Dance Hall Crashing in my living room

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Sitting on the floor by my seldom-used TV and DVD player (a fairly recent purchase, wrought by the fact that it's hard to rent videos anymore and it was only forty bucks) because there's no room on my cluttered couch, I saw a pair of DVDs waiting for me to pop them in and, uh, watch them. Tink gave them to me who-knows-how-long-ago to review for, but I didn't know they were DVDs when I got them. I guess Kung Fu Records started recording and releasing bands' shows as concert DVDs. For no good reason, I put the Dance Hall Crashers one in before the Bouncing Souls disc.

Sandwiched between two of my favorite artists on my first of three large CD racks, Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra and Charlie Daniels Band, are four DHC discs. The first two I bought. The second two are ones I kept from all the freebies I received when I was on everyone's promo list. The mid-90s was the beginning of 3rd Wave Ska's ascent into the mainstream. The first time I saw DHC was at the Palace, back when it was called the Palace and they could pack it. Their horn section was already gone. Tim Armstrong, who played with them in between OpIvy and Rancid, was already gone. Basically, they were just a pop-ska band with sticky-sweet tunes and tandem chick singers. The Scandanavian one, Karine or Katrina or something, was the bouncy, hyper, sexy one and even Elyse, the chubby one, was cute. Their shows were fun because you jumped up and down a lot. If there was room, as was the case at all such ska shows, you skanked. Throughout the 90s, I went to hundreds of shows and the measure of how good the punk or ska show was, was how big a puddle I made when I rung out my shirt afterward.

Watching the DVD, I see how much each has changed. To be fair, I think it's stupid to watch a show on DVD, more or less so than produce it in the first place. What's the point of Kung Fu putting out this "The Show Must Go Off" series? If you've seen the band, it's a million times better live. If you haven't, it's hardly at all a substitute for the real thing. Confined to the tiny TV screen, the band member's moves seem mechanical and the songs are flat. Worse, all the shots of the audience are just the front (they didn't use that fun glass ball with the stabilized camera in it like in that Motley Crue vid) and often capture them just standing there not moving or singing along. I keep seeing one girl holding a sign, but they never show what it says. I am surprised how I still know all the words, though. I can't believe DHC are still around. And filling the HOB at that.

I really need, need, need to go see more shows. I'm the same age as the folks in DHC or younger (they started in 1989 I think) and they still put on shows, so I should still be going to them. Not theirs, per se, because I've seen them about 4 times and watching this DVD I can tell you it hasn't changed much and I doubt that even if I had seen this set back in my heyday, the resulting puddle would've been that big. I don't even need puddles anymore. I just want to be really into some bands out there. Indie 103.1 is a great station, but I realize they haven't turned me onto anything in a huge way. They play Matisyahu, but I actually saw him before they ever played him on the air. They just started playing Gogol Bordello's "Start Wearing Purple," but I saw them a couple years ago, too. Hey, check me out. I'm still ahead of the game sometimes. If anyone knows of a good gig coming up, lemme know. I'd rather see them live now for cheap than watch the DVD in a decade from now.

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