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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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Madder than a Full Moon DogMadder 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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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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Pat MethenyPat Metheny
The Orchestrion Project
(Eagle Rock)

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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Metal Evolution Metal Evolution
(Eagle Rock)

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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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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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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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 Ballad Of Mott The HoopleMott The Hoople
The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople
(Start)

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of Mott The Hoople, despite having one of the clunkiest names in the history of rock and roll and struggling, on record at least, to find a style over the course of their first four albums, finally hitting their stride on their overlooked fourth album Brain Capers, a commercial failure that almost destroyed them, but the first album to capture the bands chaotically edgy live vibe, in fact it would be in the live arena that Mott really left a legacy, inadvertently becoming a major dot joining exercise between old skool hard rock, glam and punk. It was a bumpy ride (as with many influential bands they struggled to make headway at the time) and The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople does a terrific job of following this tortuous journey from enthusiastic obscurity to massive, band imploding, success, with everyone but the idiosyncratic Overend Watts pitching in to help tell the tale – present and correct are Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Verden Allen, Dale Buffin Griffin, Luther Grosvenor aka Ariel Bender, Morgan Fisher plus high profile fans, including The Clash’s Mick Jones, Queen’s Roger Taylor, Mott Seadivers fanclub president Kris Needs and liner notes from Morrissey.
Ray Harper

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MoreMore:
Dual Format DVD + Blu-ray
(BFI)

Let’s be honest, the main reason most of us are interested in this movie is the Pink Floyd connection – the soundtrack to this film being their first full album without Syd Barrett - as no matter which way you slice it this isn’t a great film, it is however something of a cult classic (aficionados can still regularly be found in Ibiza, where much of the film was shot, searching for key locations). Directed by Barbet Schroeder and based (very) loosely around myth of Daedalus and Icarus the film follows German student, Stefan on a hippie gap year indulging in a little hitching, a little thievery, a little sex and drugs and rock and roll, but basically having his head turned by blonde hottie Estelle (the delightfully named Mimsy Farmer), with disastrous results. The real problem with the film is that the plot, such as it is, unfolds at the speed of treacle running down a slightly inclined board and some of the dialogue is horribly clunky, but fans of the early Floyd may well find it interesting to hear the music in situ and the band must have enjoyed the experience as they went on to work with Schroeder again on La Vallée.
Josh Marks

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MisinformationMisinformation
(BFI)

Take a batch of ‘70s and ‘80s public information films and short documentaries (all produced by the Central Office of Information), and let Mordant Music – an outfit based around the nucleus of the mysterious Baron Mordant and Admiral Greyscale - loose to do as they will with the soundtracks. The results, based mainly around disquieting ambient washes and pulses peppered with glitchy pulses and treated spoken word samples are a sort of geek dub intended to intrude upon the images as much as compliment them and when it works, as on the look at the birth of New Towns In Britain on ‘A Dark Social Template’ and the hypnotic take on The Sea In Their Blood entitled ‘The Dry Dock Dybbuk’ it takes the images to a whole new place (which, given the title of the DVD, is clearly the idea). Fans of old film will also delight at the hilarious footage of the utterly useless Sinclair Pocket TV being whipped out in tea rooms and as an après-bread chucking session at the local duck pond and the rather novel approach to dealing with the problem of solvent abuse by making it look like a bit of a laugh!
Drew Bass

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The Last PoetsPaul McCartney Really Is Dead!
(Wienerworld)

Just when you thought there was absolutely bugger all left in the Beatle closet worth listening to, writing about or indeed watching, this little gem courtesy of director Joel Gilbert sails over the horizon, purporting to be the cassette taped last will and testament of George Harrison, a tape allegedly made when he was recovering from the knife attack at his home in 1999. We use the word allegedly here with good reason for if this is George Harrison’s taped voice - which veers wildly between the Australian outback, east London and the west country - then this reviewer is Thor, the god of thunder. The tale is not a new one (the title gives it away really), and revisits the theory that McCartney croaked after a car accident in 1966 and was replaced with a double by, wait for it, British Intelligence, prompting John Lennon to begin a prolonged war of attrition with the sinister MI5 operative Maxwell which would ultimately end in his death. Utter hokum from the word go of course, but great fun nonetheless, our favourite ‘shock revelation’ concerning McCartney’s passenger on that fateful evening, a botched MI5 assassination attempt and Heather Mills McCartney.
Drew Bass

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ManMan
Tapes of the Unexpected
(voiceprint)

Boasting well in excess of twenty different band members down the years (aside from a brief break from the late ‘70s to early ‘80s the band have been active since 1968, and previously to that as the Bystanders since 1962), the version of Man that hold memories for many – and certainly the greyer members of the office staff here – could be found traipsing all around Europe in the late ‘60s early ‘70s and featured, variously, Mickey Jones, Martin Ace, Clive John, Jeff Jones, Deke Leonard, Terry Williams and Ray Williams and it is these hairy Welsh types that can be found on this cracking little bundle of nuggets discovered in German TV archives (once again the amount of great old material sourced from Germany puts UK TV archives to shame), and for fans of the band this material is genuine buried treasure including black and white footage of the impromptu jam ‘Definitely’ and ‘Arnold's Red and White Striped Tent’ from the magnificently named 2ozs of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle album, colour film of ‘Daughter Of The Fireplace’ and ‘Will The Christians Wait Five Minutes’ and live favourite ‘Angel Easy’. Rather short perhaps, but once again Voiceprint have done a sterling job of tracking down some exceedingly rare material.
Ray Harper

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Mr LonelyMr. Lonely
(ICA Films)

How can you not be intrigued by a film that promises the story of a Michael Jackson impersonator, meeting a Marilyn Monroe look alike and then following her to a commune in the Highlands, to join her lookie-likey Charlie Chaplin husband, daughter Shirley Temple and a commune of doppleganger residents including The Queen of England, Madonna, James Dean, Abraham Lincoln and,. Erm, Little Red Riding Hood (!) plus numerous other impersonators who build a stage in the hope that people will visit and watch them perform. Along the way Nuns fall out of aeroplanes, sheep contact foot and mouth (and have to be slaughtered by the Three Stooges), eggs are painted and the Pope is accused of smelling bad. There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments including Jacksons show in an old persons home (including high pitched entreaties that his audience ‘don’t die’), Werner Herzog’s barmy turn as Father Umbrillo and I’d defy anyone to guess who is playing the Queen without first checking the cast list, whether or not you enjoy this however will depend entirely on whether you like your films to follow a linear plotline or enjoy the more avant-garde approach of stitching a series of seemingly unrelated acts together.
Josh Marks

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Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of InventionFrank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention
In The 1960s (Chrome Dreams)

Even having watched this fascinating documentary, outlining the tortuous birth and premature death of the first Mothers Of Invention line-up, it’s still hard to fathom how such a genuinely bizarre musical collective ever made it out of the rehearsal rooms, but make it out they did and the music they went on to create still remains amongst the most astonishing ever committed to tape. Loaded with great footage - like a young FZ playing a bicycle on Steve Allan show – and fascinating details (did you know Zappa was sent to prison for recording pornographic material? An arrest which would be thrown out for entrapment nowadays), In The 1960s follows the ludicrously prolific Mothers from their inception via their breakthrough six month residency at the Garrick in New York and beyond veering wildly from doo wop, music concrete, be bop jazz, rock, social commentary, lewd scatological humour and straight up wackiness, creating five albums in just three years (two of ‘em doubles). Add sections on Zappa’s Bizarre/Straight labels and interviews with Mothers Bunk Gardener, Don Preston and Jimmy Carl Black and you have a hugely entertaining way to spend over two hours in front of the goggle box.
Ray Harper

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Dudley Moore TrioDudley Moore Trio
Jazz in Oz
(Essential/Cooking Vinyl)

Recorded for ABC TV in Australia, way back in the mists of time when men’s collars and lapels were wider than aircraft carriers, moustaches tended towards the handlebar (with not a whiff of camp) sideburns were worn like cheek afro’s and hair was sculpted into a side parted crash helmet that was almost impervious to rainfall (oh alright we’re talking 1971 to be precise). Dud and his boys – Pete Morgan and Chris Kahn - could be found playing a mixture of Jazz standards, Moore’s own compositions and some extremely daft musical comedy routines, and that’s pretty much what you get here. Many a jazz fan forgets just what a funny man Moore was and conversely many a Pete and Dud fan forget what a talented musician he was (thank goodness he was short or he would have been unbearable), but he was prodigiously talented in both areas and this hour long set is a great little document of just that. It’s in black and white but don’t let that put you off, the sound and film quality are fine and it also comes with a bonus CD with all the tracks included (although stripped of the mid song chatter), and is, in short (ha!), a treat.

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John MartynJohn Martyn
The Man Upstairs
(Voiceprint)

If ever proof was needed that the most beautiful sounds can come from the most surprising of vessels this DVD supplies ample evidence as the prodigiously talented John Martyn performs a magnificent set of music which is then interspersed with the unappealing boorish bluster of a lifelong drunkard (and he’s not even particularly sloshed here). Fortunately it’s not necessary to like Martyn to love his music and this show, recorded in 1978, pretty much catches the man at the top of his game having just recorded the timeless One World album with Lee Scratch Perry (just imagine the conversations at those sessions? Boggles the mind). ‘Certain Surprise’, ‘Solid Air’, ‘May You Never’ and ‘Couldn’t Love You More’ are all given truly stupendous airings as are a string of lesser known but no less worthwhile tracks (although the cover of ‘Singing In The Rain’ is pretty pointless). Martyn fans may be wary of yet more old material - the man has released a huge number of old live sets, many of which are less than essential - but trust us this one is a belter and belongs on any right thinking JM fans DVD shelf.

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Ziggy MarleyZiggy Marley
Love Is My Religion: Live
(Tuff Gong/Cooking Vinyl)

Sean and Julian Lennon, Jakob Dylan, Peaches Geldof (oh alright that last one’s a bit silly), but there are any number of children out there doing their best to step from the huge shadows cast by their parents but when you not only sound like but also look like your father you’re frankly on a hiding to nothing. Probably the most successful of the huge Marley clan Ziggy can be found here in support of his album of the same name delivering an almost two hour long set which even features a few of his old man’s tunes (‘Jammin’’, ‘Is This Love’, ‘Concrete Jungle’ and ‘Rastaman Vibration’). Taped live at Los Angeles’ Avalon Theatre in December 2006 during an extensive worldwide tour - Marley visited one hundred and sixty one cities across the globe and became the first reggae artist to perform in mainland China – Love Is My Religion proves that whilst Marley Jnr. may not be as charismatic as his dad (who is?), he is a talented songwriter and very watchable performer in his own right. DVD extras include behind the scenes footage and both the ‘Love Is My Religion’ and ‘Into The Groove’ video’s.

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Bob MarleyBob Marley
Freedom Road: The Tracks Of The Journey
(WHE)

Robert Nesta Marley would ‘probably’ have been 62 this year (‘probably’ because nobody can actually produce authoritative evidence of his date of birth) and, as Kris Needs rightly points out, he still had a great deal to offer when he died aged just 36. We can only guess at what might have been, but whilst there remains unseen footage and untapped fellow travellers to quiz we can at least revisit the past, and if former girlfriend Esther Anderson too often places herself front and centre of the tale – claiming, amongst other things, to have helped write songs like ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ – she was indisputably an important part of the machinery responsible for helping him break through, both as part of Island Records (Anderson was also Chris Blackwell’s partner during the labels formative years) and as the person responsible for early iconic pictures of Marley. Ex-girlfriend’s grandstanding aside though this double disc set is a well balanced overview of Marley’s journey from abject poverty via superstardom to tragically early death, the second disc – a 14 track CD – a welcome inclusion, making it a good starting point for any Marley newbies and an inexpensive trot down memory lane for fans who still miss this great man.

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Meat Beat ManifestoMeat Beat Manifesto
Travelogue Live ’05
(Wienerworld)

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Jack Dangers’ Meat Beat Manifesto in the history of dance music, beginning life as an industrial techno amalgam in 1987 in very short order no self respecting dance DJ would consider venturing near a dance-floor without MBM tracks like ‘Radio Babylon’ or ‘God O.D.’ in their crates. Building a very distinctive sample heavy sound over elements of dub, trance, drum and bass, industrial and what would become known as big beat Dangers was also an early adopter of visual elements, an aspect of his live show which is enlarged upon here as a gig in Chicago is intercut with various surreal travelogue style films, sound-check and rehearsal footage and even a mishap with an unsecured light fitting. The addition of live drums to the banks of laptops, leads, samplers and knob laden boxes adds another element to what, aside from the visual footage, is a pretty static stage show, but that is sort of missing the point with dance music as the tracks are, almost without exception, clonking great rump-shakers, the audience clearly torn between watching as the audio-visuals are seamlessly mixed into the tracks, and dancing like pilled up drug monkeys.

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MetallicaMetallica
The Videos
(Vertigo)

Coming so hot on the heels of one of the best music films of all time - Some Kind Of Monster, wherein the band took a huge gamble and courted mockery by employing a therapist to try and sort out years of unresolved issues and came close to calling it quits on camera - we can only assume this is their way of saying ‘that was then, this is now’, especially given that the last tracks with new bass thing Robert Trujillo, especially ‘St. Anger’ (a phenomenally visceral noise filmed at St Quentin prison), prove the band are in fine fettle and quite possibly more aggressive than ever. The fact that Metallica have been such a major part of the metal scene, indeed one of the biggest bands in the world for so long is no fluke, they have never been afraid of sounding musical, never afraid of light and shade, never afraid of ridicule (thrash metal with full orchestra anyone?). Okay so some of these videos are standard metal ‘what do we do? Ah bugger it, set up and mime in a bunker or a snowy field, oh, and bung in some cars and birds’ while you're at it, but this is rock music, what did you expect?

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Yngwie MalmsteenYngwie Malmsteen
Far Beyond The Sun
(Universal)

Swedish born Yngwie Malmsteen was one of the ‘80s new wave of neo-classical, pyrotechnic metal guitarists (widely credited as pioneering the high speed shredding technique), who found himself, in some quarters at least – alongside the likes of Randy Rhoads and Steve Vai – held up as the poster boy for all that was vacuous in metal music, peddling spandex clad, sub Van Halen-isms which, while technically astonishing, had about as much substance as Casper The Friendly Ghost. Harsh? Perhaps, watching this DVD there’s certainly no doubting the mans technical ability, the interview section revealing he was inspired to search beyond his family’s ‘classical’ influnces by watching Jimi Hendrix burn a guitar (he has been known to immolate his own instruments on occasion) but also that his major formative influences are not only Deep Purples Fireball but also Paganini’s 24 Caprice, sadly the songs around which his nimble fingered soloing are draped really are by-the-numbers metal of the blandest kind. That said fans of technically adept guitar playing will find much to marvel at here, and fans get not one but two concerts, bonus videos, interview material and even some guitar tab features for the nimble of finger

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Shane MacGowanShane MacGowan
If I Should Fall From Grace
(Wienerworld)

At one point in this film Nick Cave insists that whatever Shane MacGowan wants to do to himself is entirely his own business and of course he is right, unfortunately for the rest of us it means a huge talent is being squandered as nobody in their right mind could argue that the man has created anything approaching the career high’s of Rum Sodomy & The Lash and If I Should Fall From Grace With God since his slide into drunken oblivion. The interviews with MacGowan range from the slurred to the repetitious but fortunately there are enough compos mentis people around him to piece the story together (notably his Ma, Pa and significant other), and what emerges is the story of a driven and talented individual who got what he always wanted and then found he couldn’t deal with it. Much of the live and video footage is wonderful - although the dreadful ‘Summer In Siam’ only really serves as an example of how truly awful the last Pogues album Hells Ditch actually was – ‘Dirty Old Town’, ‘Waxie’s Dargle’, ‘Streams Of Whisky’ and ‘Fairytale Of New York’ just four of the must see moments in this poignant but depressing film.

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Van MorrisonVan Morrison
Live At Montreux
(Eagle Vision)

The vaults at Montreux continue to be raided and, in this instance, deliver up a couple of absolute gems in two great performances by Van Morrison, the first featuring a stripped down young hip, jazzy ’74 performance and the second a smooth, horn driven big band show from ’80. Of the two shows the fifteen song ’80 performance is the most pleasing for the occasional Morrison watcher featuring a very slick band (which numbers the legendary James Brown sax player Pee Wee Ellis amongst it’s number), plus an on form Morrison and plenty of early favourites like ‘Moondance’, ‘And It Stoned Me’, ‘Ballerina’ ‘Tupelo Honey’ and ‘Listen To The Lion’, but it’s the nine track ’74 performance with Pete Wingfield (keyboards), Jerome Rimson (bass) and Dallas Taylor (drums) which will get Van the Man aficionados all of a quiver featuring live takes of tracks from the abandoned Mechanical Bliss project like ‘Twilight Zone’, ‘Foggy Mountain Top’ and ‘Naked In The Jungle’, this show is low on hits but high on invention. Like his old mate Bob Dylan Morrison nowadays is more noted for his curmudgeonly ways and patchy recorded output, so do yourselves a favour, pick these up and see why he’s so highly regarded.

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MinutemenMinutemen
We Jam Econo
(Plexi Film)

The Minutemen (D Boon, Mike Watt and George Hurley) never really meant as much in the UK as they did across the water, but the bands importance in the US is outlined by the who’s who of talking heads queuing up to pay tribute in this film – including Red Hot Chili Pepper Flea, Ian Mackaye of Fugazi, Dez Cadena, Chuck Dukowski and Henry Rollins of Black Flag, Grant Hart and Greg Norton of Husker Du, Jello Biafra, Thurston Moore, Richard Hell, Lee Renaldo and Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis. Ostensibly the story of three small town boys (from San Pedro) who came out of the DIY/punk/hardcore scene but proved to be far more than three chord ramalama merchants (Carlos Guitarlos sums them up most succinctly when he calls them avante garage) and this film follows their story from the early days as The Reactionaries, supporting Black Flag in ‘79 to the last time they played together onstage with REM (again supporting) covering Television’s ‘See No Evil’ on December 13, 1985. Nine days later D Boon would die in a van accident aged just twenty seven. This excellent documentary also includes plenty of fantastically grainy live clips of the band recorded down the years.

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MegadethMegadeth
Arsenal Of Megadeath
(EMI/Capitol)

I dunno, you wait years for a Megadeth DVD to arrive and then two come along at once (see below), although of the two this is by far the better prospect for fans comprising a pair of discs packed with videos, interviews, home movies, behind the scenes footage and live material. If you dig ‘em then you have hours of digging ahead of you here. For the uninitiated Megadeth are the spectacularly unpleasant Dave Mustaine (an early member of Metallica who, having been unceremoniously booted out, spent the rest of his career competing with his former outfit) and a revolving cast of backing musicians, sort of Black Sabbath on sulphate. The vast majority of the videos are either live or faux live with war and mayhem film footage intercut, the few story-boarded efforts lacking the necessary bite. The music works best when Mustaine and Co. are at their bratty-iest (although covers of 'Anarchy In The UK' and 'No More Mr. Nice Guy' are just limp). Not that it’s necessary to empathise with, or indeed like Mustaine – who is one of the creative lodestones for speed/thrash metal – Megadeth fed on antagonism, which comes across in this collection loud and clear.

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MinistryMinistry
Sphinctour
(Sanctuary Midline)

Filmed when long standing Ministry foil Paul Barker was still part of the band (Ministry is now a band in name only, Al Jourgenson being the only surviving member in a line-up which now boasts well over 30 different members), this show captures the band in 1996 at the tail end of what is widely recognised to be their creative peak and features storming clatters though industrial hardcore classics such as ‘Just One Fix’, ‘N.W.O.’ ‘Psalm 69’, ‘Hero’ and ‘Stigmata’, although in typically obtuse Ministry style each track jump cuts between multiple performances and Jourgenson is clearly, stoned, knackered or a combination of both throughout, appearing to be in grave danger of becoming his generations Ozzy Osbourne. But only a fool would write him off just yet - he is fantastically prolific recording as Lard with Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra, Acid Horse with Cabaret Voltaire, 1000 Homo DJs with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, PTP with Chris Connelly and Pailhead with Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat and Fugazi and of course as part of Ministry's alter ego’s, the Revolting Cocks – and Sphinctour is a reliably incoherant document of the shambolic live Ministry juggernaut.

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Megadeth Megadeth
Behind The Music
(Sanctuary Midline)

The story of Megadeth, as originally told to VH1’s Behind The Music, can be summed up thus... Dave Mustaine grew up in a poor family constantly on the run from an abusive father, becoming something of a tearaway, left home at fifteen, sold dope, fell in love with Judas Priest, Motorhead and Iron Maiden, began playing guitar to ‘get pussy’, formed Panic and then joined Metallica – prompting the birth of anti-glam thrash metal - insisted on continually hitting people so got sacked, formed Megadeth who all become full time junkies long before they have a contract, then operates a revolving door policy for drummers and guitarists until the present day. The saddest thing about the whole sorry tale, and indeed Mustaine’s entire career to date, proves to be his lunatic obsession with trying to top the band he was kicked out of, something he would never manage. Minor annoyances include the lack of before and after ‘story-so-far’ ad-break editing (a simple enough job), which means irritating repetitions and, as always, the music clips just aren’t long enough, but fans who have seen the show will welcome the extra interview footage and the video for ‘Motor Psycho’.

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Paul McCartneyPaul McCartney
In Red Square
(Warner Music Vision)

Despite his increasing ubiquity of late it's still really something of a treat to see Macca wrapping his tonsils around some of the finest pop music ever created (and yes that does include the odd Wings song), but what raises this DVD to another level entirely is the Beatles genuinely pivotal position in the history of ‘60s Russian youth culture, a position of such genuine importance that numerous people at these concerts are moved to tears at finally being able to see and hear this music in their homeland. Of course for us in the West this is about as easy to understand as a Western '90s teenager trying to relate to being born during a world war, but the mid-song talking heads that pepper the performance do a pretty good job of at least pointing us in the right direction. Which just leaves the performance itself, a performance so full of timeless pop music – played it has to be said excellently by Macca and his ludicrously youthful backing band (and including a second equally great show, with a different set-list, in St Petersburg) - that everyone from rabid Beatles fans to mildly curious onlookers should find this damn near indispensable.

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John MartynJohn Martyn
Live In Dublin 26.08.87
(Fulfill)

Having been caught out on many occasions and subjected to less than impressive live performances by an inebriated John Martyn - I speak from experience here - fans of the man could be forgiven for considering a live JM show something of a lottery (a bit like the Pogues really). It wasn’t always so however as back in the day even in his cups John Martyn was an astonishing performer, prone to impenetrable mid song rambles perhaps, but a prodigiously gifted vocalist and guitarist – generally even more so when supported by the equally gifted Danny Thompson – and it’s this performer captured here, sweating like a marathon runner at the twenty mile mark, Martyn’s lush velvet vocal chords are present, correct and used to absolutely beautiful effect on songs like Solid Air, Sweet Little Mystery, May You Never and a simply breathtaking One World. This is also a timely reminder of Martyn the guitarist – his playing is positively incandescent here - in short a man at his exceptional best. No extras, no camera tricks, no videos, no dancing girls, no commentary, no unpublished pictures, nothing but an hour of a fabulous performer doing what he does best. Sublime

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Mayor Of The Sunset StripMayor Of The Sunset Strip
(Tartan Video)

In amongst the usual selections of video collections, live concerts and ‘story of…’ type DVD’s that arrive at the TM-Online offices there is occasionally a title which is neither one thing nor the other, and this is just such a title. Following the fortunes of one Rodney Bingenheimer, a man with no obvious talent for anything other than being photographed with famous people, this excellent documentary takes a long hard look at our obsession with celebrity and those desperate to bathe in what Bingenheimer refers to as ‘the god-heads’ reflected glory. To be fair Rodders is a genuine music fan and through his club nights (the infamous English Disco) and radio slots has helped promote numerous acts from Bowie to the Sex Pistols, Smiths, Coldplay and Oasis in the States but, unlike say John Peel, it’s the collection of pictures, autographs and memorabilia that litter his flat which really count, the music simply a means to acquiring them and despite all his A-List celebrity acquaintances Rodney is actually a slightly pathetic, sad and lonely individual with no real idea of who he is or indeed what his life amounts to.

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Aimee MannAimee Mann
Live At St. Ann’s Warehouse
(V2)

The toothsome Ms Mann (the Julia Roberts of singer/ songwriting), caught live in mid 2004 during a show recorded at St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York with her band – very good band they are too – strutting her live chops (which we learn in the accompanying interview is not exactly top of her favourite things to do – not keen on being applauded apparently). For the technically minded the show is a 16:9 widescreen letterbox visually and 5.1 surround sound aurally, for the Aimee Mann faithful it includes more or less everything you’re likely to want to hear her play, and the package also includes a bonus live CD of hits plus two new songs from her upcoming new album. For the uninitiated this is probably as good a point as any to dip into the Mann canon, although the show does occasionally, erm, plod (especially during a couple of excruciating onstage exchanges which would have been best left on the cutting room floor), but generally does the lady no disservice and reveals her to be a quality songwriter who is likely to be around for a while to come. Indeed in this world of manufactured pop stars and wannabe superstars Mann’s reticent qualities actually make rather a pleasant change

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MorrisseyMorrissey
Who Put The M In Manchester
(Attack)

There is little doubting the recent phoenix like revival by Manchester’s favourite son has been a long time coming - although it was helped immeasurably by You Are The Quarry being the best thing Stephen Patrick has recorded for many a moon - and absolutely deserved. Which makes this homecoming show in Manchester on the great mans birthday all the more poignant, and if he isn’t quite the willowy flower wielding waif of yore (resembling an ageing Ted rather more these days), his microphone cable whipping, shape throwing slightly more cumbersome, there is little doubt he still inspires absolute fanaticism in his followers - it’s actually quite painful watching the faithful launching themselves with bone crunching consequences across the pit stage-wards. Composed mainly of tracks from his recent album, and the odd Smiths classic thrown in for good measure, this is a celebratory return to form as Morrissey takes that hoary old chestnut the audience sing-a-long into real goosebump territory and proves he can still whip a (very large) room of people into an almighty frenzy. Extras include several promos and a set from the Move Festival.

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The Magic BandThe Magic Band
Live In Concert
(Sub Diva)

It’s hard to imagine a band less likely to work without their illustrious ex-front-man than The Magic Band. Witness recent Zappa less Mothers reunions or the Doors Jim Morrison-less Ian Astbury incarnation. Not a pretty sight to be sure. Indeed watching the vast majority of ‘70s reunion outfits drag their portly frames and thinning bonces out in the cause of making a buck is frankly painful (if perfectly understandable). The simple truth is however even without the trademark vocals of the good Captain this millennium version of the Magic Band is an absolute dream not least due to drummer John ‘Drumbo’ French’s astonishing move into the vocal spotlight, using his old Beefheart bosses baritone croak’n’wail as the kicking off point for a bravura lesson in updated blues bellowing. Add old Magic Band luminaries Mark ‘Rockette Morton’ Boston, Gary ‘Mantis’ Lucas, Denny ‘Feelers Rebo’ Walley and Robert Williams - all clearly playing with a passion, verve and skill that would shame many bands a quarter of their age - and you have one of the few reunion outfits living up to their reputation. Extras include a 50 min reunion documentary (one of John Peel’s last narration jobs), and extra live tracks.

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