A good band IS very easy to kill...
MEWZIK | 06/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well put. The title fits many rise and fall acts we have grown to love and had to let go of in some way, based on the 99.9% anticipation factor, praying for a new album each year that never comes. Beulah has been a favorite of mine since 2001. I was turned on by a friend who resides in the California area. My friends were exposed through me. Miles said at one of the first gigs, in so many words, a major label would be a step in the right direction. Based on my relationship with their music, I agree. They were brilliant and should have been more available than the few avenues that had been paved.
This documentary overviews a hard working band on tour with grounded personalities and common sense. It's all about a band on the road living a dream. Seeing a lot of shows myself including Beulah, one thing I enjoyed seeing is how well they treated their fans. It is just refreshing to see fun and business worked out at the right times. Miles taking care of the tour was impressive, and yet he came off collected and cool.
Any fan of this band should own this dvd. It doesn't cover too much drama or turmoil, but demonstrated a lot of heart for an art that sometimes gets the short end of the stick. You don't get one of the band members talking about the history or their influences - it is almost like a nicely shot home movie. Very few shots really acknowledging the camera following them. I appreciated the unique direction. When I laughed, there was a part of me that hoped 'never again' somehow meant 'see you real soon.'
The bonus footage actually includes 17 tunes live and tons of deleted footage.
An important documentary chronicling the last tour of a grea
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 07/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For those of us who regret the break up of Beulah, the best line in this documentary comes from near the end, where Miles Kurosky states that it might turn out that the guys all miss each other and feel that they have to get together and make another album. We can only hope. The last three albums by Beulah are about as good as any put out by any American band in the past several years and Mile Kurosky as good a songwriter as you can find. One wonders in vain why they didn't manage to be more popular or most successful than they were. Awesome music for some reason just isn't always enough, a fact in part brought home by the band honored by the T-Shirt that Miles wears through much of the film: Big Star. Although Big Star made two albums that are now packaged into what is arguably the greatest disc by an American band ever released (though I am given to hyperbole, that is not an instance of it), #1 RECORD/RADIO CITY, to this day the album has never racked up big sales. Why do these bands fail to make it? I don't want to disrespect Green Day, because they aren't a bad band, but would anyone who really knows music prefer any Green Day album Big Star's classic? I would be stunned if the members of Green Day claimed to be as good a band. And yet, has Big Star sold even one thousandth as many records as Green Day? Something doesn't add up
I have to emphasize that this is a documentary, not a mere collection of live performances. There is a substantial amount of concert footage, but the focus isn't the concerts so much as the entire experience of being on the road. The film follows the San Francisco indie band Beulah's on its last tour. There are several documentaries that chronicle super groups, but very few that covers the host of indie bands that actually provide a majority of the live acts to be found across the country on any given night. Focus of the film is very much on the road itself, and all the tiny irritations and disasters that make being on the road a drag. Absolutely no one, after seeing this, will wonder why any band would break up. What one might wonder is why any band would stay together. Though the collection of film footage of the boys on the road is entertaining, it is crystal clear that actually being on the road is akin to an ingenious form of torture. Anyone interested in alternative or indie music should see this documentary if for no other reason than to get a vivid picture of what life on the road is like.
But though I consider this a must-see for indie fans, I had a couple of complaints with the album. First, unless you already have some sense of who Beulah was, this is going to be a pretty confusing video. Who are these guys? What kind of music do they play? How did they come together? How many albums have they done and how were they received? What kind of following do they have? In other words, the film needed to establish the background, but really didn't manage to do so. I have a few complaints about the scenes actually contained in the movie. But a lot is left out that is simply screaming for inclusion.
My second complaint is that although the primary focus of the film isn't on the performances so much as the band being on the road, there was a lot of music, but music that wasn't very well recorded. Actually, it pretty much sounded like it sounds when you are at a live performance. The truth is that in most clubs the sound is pretty bad in most of the places you can stand in the club. On an autobiographical note this is a major issue for me because at age 12 a neighborhood jerk kid threw a firecracker at me that exploded a couple of inches behind my head, resulting in a traumatic hearing loss in the upper registers. There is a trick to finding the best place in a club to enjoy the sound. Instead of crowding near the stage with the rest of the folks, go stand as close to the sound mixing board as possible. The guy with his hands on the volume is going to balance it for him. But I digress. The point is that most places are not good, and for many of the numbers it seems that the mike recorded the band from spots where the sound didn't balance, so that you can hear all the instruments, but no vocals, or drums and bass, but no guitar. The recording used in the film has more of a you-are-there effect, but it doesn't do the music justice. Only on a few numbers in the film is the utter brilliance of Beulah revealed. For the most part, it sounds like a band with a somewhat muddied sound. Anyone who knows their albums knows that nothing in the world could be further from the truth. These guys formed a very, very tight band with an exceptionally clean sound. This doesn't come across in the film except on rare occasions, one of them being the song that provided the inspiration for the title of the film, "A Good Man is Easy to Kill." That. Number provides some of the most exciting visuals of the entire film. I'm not sure that the film is going to make a lot of people go out and explore their music, though I could be wrong about this. I think it will, however, go over well with people familiar with the band and their music. As extras a number of performances, not all of which were utilized in the film, are included. The sound is not much better for these, but it will provide a better picture of what a super band this is.
I strongly recommend this for anyone who is interested in alternative music. At the end, the vivid picture of how tough it is being on the road will probably lead one to wonder why any band undergoing such an ordeal would stay together. But one will also be grateful that Beulah was able to share with their fans these images from their last tour. Though we can all hope that Miles's pondering from near the end will come to pass. We can indeed hope."
Mayberry That's Me | Seattle, Washington | 08/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't tell you how much I love Beulah. They've been my favorite band for the past few years. From every cd I ever bought (four) to every show I ever saw (three) they were never anything short of amazing. And so I bought this dvd with high expectations and they were definitely exceeded. If only for the included seventeen-song concert, this dvd should be on everybody's must-have list. And at only $13.45, you should be arrested because it's like stealing."