Live! Tonight! Sold Out!!
There is no possible way that Kurt “I just want to play rhythm guitar in a Pixies cover band” Cobain could have imagined the impact Nirvana’s music would have on our culture (i.e. I saw a ten-year old dressed as him for Halloween). It may have been this fleeting “fifteen minutes” notion that inspired him to piece together this collection (originally released on VHS in 1994). The documentary serves as the ultimate tributary scrapbook of Nirvana’s world tour during 1991-92, diverse oodles of press and interview snippets and an extraordinary amount of live clips from pre-In Utero days all laid together in a non-linear story of praise and criticism of the band. Rather than a set narrator, the message is told via the selected morsels in this collage; MTV lays first claims on the band, Kurt Loder reporting on a new-fangled group named Nirvana while Ricky Rachtman scratches his head over Cobain’s gown as a clothing choice for his visit to the Headbanger’s Ball studio; UK talk show hosts make jabs at the band’s volume and ignorance of the scheduled song they were slotted to play; Dave Grohl ponders why the hell “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is so popular (cue up clips of intentional musical train-wrecks while performing said tune); the band groans over the music-making machine, something gives members of bands such as Extreme a platform to be prima donnas; they botch songs in front of 30,000 fans and a tiara-clad Cobain crawls offstage in a stupor. Fascinating, sad, nostalgic, trashy and informative, this celebration is a terrific reprise of a band that – despite their resistance – steered the course of pop music, told in a way that both diehards and novices will appreciate. – Dave Madden
Look At All The Love We Found
A Live Tribute to Sublime
Alright, all you Sublime fans, here's your chance for some “new material.” Well, old songs performed by different artists such as Unwritten Law, The Ziggens, Fishbone, Bargain Music and many others. My favorite set was given by Fishbone who performed “Date Rape”. They embody the phrase “good crazy.” Great energy, great presence and a lot of it! My least favorite was given by The Ziggens playing “Paddle Out.” There's just no heart in their performance—which is a shame because that song is one of my heartfelt favorites from Sublime. But not to fear—commentary is here! It was awesome to hear from artists (ranging from the worlds of hip-hop to alternative rock) how Bradly Nowell and the boys from Sublime influenced the music scene and were able to unite colliding cultures. Although some of the performances are lacking, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this DVD will go to the MusiCares fund (www.musicares.com). So, at least some of the 20 or so bucks you'll spend on this little piece of memorabilia will go to a good cause. If you're at all like me, you'll enjoy watching very different artists interpret Sublime's music in very different ways. – Sara Edge
Radiohead: OK Computer – A Classic Album Under Review
Ask most great artists to give you some insight into their work and what do you get? Crap. If anything at all, you get vague allusions and sporadic half-truths mingled with totally fabricated tales. Why? Because great artists either do not remember how they made their masterpiece or just don’t want to talk about it (they are too busy looking forward). This is why we have critics and art historians. While some of these (us) need a milestone hung around their necks, the group of gentlemen (yes, they are English) involved in this documentary are those guys you never see in the daytime because they’re sitting at a desk, fingers pressed to their headphones to ascertain things such as the exact words Robert Plant speaks on the barely audible tape-bleed at the end of “Misty Mountain Hop”. Ahem. After a brief introduction, the filmmakers break down each track of OK Computer with lots of live and video clips and, much like the 33 1/3rd series, MVD culls the experts on the subject of the band with plenty of commentary by several Radiohead scholars. Radio 1 contributor and Reviews Editor at Record Collector Jake Kennedy is the master of quotes, dropping quips of “I think he (Thom) ran over a pheasant that day” to explain the nature of a certain line in “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “it felt like the teacher had gone away” when discussing the freedom the band felt with producer Nigel Godrich in the studio; prolific and diverse contributor (Public Enemy to Big Black, The Guardian to Spin to The Wire) David Stubbs gushes like a grinning school boy over the innovative use of lowercase letters on the cover art and Jonny Greenwood’s Sun Ra influence on the album; sitting at a piano, Oxford music Department Head and musicologist Dai Griffiths (also the author of 33 1/2rd’s Radiohead’s OK Computer) dissects the tri-fold “epic” nature of “Paranoid Android” and reveals the harmonic parallel of the chorus of “Karma Police” to The Beatles’ “Sexy Sadie”, eagerly plunking out chords to punctuate his point. Though short on extras, the DVD does contain “The Hardest Interactive Radiohead Quiz in the World Ever” to test your abilities (I scored a 15 out of 25). All of this makes for a very well-made documentary with the right mix of academic criticism, journalistic banter and cool performances, though produced for serious fans (duh, why else would you buy this?) By nerds, for nerds. – Dave Madden