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Askew Review 15

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TOXIC NARCOTIC: LIVE IN L.A. (Rodent Popsicle Records) DVD. Live Punk show. 35 minutes. Toxic Narcotic is one of Boston’s best, and longest running, DIY hardcore punk bands. This show was recorded during their Fall 2000 West Coast tour and shows how these guys leave no door unslammed. First the music; the set is made up of thirteen insanely fast punk rock songs that works the crowd up into an absolute frenzy. They start off with “Paddy’s Leather Britches,” which includes bassist Ben Upton wailing on the punk rock bagpipes…yes, bagpipes. Great sound! Some other songs here; “People Suck,” “Beer in the Shower,” “All Bands Suck,” and “Belevin’.” The set ends with “Politics,” “Homebrew,” and “Asshole.” I mention these last three songs because they really get the crowd going and must have left them thirsting for more. I do not know if Toxic was the headlining band or not, but if they were the opening act, they certainly did their job. This DVD nicely captures the energy of the band. Great band, intense show.
Now the technical side of things. The show is shot using one camera, which is above the stage and off to the right side. The picture is great and the sound is absolutely phenomenal. There are a few moments when the camera slips out of focus, but things are great for the most part. Just make believe you got beer in your eyes or something. The cameraman mostly keeps the singer (Bill Damon), guitarist (Will Sullivan) and the bassist/bagpiper guy (Ben Upton) in view, but does get a few shots of madman drummer Tristan Smaldone in a few times. We also get a few zoom ins of the crowd, who are mostly jammed up against the stage. When you watch this DVD, check out the punker with the big blonde mowhawk; he has the world’s longest pinky! This guy could easily dig a booger out of the middle of his skull with that thing. Lots of stage divers too. In fact, singer Bill jumps into the crowd and is thrown back on stage in a rather rough manner. Although it lookes like he hit the stage hard, he just jumps up and continues singing without missing a beat. There are no special effects or useless extras to this DVD. Just great raw footage of an even greater Boston Punk band kicking some can in L.A. – Denis Sheehan


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