4/28/04 - TAPNotes by Matt Rowe
Music fans, take note! I've run down a list of interesting music
DVDs that we thought would be cool for all of you to check out. I've
done some sorting and dashed off some comments in an effort to alert
you to a few good titles that may have slid under the radar. Hey...
it's a busy world out there. We're here for you.
Just FYI, all titles reviewed in TAPNotes
can be ordered from Amazon.com by clicking on the cover art (as
always, doing so supports The Digital
Mitchell: Shadows and Light
Shout! Factory, that cool retro label that digs in and provides
us with some pretty awesome re-issues, has released a
serviceable Joni Mitchell concert on DVD. This concert is
representative of her 1979 tour, and delivers a nice collection
of songs from before her Geffen years. Included are over a dozen
silky tunes including Hejira,
Coyote and Goodbye
Pork Pie Hat. The disc includes audio in uncompressed
PCM Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 - both sound sharp. The full
frame video is sharper still. The main extra is a photo diary
from the tour.
What else is cool about this one? Jaco Pastorious on bass, Pat
Metheny on guitar and Michael Brecker on sax, all cozying up to
Joni's jazzy delivery. Joni is rather sparse these days, so grab
this disc while you can. It's nostalgically rich. I was a mere
four years out of high school when this tour unspooled. Who can
resist that voice?
Watch This! is a new
release from the folks at Zoe Records and Rounder Records. It
contains 8 videos from the current roster of Zoe artists and
bands, including a rare video of Bruce Cockburn doing last
year's Open from his You've
Never Seen Everything album. This DVD begins with a
storytelling I'm So Open
from Cowboy Junkies and continues nicely with selections from
Great Big Sea, Grant-Lee Phillips, Sarah Harmer and more, all
rendered in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. We like it.
Spanning Time with Ani DiFranco
Ani DiFranco has created a career on non-compliance with the
BIG labels, and has done quite well for herself. She's able to
release uncompromised music as she sees fit, and let me tell
you... she does quite a job of it. Ask anyone who has heard any
of her Righteous Babe releases (HER own label) and they'll tell
you, this girl embodies Rock n' Roll. This DVD release offers
nearly two hours of raucous Ani, centering on her 2000 and 2001
tours. It's a montage of concert footage, backstage meanderings
and, well... basically a swim through Righteous Babe territory.
The music is there, but you'll have to focus on fast switches
between concert and off-stage play. It's a bit off-putting at
first, but if you're a fan of Ani, then you already understand
her methods. The audio here is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Extras
include a bonus track and a handful of bonus features like a
camcorder segment of cats and plants. For fans.
This gothic band has quite a lot going for them. The major
surprise in listening to the first half of this DVD is in the
melodic presentation. I was immediately hooked. Artists of
Europe's gothic metal genre are known for their growling vocals
amid usually extraordinary mastery of instruments. Opeth
delivers a bigger, fuller plate than many of the gothic metal
bands I've heard. And these guys look quite happy to be doing
their stuff. This band was recommended to me by MusicTAPs
John Dunphy. And since I trust these Dunphy boys, I dug in. With
melodic guitars and a great rhythm section, Opeth performs a
show that definitely deserves to be on DVD. This disc was
recorded from their Shepherd's Bush Empire show in 2003. It
provides a connoisseur's choice of audio options, including
Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround, as well as DTS 5.1
surround. There's a bonus documentary and 14 songs, half soft
and half heavy. If you like this genre, Opeth is the stuff.
Slade in Flame
The 1970s produced quite a range of exciting bands, with a lot
of those bands coming from Britain. Slade was one of them. They
enjoyed a ton of success with many Top 10 hits, five of which
entered at Number One. Although much of their success was pared
back in the more finicky (and less explorative) US of A, they
still managed to capture the ear of fans, yours truly included.
At the height of their fame in 1975, they released a film
highlighting the shark infested waters of the music industry.
This semi-fictional ride is an interesting look at both the
times and the band. Can they act? Nah... but they sure can play.
And it doesn't hurt this film any. Slade
in Flames is more for fans than for complete
absorption by the audience at large, but I'll tell you this:
Slade helped to propagate many of the musical styles you hear
today. Crazee? Maybe.
Okay... here's a weird one for you. Okie
Noodling is a strange and interesting documentary
look at the art of catfish fishing, with no hooks and no poles.
So how do you catch em? And what does that have to do with
Rock n' Roll? Hang with me. The film is a look at Oklahoma
fishermen who dive into creeks, rivers and lakes in the hopes of
snagging a 60-pounder with... their hands. Yep. The film watches
folks as they risk their lives by swimming down to the bottom
dwellers and hoping for a "bite" by the whiskered
fish, so they can gill these creatures and bring
them to the surface. It's a culture of sorts and it features a
colorful bunch of people at that. So where's the Rock and Roll?
Well... there are 3 Flaming Lips contributions that can be
experienced in a listen to the soundtrack mode, as
well as interspersed throughout the documentary. Don't look for
stunning Flaming Lips tracks here - this is rough music, but
then so is the pastime. Funny stuff.
that's it for my first edition of TAPNotes.
I'll be back again very soon with more quick reviews of interesting
and diverse music DVD titles. I won't ignore the bigger stuff
either. I just want you to be aware of ALL the choices that can be
found at your favorite video haunt.