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LITERATURE» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
MUSIC» The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
MUSIC» Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
This new live DVD compiles performances from the band's tour in Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Italy. The camerawork is a mixture of professional footage and video captured by fans, resulting in an uneven and often murky blend of styles. Further degrading the quality is the frequent use of cheesy video effects right out of the '80s - blurring, tracers, weird jumpy oscillations, and psychedelic coloring mar the footage. This egalitarian method of combining fan and pro footage has been used before by bands like the Beastie Boys, but using a professional, multiple camera setup would have benefited this DVD greatly. The low quality of the video also tends to enhance the advanced age of the band members. Now, that may seem like an unfair statement; after all, this is a band that has been rocking for over 25 years, and yes, Robert Smith is nearing 50. But the fact is that Papa Smith's pudgy, sweaty, eyeshadow-smeared countenance looks particularly haggard with the degraded video quality present here.
But all of that is superficial, and the music is really the focus. It's very interesting to hear the band play its catalogue without the enhancement of the epic keyboard lines that have played such a big part in their songwriting throughout the years. The songs from Pornography work particularly well with this setup, while those from Disintegration, Head on the Door, and Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me seem to be missing something. But overall the band sounds tight and cohesive, even if Smith seems to be flailing away a bit on the extended guitar solo of "The Kiss." The DVD's tracklist culls songs from pretty much the band's entire discography, although Three Imaginary Boys is left out completely. But tracks like "Fascination Street," "A Strange Day," "The Drowning Man," and a furiously rocking "Never Enough" make up for this oversight.
It's amazing to hear the Cure in all their stadium-rocking glory, especially with this back-to-basics instrumentation. 25 years later, this band is still completely relevant and still extremely popular. When viewed in contrast with other middle-aged rock bands like U2 or New Order, Robert Smith's pasty, white, makeup-smeared visage and the gloomy goth-rock that his band has been pushing for a quarter century still feels vibrant and important, a testament to the power of the Cure's music SEE ALSO: www.thecure.com
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.
See other articles by Jonah Flicker.
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