Depeche Mode- Rewind; 30 Years at the Edge | Exclaim! | February 2011

Depeche Mode

Rewind; 30 Years at the Edge

Reviews breadcrumbsplit MUSIC DVD

Depeche Mode - Rewind; 30 Years at the Edge

By Daniel Sylvester
Repackaging exceptional 2009 Depeche Mode unauthorized documentary The Dark Progression along with dreadful 2009 bio The Ministry of Sound (which was a repackage of 2005’s Random Access Memory), Rewind; 30 Years at the Edge is dubious even before the cellophane is cracked. Disc one (The Dark Progression) focuses largely on Depeche Mode’s four classic LPs ― Black Celebration, Music for the Masses, Violator and Songs of Faith and Devotion ― not only offering a dissertation on the band’s soaring popularity, but a look into the state of synth-pop and electronic music during that fruitful era. Excellently edited and conceived, featuring excerpts from DM music videos, concert footage (including scenes from D.A. Pennebaker’s famed 101) and interviews with music journalists, producers and band biographer Jonathan Miller, Rewind becomes fascinating when DM contemporaries like Gary Numan, Thomas Dolby and OMD’s Andy McCluskey chime in on the band’s role in the ’80s electronic and synth-pop scenes. On the other hand, disc two (The Ministry of Sound) comes off as an unqualified throwaway, leaving the viewer with second-rate Depeche Mode sound-alike stock music, still photos, interviews with school-time chums, a half-hearted narrator and a younger Jonathan Miller. For what it’s worth, fans are better off tracking down the single disc The Dark Progression and pretending that Rewind; 30 Years of at the Edge never happened.
(Pride DVD)
Advertisements

Depeche Mode- Tour of the Universe: Barcelona 20/21.11.09 | Exclaim! | November 2010

Depeche Mode

Tour of the Universe: Barcelona 20/21.11.09

Reviews breadcrumbsplit MUSIC DVD

Depeche Mode - Tour of the Universe: Barcelona 20/21.11.09

By Daniel Sylvester
In the world of rock, if you’ve stuck around long enough and paid your dues, you can follow up a mediocre album with a massive world tour. This is exactly what Tour of the Universe: Barcelona 20/21.11.09, the fourth live album from Depeche Mode, documents in beautiful HD. The DVD (or Blu-ray)/double-CD combo is superbly packaged and compiled, featuring a 25-song performance chronicling two nights at Barcelona’s Palau Saint Jordi on both DVD and CD. With bonus features including a full tour documentary, rehearsals, music videos and bonus live tracks, along with Anton Corbijn’s “screen films,” specially shot to run on the stage’s massive LCD screen. Over the nearly two-hour concert, Gahan, Gore and Fletcher look and sound energized, revitalized and exactly like the beloved superstars they are. On songs like “Policy of Truth,” “I Feel You” and “Never Let Me Down Again,” the director does a terrific job capturing the buzzing energy exuded by the band, reciprocated by the fervent crowd. Playing in front of a gargantuan LCD backdrop and ball, the visuals come off stunning and revolutionary, as the ball transforms into a giant mirror ball, eyeball and even a cluster of balloons. As the band deliver crowd favourites “Enjoy the Silence” and “Personal Jesus,” and revive old gems “Fly on the Windscreen” and “Dressed in Black,” Tour of the Universe proves to be another triumph for a band with little left to prove. This is a 101 for the hi-def age.
(Mute)

Rise Up: Canadian Pop Music in the 1980s- Dir. Gary McGroarty | Exclaim! | February 2010

(!) Rise Up: Canadian Pop Music in the 1980s

Directed by Gary McGroarty

Reviews breadcrumbsplit MUSIC DVD breadcrumbsplit Feb 2010

Rise Up: Canadian Pop Music in the 1980s - Directed by Gary McGroarty

By Daniel Sylvester
Released in tandem with This Beat Goes On: Canadian Pop Music in the 1970s and broadcasted as part of CBC’s Doc Zone series, director Gary McGroarty’s Rise Up: Canadian Pop Music in the 1980s tackles the biggest, flashiest and most ambitious era in Canadian music. As This Beat Goes On attempted to draw a line from the 1971 CanCon ruling to the success of Canadian music on both sides of the border, Rise Up documents the advent of music television and the stars they proceeded to generate. Music video pioneers like Chilliwack and Triumph, picked up by early MTV, inspired a brave new wave of image-conscious bands to look sharp, act sexy and create a whole new kind of art. Rise Up focuses heavily on the fusion of ’70s genres, like new wave/reggae (the Parachute Club, Truths and Rights), art pop (Jane Siberry, the Pursuit of Happiness), alt-country (Cowboy Junkies, k.d. lang) and blues rock (Powder Blues Band, Jeff Healey). Along with the scope of ’00s artists (Brendan Canning, k-os, Sam Roberts) obsessing over their favourites from the era, Rise Up does a tremendous job demonstrating the notion of Canadian music of the ’80s as stage setter for the mosaic atmosphere of our current music scene. Giving the same amount of face time to those whose sound fuelled Canadian pop (Bryan Adams, the Tragically Hip) as to those who helped change its look (Dalbello, Men Without Hats), Rise Up captures the zeitgeist by representing the stars behind Canadian pop music in the ’80s for what exactly they were: stars.
(Capitol)

This Beat Goes on: Canadian Pop Music in the 1970s- Dir. Gary McGroarty | Exclaim! | February 2010

(!) This Beat Goes On: Canadian Pop Music in the 1970s

Directed by Gary McGroarty

Reviews breadcrumbsplit MUSIC DVD breadcrumbsplit Feb 2010

This Beat Goes On: Canadian Pop Music in the 1970s - Directed by Gary McGroarty

By Daniel Sylvester
In 2007, CBC produced Shakin’ All Over, a 90-minute documentary exploring the ’60s Canadian music revolution. Two years later, director Gary McGroarty delivers two new docs: This Beat Goes On and Rise Up, exploring the next 20 years in Canadian pop. Following the same formula as Shakin’ All Over ― featuring narration by Jian Ghomeshi, rare performances and brand new interviews from both those involved and influenced by the scene ― This Beat Goes On and Rise Up work equally as stand-alone documentaries and episodes in an expanding series. Named after the ’80s hit by the Kings, This Beat Goes On tells the story of a pioneering Canadian scene fuelled by the accomplishments of their ’60s forerunners, sparked by the 1971 establishment of the MAPL system (better known as CanCon). From ’60s hang-overs (Joni Mitchell, Neil Young), early ’70s rock (Bachman-Turner Overdrive, David Wilcox), mid-decade soft rockers (Dan Hill, Gino Vannelli) to the scene that spawned ’80s arena rock (Loverboy, Rush), This Beat Goes On relies on American chart success to make a case for the government’s CanCon initiative. But it’s the exploration into Canada’s less-populist genres like francophone pop (CANO, Harmonium), punk rock (Teenage Head, the Viletones), new wave (Martha and the Muffins, Pointed Sticks) and art rock (Nash the Slash, Rough Trade) that demonstrate just how ingenious, far-reaching and influential Canadian music had managed to become during this time. Perfectly setting the stage for the video age, This Beat Goes On does more than just document/explore/dissect Canadian music in the ’70s; it simply celebrates it.
(Capitol)

Leonard Cohen & His Army- Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 | Exclaim! | December 2009

(!) Leonard Cohen & His Army

Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

Reviews breadcrumbsplit MUSIC DVD breadcrumbsplit Dec 2009

Leonard Cohen & His Army - Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

By Daniel Sylvester
It’s four in the morning, the end of August, Leonard Cohen takes the stage three years after Woodstock in front of 600,000 people at the Isle of Wight Festival, following Hendrix’s guitar blazing performance. Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 is a DVD (or Blu-Ray)/CD combo capturing one of Leonard Cohen’s classic performances, recorded by Miles Davis’s famed producer, Teo Macero, released to the public for the first time. With the camera lovingly fixated on Cohen’s sleepy, starry-eyed visage, Live at the Isle of Wight delivers Cohen’s entire performance inter-cut with new interviews with Kris Kristofferson, Judy Collins and producer Bob Johnston. From the introduction to stirring closer “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy,” Live at the Isle of Wight is a heartbreakingly gorgeous and moving document of a career poet finally reaching his masses.
(Sony Legacy)

Roxy Music- The Story of Roxy Music | Exclaim! | December 2009

(!) Roxy Music

The Story of Roxy Music: More Than This

Reviews breadcrumbsplit MUSIC DVD breadcrumbsplit Dec 2009

Roxy Music - The Story of Roxy Music: More Than This

By Daniel Sylvester
In 1972, London, England’s Roxy Music, along with David Bowie and T. Rex, helped turn art rock ― a stiff, often introverted style of highly textured rock ― into perhaps the coolest genre in rock’n’roll’s history: glam rock. More Than This not only follows the conception of Roxy Music, born out of Bryan Ferry’s visual arts projects and Brian Eno’s love for music concrete, but the very birth of glam rock itself. Featuring interviews with main players (Ferry, Eno, Manzanera, Mackay), producers, record company folk, journalists and lifelong fans like Bono, Siouxsie and Goldfrapp, More Than This does a terrific job offering a first-person account of all things Roxy. But it’s the pure scope of live material included ― from the band’s first Top of The Pops performance to the late career footage at the Isle of Wight Festival ― that helps define More Than This as one of the best rock documentaries ever assembled.
(Eagle Vision)

The Beatles- Rare and Unseen | Exclaim! | December 2009

The Beatles

Rare and Unseen

Reviews breadcrumbsplit MUSIC DVD breadcrumbsplit Dec 2009

The Beatles - Rare and Unseen

By Daniel Sylvester
It’s no coincidence that MVD, the leader in unauthorized music DVDs, released their fifth Beatles-related video a mere two weeks before the Fab Four’s latest batch of reissues hit the streets. Mostly covering the early days ― before the Beatles conquered America ― Rare and Unseen features a smattering of seldom seen home movies, photos and performances of John, Paul, George, Ringo, Stuart and Pete. Rounding 20 minutes of found footage into a 90-minute film, Rare and Unseen is mostly made up of new interviews with former members of the Beatles’ entourage (including long-time engineer Norman Smith, tour manager Sam Leach and press officer Tony Barrow). Complete with stock music and canned cheering (due to MVD’s inability to secure the rights to any actual Beatles music), Rare and Unseen comes off as incredibly bland, stiff and lifeless; it’s a horrifying representation of a band that worked so hard to become synonymous with style, imagination and personality.
(MVD)