Various Artists Sounds of The Underground Live From The Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ July 2, 2005 Volume One (DVD)
Released: 2006, DRT Entertainment
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Last year’s inaugural run of the Sounds of The Underground Tour was pretty good. Not great but not bad, either. For every Strapping Young Lad and High On Fire, you had to suffer through Norma Jean and Poison The Well. And what gig isn’t brought to life with an appearance by GWAR?! DRT Entertainment has packaged the professionally-filmed Sayreville, New Jersey show in a snazzy digipack DVD complete with nearly an hour’s worth of behind-the-scenes footage filmed throughout the tour. Sound and video (widescreen to boot) are both excellent for the most part and the low-price of $15 makes this DVD easy to recommend and an easy sell with its release cleverly-timed to coordinate with the kick-off of SotU 2006.
Besides the curiously absent Opeth and Terror, every band on the bill gets one live track each, as well as some intro footage. SYL (don’t miss Devin Townsend’s discourse with “Snorkel The Shark,” as it calls the Jersey fans “assholes”), High On Fire, Devildriver, Clutch, GWAR and Chimaira turn in the standout performances during the hour-and-forty-five-minute performance section that is peppered with loads of hardcore “dancing” (rather, a bunch of adrenalized kids doing spin-kicks and flailing their arms like windmills) immortalized forever through various hand-held and professional cameras.
The real draw is the fifty-minutes of behind-the-scenes material, which won’t hold up to repeat viewings but is certainly a hoot to watch for the first time. Various interviews are done by members of GWAR, Madball, Throwdown and Lamb of God and are firmly tongue-in-cheek (Throwdown’s Dave Peters accuses two food staff of being racist against Mexicans; Madball’s Mitts repeatedly expresses his hatred of White people until he starts winning money from them; Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley fellates a microphone, etc.). Various autograph signings are covered and the juxtaposition of Lamb of God’s lineup that circles the venue versus Throwdown’s empty merch booth is hilarious. The merch booth moshpit incited by Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe is pretty funny as is the scene of mayonnaise and hot sauce shooters (complete with slo-mo after effects) with members of Every Time I Die. The top-secret “frontman handshake” is explained by Blythe and All That Remains’ Philip Labonte and Blythe’s rant about “dudes who wear white belts” is also good for a laugh. Essentially, this section is fuelled by drinking, drinking and even more drinking as the bands find interesting and more amusing ways to wile away the time between their sets. Buckley and Blythe appear to be on a permanent bender, while Unearth’s Ken Susi is never far away from a beer bong and willing participants to do “chongers.”
Presented in crystal-clear widescreen and with soundboard audio recorded in Dolby Digital 5.1, SOUNDS OF THE UNDERGROUND VOLUME ONE is an excellent representation of the first year of the tour. I saw the show about three weeks after this was filmed (*NOTE: You can actually see me at 29:48 for about half a second in the photo pit at the front of the stage during Strapping Young Lad’s set on the main program when Townsend explains the absence of bassist Byron Stroud) and it was a long, hot day filled with many bands I had never seen before. A Life Once Lost, Madball, High On Fire and Clutch were all first-timers for me and the one good thing that came out of this tour was the exposure to so many different-styled bands—good and bad—all in one place and this DVD captures that, as well.
1. All That Remains - This Darkened Heart
2. Devildriver - Hold Back The Day
3. A Life Once Lost - Vulture
4. Madball - For My Enemies
5. High On Fire - Hung, Drawn, And Quartered
6. Strapping Young Lad - Love?
7. Throwdown - Nothing Left
8. Every Time I Die - Off Broadway
9. Norma Jean - Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste
10. GWAR - Bring Back The Bomb
11. Chimaira - Nothing Remains
12. Poison The Well - Zombies Are Good For Your Health
13. Unearth - Endless
14. Clutch - Profits of Doom
15. From Autumn To Ashes - The After Dinner Payback
16. Lamb of God - The Faded Line