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up tour in 2004, this DVD basically gives you what you want to see. It takes clips from 3 or 4 different shows on the tour, showcasing his scratching skills, his ability to get the crowd singing a John Lennon song, his beat juggling and all sorts of other amazing techniques. You even get some Gift Of Gab footage and a clip of Relm teaching you how to do up a tie.

In amongst the live footage are short interviews with the man himself, explaining why he loves what he does, how he got into the art and why he plays a track from Snoopy for the crowd. He comes across as the most down to earth guy around, happy to be able to do what he does and happy that people dig his work.

The bonus material is more showcasing of his amazing talents as he travelled the world with Money Mark and D-Sharp, going from Japan to Australia and stopping off in Europe on the way.

If you like turntablism and you want to see one of the best live DJs around, then Suit Yourself is definitely a DVD for you. It’s action packed, it has great music and above all, its fun.

All the info can be found at: www.mikerelm.com

Abjekt

Bouncing Souls DVD

Live At The Glasshouse
(Kung Fu DVD)

It seems unfair that over the course of their fifteen-plus year existence, the Bouncing Souls haven’t reaped the rewards afforded to so many inferior bands of their genre. To label the ‘Souls a pop-punk band would only tell half the story, as their intelligent (but often humorous) lyrics and streetwise, hardcore edge have always helped them stand out from their so-called peers.

They’re also a superb live band, and Live At The Glasshouse(filmed in February 2005) is proof enough of this; having been filmed in a small, sweaty sold out club as the band ripped through an absolute wet-dream of a set-list. As with previous Kung Fu The Show Must Go Off! releases, the filming and sound quality is almost faultless. There are plenty of comedy
moments too; most notably the fluffed intros to Say Anything and Kate Is Great, as well as the entertaining between-song banter.

There are also a few extras, including a commentary of the show (involving
plenty of jokes at the expense of non-present drummer Michael McDermott);
footage of the Souls rehearsing, visiting friends and various other
touring-related activities; weblinks, and various other bits and bobs

Not bad for four guys from New Jersey who’ve paid their dues and done things
in true DIY spirit, Live At The Glasshouse may not be half as much fun as
seeing the band in the flesh, but will keep most Bouncing Souls fans happy
between tours. Newcomers would be better off watching the Do You Remember?
DVD first, but should still check this out too.

4/5
Alex Gosman

Scribble Jam DVD

Scribble Jam – 2005 US Tour

www.scribblemagazine.com

Every year, the cream of the US underground hip hop scene make a pilgrimage to the holiest of holy places – Cincinnati, Ohio. Scribble Magazine puts on Scribble Jam every year there, a coming together of the 5 elements, with graf expos, MC, DJ, Beatbox and Breaking battles, plus the biggest names in the underground appearing live on stage. Previous Scribble Jam DVDs have been excellent, showing the best of the battles, 15 minute features showcasing the best of the graffiti and also footage of the live sets of artists such as Atmosphere, MF Doom, Eyedea & Abilities, RJD2, Blueprint, Brother Ali and many more.

Last year however, instead of just holding the big event itself, a 13 date tour of America was put on, with Mr Dibbs, Glue and Blueprint travelling the length of the States to garner interest in the event and also to hold preliminary battles for spots in the main diss-off at Scribble.

Whilst this DVD does have a tour diary featuring the artists who performed, it comes in at only a little over 30 minutes, which doesn’t really give much depth to the interviews and clips are at a premium. This is a shame because what is there is great, some funny anecdotes and some good live cuts, but it just isn’t long enough.

The bonus section, which is usually live footage from the event is this time set out as a map of America, with each section from a particular date on the tour. Again, the unfortunate thing is that the footage isn’t of any of the artists, but the best bits of the battles, some of which are cringe-worthy. There are some great lines in there, but you have to dig around to see them, and it just seems a bit of an effort.

Of course, it is a different type of Scribble Jam DVD because it is of the tour and not the main event itself but I still feel it comes in a little lightweight, and would have benefited from a longer set of answers from Dibbs, Glue and Print and more live footage of them, rather than the amateur MCs. Still, you do get a free CD, which includes tracks from Listener, Mac Lethal, Glue and Abjekt favourites Doomtree and that can’t be a bad thing now can it?

Abjekt

Definitive Jux Records DVD

Little Movies, Big Noises

www.definitivejux.net

Definitive Jux have long since been the blueprint for up and coming indy hip hop labels after their unbridled success in the last 5 years or so, bringing forward artists such as Aesop Rock, RJD2, Mr Lif and Murs. As well as being innovative musically over this period of time, they have always prided themselves on pushing the envelope visually as well, as shown in their wide range of videos.

This DVD collects the best of these videos and puts them all onto one disc, allowing you to view the no boundaries approach they take. From El-P’s orange gun toting “Deep Space 9MM” through Mr Lif’s hatred of the 9-5 workplace in “Live From The Plantation“, RJD2’s Darkman-esque “The Horror” and Murs’ orgy filled “Risky Business” all the way to the MTV nominated animated “Fast Cars” from Aesop Rock, you’ll see why Def Jux is one of the major players in sound and sight in the underground.

As if this collection wasn’t enough however, a second disc comes with the package and this is what makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest of the DVDs on the stands. The second disc contains multi-track sessions of 4 songs [El-P, Mr Lif, RJD2 and Cage] which, using the Umixit technology on the disc, allows you to remix, re-record and manipulate each of the 4 tracks. So if you want more bass in the place, if you want a crunching guitar over the beat or even if you want to show the world why you’re the best bedroom rapper out there, you can do it all on this disc.

It’s innovative, its great to watch and listen to, but above anything else, its fun. Cop this DVD quicktime!

Sam Hesketh

Rock and Metal DVD’s

What DVD’s will you be rocking out to this Xmas?

That’s right kiddies, it’s that time of the year again. A time when a fat fucker in a red suit comes down your chimney, steals all your presents and drinks your milk before pissing off through the front door. What’s that you say? That’s not how it goes? Then just who the hell was the guy I stumbled upon last year?!

It’s been quite the slow season for top quality hard rock and heavy metal releases as of late, so I thought we’d switch things up a bit this month with all the latest Music DVD’s worthy of a place in that ample stocking of yours – you tubby bitch.

Kicking things off with a hefty wallop this month was Bay Area bruisers Machine Head with their new feature length ‘Elegies‘. Undoubtedly one of the genre’s finest and most fearsome live acts on their day, it’s a suitably riff-tastic and mosh-worthy affair that will leave even your granny wanting more (like she doesn’t crave it enough already, baby).

Label mates and fellow modern day titans Killswitch Engage also throw their rather camp hats into the ring with their debut release ‘Set This World Ablaze‘. Undoubtedly the single biggest success story of the “New Wave” thrash movement thus far, it contains not only a blistering set featuring all of the band’s classic cuts, but also an in depth look back over their career thus far – covering everything from the early days spent toiling in the Massachusetts underground, right up until their stint as second stage headliners on this year’s Ozzfest.

Those of you who are familiar with us here at Crossfire know by now that there’s a little saying around these parts, and that’s that nobody does it quite like the oldies where good old fashioned rocking goes. As if our word wasn’t enough, there’s a host of mullet-sporting treasures straight from the 80’s thrash metal scene just waiting to be lapped up. While Brazilian revolutionaries Sepultura present their double-disc treat ‘Live In Sao Paulo‘, the legendary Testament make a more than welcome return with the punishing experience that is ‘Live In London‘. If you were fortunate enough to catch Skolnick and co on their brief yet memorably reunion tour all those months ago, then you’ll know how electric North London was that evening. If not, then you do indeed suck a huge amount of ass; but buy this stripped down yet satisfying slab of thrash metal madness and you may just redeem yourself.

Also coming out of the woodwork was underground heroes S.O.D. with their DIY presentation ‘20 Years of Dysfunction‘. Consisting of live performance footage and on the road hysterics shot almost entirely by loyal followers, it’s a shining example of how things should be done – by the fans; FOR the fans.

Of course, we don’t always want a taxing full-length to feast our demanding eyes and ears on. Sometimes it’s nice to stick on a good old compilation to cater for all your hard rocking needs, and what better releases to slam down to than Century Media’s ‘Visual Rebellion 3‘ and the official live experience of the hugely successful Taste of Chaos Tour.As the former thoroughly assaults the senses with a barrage of the biggest and best videos from the biggest and best bands the label has to offer (Shadows Fall, God Forbid, and The Haunted to name but a few), the latter offers viewers a chance to feast their eyes upon some of the most devastating and electrifying performances from the US leg of the tour in 2005, featuring select cuts from both established headliners and upcoming opening acts alike.

There you have it boys and girls, another essential shopping list for you to pass on to mummy in time for the Christmas rush. If you think you can handle this much manly metal mayhem, that is. Yeah, I know, sounds kind of sexist if I put it like that, but do I give a fuck? Well, I won’t answer that, but let’s just say the answer is similar to that of ‘am I able to solve a rubex cube with my feet?‘.

Merry Xmas, i hope this will help you find rock in your TV this Xmas…

Ryan Bird