Friday, April 15, 2011

La Peste DVD

(La Peste) As the music industry morphs, CD sales die, and nobody knows what to do next, it's exciting to see people trying something differently. La Peste was a mid-70s Boston punk band who had a collectible spooky, 3-chord single ("Better Off Dead"/"Black") and who already have had a couple of retrospective compilations released (on Matador and Dionysus). But this release feels like it's trying to not so much re-package material as reinvent the package. If this was just an archival concert released on DVD it would be cool, but this is a concert that was shot eerily well by Jan Crocker (the incredible crowd dancing shots look like they were from a punk rock Soul Train) and the post production is so intense (the sound seems like studio recordings dubbed in/the editing implies more cameras were present than at any 70s punk club gig ever) that this feels like a fresh angle on presenting a band's entire catalogue in the post-music industry era. There are videos in addition to the already music video-ish concert and there is a gallery of images with more audio. And most of all there is some excellent punk rock music captured here in a way that may seem more stilted than punk should be (due to the equivalent of high production values -- I'm sure there was no budget, but the talent of the documentarians makes up for it) but nonetheless captures this magic moment when punk bands weren't sure what punk meant and mixing up awkward lifts from Britain, art rock, garage rock, and melody was fine by every dancing fool in that audience.

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