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Iggy and the Stooges – Raw Power Deluxe Edition
“Schlock has its place,” sneers Iggy Pop in the Search and Destroy: Iggy & the Stooges’ Raw Power DVD documentary that comes with the new deluxe edition reissue of the Stooges’ 1973 album Raw Power. Search and Destroy analyzes the album that signaled a major shift in music—and the beginning of the end for the leather-skinned punk icon and his band.
When Raw Power debuted, it didn’t please the band’s label, Columbia Records, and it didn’t fare well on the Billboard charts, either. But its proto-punk fury sparked legions of young rockers to come. Search and Destroy features interviews with Johnny Marr (the Smiths), Henry Rollins (Black Flag), Chrissie Hynde (the Pretenders), and other Stooges descendants who talk about the impact the album and the band had on their lives. However, the documentary’s real power shows when the Stooges—Pop, James Williamson, and Scott Asheton—muse on that period of their lives. They provide a lot more context by putting a sight, smell, touch, and emotion to every song.
The deluxe edition also includes the original 1973 David Bowie-mixed version of Raw Power, as well as the “Georgia Peaches Disc”—which features footage of a previously unreleased hour-long performance at Richards in Atlanta in October of 1973—and a 48-page book with an essay by Henry Rollins and other testimonials from Tom Morello, Slash, Lou Reed, and many more. Whether you survived Raw Power’s original release or recently got hip to the Stooges because of their 2010 Hall of Fame induction, this deluxe edition is well worth the health risk. —CK
Volbeat – Live: Sold Out
I bet you’re not too familiar with Volbeat—neither was I—but the Danish rockers are good enough to be asked to open for Metallica on their 2010 European tour. Volbeat’s new double DVD, Live: Sold Out, provides a buffet of styles and tones that’s two parts Metallica, two parts rockin’ Elvis, a pinch of Hank Williams, and a dash of Chuck Berry—all held together by Michael Poulson’s stout, charismatic voice.
The first song on the DVD, “The Human Instrument,” opens with gigantic riffs and thunderous drums that transition into a contemporary hard-rock song chock-full of chugging riffs and a great solo. At that point, you might be ready to throw them into one of the many categories of metal. But then they roll into “Radio Girl,” which sounds like Social Distortion with its straight-ahead power chords and storytelling. And then they take it back another step with “Sad Man’s Tongue,” which has the same chord structure and boom-chuka-boom style of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”—again proving they aren’t afraid to tip their hat. The rest of the DVD follows similarly, from the crushing “Rebel Monster” to the near-rockabilly lullaby “Soulweeper.” The footage is taken from Volbeat’s 2007 world tour, and the video edits are smooth and the audio is pristine, with no apparent overdubs.
The second DVD is a documentary that lets you get familiar with the band members’ musical pedigrees, get a feel for their offstage personalities, and see how they work both live and in the studio. These DVDs are definitely worth your attention because they offer a full introduction to a heavy but melodic band that will likely be turning heads in the States soon. —CK
Free – Free Forever
Free was vocalist Paul Rodgers’ band before Bad Company, and it featured guitarist Paul Kossoff—who had one of the most impressive vibrato techniques ever, period—bassist Andy Fraser, and drummer Simon Kirke. And they composed some of the best blues-based rock ever put on tape. This DVD features audio recordings of the band in its prime.
The first disc treats you to an explosive performance of “Mr. Big” from 1970’s Fire and Water. The footage was shot at the Beat Club in Germany that same year, and it has all the ’70s visual flair you’d expect, down to the psychedelic floating lettering and trippy, kaleidoscopic effects. The entire band is in excellent form, especially Rodgers, and the three-song set at the Beat Club also includes “Fire and Water” and “All Right Now.” In the next set, which is from Granada TV coverage, the band seems noticeably tighter and more focused. Fraser’s bass playing is the highlight of the show—watch how smooth and controlled his phrasing is during “I’ll Be Creepin’.”
The second disc contains a rare, previously unreleased version of “Be My Friend” from the band’s performance at The Isle of Wight in 1970, and it’s a real gem. You can listen to all of the audio from the show— and the quality is impeccable—but you have to play the disc in a DVD player and use the menu screen to access the songs. Including a download card to access MP3 versions of the songs or making the DVD a dual-mode format, would have been much more convenient. That issue aside, Free Forever is an essential addition to the video collection of all fans of early ’70s blues-rock. —JW