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Violent Femmes: Permanent Record review, Permanent Record DVD review
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Violent Femmes: Permanent Record (2005)

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On their first-ever DVD release, the Violent Femmes compile thirteen tracks from a live show in Norfolk, Virginia along with seven music videos and a “rare street performance” of one of the band’s best songs, “Kiss Off.” At a running time of around 80 minutes, the compilation is a little on the stingy side, but hardcore fans should enjoy the eclectic live set, which captures the band at their peak.

Guitarist Brian Ritchie had the following to say about the live show:

The gig you are watching was memorable for being 130 degrees Fahrenheit onstage. I know that because they had a thermometer up there. We wanted to record a lot of material, so we slaved away in that furnace for two hours. By the end we were totally drained.

Ritchie accurately describes the vibe inside the venue – hot. There are several shots of the crowd and it looks like one sweaty mess. Onstage, things were a little drier. Recorded in 1991, a strange time of fashion between ‘80s neon and ‘90s grunge, the most distracting thing about the show is Ritchie’s super-mullet and the band’s choice of wardrobe. Putting that aside, Gordon Gono’s unique voice, Victor DeLorenzo’s spirited drumming and Ritchie’s guitar work all sound great. Highlights were “Blister in the Sun,” “Prove My Love,” and the Femmes’ classics “Add It Up” and “Kiss Off.” Despite some strange editing during what appears to be several encores, the footage should be good enough for anyone clamoring for a Violent Femmes DVD.

The videos are strange – both in tone and in choice of songs. “Gone Daddy Gone” and “American Music” are standouts because the songs themselves are superior to their peers. “Breakin’ Up” features some interesting cinematography, but the song leaves a lot to be desired. There was one pleasant surprise – “I Held Her In My Arms.” The video was vertigo-inducing, but I hadn’t heard the catchy song before. Finally, as bonus material, there is the “rare street performance” of “Kiss Off,” in which it is almost impossible to hear the band. It is cool to see them playing for the public on the street, but it would have been nice to be able to listen to the performance as well

~John Paulsen 



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