DVDs are beginning to infiltrate virtually every aspect of your life. Believe it or not, they are the next medium that you are going to have to upgrade to (be it a DVD player or a DVD burner) just in time for the next medium to come out. Yes, they are being forced upon consumers just like CDs were, but so what? Deal with it… I'm here to tell you punks how they are making your life better.
First of all, they are now being included in just about every newly released album that comes out, so you are getting more bang for your hard earned buck. However, here is the more important, and applicable reason; old videos are being re-released jacked up with a whole lot of new features to get you to spend your money on something your already did once. Case in point: Sweatin' to the Oldies: The Vandals Live. Some of you may have the video version of this live show. My advice: put it up on Ebay, and go buy the DVD. I personally didn't own the VHS version, but based on what is included on the DVD it is well worth the purchase if you are a Vandals fan, or even a fan of punk rock, or EVEN if you have ever been to the Warped Tour (sadly, there isn't a required connection between these three things for each person).
For anyone who has actually seen the Vandals live, they will agree with me when I say that it isn't your run-of-the-mill punk show. The Vandals are one of those punk bands that have been around forever, and fell just under the radar of the punk revival in the mid 90s (a year or so after this DVD was filmed). The Vandals never really "sold out," and to this day, they are still one of the most credible national punk bands still together, and, to top it all off, they are from Orange County.
Anyway, enough with the history lesson, Sweatin' to the Oldies, simply, is one of the few live concert videos out there that was professionally done, and released on VHS, and now re-released on DVD, improving the quality. Very rarely do bands release live concert footage (although it is becoming more and more popular), which I never really understood, but with the original release of Sweatin' the Vandals set the standard for future punk rock concert videos. Aesthetically speaking this release is much better than most live concert videos because it isn't shot by your best friend, in the middle of the pit, on a handheld camera. The advantage of this DVD is that you can actually see the band, the camera isn't shaking, and, most importantly, you can hear the music. The Vandals blow through their set in true punk rock fashion, playing some of their most well known oldies. "Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)," "Mohawk Town," and The Vandals' original version of the classic love song "Summer Lovin'," are amongst this reviewers favorites. One thing that I really liked about this live set, and separated it even more from your average concert video, was that every few songs there would be an interlude, narrated by Joe Escalante, about the band, or their songs, or what ever they had footage of. This is what takes this video out of the club, and makes it more of a film about the Vandals than anything else. In and of itself, this first disc would make this a very wise purchase, but wait… there's more.
The only thing about the second disc that might hold it back from being appreciated by a larger audience is that most of the features included are targeted at only true Vandals fans. One example of these features is the second option on the disc, "The Audience." In this added bonus the band sits around and critiques pretty much every person that is at the show that was recorded for this release. Humorous as it is, most people might not appreciate the length, or the pre-grunge-anti-grunge comments unless they know what the band is like, and understand their humor. On the flipside of the Vandals fans only coin is that there is some content that a lot of other people might welcome, like an interview, conducted by Joe, with the Sugarcubes (Björk before she was Björk) on a public access show. There is also some added footage of the Vandals playing live in Holland, trying to speak Dutch, and playing their famous mullet song, "I've Got an Ape Drape." The bonus features on the second disc are at least humorous if it is nothing else.
Sweatin' to the Oldies is a must have for Vandals fan, or anyone that wants a little insight into what punk was like right before it blew up in the 1990s. Don't get me wrong, there is a little something for everyone on this double-DVD but unless you are there for the first disc you might have to look a little bit for what you want. Hell, everyone should see this… we're talking about the fucking Vandals people THE VANDALS.
Jason Cipriano is an Assistant Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.