|Granite Girls and the
To get: Surf or Die
There are plenty of surf shots and they look fantastic. The camera equipment is getting better or the shooting expertise is. Still photos or in-water shots mix with the long shots to break things up. The music marries with the action editing.
The subject of women surfers gives this film a poignant focus. They don’t dwell on the exclusionary behavior of male surfers now or in the past. They come across as positive, self-possessed and self-motivating athletes who are going to surf one way or the other.
The story of each individual women spiral out to their families and the surfing community and that gives depth to the project which makes it different from a Sunday watching surf contests on TV. These women exude a natural love of surfing that is an antidote to contest mania coverage. They participate in community events like Surfing with Smiles that gets autistic children into the water and the Wounded Warriors Project that does the same for veterans.
There’s a section showing how many surfing families there are. We think of surfing as a solo endeavor but this film shows that’s not the case in the North Shore surfing community.
Ralph keeps a fast pace going. There’s more talk than usual but he never lets it get long because…there’s always surfing to show. But there’s still enough that you get to see the personalities of some like Becca Speak, Nohea Nichols, Julie Jakoboski, Hanna Vokey and Erika Nardone
We’re all about music so we zeroed in on “She Stands Alone” a live cut by The Nor’easters (Ralph’s group after Vinny) that was worthy of release. The opening and closing songs are sung by Victoria. She captures the cool girl-group vocals (in French) on top of a surf music backing. It’s produced and recorded by Andy Paley and has his touch. A great discovery for Paley fans. (It’s at CD Baby) The Darlings get a song there too.
There’s real warmth in this whole film that contrasts to those cold New Hampshire winter waters. The women talk of the support they get now and it would be ridiculous if they didn’t, the surfing they show here is fantastic.
Sound good? Want to see it? Send a $20.00 money order to ADLANTIC, 3 Marston Way, Hampton, NH 03842 It's also available at New Hampshire surf shops
|Chet's Last Call.
A Story of Redemption
Watching this doc, you go in thinking it’s just about Chet (Richard Rooney) and the influence he had, and it is, but it’s so much more. Ted and Dan Vitale have done such a good job that they've captured the whole 80’s underground rock scene, and the whole tenor of Boston Punk that’s been there from the beginning, along with Chet’s story.
But let’s talk about Chet. He got his first experience
in a bar at Jumbo’s and was known for the firm “Last call for alcohol”
that marked the end of the night. The film shows how he made his niche with
Chet's Last Call and had influence with just the right intention
and some luck.
The interview sections are short and sweet. They are alternated with musical interludes. After a while the interviews start to reinforce each other and soon reveal a higher level. Over and over you hear, “Chet gave us our first chance”. You can see where all the musicians were living the same life and dreams and were supporting each other. Xanna Don’t tells how her big hairdo made Kenne Highland say, “You should sing Patsy Cline songs”. The light bulb went on and that’s what she did. A few relate that they met their future spouses at Chet’s.
The time period here is mid and late eighties, when the indie scene was big. Medium size labels were picking up likely subjects and boosting them into the limelight. Even though The Pixies played Chet’s the acts that played the club were under the radar for the most part.
The scene, as well as the club, was grittier; the music was more freewheeling and out there. Many talk about the danger of walking those North End streets at night. Many also mention how it was a little scary going into the club. Your casual indie rocker is not frequenting a place like that; it was the dedicated and the adventurous. But really inside it was friendly and just another club. Chet made it right; he seemed low key but went after any trouble like a pit bull. Chet’s personality was the personality of the club. It’s amazing how a person can do that.
Ted and Dan Vitale didn’t have a ton of material but got the story told…… they've shaped the material with more craft than we're used to with music documentaries. The way they manipulate photos is creative and well done.
There’s actually a whole other film there that should be shown; that would be the performances of the bands at the 2016 fundraisers at Once that are also in the film. They give snippets of the performances, but it leaves you hungry for more Dogmatics, more Dogzilla, more Xanna Don’t etc. We hope maybe a DVD release would include all those.
Boston punk rockers care a lot about their favorite music bars and it’s fortunate that two of them, the Vitale brothers, had the inclination and know how to make this film. it's Chet’s story, Chet’s Last Call’s story, the bands' stories and a love letter to Boston rock in the 1980’s.
|The High School That Rocked!.
On VIMEO on Demand
The acts were: The Doors, The Beau Brummels, The Rascals, The Yardbirds, The Animals, The Remains, Buddy Miles, Cream, Sly and the Family Stone and Chain Reaction. Chain Reaction? That was the group with lead singer Steven Tyler.
The documentary is 25 minutes long. It is mostly interviews with the students who were there, now adults and some continued in the music industry. Also there are many photos taken by some of the students and some via newspaper reports. The photos show that when the Yardbirds played they had both Beck and Page playing; again how lucky can you get?
Some of the people who did this were also involved in the Remains documentary called America's Lost Band. The Remains music is used in the soundtrack.
The whole thing is endearing. It brings back the spirt of 60s rock before things got dark.
|Women Who Rocked Boston
Documentary by Andrew Szava-Kovats
We see Jane Hudson's interview viewed from an ultramodern streamlined TV set; great idea. Jane and the Rentals still stick out as unique. I would say they "followed their own drummer" but they didn't have a drummer.
The only non-musician is our own Miss Lyn
of the Boston Groupie News who tells her tale that at some point
develops into this web site, right here. Carmen Wiseman also
began as a fanzine editor with Misscarage and has stories about
that as well as her bass playing in The Girls.
There are also some music clips from The Bristols, Jen Trynin,
Girl on Top, Ramela Ruby Russel, Tracy Bonham and
Juliana Hatfield. I loved the period music video by Tennie
And don't forget Let's Go to the Rat which is available also on Amazon and check out Andrew's website which has more info. Everyone talked about doing a movie on the Rat for decades but Andrew did it. There's a lot of David Minehan in it and Jimmy Harold of course. The Boston Groupie News has its say. John Keegan gives a review from a viewing at the Brattle St Theater.
Review by Blowfish
|DeA.D. Alive .
For the first time in 15 years the resurrected Misfits have released a live album. Two things make DeA.D. Alive different from its predecessor (Evillive II): first, that this record is their first live album not to feature any songs from the Danzig era, and second, this is the Misfits' first live album (and third album overall) to be self-produced and released on their own record label, Misfits Records. Whether people love or hate the new Misfits, the fact that their albums are now self-produced, self-recorded, and self-published (and their concerts self-booked) makes them a part of the DIY punk community.
The song features 14 tracks from the Michale Graves era and the current era, with vocalist Dez Cadena (formerly of Black Flag) performing all the songs. This is actually surprising since Jerry Only usually takes the lead with vocals for live performances, but he may have let Cadena take the lead for the official recordings as Cadena is a better vocalist. It was a good choice as Cadena's more versatile vocal range shows up better against the background noise that comes with live recordings. (To the credit of the sound engineers the background noise is totally eliminated from most of the tracks.)
The first seven tracks are songs from the 2011 Devil's Rain album. Just like the studio album, this live album opens with "The Devil's Rain" and moves on to Vivid Red. At the risk of sounding bold, the live performances of "Vivid Red," "Land of the Dead," "Curse of the Mummy's Hand," and "Dark Shadows" sound better than the studio recordings.
Six of the tracks are from the American Psycho and Famous Monsters albums from the Michale Graves years. While the live performance of "American Psycho" is way too fast to sound good, the renditions of "Dig Up Her Bones" and "Scream" are adequate. Let it be understood that no one has a voice like Graves, and the way Cadena holds his own on "Helena" and "Saturday Night" should command respect. However, before "Saturday Night" (used as the closing song for the album and most Misfits live shows) comes the crowning jewel of this live album: a solid punk rock cover of "Science Fiction Double Feature" from Rocky Horror Picture Show which the author of this review listened to 900 times on repeat. This song alone is worth spending a measly $10 for the album.
All in all DeA.D. Alive shows a good effort by the Misfits to entertain fans with good sci-fi and horror punk rock music. Anyone who can get over the petty politics of the Danzig/new Misfits rivalry is sure to enjoy this long overdue live album from the band that defined horror punk and, though it may lack most of the original members, its current lineup includes veterans of punk rock who carved their own niche in the industry and command respect on their own.
|UNBA UNBA .
HSR LIVE 1982
This DVD captures a 1982 show at Streets (that forgotten club) with 14 songs. Outside of the second song there are no effects just straight forward shooting by multiple cameras - quality stuff. You get to see them sweat right to the pores on the face at some points. The editing is top notch giving each song interesting visuals every second and a smooth flow to the whole set and we know that took mucho work by producer/editor Jan Crocker. I can just imagine the time it takes.
The energy on stage never flags. You don't just
get one front man but four dancing furiously adding to the excitement.
The three instruments add more complexity and
chaos than you would have thought possible. Sometimes it seems like
Rich Gilbert must be playing a cyclone with a pickup with the
amount of sound coming out of him. During Pinecones he bounces
a beer bottle on the strings and in Pound he plays the whole
song strumming behind the bridge making it sound like a buzz saw on
Pound is a highlight. It works up to a repetitive
chant of "pound" that puts you in a hypnotic hold. UNBA has that hypnotic quality too.
Land of the Glass Pinecones and What Does Sex Mean to You
haven't faded a bit. Jackie Onassis is not in the live set but the record
version is used as background for a show of posters. The extra is a
commentary track by the group which is hard to hear and follow sometimes
but does have some worthy stories.
|Not a Photograph.
The Mission of Burma Story
This DVD goes over their history which is not complicated by group standards but does have the drama of the early break up and Roger Miller's ear problem.
Despite that what you get here is a well done look at Burma and their not easy path as a band. It makes you admire them even more. They seem like such soft spoken men until they get onstage and the collective roar comes out that flattens everything in its path.
|The Run and The Run Redux.
By Ralph Fatello
One of the changes is these videos is the use of more untraditional surf music. The mold is broken with all local music acts. So, now you get the local music scene along with the surfing one. One of the most used groups is QWILL. Ralph does some playing too. I like the way the moodier music plays off the action in the water. One long fiery instrumental makes for a dramatic section.
The videos also have a sense of place; you pick up on the locals with the small interviews and the small snippets of the street scene.
By Jan Crocker
Here we get to see their arty yet hot version of punk. Peter Dayton and Mark Karl both thin and tall; Peter dark and Mark blond and angelic looking. Peter's guitar buzzing and sometimes clanking like a steam engine while Roger Tripp will crack sharp on the snare and then make a busy rumble on the toms. It's all captured here on a good night.
You also get the feel of the crowd and the space. It zaps you back to it's time and place.
From Sony Pictures.
Lot's of great photos.
By Ralph Fatello.
Greeting Seasons (clever) takes you through a year of ocean action in New England from Jan. 2007 to Nov. 2008. Sometimes it seems like none of the beaches have sand, it's always surfers working their way through rocks to get to the breaks. You have to wonder at the hardiness of the surfers who have wet suits on almost all year because even if the air is warm the northern Atlantic isn't.
If you like to check out the local surf scene this is the only place to go.
By Ralph Fatello
|The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - Robert Weine.
From Lowbudget Video.