As the temperature drops, the concert schedule becomes as limited as Ozzy's working vocabulary. This is the time of year, then, to stay home, save money on parking and $5 beers -- and then blow it all on concert vids to tide you over until the spring thaw.
Over the past month or so, a bevy of quality rock and metal DVDs has hit the shelves, so we thought we'd take a minute to peruse the latest offerings. Here's hoping you don't share the Ozzman's difficulty with the remote control.
Live Shit: Binge & Purge (Elektra)
It's great to see Metallica footage from back when the band was as hard on the eyes as its music was on the ears. With shots aplenty of the boys' mangy coifs, tattered Misfits shirts with nary a sleeve in sight and tight-ass black jeans, this reissued collection of a pair of concerts culled from the And Justice for All and Metallica tours is beautifully ugly. Since those days, Metallica has gotten a lot more stylish -- so has its music -- but this package is essential viewing, capturing one of metal's all-time great live bands at the peak of its powers.
The collection is spread over three discs, the first of which documents Metallica's stop in Seattle on the Justice tour. That trek was pretty special, as it marked the first time a modern-day thrash band graduated to arena-headlining status and brought a full production with it. Featuring a two-story lady of justice that comes crashing down by show's end, Metallica's set is a sight to be seen, as is the band tearing through the seldom-played chestnut "Breadfan."
Discs two and three are from Metallica's 1992 stop in San Diego on the infamous "snakepit" tour. Featuring a nearly three-hour set, complete with a movie introduction and never-ending solos, this is Metallica at its biggest and best, when the band's concerts were as long as its hair.
Guns, God and Government World Tour (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Not since Jackass flunky Steve-O released footage of himself barfing up a rat has a home video been as stomach-turning as The Death Parade, a 30-minute film chronicling Marilyn Manson's last world tour. Highlights include a transvestite dropping trou and urinating on a rug, groupies graphically servicing guitarist John 5 and a close-up of Manson getting stitches in a knee wound that's straight out of Evil Dead. Still, for all its shock value, Death Parade isn't that revealing. But it is interesting to see how infrequently departed bassist Twiggy Ramirez appears in this video, suggesting that his recent split from the band may not have been as amicable as both parties contend.
There's also nothing friendly about the torrid live footage. The editing is a bit too busy: The concert portion features material shot at a variety of shows, rather than just one performance, and the disc constantly cuts from one gig to the next, lending the proceedings a manic, schizophrenic feel. Still, Manson's last tour was one to remember, with Marilyn donning a feathery headdress that made him look like a giant peacock in drag, raising himself two stories into the air on a hydraulic lift and ripping through underrated Holy Wood stompers such as "Death Song" and "Nobodies." You'll never waste another dime on ipecac.
A Sun That Never Sets (Relapse)
Anyone who's ever caught Neurosis live knows that this band offers as much to look at as it does to hear. So it's not surprising that A Sun That Never Sets is a mind-fraying optical overload. The pieces (ten cuts from Neurosis's last full-length release) range from entrancing, abstract graphics presentations to abbreviated art films to full-on LSD-fueled psychedelia. As a bonus, the disc contains a 70-minute feature from Neurosis's avant-noise side project, Tribes of Neurot, which blends an oscilloscope signal with treated light and textures to create stunning, brain-battering visuals that truly must be seen to be believed. Tune in, turn on, drop dead.
Late Drowning Pool front man Dave Williams consistently brought smiles to the faces of those around him with his good-ol'-boy disposition and anti-rock-star demeanor. Even from beyond the grave, the guy is capable of eliciting grins.
Watching Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell wake up Williams with a firecracker to the keister or Williams drunkenly prance around nude with tape over his genitals is pretty damn hilarious -- and a nice counterpoint to the disc's more sobering moments.
And there are plenty of those. Sinema offers a nice tribute to Williams, who died of natural causes at the age of 30 in August while on the Ozzfest tour, and everyone from Rob Zombie to Sonny from POD reflects upon the passing of the meaty, much-loved front man. There's also a lot of behind-the-scenes footage -- including a rather mysterious sequence in which a bunch of wind-up toys are shown waddling around a series of bare breasts -- and live bootleg material that adds up to more than two and a half hours. It all makes Sinema a must-have for any fan of Drowning Pool or its front man. Hope they have earplugs in heaven.
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"All these fucking people are out of their fucking minds," Slipknot front man Corey Taylor gasps in response to his band's rabid fans in London, where this set's live footage was shot. After viewing the disorienting Disasterpieces, you may be out of your fucking mind as well.
With 30 cameras capturing the show -- some rigged directly to the band members' rubber masks -- Disasterpieces alternates professionally filmed footage with grainy, first-person shots for one of the most all-encompassing concert experiences ever caught on tape. Plus, you can manipulate the camera angles to further immerse yourself in the insanity of Slipknot live -- take the gnarly drum solo in which Joey Jordison's kit is raised up and tilted perpendicular to the stage or the crazed split-screen action during the pummeling "Spit It Out."
The two-disc set features all the band's videos, including the meat cleavers and misanthropy of the director's cut for "Left Behind" and the even more discomforting animated version of "Wait and Bleed." That these dudes thought either would be suitable for broadcast on TV confirms their madness.