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The ClashThe Clash
The Rise And The Fall Of The Clash (UDR)

Not, on the face of it, a new, or indeed untold, story (see Westway To The World), the USP of The Rise And The Fall Of The Clash is the unflinching, gimlet eyed stare into the nasty-minded, back stabbing, atmosphere fostered and encourage by manager Bernie Rhodes (and make no mistake Rhodes was both the reason for the Clash’s birth and the reason for their demise) with first hand information from friends, crew and people who were there including Mick Jones Terry Chimes, Pearl Harbour, Viv Albertine and later Clash members Vince White, Nick Sheppard and Pete Howard. So we follow the band from humble origins to huge American stadiums and then, via squabbling, in-fighting, drug problems and Rhodes Svengali style machinations, onto everything grinding to an ignominious halt. On the downside, like Westway To The World, there is precious little actual Clash music to be found here but as an addition and addendum to Westway... this fills in the gaps and properly rounds out the final two years in the desperately sad demise of a once great band who finally disintegrated in 1986 (after abysmal final album Cut The Crap), just ten years after their first gig supporting the Sex Pistols in Sheffield.
The Oracle

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Bad CompanyBad Company
The 40th Anniversary (UMC)

One of those bands that tend to get overlooked when classic rock outfits are wheeled back out for reappraisal so this celebration of a band who had more hits than you may remember (some of ‘em stone cold classics) is well overdue and all three of the surviving classic line-up talk extensively - sadly Boz Burrell died in 2006. Perhaps their affiliation with the biggest band on the planet at the time – they were managed by Led Zep’s Peter Grant and were on the rock behemoth’s Swan Song label – was a double edged sword as, whilst they became a proper stadium filling draw, in less than ten years they were burned out (all of them agree that the death of John Bonham in 1980 put the brakes on pretty much everything). The film also includes a hefty nod to previous outfits Free and Mott The Hoople, although the Brian Howe and Robert Hart versions of Bad Company don’t get a look in here (albiet they were nowhere near as successful), but given the length of time those Paul Rodgers-less Bad Company’s existed their elbowing from BC history is a bit disingenuous. All-in-all however this is an interesting look at a fine bands history (also comes in a Classic Rock collector’s pack with a 132-page magazine edition).
The Oracle

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The Dukes Of SeptemberThe Dukes Of September
Live At Lincoln Centre (429 Records)

The Dukes of September (great name) a resurrection of the New York Rock and Soul Revue which was originally active between 1989 and 1992 and featured the same three musicians (Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs), playing a combination of hits from their respective careers as well as a variety of covers. Reforming again in 2010 for touring purposes this show was, unsurprisingly, hugely popular with fans of a certain age and this live show recorded for television in 2012 positively drips with class as classic Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs numbers are effortlessly recreated by a seriously classy band. Okay, Fagen and McDonald have to stretch to hit those high notes nowadays (more noticeable in that warm hug of a McDonald voice), and occasionally the standard covers are a touch pedestrian but there are numerous highlights and ‘Kid Charlemagne’, ‘Peg’, ‘What A Fool Believes’, ‘Lowdown’ ‘Takin’ It To The Streets’ and ‘Lido Shuffle’ are an utter delight. Pity there’s no extras (a backstage interview or some audience reactions would have been welcome additions), but really only a churl would take issue with such a classy hit list of grown up pop.
Ray Harper

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US Festival’83 US Festival
(Wienerworld)

So the history bit; The US festival took place on Memorial Day Weekend 1983 and was the brainchild of Apple Computers Steve Wozniak (Jobs apparently thought the idea a duffer) featuring three days of new wave, heavy metal and MTV style pop acts and included performances from U2, the Clash, Judas Priest, Stevie Nicks, Scorpions, INXS, Men at Work, Stray Cats, The Beat and more. Given the amount of material that was filmed one must assume there is a vault full of it somewhere (which is almost certainly never going to see the light of day due to contracts with the bands management), what you do have is an overall summation of the whole event with interviews and performances cherry picked from across the three day show. What you also have is a real moment in time as 1983 was at the height of MTV fever so acts like Divinyls, Stray Cats, Men At Work, Berlin, Missing Words and Quarterflash were certainly booked due to heavy MTV rotation (and lordy is there a lot of primary colours, spiked hair and trousers gathered at the ankle on show), that said Judas Priest, U2, The Beat, The Clash – featuring Mick Jones last live performance - and (oddly enough) The Scorpions all deliver quality moments.
The Oracle

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MorrisseyMorrissey
25 Live
(Eagle Rock)

Quite possibly the most truculent and impossible to deal with person in a business positively littered with ‘difficult buggers’, Morrissey nonetheless inspires fiercely partisan loyalty in his audience as this concert film, marking 25 years into a stop/start solo career, proves (tickets to the concert in the 1,800-seater School Auditorium apparently sold out in 12 seconds). How do we know just how much Morrissey’s fans love him? Well he asks them of course, several times in fact, and, surprise surprise, the response is gushing, star-struck and bloody embarrassing. Which is a pity as stripped of these awkward moments of high self regard this is a genuinely excellent concert with material cherry-picked from throughout his career (and yes that does include Smiths songs, hey if Johnny Marr can do it). Add this to 2004’s Who Put The 'M' In Manchester? DVD and you have pretty much all the live Morrissey you will need, and for once the extras are also worthwhile with four new songs recorded with Tony Visconti and some interesting behind the scenes stuff, so one for fans and interested parties alike, just hover over the fast forward button between songs.
The Oracle

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The Stuart Hall ProjectThe Stuart Hall Project
(BFI)

If you’re thinking Stuart who? The short answer is a Jamaican born cultural theorist and sociologist who has lived and worked in the UK since 1951 and who was one of the founding figures of the school of thought that is now known as British Cultural Studies. The rather less dull answer is an interesting, thought-provoking man whose life (thus far), is neatly summed up here by documentarian John Akomfrah who edits together a montage of existing documentary footage and Hall's own words and thoughts from the last 40 - 50 years creating fascinating viewing as we watch the political and cultural landscapes change over the decades. Once again the extra draw for TM readers is the accompanying soundtrack, in this instance the music of Miles Davis, indeed Davis music is pretty integral to the film with Hall insisting that ‘When I was about 19 or 20 Miles Davis put his finger on my soul, the various moods [matching] the evolution of my own feelings’. Of course whether you like this film or not will depend very much on your political bent (so to speak), but left leaning jazz buffs (and sociology students) will certain find much to clutch warmly to their collective bosoms.
Paul Riley

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Gene ClarkGene Clark
The Byrd Who Flew Alone
(Four Sun Productions)

Go on, be honest, have you even heard of Gene Clark? You could be forgiven for drawing a blank as the Byrds were never as big on this side of the Atlantic as they were in the US and Gene Clark’s tenure with the band was limited to the first two years – albeit the most important two years - of their existence (a three week visit in 1967 and brief reconciliation in 1973 aside), and it was in these early stages of the band’s career that Clark would prove his prowess as a songwriter providing much of the original material on the first three albums before going on to pepper his four, exceptionally good, solo albums with a great deal more of the same. Sadly these solo albums made far less impact than they should have due to Clark’s self-destructive behavior and his unwillingness to tour in support of them (he hated flying, in fact his departure from the Byrds was precipitated by a panic attack on a plane bound for New York and Roger McGuinn telling him, "If you can't fly, you can't be a Byrd”), all of which makes for a genuinely fascinating story which is beautifully told here. Really, watch this, you won’t be disappointed.
The Oracle

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And The Beat Goes On: IbizaAnd The Beat Goes On: Ibiza
(Wienerworld)

Not perhaps a name that immediately springs to mind for presenting a documentary about dance music’s premier destination but Jimi Mistry (star of such films as East Is East, The Guru, Blood Diamond and of course Dr Fred Fonseca in EastEnders), but long before he was a film star Jimi was a music fan and in the late '80s he discovered rave music (and can now regularly be found dj-ing at house nights) so not such a strange choice after all. Teaming up with director Steve Jaggi Mistry goes in search of the heart of Ibiza from the huge super clubs like Pacha to the more hippy dippy, dreadlocked side of the island and if this viewer remains convinced that well heeled people experiencing the deep spiritual side of life at a drum party on the beach or paying £50.00 plus to get into Space, Manumission or Pacha in the hope of glimpsing Kate Moss is about as far removed from dancing all night under the stars with a bottle of water as it's possible to get, it is nonetheless an engaging, enjoyable film which has the occasional flash of clarity (producer Lenny Ibizarre talks the most sense here) and re-unites the four DJs credited with exporting the Balearic sound to England - Paul Oakenfold, Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling and Johnnie Walker.
The Oracle

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Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen
Springsteen & I
(Eagle Rock)

As the title kinda suggests Springsteen & I is a documentary by Ridley Scott featuring mini films made by Springsteen’s, many, many, many devoted fans who reflect on their personal insights and experiences concerning ‘The Boss’, and if you’re worried that reams of star struck fans waffling on about their idol could be a little, erm, wearing don’t be as not only is the film liberally peppered with previously unseen archive footage of Springsteen lifted from right across his career the truth is that the vast majority of the waffling is actually a lot of fun. Of course this will only really appeal if Springsteen’s wood-chopping everyman style of uber-bombast floats your boat, but there’s absolutely no denying this is a man that works really hard at, and wholeheartedly believes in, what he's doing and it’s this passion and commitment that clearly inspires exactly the same in the fans found herein. Bonus Features include some additional fan contributions not included in the main film and six tracks from Bruce's Hyde Park 2012 show (including a huge great stomping version of ‘Because The Night’ with an incendiary Nil’s Lofgren guitar solo and two tracks featuring Paul McCartney).
Ray Harper

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Public Service BroadcastingPublic Service Broadcasting
Inform Educate Entertain: The DVD (Test Card Recordings)

One of the best albums from last year (in our Top Twenty in fact), get’s the DVD treatment which basically means this is the film footage that inspired and indeed provided the building blocks for the songs on the album. It is also what you would see if you caught them live (if the projector doesn’t break down as it does for the Beat-Herder Festival clip in the bonus section), so if you love the album you will love this even more as the vocal samples come to life and the original visual stimulus help drive the songs along. Bonus features include an audio commentary for each track by J. Willgoose, Esq about the stories and history relating to each of the songs and videos, a short ‘on the road' style diary, a mini documentary built around live excerpts from a recent show, two full live tracks and two promo videos plus a disarming interview with Willgoose about their career thus far and the BFI involvement in their music. Simply put if you have the album then you will probably want to add this to your collection, if however you have missed the PSB boat thus far this is a great place to climb onboard.
The Oracle

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Portnoy, Sheehan, MacAlpine, SherinianPortnoy, Sheehan, MacAlpine, Sherinian
Live In Tokyo (Eagle Rock)

OK so you’ll have to forgive me but I really wasn’t in any hurry to watch this (it’s been out for a while) as aside from Dream Theatre, and serial collaborator, prog metal drum genius Mike Portnoy I was struggling to place the other names – gimme a break I’m old. A little Googling turns up Derek Sherinan (amongst many other things) as currently keyboard prodding for Black Country Communion, Billy Sheehan as (amongst many other things), bass player for Mr Big and, to me at least, the real unknown, guitarist Tony MacAlpine who has worked with millions of people but to give you a notion of his chops here let’s pick Steve Vai. So, given the idiotically long list of people all of these guys have played with (look ‘em up), it’s a pretty fair bet that they can play a bit eh? Christ on a crutch can they? Really this is genuinely gobsmacking stuff as they cherry pick moments from their collective past and play the bloody bejeezus out of ‘em, this really is astonishingly accomplished prog metal, a bit like Return To Forever with massive great cojones. So, it took a while to reach the DVD player but the bugger’s welded there now.
The Oracle

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Bill Nelson and the Gentlemen RocketeersMadder than a Full Moon Dog
(Wienerworld)

Jay Winter, the lead singer and bassist of Asomvel was driving home on October 18th 2010 after playing a gig in Selby the night before when he was involved in an accident on the A64, his van careering out of control after colliding with a BMW and crashing into a fence before catching fire. Jay Jay was something of a character on the northern metal scene so it was perhaps no surprise when the 2012 Full Moon Dog Festival, held at Leeds Cockpit, ended up being dedicated to his memory and, fortunately for us, was also recorded and filmed. Chances are, unless you are a northern metal head, you probably won’t have heard of Orange Goblin, Asomvel, Stiletto Farm, Stuka Squadron, Triaxis, Eliminator, Dark Forest, Mercenary or indeed the Screaming Eagles but knowing of these bands, or indeed having a deep affinity for heavy metal, is not a necessary requirement for enjoying this denim, leather and tattoo drenched documentary, complete with drunken backstage tomfoolery, drunken audience tomfoolery and more metal sub-genres than you can wave a big gothic sword at, and keep an eye peeled for the chap who is very serious about his patch collection.
Ray Harper

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TropicáliaQueen
The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (Eagle Rock)

On Easter Monday 20 April 1992 Queen and a stellar cast of rock luminaries performed for a packed Wembley Stadium - and a television and radio audience in 76 countries around the world estimated at close to one billion – a huge show that was both a tribute to the life of the late Queen front-man, Freddie Mercury and an effort to increase public awareness of AIDS (the huge success of the project provided funding for The Mercury Phoenix Trust AIDS charity). Chances are, if you’re a Queen fan, you’ll already have much of this on a worn out VHS tape so here’s your chance to get pretty much the whole thing (Robert Plant nixing some of what he considered to be a poor performance) on DVD or Blu-ray with the addition of a third disc including a documentary and rehearsal footage. Oddly enough one of the best moments here is not a Queen song at all but ‘All The Young Dudes’ featuring Queen, David Bowie, Ian Hunter, Joe Elliott and Mick Ronson and, despite the show being rammed with ‘proper’ rock vocalists like Roger Daltry, the person who really nails the best Queen moment (‘Somebody To Love’) is George Michael.
Ray Harper

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Show Of HandsShow Of Hands
Live At Shrewsbury Folk Festival (Hands On Music)

Twenty one years into their, frankly woefully under-celebrated, partnership and singer songwriter Steve Knightley and multi instrumentalist Phil Beer offer up something of a twofer from the SOH self-production line which will delight Show Of Hands fans as not only do you get a beautifully filmed and recorded eight song set filmed at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival, featuring additional backing from The Urban Soul Orchestra and including favourites like 'The Blue Cockade', 'Exile', 'Santiago' (dedicated to their old Alianza band-mate the late Vladimir Vega), 'Innocents Song/Gwithian' (which get’s a real shot in the arm from the Orchestra) and a genuinely goosebump inducing run through 'The Dive'. If all this live largesse wasn’t enough however you also get a Cinéma vérité style ‘making of…’ documentary filmed during the creation of their recent, critically acclaimed, Wake The Union album offering insights and breakdowns of all of the tracks found thereon and featuring appearances by Seth Lakeman and Cormac O’Byrne plus a sequence filmed on the Channel Island of Sark with Andy Cutting and Martin Simpson. Just the thing in fact for snuggling up in front of the box on a cold winters eve.
Ray Harper

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Jimi HendrixJimi Hendrix
Hear My Train A Comin’
(Sony Legacy)

If there’s one thing in the world there’s no shortage of its DVD’s about James Marshall Hendrix, he may have moved on to the next world far too early but he left behind more filmed evidence of his short time here than most people amass in a whole lifetime. Sadly, live sets aside, many of the available DVD’s are pretty duff, the benchmark thus far still being 1973’s eponymously titled ‘rockumentary’ (which most of the chaps here recall seeing first time around in the cinema). So what, if anything, does Hear My Train A Comin’ have to offer that’s not already out there? Well for old timers there’s a fair amount of previously unseen footage collected in the bonus section, not least the cracking quality live material from the 1968 Miami Pop Festival (also available in much fuller detail on CD) and, more bootleg quality, finds from 1970 shows in New York and Germany, this last at the Isle of Fehmarn festival is leant extra pathos by being Hendrix’s last ever official live performance (although he would jam at Ronnie Scott’s with Eric Burdon and War ten days later), before passing away on 18th September 1970 aged just 27. So, a very worthy addition to old fans collections and a great kicking off point for newbies.
Ray Harper

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Jethro TullJethro Tull
Around The World Live
(Eagle Rock)

Pulling together material from concerts throughout their career beginning at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970 and ending in Switzerland in 2005 (much of the material being previously unreleased). Packaged in a natty hardback book which contains photos from Ian Anderson's personal archive and notes on all the shows by Joel McIver. For most fans (especially those who already own the Live At Isle Of Wight Festival DVD) the real draw here will be the 1976 show from Tampa featuring what many consider to be the finest Tull line-up (Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, John Glascock, Barrimore Barlow and the demented gurning nutcase that is John Evans), and it doesn’t disappoint with the band clearly at the top of their game. The other enticing show is from Munich in 1980 but this is sadly more bootleg quality (although once again the band are in full flow, and it will be of interest to long term fans). Of the remaining discs (there are four in all), the three tracks from ’82 and ’86 leave you wishing for more and the show in Chile in 1996 is also well worth a look, although by then it is clear that Anderson is beginning to struggle with the higher ranges of his vocals. All together though this is a terrific package which no Tull fan will want to be without.
The Oracle

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Frank ZappaFrank Zappa
A Token Of His Extreme
(Eagle Vision)

Many an hour has been wasted up here in TM-Towers debating the worth and abilities of the numerous Mother’s line-ups created to realise Frank Zappa’s peculiar visions over the years, from the original scary/ugly nut-jobs to the later musical geniuses like Adrian Belew, Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio, The Brecker Brothers, Jean-Luc Ponty Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson, Captain Beefheart and many, many more. But to this particular reviewers ears there was no greater Mothers line up than the mid ‘70s one found herein featuring George Duke on keyboards and vocals; Napoleon Murphy Brock on sax and vocals; Ruth Underwood on percussion; Tom Fowler on bass and Chester Thompson on drums, the band behind such seminal Zappa works as Apostrophe ('), One Size Fits All and the live album (also apparently due out on DVD soon) Roxy & Elsewhere. Originally conceived and recorded in 1974 as a 'made for TV' special some of this has already appeared on the Dub Room Special DVD but this is the (almost) complete performance – why the two missing tracks 'Cosmik Debris' and 'Approximate' aren’t here is unclear – and it’s a blinder, the band and Zappa seeming almost telepathic at times and even the odd duff bit of ‘psychedelic’ film work doesn’t detract from a truly stupendous performance.
Ray Harper

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Beware Of Mr Baker Beware Of Mr Baker
(Curzon Film World)

It’s a pretty fair bet that this will not be the only review to mention that Ginger Baker is not a pleasant man. One of the few people who has no reservations about what a fine chap he is is John Lydon and he hasn’t ever had a personal relationship with him or indeed worked with him for any length of time. Simply put Ginger Baker is a dreadful, self-obsessed, nasty-minded car crash of a human being. He is also possibly the finest drummer of his generation and was championing ‘world music’ long before the term ever existed so how you choose to watch this film will depend very much on whether you want to know about Baker the man (hideous) or Baker the musician (inspirational), and the numerous clips of him in full flow – musical, verbal and physical – make this a very, very watchable film indeed. The list of people queuing up to pay homage (mainly those who love his music), or point out his deficiencies (mainly those who have had to co-exist with him) is long and prodigious and ensures that this is right up there with Some Kind Of Monster and Dig! In the list of ‘must see’ dysfunctional music docs.
The Oracle

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MinistryMinistry
Enjoy The Quiet: Live At Wacken 2012 (EMI)

Currently sporting enough facial piercings to set off airport metal detectors in the airport car park Al Jourgensen is that most peculiar of beasts a lunatic drink and drug hoover who is also idiotically productive, releasing not just a raft of blistering industrial Ministry albums but also finding time to release numerous side projects (Revolting Cocks, Lard, 1000 Homo DJ’s and the delightfully named Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters amongst others). It is however for the heavyweight industrial blatter pioneered by Ministry that he is best known and despite grinding to a halt in 2008 Jourgensen reconvened the band in 2011 playing their first live outing in years at The Wacken Festival in August of 2012. Which brings us neatly to this VFM DVD+2xCD collection which not only includes the 2012 live set but also the 2006 live set at the same festival (with CD’s of both shows included), and catches the band in fearsome bludgeoning form, ringmaster Jourgensen prowling around dementedly bellowing. Sadly before the end of the year guitarist Mike Scaccia would die from a heart attack while performing onstage with his other band Rigor Mortis, but this stands as a fine epitaph.
Ruby Palmer

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Big Audio Dynamite IIBig Audio Dynamite II
Live in Concert
(Wienerworld)

Wearing what looks like a hat loaned to him by Freddie ‘Parrot Face’ Davis (Google him), and surrounded by a band that all look like rubbish comedian Lee Nelson and seem far too young to be up so late you’d never know that Mick Jones previous day job was as a super cool guitar-slinger for rebel rockers The Clash, but as we now know the final days of the Clash were pretty dismal and having escaped the strictures of the Clash party line Jones’ was clearly having a lot of fun experimenting and being his own boss, and if B.A.D II were never quite as cutting edge as B.A.D this is nonetheless pretty rare footage of Jones’ Big Audio days recorded in 1992 at the Town and Country Club. The paucity of available material means that sadly this is just eight songs in length but the sound and film quality are good – okay Jones voice does tend to waver all over the shop, but it does that on the records as well, it’s part of the charm – if you like B.A.D. then you will definitely want to add this to your collection..
Ray Harper

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Saint Etienne Saint Etienne
A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne 2003-2007 (BFI)

Popular beat combo Saint Etienne have been collaborating for over a decade now with filmmaker Paul Kelly (the man behind the terrific Lawrence of Belgravia the film about Felt/Denim nearly man Lawrence), creating three documentaries, or perhaps we should call them visual documents - the homage to London Finisterre, a pre-Olympic look at East London’s Lea Valley What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? And This is Tomorrow a look at the history, renovation and reopening of the Royal Festival Hall - plus a handful of shorts (some previously unavailable and all included here) including a paean to London’s disappearing cafes (Today’s Special), a brief but fascinating glimpse into Banksy’s artwork (much if it sadly already gone) and a day in the life of the mascot for North Hendon FC entitled Monty the Lamb, all delightfully laid back and wry drifts through a London which is fast disappearing and all soundtracked by Sarah Bob and Pete’s eclectic mix of ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s pop and soundtrack music. As always with these BFI releases everything is superbly annotated in the extensive accompanying booklet and with three hours plus of material on offer it’s also pretty good VFM.
Jenny Hoon

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The Cockney RejectsVarious Artists
The Dutch Woodstock
(Gonzo)

A hugely successful early European rock festival, the Kralingen Music Festival was held less than a year after Woodstock and the line up was, frankly, brilliant, featuring Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Byrds, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Pink Floyd, Dr John, Family a very young Al Stewart and this DVD (plus 2 audio CD’s with extra songs), features some ultra rare footage of all of the above (plus lesser known but no less entertaining bands like East Of Eden and The Flock). Obviously given the limitations of film and sound back in the stone age things occasionally look and sound a little, erm, bootleggy but Gonzo have clearly gone to great lengths to present all the footage they could lay their hands on here and the results are a genuinely entertaining historical document which will delight to both fans of the bands in question and fans of music of this era in general (plus what could be more fun than watching stoned hippies do daft things). The extra tracks sourced for the audio CD’s are a great addition, but it’s the film most of you will be returning to, daydreaming about granddad shirts, desert boots, herbal cigarettes and young ladies with no brassieres.
The Oracle

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Miles DavisMiles Davis
Live At Montreux 1991 [Blu-ray]
(Eagle Rock)

One of Miles Davis’ many appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival - filmed only a few months before his death – as part of a tribute to the late great Gil Evans (who died a few years previously in 1988), with Miles fronting The Gil Evans Orchestra, led by Quincy Jones, so we’re talking serious players with real pedigree here, and despite age limitations this is a stunning performance which finds Davis eschewing his usual unwillingness to revisit older material, and of course then changing it completely. Okay, he isn’t at the height of his powers here but he proves that he is more than capable of transcending the limitations age and ill-health have thrust upon him and anyone expecting a ‘will this do’ effort will be genuinely surprised. Extras include some fascinating interviews with Miles contemporaries and the sound and vision are excellent (making a Blu-ray purchase well worthwhile, although those of you with duff old DVD players won’t miss out as this is also available on DVD). If you are a fan then you will want this as it’s a genuinely worthy final hurrah for one of the most important musicians of the 20th century.
Paul Riley

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The Cockney RejectsThe Cockney Rejects
East End Babylon
(Cadiz Music)

Depending on who you talk to the East End of London (from which this reviewer hails, so has a little insight into the area), has had the heart and soul ripped from it by successive governments or is a hotbed of unpleasantness wherein you can get twatted for just looking at someone the wrong way. The truth is somewhere in the middle, and it is in this grey area that The Cockney Rejects dwell, self confessed West Ham supporting, football hooligans and lovers of ‘a bit of a ruck’ the two main Rejects, ex-boxing brothers Mickey Geggus and Jeff ‘Stinky Turner’ Geggus, are by turns very endearing, incredibly irritating, hugely enthusiastic and downright nasty pieces of work, so why should you give a toss about these two lairy buggers? Well their pig headed doggedness in pursuit of a career which began with sheer brazen chutzpah and could easily have ended in death on several occasions (and which they themselves also derailed several times), plus their delightfully heavy handed treatment of the idiot Nazis which dogged the live shows of many bands in the Oi movement are two very good reasons to dip into this excellent documentary which we’re adding to the increasing list of indispensible music docs on the office shelves.
The Oracle

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BrokenBroken
(Studio Canal )

You may have seen this already in competition corner (and if you were lucky already won a copy), but for the rest of you this film, from director Rufus Norris, was the British Independent Film Awards 2012 Best Film Winner no less. Based on Daniel Clay's acclaimed 2009 novel of the same name this is a rather grim story that gets to the very heart of modern social dysfunction and features 2013 BIFA Best Supporting Actor winner Rory Kinnear, Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy and newcomer Eloise Laurence, and it’s the truly excellent (and impossibly young), Laurence who lifts the proceedings and ensures things don’t end up as nihilistic as, let’s say, ‘Nil By Mouth’. In short she’s a total revelation. What’s the music link? Well The soundtrack is by Electric Wave Bureau, a collective founded by Mike Smith and featuring artist Suzi Winstanley, Nelson De Freitas and some bloke called Damon Albarn and, amongst other things, features an original song by Blur and as if young Eloise Laurence isn’t already impossibly talented enough she also sings the bloody theme tune (which is also really rather good). Great film, great music, great new young talent, it’s a no brainer really, watch it.
Jenny Hoon

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Frank ZappaFrank Zappa
200 Motels
(Boulevard Entertainment Ltd)

A tiny budget resulting in a seven-day shoot and eleven days of editing, ensured that 200 Motels was always going to be a hectic road crash of a movie. Filmed in 1971 the almost non-existent production values and whirlpool of insanity Zappa encouraged in his entourages takes huge liberties with the film's ostensible theme of ‘life on the road for a touring rock musician in the late twentieth century’. Needless to say, this being Zappa, the film also attempts to make far wider sweeping comments on sex and the political and cultural life of his homeland whilst doing its utmost to warp the viewers perceptions with mad animations, lunatic special effects Ringo Starr playing Zappa (and a dwarf), Keith Moon playing a nun and of course astonishingly demented country meets rock meets avant-garde orchestral meets ‘whatever the hell he feels like putting in next’ musical interludes. This is as unlike every other ‘modern music’ film of the era as Zappa’s sound was unlike everything else release at that time. This DVD is part of a whole slew of re-releases of film director Tony Palmer's music movies (see also the Leonard Cohen film below). Flawed but fascinating.
Ray Harper

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TropicáliaTropicália
(Mr Bongo)

Tropicalism, one of Brazil’s most significant cultural movements was created in the late 1960s by a collective of like-minded souls which used music and visual arts as a voice to confront the cultural and political establishment, it’s importance to the Brazilian art-world can’t really be overstated, and the scene and its key players are explored in Marcelo Machado's new film Tropicália which uses oodles of archive material and word of mouth from many of those involved to tell the story, including performances by and appearances from Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé and nutjobs Os Mutantes. However whilst there is much to excite and fascinate here the film’s opening half hour, a collection of quick cut archive footage and first-person subbed and captioned testimonies, is a nightmare to follow and has you constantly stabbing the pause button to try and keep up. But bear with it as protesting about the political establishment, even in song, could see you locked up back then so these guys weren't playing at revolution, and of course there is the music, mixing traditional Brazilian and African rhythms with contemporary pop/rock and creating a sound as peculiarly Brazilian as Krautrock was completely German (and influencing David Byrne, Damon Albarn and Beck).
Ray Harper

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Leonard CohenLeonard Cohen
Bird On A Wire
(Boulevard Entertainment Ltd)

Best known to all of us non-believers as being a bit of a glum-boy, Leonard Cohen is in fact very, very funny! No really, surprised me as well, making up songs on the spot and firing off self-deprecating bon-mot’s to a series of increasingly dreadful interviewers, in fact, a couple of woefully worthy poems aside, this film is an absolute joy, following Cohen on his 1972 European tour (and part of the current Tony Palmer music movie re-release series) this film documents everything from rucks with security at the Tel Aviv show to a final Jerusalem gig which begins rather badly but ends in genuine tears of emotion. Along the way we encounter legions of adoring toothsome ladies (one of whom he snogs on stage before admitting to camera that he had ‘disgraced himself’), a truly appalling PA system which parps and farts at the most inopportune moments – Cohen actually tries to pay two disgruntled Germans back out of his own pocket, and invites punters who cannot hear properly up onto the stage - and reams of hand held cinéma vérité style footage (not unlike Don’t Look Back only without the short grumpy Jewish chap). If, like this reviewer, you have previously struggled to understand Cohens charm, get this and all will become abundantly clear.
Josh Marks

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Peter FramptonPeter Frampton
Live In Detroit
(Eagle Vision)

After last year’s, rather excellent, re-visitation/35th anniversary celebration of his massive smash Frampton Comes Alive! - FCA! 35 Tour: An Evening With Peter Frampton, also out on Eagle Rock - comes this show from 1999 recorded at the Pine Knob amphitheatre in Detroit (originally released on video in 2000). Most people will know of Frampton’s career from the Herd, via Humble Pie to huge solo success with that live album (and of course the famous Talkbox guitar effect), but how many of you know just how good a guitarist he actually is? David Bowie, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Bill Wyman have all utilized his guitar skills and even a cursory listen here reveals just why that is. Yes he has a good voice, yes he can write a pretty decent tune and yes, as this show highlights, he is a great live performer but what he is first and foremost is a very, very good guitarist. He is also a genuinely charming and down to earth sort of chap as his self deprecating appearances on The Simpsons and Family Guy prove, and the short but revealing interview tucked away in the extras is a welcome inclusion. Also available on Blu-ray.
Ray Harper

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Larry Carlton & Robben FordLarry Carlton & Robben Ford
Unplugged (Wienerworld)

If you are unfamiliar with the names these two guitarists are considered to be amongst the top players in their field (Carlton’s guitar work can be heard on Crusaders and Steely Dan albums – Rolling Stone reckon his solo on ‘Kid Charlemagne’ from their 1976 LP The Royal Scam is the third best guitar solo on record – Ford has played with Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Little Feat, George Harrison and, erm, Kiss), so this unplugged pairing, their first ever, at The New Morning club in Paris was always going to be a guitar fans wet dream. Whilst ostensibly both jazz guitarists the meeting of Carlton’s precise fusion style with Ford’s more muscular blues based chops is an absolute delight throughout with Claude Salmieri on drums and the delightfully named Fifi Chayeb on bass supplying a rhythmic bedrock from which the guitarists can fly. The original album release attracted some complaints of this sounding too much like a jam session, which when you are talking about a live blues/jazz show is a bit like complaining that ice cream is too cold, so yes the guys do jam but the interplay and improvisation is superb and if anything this reviewer wished the DVD was longer.
Paul Riley

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Breaking GlassBreaking Glass: Collector's Edition
(Cherry Red)

Hard to believe that’s it’s now over thirty years since well respected British director Brian Gibson unleashed this grim post punk cautionary tale featuring a career defining role by Hazel O’Conner and Phil Daniels (hot on the heels of his leading role in Quadrophenia). Over the years it has wrongly been described as depicting the perceived horrors of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain in the ‘80s whereas in fact it is based during the ‘winter of discontent’ overseen by James Callahan’s Labour government of the late ‘70s and is something of an overlooked gem for any music fan keen on the UK’s move from punk into new wave (and features O’Connor classics like ‘Will You?’, ‘Eighth Day’, ‘Give Me An Inch’ and ‘Writing On The Wall’). As is often the case with movies based on the music business it is a touch heavy handed in places but overall the story of the rise from obscurity to fame is well handled and littered with the sort of pitfalls music fans will be all too familiar with. Bonus features includes the short documentary Hazel O'Connor Remembers 'Breaking Glass', an illustrated booklet written by film historian Marcus Hearn, a reproduction 'Breaking Glass' press pack from 1980 and four colour postcards.
Jenny Hoon

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The BeatlesThe Beatles
The Magical Mystery Tour (Apple)

If you are old enough to remember watching The Magical Mystery Tour on Boxing Day in 1967 (broadcast on BBC 1 and later again, in colour, on BBC 2), you probably won’t need us to tell you that it wasn’t an unqualified success, in fact it was given a major critical mauling prompting Macca to respond "We don't say it was a good film. It was our first attempt. If we goofed, then we goofed. It was a challenge and it didn't come off." Of course setting off in a coach without a script was insanely optimistic, the resultant ten hours of footage, featuring plenty of Goon/Python style lunacy (Lennon’s spaghetti shoveling waiter pre-dating Python’s Mr Creosote by years), and larger than life music hall performances, were then treated to some surrealist jump cutting and psychedelic filtering. With the benefit of hindsight however there is actually much to enjoy about the Magical Mystery Tour, not least the performance of ‘I Am the Walrus’ and the grand finale featuring legions of ballroom dancers swishing their skirts to ‘Your Mother Should Know’, there’s also 50 minutes of deleted scenes and extra material. Self indulgent? Without doubt. Flawed? Certainly. But is it fun? Absolutely.
The Oracle

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From The Sea To The Land BeyondFrom The Sea To The Land Beyond (BFI)

So what would you do if you had access to a load of old film footage that the British Film Institute have spent years archiving? Well if you’re Penny Woolcock you’d spend further hours trawling through all the UK coastal related footage and build a story of the British love of, and working relationship with, the sea that surrounds us all and then turn the whole shebang over to British Sea Power and get them to create a soundtrack that, as there is no voice over, helps tie the film clips together whilst also lending it a forward momentum that replace the missing narrative thrust. Of course if you or I did this the results would doubtless have been as entertaining as most home movies are to those of us not directly involved in ‘em, but Penny Woolcock’s deft touch has created a thoughtful journey kicking off in 1900’s Blackpool with huge crowds of overdressed holiday makers and grimy dockside workers right up to Dockland stock market traders and, rather less sedate (i.e. pissed and underwear flashing), visitors to Blackpool 100 years later, all of which is genuinely delightful with BSP’s mixture of songs and instrumentals, interspersed with sea birds and snippets of speech, doing a fine job of stitching the whole thing together.
Jenny Hoon

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Pat MethenyPat Metheny
The Orchestrion Project
(Eagle Vision)

Back in the mists of 2009 Pat Metheny took his fascination with mechanical instruments to its logical conclusion by recording an album with said mechanical instruments entitled Orchestrion – a sort of Tubular Bells for the noughties - he then took things a stage further and toured with his robot buddies (including pianos, marimba, vibraphone, Orchestra bells, basses, guitarbots, percussion, cymbals and drums, blown bottles and various other custom made efforts). It should have been a disaster, but it wasn’t, and having nailed that particular colour to his mast he decided to round things off with this double DVD filmed re-recording of both the original album and several cherry picked moments from his illustrious career. Of course to the layman this will just look and sound like Pat layering swathes of his beautiful jazzy guitar over a mass of automated backing, which is perfectly fine as it sounds cool, but to the more techie amongst us it’s a bloody marvelous mixture of pre-played and then triggered, looped and live musicianship (let’s not lose sight of the fact every sound you hear on this is created by Metheny), that finds ol’ Pat at the peak of his, not inconsiderable, powers.
Paul Riley

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Lee PerryLee Perry
Upsetter: Life & Music of Lee Scratch Perry
(Weinerworld)

You don’t have to look very far in the music business to find eccentric people, I mean let’s face it you can get away with behaviour in the entertainment industry that would get your arse fired in any other line of work, however a good deal of this eccentricity is just wilful dicking about, if you want to move to a whole other level of consciousness, one that would leave most of us walking into walls and babbling you need look no further than Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and yet it seems that Perry’s mind-boggling obsessions with fire, lunatic headwear (examples of the latter including a native American headdress, a tiara and, our particular favourite, a plate of fruit), his, frankly disturbing, stream of consciousness graffiti and his utterly incomprehensible religious views are all absolutely central to his peculiar brand of musical genius. This film, loaded with cracking archive footage, explores Perry’s absolutely pivotal role in the history of reggae, more or less inventing dub and launching Bob Marley on the world, but it doesn’t stop there, did you know he also produced the Clash, Simply Red and Paul and Linda McCartney (amongst many others)? In fact there’s a good deal to learn about the man and this film presents it all brilliantly, highly recommended.
Drew Bass

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Steven WilsonSteven Wilson
Get All You Deserve
(Kscope)

You have to wonder when Steven Wilson sleeps because whilst he’s hardly a household name (unless you live in a household obsessed with progressive rock that is), his work with Nu-Proggers Porcupine Tree (and side projects Blackfield, No-Man and Bass Communion), plus being in demand as a producer (Opeth, Anathema) and the ‘go-to’ guy for remixing and remastering classic rock albums - he has overseen all of the recent King Crimson anniversary editions with Robert Fripp – he then seems to spend every spare moment scheduling in live sets, like this one from Mexico City in April 2012, hell the bugger's busier than Simon Cowell (only making music that’s still going to be around in ten minutes). Ok, so it’s a little weird for those of us of a certain age to accept ex-bead-dreadlocked Kajagoogoo bass bunny Nick Beggs as a titan of new prog bass (he is in fact very good), but as always Wilson has surrounded himself with fine musicians including Jazz legend Theo Travis, hugely underrated Bulgarian guitarist Niko Tsonev, jazz pianist, and son of Jac, Adam Holzman and, yet another underrated name, German drummer Marco Minnemann which finds him pushing the material from his recent solo album Grace For Drowning into jazzier King Crimson-esque areas on a long and, damn near, faultless set.
The Oracle

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Metal Evolution Metal Evolution
(Eagle Vision)

There are two types of music fan, the first couldn’t care less whether they are listening to ‘Gangnam Style’ or ‘We Will Rock You', if they like it who cares what genre it is, the second, which would include people who write about it for a living, insist on pushing everything into little boxes and then arguing about it later. It is into the latter of these categories that this eleven episode series firmly belongs, and given that it is about rock music just what type of ‘rock’ music it is matters very, very much indeed. So first up this is the evolution of ‘metal’, not ‘rock’, these are very different beasts - for example Judas Priest or Mötley Crüe would be considered metal whereas Free or Lynyrd Skynyrd would not. Does any of this matter? Probably not, but I have to say this is a fantastically entertaining (and informative) way of spending the better part of nine hours. From the roots of classic rock (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin) via the early days of US rock from Dick Dale and garage bands to the MC5, Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop and onto punk, the new wave of British heavy wetal, laughable nonsense like Hair Metal and the rock-reinvigorated likes of grunge. If there’s a complaint it is that everything is very US orientated after the early episodes, but what other musical genre would have someone decked out in Nazi memorabilia singing the praises of a gay black man (Yup, that would be Lemmy on his hero Little Richard).
Ray Harper

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The Doobie BrothersThe Doobie Brothers
Let The Music Play - The Story Of The Doobie Brothers (Eagle Vision)

I’m willing to bet that most of you know far more Doobie Brothers songs than you actually realise, however fans of the earlier Tom Johnston driven southern/country rockers like ‘Listen to the Music’, ‘China Grove’ and ‘Long Train Running’ are often not at all enamoured with the more polished and commercial AOR soul leanings of the Michael McDonald years – songs like ‘Takin' It to the Streets’, ‘What a Fool Believes’ and ‘Minute by Minute - (although both have their own merits). The one continuous link throughout all of the numreous musical upheavals is the extremely self-effacing and likable Patrick Simmons who, along with McDonald, Johnston and pretty much everyone ever involved in the band tell the full rollercoaster story with an enormous amount of grace and good humour and if you don’t grow to like pretty much all of these people by the end of this long (but not overlong) film then you’re a hard hearted bastard. There is also a bonus section of nine live songs (all the hits basically) all of which make this a must have for fans but also a genuinely decent night in for any fan of grown up rock music and classic song-writing.
Ray Harper

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Mudhoney Mudhoney
Live In Berlin, 1988
(!K7)

Released the same month as the Metal Evolution boxset, which also features Mudhoney whose Mark Arm does his utmost to distance his band, in fact the whole of Seattle, from anything with the name ‘metal’ in it - a position easier to understand when you know that grunge followed hot on the heels in the U.S. of vacuous glam/Hair Metal acts like Poison, Quiet Riot and of course Mötley Crüe - this is an altogether more lo-fi musical offering (although the filming and sound are perfectly acceptable) but it’s none the worse for all that as it captures the band playing their first show outside the U.S. in Berlin in 1988 before the world had any idea that grunge was about to take over the known world. Playing an early set for a handful of curious punters and bemused music industry types the band take the waves of, mainly, indifference emanating from the sparsely filled room and respond with some utterly fearsome thrashes through early tracks like 'Mudride', 'Chain That Door' and 'Touch Me I'm Sick'. Ok it's only 40 minutes long but this is nonetheless a genuinely thrilling find and a fantastic historical document which should appeal to any self respecting grunge fan.
Ruby Palmer

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Peter GabrielPeter Gabriel
So: Classic Albums
(Eagle Vision)

Whether you are into this or not will depend very much on, first of all, if you like Peter Gabriel, and secondly if you enjoy the deconstruction of an album told by those that, erm, constructed it. My partner, as an example, can be heard to sigh loudly and very regularly whenever we settle down to watch anything in the Classic Album series (it’s the people sat behind mixing boards muting out tracks so we can heard specific sections that cause the most exhalation of air). I on the other hand, especially if the album is one I love (such as this one), will happily sit for hours whilst ‘the making of’ nuts and bolts are loosened and tightened for my edification. Neither of us is right, all I’m saying is know what you are sitting down to and you will be disappointed far less often. For fans of Gabriel’s breakthrough multi-platinum monster hit (which spawned hit singles including Sledgehammer, Big Time , Don’t Give Up and In Your Eyes), and classic Gabriel songs like Red Rain and Mercy Street buying this documentary is a no brainer as it features contributions from most of those involved including Gabriel co-producer Daniel Lanois, engineer Kevin Killen and musicians Jerry Marotta, Laurie Anderson, Tony Levin and Manu Katché.
Ray Harper

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Fairy TalesFairy Tales: Early Colour Stencil films from Pathé (BFI)

Best known as the inventors of the newsreels shown prior to films Pathé was actually founded as Société Pathé Frères (Pathé Brothers Company) in Paris in 1896, by the four brothers Charles, Émile, Théophile and Jacques and quickly became the world's largest film equipment and production company. Of course all that access to film making equipment ensured that doing some crazy stuff with it would ensue and this collection of early colour stencil film shorts is chock full of early camera trickery driven fables, fairy tales and some just plain bonkers stuff (known collectively as scènes de feeries) which will certainly appeal to film buffs. This release is of particular interest to music fans however because the Touch label – home to Chris Watson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Ryoji Ikeda, Philip Jeck, and BJ Nilsen amongst others – has newly sound-tracked these pieces making them even more atmospheric. Our particular favourites are Oren Ambarchi’s disconcerting counterpoint to the pages of a book coming to life in 'The Wonderful Album', Christian Fennesz’ glowering synth washes underpinning the butterfly collectors being themselves collected in 'Tit For Tat' and Hepworth Pictures bonus animated feature 'Little Red Riding Hood' which Rosy Parlane managed to turnm positively eerie.
The Oracle

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The Australian Pink Floyd ShowThe Australian Pink Floyd Show
Exposed In The Light (Townsend Music Limited)

Funny old palaver the tribute act, obviously all things being right with the world any self respecting fan will plump for seeing their pop star of choice in person, but I’d hazard a guess there’s few T Rex fans who would enjoy seeing Marc Bolan in person nowadays. Dig a little deeper and you will find numerous Jimi Hendrix fans who adored Stevie Ray Vaughan’s take on 'Voodoo Child', and didn’t The Beatles do Buddy Holly songs? Simply put what matters here is the execution, and make no mistake Aussies Steve Mac, Jason Sawford and Colin Wilson (with a revolving cast of many, many others), do this very, very well indeed – so well in fact that Dave Gilmour invited them to play at the after-show party for The Division Bell tour and his 50th birthday party. Not only is the music pretty much spot on the staging is also, given the obviously more limited budget, very impressive indeed - and how could you not love a huge inflatable Kangaroo? Let’s be honest this is the closest you will ever get to seeing Pink Floyd nowadays, so swallow your preconceptions and dive in, you won’t be disappointed.
Ray Harper

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Tom Petty & The HeartbreakersTom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Soundstage: Live In Concert [Blu-ray] (UMC)

Initially recorded for a two-part PBS Soundstage performance (hence the break in the show halfway through), this collection of original and cover material will certainly be manna from heaven for most Tom Petty fans - especially the dip into Traveling Wilburys territory – and all captured on numerous hi-def cameras, in fact the sound and film are tremendous throughout, and if the audience are a little on the passive side, hey this is a made for TV show so what you lose in audience atmosphere you more than make up for in pristine reproduction. Cherry picking tracks throughout their career (including ‘I Won’t Back Down’, ‘You Wreck Me’, ‘Love Is A Long Road’ and ‘Refugee’) and tipping their collective hats to old rock and roll classics like ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, ‘Little Red Rooster’ and ‘I Got A Woman’, plus country standards like ‘Rollin’ In My Sweet baby’s Arms’ and a spirited trot through JJ Cale’s ‘Thirteen Days’. If you are looking for a Tom Petty greatest hits show then this certainly isn’t it but it is just the sort of set a TP & The Heartbreakers fan should love. Sadly no extras but that’s a minor niggle, all in all a fine collection.
The Oracle

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Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury
The Great Pretender (Eagle Vision)

It’s probably best to state right up front that this documentary is primarily concerned with Freddie Mercury’s solo career and only occasionally dips in and out of Queen business, so if you’re not interested in the former Mr Bulsara’s disco or opera interludes then this isn’t the documentary for you. It also, to this reviewer at least, singularly fails to paint the divine Mr M in a sympathetic light, but as much of the film revolves around interviews with the man himself this is hardly the filmmakers fault as frankly Freddie Mercury was a bit of a tosser. Nobody can argue with the fact that he was a brilliant front-man and, despite regularly rubbishing his own back catalogue, helped create some all time classic rock and roll moments, but he seems to deal with his well reported self-consciousness about his protruding teeth by regularly and systematically ramming his foot in his mouth and comes across as both juvenile and obsessed with money. In fact it was only towards the end of his life, having been diagnosed with HIV, when he began working with Spanish operatic soprano Montserrat Caballé, that he appeared to finally be producing music of which he was very proud.
The Oracle

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Black MondayBlack Monday
(Ozit/Dandelion)

First things first this documentary charting the final days of the mighty Factory Records, twenty years ago this very month (the axe fell on November 23rd in fact), is far, far too long. On the plus side ‘Johnny-on-the-spot’ Tosh Ryan and film crew - who got a tip-off alerting them to the fact that Factory Records was going into receivership - poke their hand-held camera into every available face coming and going from the office, including Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton and Alan Erasmus. The film then takes us around the deserted office space and certainly the footage of the empty, detritus strewn rooms looking woefully forlorn, littered with discarded vinyl – and include shots of the infamous £35,000 boardroom table - nicely brings home the speed with which everything collapsed. The film makers then return eighteen years later for the rebirth of the office space as the FAC 251 venue, which opened in 2010, fronted by Peter Hook. With some judicious editing this could have been an indispensible look at the fall from grace of one of the ‘80s most innovative labels, but it still captures a moment in time that will be of interest to anyone with a love of the label and the Manchester scene of that era.
The Oracle

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Gary MooreGary Moore
Blues For Jimi (Eagle Vision)
(Eagle Vision)

For most serious artists (and we’re not talking about the rash of cover bands who regularly do bloody murder to classic rock tunes nightly all over the country here), presenting an evening of Jimi Hendrix cover versions would be an act of immense Hubris, quite apart from the fact very few have the chops to actually pull it off. One man who could was Gary Moore - having done much the same thing for Peter Green on 1995’s Blues For Greeny - as he categorically demonstrates during this superb live set which also features guest slots from Experience and Band Of Gypsies stalwarts Mitch Mitchell and Billy Cox. Filmed at the London Hippodrome in 2007 this set showcases Moore remarkable skills as he emulates the style of Hendrix brilliantly producing a very similar sound and tone (expertly controlling both sustain and feedback) but using Hendrix’s original solos as jumping off points rather than slavishly recreating them. Sadly we have lost both Mitch Mitchell aged 61 (2008) and Gary Moore aged 58 (2011) since this concert but this is a fine testament to both men and comes very highly recommended.
Ray Harper

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The SpecialsThe Specials
30th Anniversary Tour (Wienerworld)

The Specials always were a band that inspired a fanatical following, so when the news hit that they intended to reform for live shows it was no surprise to learn that the tour had sold out in no time at all. Having sold all the tickets it then fell to the six original members who participated - sadly Jerry Dammers couldn’t work out an amicable way to participate – to ensure that they justified the hysterical anticipation of their fans. Fortunately for all concerned they did just that with everyone on top form and incredibly sprightly (although special mention must go to Neville Staple who, for a man in his late 50’s, remains almost consistently airborne throughout). The thing that strikes you most about this show, even on DVD, is just how impossible it is to not bob up and down and grin like a loon, 24 tracks everyone a coconut. Simply put if you missed the shows then this is as close to the real, sweat-soaked, thing you are going to get, and the bands brand of dance fuelled social commentary is as relevant today as it was in the late ‘70s.
Ray Harper

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The Steve Hillage BandSteve Hillage Band
Live at the Gong Unconvention
(G-Wave/Voiceprint)

Whilst it’s fair to say that there are a more than a few admirers of Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy’s post-techno outfit System 7 here there are also those that recall the post Gong solo material with equal admiration (and at least two who fall into both camps), and it’s the latter camp who will be delighted with this live reading of early Steve Hillage material recorded live at the Gong Unconvention in Amsterdam in 2006. Teaming up with old SHB members Mike Howlett on bass and Basil Brooks on additional synths (Chris Taylor on drums completes the line-up) for a blistering, if all too brief, set which includes the George Harrison cover ‘It’s All Too Much’ from the bands most successful album L alongside early classics like ‘Aftaglid’, ‘Solar Musick Suite’ and ‘The Salmon Song’ – all of which send old SHB heads in the audience into raptures, with Hillage’s guitar playing as fluid and head-spinning as ever. Steve and Miquette can’t resist a nod towards what was to come by winding up with the (previously un-played live) trance like ‘These Uncharted Lands’ from his transitional synth driven mid ‘80s For To Next album, and the whole shebang is then rounded out with a career spanning interview.
Ray Harper

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Heavy Metal Parking Lot Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Whether or not you like this will depend on two things the first being did you like the film about heavy metal underachievers Anvil? If so you are part of the way there, the second part is less straightforward as there are clearly two ways to enjoy a film about enthusiastic heavy metal fans, the first being with one eyebrow raised ever so slightly higher than the other, the second is to crawl back out of your own back passage and try to remember what out-and-out fun it is doing/watching/listening to something you genuinely love to bits. Ostensibly this is just a couple of bods wandering around a parking lot with a camera and a microphone before a Judas Priest show at a Maryland concert arena in 1986 and is rammed to the gills with utterly daft, and generally rather inebriated numpties with mullets and black cotton chest adverts for their band of choice spouting… Well come on, have a guess. This edition comes with a couple of hours of extra material including tracking down some of the, rather older, balder and plumper original cast (including the film’s star Zebra Man) and belongs on any self-respecting music video fans ‘classic’ shelf next to Anvil and Spinal Tap..
The Oracle

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SlipknotSlipknot
Live At Download: (sic)nesses
(Eagle Vision)

Chances are you are only going to be remotely interested in this Blu-ray disc if you are a fan of Slipknot ‘cos let’s be honest here have you ever met anyone who thought they were ‘just ok?’ Nope this outfits fans are rabid buggers (just play set closer ‘Spit It Out’ and you’ll see what I mean), and if you’re one of the ‘Knot massive then this headline set from Download in 2009 is a must have item, not least because it’s actually really well filmed and recorded which, given the bands penchant for mayhem, and lest we forget there are hundreds of ‘em [really, hundreds? – Ed] , all given to wandering around smashing and throwing stuff (aside from the drummer who is strapped into a rising and revolving drum module), this film must have been one hell of a difficult job. Fans will also delight in the behind the scenes film Audible Visions Of: (sic)nesses, and the four music videos from the All Hope Is Gone album. Sadly bassist and founding member Paul Gray passed away the following year, and so this release was then dedicated to his memory, and as such it is a both a fitting tribute and a fine document of Gray’s talents.
Ruby Palmer

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Bill Nelson and the Gentlemen RocketeersBill Nelson and the Gentlemen Rocketeers
Live In Concert At Metropolis Studios, London [2CD+DVD] (Salvo)

Part of a series of Sound & Vision packages from the ever reliable Salvo – also including sets by Van Der Graaf Generator, Roy Harper, Caravan, Barclay James Harvest and more – wherein the artists in question are put in front of an intimate audience of real fans (and by intimate we mean real up close and personal, whites of their eyes stuff), prompting them to deliver some spectacular performances. This one, a 3 disc set By Bill Nelson and his Gentlemen Rocketeers, is particularly good touching as it does on most parts of his career from Be Bop Deluxe (‘Maid In Heaven’, ‘Ships In The Night’, ‘Panic In The World’) through Red Noise (‘Furniture Music’), solo new wave hits (‘Do You Dream In Colour’) and beyond to the more experimental solo material he is known for today, mostly found on a second CD of instrumental tracks, all of which are also found on the DVD, alongside a short but revealing interview. Fans who couldn’t attend will love this whilst being insanely jealous they weren’t there to pat the reclusive Mr N heartily on the back as he timidly makes his way to the stage.
Ray Harper

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Peter GabrielPeter Gabriel
Secret World Live
(Eagle Vision)

Much as many long term fans have enjoyed the recent unplugged and orchestral New Blood reinvention of past glories (more here) if most are honest what they love most about Peter Gabriel is seeing him with a red hot band in full flow live, which is exactly what we have here in a newly re-mastered, updated and expanded version of his Grammy winning 1993 Secret World tour in support of his 1992 album Us. The astonishing thing is how much space he is willing to give the other performers (imagine Madonna or Ms Gaga, impressive as they are live, giving over centre stage to anyone), and whilst it’s his name on the front of the venue Peter Gabriel fans know full well that what they will be getting is a multi-cast show full of incredible musicianship, smart effects, daft little dance routines – if you can watch ‘Shaking The Tree’ without smiling you have no soul - and a very specific theme for each song (something he has been doing for decades). If you already have this, this version is better quality and longer, if you don’t then now is the time to remedy that oversight. Also available on Blu-ray.
The Oracle

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The Beatles The Beatles
Yellow Submarine
(EMI)

Chances are, if you are of a certain age, you will be very well aware of the last film that the Beatles put their name to, younger readers, probably not so much. The brainchild of director Heinz Edelmann and created in the latter half of the 1960s, Yellow Submarine was a sharp contrast to the altogether more loveable efforts of Disney and other animated films released by Hollywood up until that time – although in truth to those of you more used to todays animated ogres and cuddly woolly mammoths this is all probably going to look rather clunky. For those that understand such things the film has been restored in 4K digital resolution and, due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, was all done by hand, frame by frame, all of which means the picture and sound quality are even better than the previous 1999 re-release and the packaging is also pleasingly well conceived (including a booklet, film cells and stickers). It is also stuffed with great songs, and with Robert Zemeckis' 3D remake now abandoned, viewers new and old can enjoy the classic original all over again, in short if you don’t own this already, then this is definitely the time to buy it.
Jenny Hoon

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Bickershaw Festival Various Artists
Bickershaw Festival 40th Anniversary Box Set (Ozit Morph Records)

If, like many of us here at TM-Towers, you long for the days when music was delivered in packaging that was not only suitable for rolling the odd exotic ciggy but also allowed for artwork big enough to hang on the wall and information that you didn’t need to use a magnifying glass to peruse, then you are going to be delighted by this oversized cornflakes sized box of goodies including 6 CD’s, 2 DVD’s, a 208 page hardback book, a bunch of postcards and a poster, the sort of packaging in fact that just cries out to be slowly pored over before you even consider popping one of the shiny discs included into your new-fangled CD/DVD player. As to the content, well very few people would offer up Bickershaw in 1972 as a defining moment in festival history – possibly due to journo prejudices concerning co-promoter Jeremy Beadles’ later TV career – but, despite it being the muddiest and least salubrious of festival venues, Bickershaw was in fact hugely successful in that they enticed the likes of Captain Beefheart, the Grateful Dead, New Riders of The Purple Sage, Flamin' Groovies, The Kinks, Donovan, the Incredible String Band and Family (all featured here) plus many, many more to a weekend that still lives in the memory of all who attended (including Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer), so if you missed it, this is the next best thing.
The Oracle

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The Story Of Rock n Roll ComicsThe Story Of Rock n Roll Comics
(Wienerworld)

By the end of this, hugely enjoyable, film this viewer at least was pretty sure he would not have liked Todd Loren, and whether you accept the premise, offered by some associates, that he was a vigorous advocate of, and fighter for, ‘First Amendment’ rights or just a shameless self publicist out to make a few bucks (often at the expense of his writers and artists), what you’re left with is an overwhelming feeling that Todd Loren was somewhat of a smug, annoying bastard. That said most of the people he went out of his way to annoy were not exactly loveable – in fact the initial avalanche of lawyers, record company ‘bean counters’ merchandise hungry management and the ever idiotic Axl Rose, who all attempt to prise their ounce of flesh from Loren’s Revolutionary Comics – which, in short, published unauthorised biographies of rock and roll stars in comic book form – actually have you rooting for this irritating bugger. However a landmark ruling in the California Supreme Court finally puts paid to most of his legal problems then in 1992 Loren is found dead in his condo leaving speculation that he might have been the first victim of serial killer Andrew Cunanan, murderer of fashion designer Gianni Versace.
The Oracle

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Pink FloydPink Floyd
The Story Of Wish You Were Here (Eagle Vision)

Say what you want about Pink Floyd (and opinion here in the office runs from love to loathe), but you can’t fault their honesty, if they think they’ve fucked up, they’ll be the first to tell you so, all of which makes any Floyd documentary highly watchable. What makes this particular one even more so is the subject matter, the making of Wish You Were Here (on in the background as this is written and my word it’s good). Now you might imagine that this particular seam of Floydian history has been mined to exhaustion – the paucity of ideas going into the studio, the deepening of the bands schisms and of course Barrett turning up unrecognised during the recording of ‘Shine On…’ are all well documented – and yet nothing is lost in the retelling of this fascinating tale, and the addition of Storm Thorgerson’s album art stories (like setting people on fire in pre-CGI days), Gerald Scarfes’ live animation tales and Roy Harpers recollections of recording the vocals for ‘Have A Cigar’ (Which Roger Walters still hates) add lustre to an already fascinating story. Add original recording engineer Brian Humphries revisiting the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios and you pretty much have the full package. Also available on Blu-ray.
Ray Harper

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Ringo StarrRingo Starr
Ringo & The Roundheads: Blu-ray
(UMC)

OK, first up this is not a long show, Ringo may be getting on a bit but when Macca takes to the stage brevity is never an issue (mind you he does have a little more in the way of material to work with), fourteen tracks flash by in under an hour and that’s yer lot. That said this writer had actually forgotten that Ringo has actually penned some pretty damn good songs including ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ and ‘Photograph’ (both with George Harrison) plus ‘Back Off Boogaloo’ and when added to Ringo sung Beatles classics like ‘Octopus’s Garden’, ‘Yellow Submarine’ and ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ you know you’re onto something of a winner. Unlike much of Ringo’s previous solo output the stage is not crammed with high profile buddies, indeed aside from Men At Works Colin Hay guesting on ‘Who Can It Be Now?’, there’s not a famous face to be seen, but this is no problem as Ringo is clearly the star(r) here and, his recent high profile churlish behaviour aside, this is exactly how he should be remembered, as the lucky Beatle who is actually a talented performer in his own right.
The Oracle

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Public Image LtdPublic Image Ltd
Live At Rockpalast
(Made In Germany)

PiL's Rockpalast TV special, recorded for WDR at Der Zeche, Bochum in Germany in 1983, finally gets a CD and DVD release – having previously surfaced as a very poor bootleg copy via a label called Headliner in 2011 entitled Addictive Live 1983, and is in fact still available on Amazon and should be avoided at all costs. This is something of an un-earthed treasure given that PiL DVD’s are as rare as hens teeth and if it’s sadly not the original line-up (Jah Wobble being replaced by Louis Bernadi and guitarist Keith Levene by Joseph Guida, in fact the only memorable PiL name here is long-standing drummer Martin Atkins) it’s still something of a thrill to see Lydon snarling his way through such classic tracks as ‘Public Image’, ‘Annalisa’, ‘Religion’, ‘Flowers Of Romance’, ‘Anarchy In The U.K’., ‘This Is Not A Love Song’, ‘Bad Life’ and more, and if anything it’s even more entertaining to watch, a very well behaved Lydon in interview with Alan Bangs. Extras, aside from the interview include several sound-check rehearsals and all in all is a very worthy addition to any music collection.
Jenny Hoon

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Phil Collins Phil Collins
Live At Montreux 2004: Blu-ray
(Eagle Vision)

Phil Collins is no stranger to the stages at Montreux – in fact he lived for some time in Jackie Stewart's former pad located just over Lake Geneva in Begnins – and this DVD gathers two such performances including a hit laden romp from 2004 and a big band extravaganza from 1996. Of course just how much this appeals to you will be directly linked to whether or not you find Collins a pint sized drumming powerhouse and masterful musician who can also boast a nifty way with a chorus or a bit of a prat (there’s seldom a middle ground with Collins). This reviewer has to admit Collins is something of a guilty pleasure, as indeed are later period Genesis, and anyone who argues that ‘One More Night’, ‘I Missed Again’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ or ‘Another Day In Paradise’ aren’t exemplary pop songs is a fool. Boasting almost forty songs and two complete concert performances (all needless to say brilliantly played), this DVD goes well beyond value for money and, for the committed Phil Collins fan at least, is an immediate purchase no brainer. Also available on plain old DVD.
Ray Harper

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Dinosaur JrDinosaur Jr
Bug - Live at 9.30 Club: In the Hands of the Fans (Wienerworld)

Much like the recent Iggy Pop show (more here), an online contest led to six fans being selected to film Dinosaur Jr. performing, what many consider to be their finest album, Bug, in its entirety at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC on June 2011 and also to interview the band. Now anyone with previous knowledge of Dinosaur Jr.’s reputation will already be aware that not only did they originally implode acrimoniously not long after this album was released but also that front man J Mascis is a notoriously unforthcoming interviewee and both of these facts certainly inform at least part of the interview section (cue embarrassed silences and mumbled half answers), however that only serves to make this even more entertaining, as does an appearance by long time fan Henry Rollins. The show? Ah well that’s a blast and whilst the guys are a little (or in J’s case a lot) greyer they’re no less committed to the humungous racket they all make and on several occasions the sheer overload the three men create teeters on the brink of disaster (fans of later material often find Bug rather abrasive), but it never topples over the edge making this a must have for fans.
Ruby Palmer

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Talking HeadsTalking Heads
Chronology
(Eagle Vision)

Up until now the only Talking Heads DVD (indeed many believe the only live concert DVD) you needed was the astonishing Stop Making Sense, surely a high water mark of the concert film genre? Now we have Chronology, not the only other Talking Heads DVD out there but certainly the only one we reckon you actually need, collecting together live instances of their peculiarly spazzy and angular shouty-funk with tracks lifted from throughout their career from the earliest shows in New York during the late ‘70s at CBGB’s (grainy black and white) and The Kitchen (lurid technicolor) right up to their reunion performance of ‘Life During Wartime’ during their induction into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002. Did four individuals ever look less like a rock band than the Talking Heads? And yet this footage reveals an edginess altogether lacking in most ‘rock’ acts of the era. Bonus Features include full audio commentary by David Byrne, Jerry Harrison, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, a 35 minute South Bank Show feature from 1979, a David Byrne interview from 1978 and if you plump for the Deluxe Limited Edition you also get lovely book style packaging featuring an unpublished Lester Bangs essay.
Ruby Palmer

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GongGong
Gong On French TV 1971-1973
(Gonzo)

Warning! If your fondness for Gong revolves around the later, Pierre Moerlen Alan Holdsworth jazz rock outfit this probably isn’t for you (although Moerlen does feature). If however you’re partial to a bit of camembert, know some octave doctors, have spotted the odd flying teapot and like your Gong tunes delivered by folks in barmy headwear with no interest in conventional ‘pop song’ structures then this will very much be your thing as Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Steve Hillage, Didier Malherbe and a cast of revolving nutters are wilfully odd and hugely colourful (even though the vast majority of this is in black and white) in a selection of locations throughout France. Indeed there is much to love here for the long term Gong-o-phile, the best being a documentary shot at their 1973 commune just outside Paris with Allen and Malherbe talking gleeful bollocks before the band trot out live versions of ‘I Never Glid Before’ and ‘I Am Your Pussy’ from the Radio Gnome Invisible classic trio of albums (Flying Teapot, Angel’s Egg and You), other highlights include Camembert Electrique cuts ‘Fohat Digs Holes in Space’ and ‘Dynamite’ little lost gems of lunacy the lot of ‘em.
Ray Harper

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Cabaret VoltaireCabaret Voltaire
Johnny YesNo
(Mute)

A welcome return for the, now impossible to find, original film-noir mini-movie Johnny YesNo by Peter Care and soundtracked by Cabaret Voltaire only now with a new re-imagining of the cult film (transplanted from the grim UK north to the seedy US west coast), plus two hours of bonus material, new mixes and exclusive tracks. Does the film make any more sense with a new redux spin on things? Not really, but then the original was always more of a nod towards writers like William Burroughs and J.G. Ballard so an easily definable story arc was never likely, or indeed necessary, and certainly the soundtrack benefits hugely from all the extra music on offer. That said it would perhaps have been nice to round out the package with the Cab’s original soundtrack album and/or even their other link up with director Peter Care on the 1984 video for ‘Sensoria’, but these are minor gripes in the face of the extensive amount of bonus material on offer (this is after all a 4 disc 2xCD and 2xDVD set) and is a must have for both Cab’s fans and art movie buffs alike.
Josh Marks

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Ozzy OsbourneOzzy Osbourne
God Bless...
(Eagle Vision)

So what do we want from our metal documentaries? Well the USP of all the most successful ones to date (Anvil, Metallica, Lemmy), is they need to be warts an’ all efforts – more so in the case of Lemmy, fnar fnar – and this effort by Ozzy’s son Jack certainly doesn’t shy away from the more unappealing aspects of his father’s life, in fact it is entirely due to this unflinching gaze that God Bless Ozzy Osbourne is so watchable. The down side to this is that Ozzy is revealed to be something of a twat who singularly failed in his duties as a father (all five children from both his marriages are pretty clear about this), a husband (aside from regularly belting her, he actually tried to kill Sharon), in fact as a fully functioning human being (innocent animals are slaughtered, defecation is liberally smeared, oh how we laughed), and is this laughable excuse for a man contrite? Nah, not really, he was a drunken drug-fiend we are repeatedly reminded, that’s just what they do. The fact that his children all seem to still love him seems to be far more about their patience than his penitence and by the end credits you are left with an overwhelming sense of relief that you aren’t related to the man.
The Oracle

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Wishbone AshWishbone Ash
This Is Wishbone Ash A Rockumentary
(Glasgow Productions)

Not to be confused with Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash, this film following Andy Powell’s Wishbone Ash is not actually a rockumetary as such as it really only focuses on the band in the studio during the preparations for their recent album Elegant Stealth as Andy, Bob Skeat, Muddy Manninen and Joseph Crabtree jam, muck around in the back garden, do a little go-karting and play a selection of songs from their back catalogue live in a rather lovely French setting. Clearly there is a story to be told here, with two bands insisting they have the rights to the band name (although to be fair Powell has been the only consistent member throughout the bands forty odd year career), but if you are looking for enlightenment about this acrimonious split you won’t find it here. That said if you are a long term fan of the band you will find an engaging enough hours worth of interviews and songs (including six downloadable tracks on the DVD itself) and will doubtless enjoy the intimate setting and there’s no doubt that Powell and Manninen are keeping the duel lead guitar aspect of the band alive and well.
Ray Harper

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Little Malcolm...Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against The Eunuchs (BFI Video)

One of the many delights that the patronage of George Harrison ensured didn’t remain an unrealised project for director Stuart Cooper, Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against The Enuchs, based on the celebrated stage play by David Halliwell, finds John Hurt in full flow as a sort of Citizen Smith with knobs on named Malcolm Scrawdyke, an unpleasantly self-obsessed art student desperate to visit retribution upon his nemesis, teacher Mr Allard (who he holds entirely responsible for his being expelled). Enlisting the aid of three dozy malcontents in the formation of the Party Of Dynamic Erection Malcolm rails against… Well what have you got (up north in the mid seventies people had plenty to complain about)? If there is a downside it’s the pacing, although nothing you wouldn’t expect from an ‘art’ film made in this era and if things do crawl on occasion there is a whopping great dénouement that is well worth hanging around for. Extras include a couple of shorts, Put Yourself in My Place and The Contraption plus a fully illustrated booklet featuring original artwork and contributions by Yvonne Tasker, John Hurt, Stuart Cooper and Mike Leigh.
Josh Marks

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Peter GabrielPeter Gabriel
New Blood: Live In London
(Eagle Vision)

Sadly we didn’t get the 3D version of this so we can’t tell you how, or indeed if, the 3D aspect of the project works, however 3D is only a part of New Blood: Live In London wherein Peter Gabriel eschews his normal technologically advanced rock line-up, and his career defining tribal rhythms, for a whopping great (forty six piece) orchestra who reinterpreted Gabriel’s back catalogue – plus some of the songs from his recent Scratch My Back covers project - with varying degrees of success at the Hammersmith Apollo over two nights in March 2011. When it works, as on completely revamped oldies like ‘Wallflower’, ‘San Jacinto’, ‘Rhythm Of The Heat’ and ‘Intruder’ it’s tremendous - although the backing vocals are occasionally curiously stilted and texturally, if not musically, flat (why no choir?). However even where it’s less successful, on tracks which are already mood pieces like ‘Red Rain’, Don’t Give Up’ and ‘Mercy Street’, it’s still all rather lovely and Peter Gabriel’s playful stage presence (he can’t stop himself digging out some favourite old stage moves), plus some nice back drop animations, ensure things don’t get too dry. Extras include an interesting, if slight, making of feature Blood Donors.
Ray Harper

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Tarja Turunen & HarusTarja Turunen & Harus
In Concert Live At Sibelius Hall: DVD+CD
(earMUSIC)

The classical/rock crossover is not an area that has thus far been covered in glory (with a few notable exceptions, see the recent Jon Lord With Pictures DVD review above for one). So it was with some trepidation that we approached the new project from former Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen which she has christened Harus (a Finnish word that may or may not mean tent pegs but is intended to relay the concept of four different approaches being channelled in one direction). Of course Tarja’s classically trained background - she studied singing at the Sibelius Academy and has performed with Argentinean tenor Jose Cura - twinned with her more recent symphonic metal outings place her in the reasonably unique position of understanding the dynamics of both genres and in consequence this live DVD/CD actually works rather well melding operatic vocals, classical percussion, organ and rock guitar in a style that will certainly appeal to fans of Voices period Vangellis. The only real criticism that springs to mind is the lack of subtitles, aside from the between song comments, which, whilst not perhaps expected by rock fans would certainly be something a classical fan will miss.
John Wakely

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Black Country CommunionBlack Country Communion
Live Over Europe (Mascot Records)

There can’t be many rock fans that aren’t already aware that Black Country Communion are a super-group featuring Jason ‘son of John’ Bonham, Glenn ‘Deep Purple’ Hughes, Derek ‘Dream Theatre’ Sherinian, blues rock wunderkind Joe Bonamassa and whilst they might not have the stadium-sized profile of, say, Them Crooked Vultures, what they lack in super-group league positions they more than make up for in chops. A bit like Chickenfoot these guys can really play, however whilst Chickenfoot are great fun BCC have some genuinely fantastic Anglo-centric, old-skool style rock tunes. They are also, if anything, even better live than they are on record, in fact the only slightly lacklustre, albeit crowd pleasing, performance is an ok trot through Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’. What is also immediately apparent is that Glenn Hughes (once you get over the fact that he currently looks alarmingly like Dot Cotton) is positively empowered by his younger band-mates and still in astonishingly fine vocal fettle. None of these guys needs BCC, they all have busy careers outside the band, so the only reason to do it is because they are clearly loving every moment of it and this is a fine document of a band at the height of their powers.
Ray Harper

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Sigur RósSigur Rós
Inni
(Krunk/XL)

Not a reference to the preferred state of a bellybutton (or less desirous nipple position) Inni actually means ‘inside’, a reference to the extremely focussed, grainy close-up, nature of this follow up to the bands critically acclaimed, and far more widescreen, documentary/performance film Heima (more here), catching the band in their full post-rock majesty live at Alexandra Palace in London in November 2008. Dependent on which of the numerous versions you opt for the very least you will find is a 75-minute film and 105-minute double live album and, as always with Sigur Rós, a huge amount of attention has gone into the visuals, filmed on HD digital, transferred to 16mm film and then projected and re-filmed, again on 16mm, sometimes through glass and other objects, the black and white concert film linked by dislocated full colour interludes and, as with Heima, it’s a thing of genuine beauty, sound-tracked by some of the finest music to come out of anywhere, let alone Iceland, in the last fifteen years. If you already own Heima fear not, the closing ‘Popplagid’ is the only track both films have in common with songs taken from all five of their studio albums plus unreleased studio track ‘Luppalagid’.
Josh Marks

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Kings Of LeonKings Of Leon
Talihina Sky
(Revolver Entertainment)

Wherein we follow the Followill clan (three brothers, one cousin), via the odd live show and some studio footage, back home for a family reunion which resembles nothing so much as a cross between the Dukes Of Hazzard and Justified. If ever a documentary threw into sharp relief the huge differences between the UK and the US, then Talihina Sky does just that, and whilst every country on the planet can boast its own fair share of slack jawed yokels, it’s hard to imagine where else you might find a boozed up bevvy of backwoods types stood unsteadily in front of a huge flag whilst slurring their national anthem at a family gathering. As Lynyrd Skynyrd let us know in no uncertain terms, this is the land of 'god and guns' and you just need to lob some booze into the equation and bob’s your uncle (and possibly also your dad and your brother). Welcome to Talihina Oklahoma, a place where you really, really do not want to grow up and yet that is precisely what the warring and conflicted Caleb, Nathan, Jared and Matthew did and this hugely entertaining film, intercut with fascinating old family footage, really is a must see regardless of whether you like the band or not.
The Oracle

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