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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock Music Compilation > Supersuckers V.3 (DVD-Video/CD set)

Supersuckers - Mid-Fi Field Recordings Vol. 3: From the Audio/Video Dept., Live in Anaheim (DVD-Video/CD set)


Picture: C-†††† Sound: B†††† Extras: C-†††† Main Program: B-



The concert video must work on two levels.The first is creating the feeling while youíre watching it that youíre there, watching this band or artists from the third row with a bunch of other fans who are going crazy.The other is that it should represent one show as a whole; a night in the life of this band or artist.


On both levels, The Supersuckersí first foray into this territory fails.


Mid-Fi Field Recordings Vol. 3: From the Audio/Video Dept., Live in Anaheim is a collection of clips gleamed from a couple shows the band played in Anaheim, CA. Some of the selections are straight up rock tracks, like ďRock and Roll Records (Ainít Selling This Year),Ē ďBad Bad BadĒ and ďCreepy Jackalope EyeOthers, like ďBarricadeĒ and ďMudhead,Ē are more country in nature.


This split in which genre the bandís tracks fall into also separates where the clips were filmed.The rock tracks were filmed in a mid-sized concert space with a decent sized stage and a fair amount of fans.The other venue represented on the disc is a smaller club setting where fans in cowboy hats are as plentiful as the devil horns at the rock show.


This is a primary failing of the disc.The rock tracks are much more interesting and are much better to listen to.That show, filmed at The House of Blues, should be the only one represented here, rather than being broken up in favor of highlighting the bandís country abilities recorded at the Casbah.And this point is made all the more striking when you consider that the DVD is bundled with a live Supersuckers disc of their country tunes, recorded in San Diego.That audio-only disc should have been where the country stayed.Not only would it made the DVD a better watch, but it would have offered the complete Supersuckers package ó one disc of rock, another of country and both together show the bandís abilities as musicians.


This isnít the discís only problem.Instead, itís marred by a crowd at the rock show that is barely alive.At points, theyíre downright dead. The songs the Supersuckers have chosen to highlight at this concert and on this disc are anything but snoozers.The tracks are loud, heavy and in-your-face.Those in the crowd should have been more receptive.


Thatís not to say there is absolutely no crowd participation.There are some people at the front of the stage who do their share of moshing and throwing the devil horns at Eddie Spaghetti and the boys in the band.But look back a few rows and see only slight head nodding and arm flailing.Címon, this is a concert!Get into it!


And because those people at the show are so blah, the viewer canít help but feel the same sort of apathy.The concert is great to listen to.Itís guitars and bass are deep and rich with a solid drum track to complete the rich, full sound of both the rock and country concerts.Close your eyes and the sound quality of the disc matches the best concert audio discs you can purchase. (The disc offers viewers the ability to listen to the concert in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and 5.1 surround, so it in fact sounds better than your typical audio-only disc.)But why watch it?The people that were there werenít into it, so how can I?Better yet, why should I?


But if you happen to look at the video, youíll be thrown for a loop.Whoever filmed the concerts seemed more enamored with the digital effects option of their Sony HandyCam than they were in capturing the essential Supersuckers concert experience.


Grainy greens, grays and sepias are favored at the expense of a clean capture.And when those effects arenít being utilized, the video looks it was put through a digital effects machine to make it look like a washed out, scratched up film print of some rock show from 1983.On top of all that are the jumpy frame effects used here and there throughout the rock concert to compliment the negative digital effect that is used way too often.


This might not have been that much of a problem on its own.After all, there are plenty of bands that try to get too clever with their products and use every trick they can to make their concert seem totally cool.But, when going through the extras on the disc, youíll find what is called ďThe Hidden Track,Ē The Supersuckersí cover of Outkastís ďHey Ya


The track itself is decent enough.The crowd seems totally lost during the clip, though, not knowing what to make of these rockers covering a hip-hop tune ó even if itís the most popular hip-hop song since, dare I say, the heyday of Prince.But the video is immaculate.Itís clean, bright and lively.It captures the concert better than anything else you can find on the disc.So why wasnít the whole concert filmed that way?It would have gone a long way to redeeming the video found on the disc.And, being a concert DVD, the video is arguably the most important aspect of the effort.


And even though the concert footage is marred by poor edits, lackluster video and an awful crowd, that doesnít mean their first DVD is a total loss.


The music is really good, and is worth picking up if only for that.And thatís not really a surprise.The Supersuckers have been around for more than a decade, so their music must have hit a chord ó no pun intended ó with audiences.Whether itís the rock tracks or the country ones, the music is very good and very listenable.


But when you pick this DVD up, donít do so looking for a plethora of extras.In addition to the hidden track, there are only two other extras to speak of.The first is an interview Supersuckers bass player and frontman Eddie Spaghetti conducts with his bandmates.It focuses on whether they would like the ability to fly or the power of invisibility.Itís the usual band-chat stuff, but you canít help but watch and think Eddie is trying to channel a little bit of the Jack Black persona.(ďHow about the power of flight? That do anything for ya?,Ē Black asks on Tenacious Dís first hit, ďWonder Boy.Ē)


The other extra is a couple of clips of Eddie playing an acoustic solo set.It doesnít really contribute anything to the overall Supersuckers experience ó fans of the band and Eddie in particular might enjoy it. But because of the two-camera approach to the clips, and, again, the anything-but-vivacious crowd, this is a bit of a throwaway extra.

Ultimately, this disc is a mixed bag.On one hand, the musicís great.On the other, the video is a nightmare.And it seems as though the band could have picked a better concert to have captured and released on this DVD.That said, Mid-Fi Field Recordings Vol. 3: From the Audio/Video Dept., Live in Anaheim is anything but a throwaway concert video.It might not be on par with the classic concerts that Eddie mentions in the discís liner notes (Thin Lizzyís ďLive and Dangerous,Ē AC/DCís ďLet There Be RockĒ and The Ramonesí ďItís AliveĒ), but it should satisfy and Supersucker fan out there.


If you pick it up, pop the disc in your DVD player but keep the TV off.If you just listen to it, youíll have a much more pleasant experience with this disc.



-†† Dante A. Ciampaglia


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