Saturday, October 11, 2008

Soulwax - Review

(not actual dvd cover)

Soulwax – Part of the Weekend Never Dies (2008)

PIAS (Dvd)

One band which has taken me completely by surprise has got to be Soulwax, I remember when watching the band’s ‘Much Against Everybody’s Advice’ video and thinking that they would be the next dEUS i.e. A solid album band with a healthy European following.

Who would have known that this guitar pop band from Ghent would have changed the face of dance music, not once, but twice! First they pioneered the mash up genre under the 2 Many Dj’s guise and then actually remixed and recorded their 2004 album ‘Any Minute Now’ thus bridging indie with dance (and maybe making them the precursors of Nu Rave??) under the name Nite Versions. Add that to their live show which is called Radio Soulwax, which includes Soulwax, 2 many dj’s, Nite Versions and touring mates and you’ve got quite a confusing mess of side projects.

Hence one of the main reasons the group release this dvd. For starters it clears the whole Radio Soulwax ,Nite Versions polemics and it shows a portrait of the whole Radio Soulwax show. Not only that there’s a documentary which focuses on Soulwax and how they cope with the rock and roll life.

Now in theory this sounds like a disaster. I mean Soulwax aren’t exactly the most exciting band in the universe and let’s face, the possibility of descending into cliché is high. Drugs, girls, sweaty guys waving their arms and lots of vans.

Thankfully the documentary, although, feature these, it strays from the usual dull scenes due to the fact that there are a lot of people who have something to say about Soulwax and we get clips from LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy and Nancy Wang, Tiga, Erol Alkan, Justice and tons of Pioneers and young pups of the nu rave scene all extolling their love for Soulwax and what makes them tick. It is also beautifully film. I have a soft spot for eye catching scenes and there are plaenty of those here. If you were to take each still and frame it, you’d have a memorable picture. I’m not exaggerating director Saam Farahmand does a wonderful job with editing and capturing every perfect moment from live performances to interviews.

The second part of the dvd consists of a 55 minute performance of Nite Versions, all edited from 120 shows and again, in normal circumstances this would be boring but due to the excellent collaging and simply energetic music your attention is grabbed from the start and can be viewed many times.

As for special features there’s a rather vapid documentary commentary by Tiga and a quite good 11 minute mini documentary about the live show. However the best ‘feature’ is an accompanying audio cd of a live show, which is pure headphone hedonism.

As a whole package ‘Part of the Weekend Never Dies’ works. It’s interesting, eye catching and captures one of the hardest working bands in the business and it’s the closest thing to experiencing the whole Soulwax experience (or if you did see them live, it’s a good memory)

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