Review: Meat Beat Manifesto: Travelogue Live ’05

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Meat Beat Manifesto: Travelogue Live ’05
Producer Jack Dangers/Editor Ben Stokes

MVD Visual
Street: 11.21.06

Big-beat pioneers Meat Beat Manifesto and their eminent racks of electronics were in town last year. Did you sleep on it? Unfortunately, there is no way to properly replicate the once-in-a-blue-moon multimedia experience of the current MBM quartet (featuring spectacular live digital drummer Lynn Farmer) performing a heap of greatest hits alongside interactive video. But that didn’t stop MBM/Tino Corp. member and videographer extraordinaire Ben Stokes from doing his damnedest to put you in the middle of this hybrid of tour footage, sound-checks and anecdotal documentaries, all fused together with opulent 5.1 sound mixed by MBM overlord Jack Dangers. Stokes does an amazing job at making even equipment assembly seem interesting, “scratching” both video and audio, visually narrating the band’s energy and otherwise editing together montages via neato optical tricks and multiple angles. For example, we see shaky cameras and water bottles under the influence of MBM’s intense low-end frequencies; Dangers, just before taking the stage, introduces the film with a “Hello Cleveland!” which Stokes promptly rewinds to show how the hell they put the live show together; “The Light Incident” is a slow motion, zoomed-in-for-maximum-oh-no! account of a house light crashing onto Dangers’ laptop in Tuscon. However, the virtuosity of the edit doesn’t overshadow the point of Travelogue Live ’05: a fantastically talented and innovative group that puts on a stunning show. For the actual performances, Stokes is careful to show the right things at the right time, avoiding amateur, inexperienced errors of “guitarist is soloing, let’s show the singer instead” that you see in so many concert videos (cough cough Glastonbury 2003). Big league sound, professional footage, behind the scenes with your favorite band, ¬†this is the next best thing to being there. – Dave Madden