Sunday, June 19, 2005

Review by Dave K.

Cro-Mags "Live In The The Age of Quarell" 1986-2001 DVD

I must tell you...the first time I saw the Cro-Mags was
when they were doing those reunion shows back in the
mid-90's. I had every opportunity to check them out
when they were good in the mid 80's but was scared
shitless. I just had started going to shows in the
city and didn't know anybody at the time. There were
countless stories about how people just got there
asses kicked for even looking at somebody the wrong
way at those shows. When I was a little more
established, it was too late. John was out, Harley was
singing and the era of Best wishes/Alpha-Omega had
begun. Anyway, it's funny how, as I watch this DVD, I
know people from both "eras" who are in the videos.

The first part of this thing has the "We Gotta Know"
video, which I am sure, every punk/hc kid/metalhead
worth his salt has on tape somewhere. I'm surprised
that there is not a better quality copy of this
around. Everybody knows this is a classic music video,
punk or otherwise. It would have been great to see the
rest of the show because like I said, I was a pussy in
1986 and didn't see them then. Then we have the
footage from the infamous 1980's teen high school film
"The Beat". Thankfully, this is included on the DVD
because you'd have to fast forward through The Beat to see
it...that is even if you have this movie. This movie
is probably one of the worst movies of all time. You
can't even like it in a "So bad, It's good" way. What
is weird about that film is seeing people I knew just
walking by in the background (like Porcell in his
original YOT shirt). The footage is great (filmed at
the Ritz in NYC, where somebody broke their back
during the show, not an urban legend) and again it
would have been great to see more. Probably been
better if it was stuck into a BETTER film!

Well, just pretend that like 10-15 years doesn't exist
and then you have a full set from CBGB's in 2001. I
was at this show and have good memories from it. I
remember seeing many folks who came out of the
woodwork for this one. At this point, I must have seen
the Cro-Mags at least 10 times during the reunion phase
and loved every show. (Actually, they were the last
live band I saw before heading to Atlanta). Great set,
though sadly it's filmed poorly, one camera straight
on. It cannot be denied that John and Harley, in their
mid to late '30s put on an better and more energetic
show than most young kids. I don't know how you can
keep up that insanity for 40+ minutes. My friend who
was with me at this show was like, "I'm getting tired
just watching them!". Nice to see Brett Beach and our
Hardware Triple X shirt make a brief appearance on
camera. There is also some footage from a show at
Washington DC, but it seems like an afterthought.

The length of this disc is only a little over an hour.
The DVD package is very basic. I wish during the menu
they would have not looped "We Gotta Know", because
it's annoying after the 3rd or 4th time (the sound
levels are off and it comes blasting out when you come
out of a scene). What I don't understand is why there
isn't any other footage from shows from the 1990's.
I've been to a few where people were filming and they
could have easily been added here. What really would
have been great is a more documentary feel with
interviews, talks with fans, etc... Maybe that is a
good project for some aspriring film student to take
up (Please don't ask me to do it, maybe only as
techinical adviser!) For the Cro-Mags fan without any
"live" material, this disc will have to do. (available
through most major retailers)

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