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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Punk Rock > Screamers - Live In San Francisco 9/2/78

Screamers – Live In San Francisco: September 2nd 1978


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Concert: C+



Music Video Distributors has once again issued another key piece of Punk Rock history from the Target Video archives, as they had with The Cramps.  Screamers – Live In San Francisco: September 2nd 1978 offers a concert that runs about a half-hour, followed by over 15 minutes of rare Music Video clips in a supplemental section.  This was one of Los Angeles first and best Punk bands and the performances here are great.  It is fair to say some of this is early New Wave and sometimes reminds one of the more experimental side of Split Enz.


The main concert is a simple color taping with two cameras that offers plenty of video streaking and haziness being that the taping was dark and artificially lit by necessity.  This is a great band, though form the box and what I have heard, they did not last or hit big like they should have.  As a matter of fact, this program’s only real problem is that it is simply too short and I wish it was 90 minutes long.  The songs are as follows:


1)     122 Hours Of Fear

2)     Vertigo

3)     Last 4 Digits

4)     Magazine Love

5)     [And The] Beat Goes On (yes, the Sonny & Cher classic is part of this)

6)     Punish Or Be Damned

7)     In A Better World



The full frame 1.33 X 1 video image is a surviving NTSC tape that is in fairly good image, but has survived well enough and is actually shot well by focusing on the band and capturing as much as possible.  The remastering for this DVD is good enough to make the VHS copies around worth trading away, unless you are really obsessed.  The original stereo has been made available here in Dolby Digital 2.0 and a slightly better 5.1 remix, but this cannot hide the age of the recording or its dated fidelity.  I still wish this were in DTS just the same.  Extras include a 24:57 promo reel for Target that is packed with great bands and these five videos:


1)     122 Hours Of Fear

2)     Vertigo (Version One – red shirt/long tie)

3)     Vertigo (Version Two – striped shirt/short tie)

4)     Magazine Love

5)     Punish Or Be Damned



Even with the fancy use of monochromatic video images, these are all live performance clips, but in all cases, lead singer Tomata du Plenty (what a name) is one of Punk’s great vocalists.  Especially considering this was the classic era of punk, that says a great deal about his talent and distinction.  If you have never seen or heard of this band, you must get this DVD!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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