Truly Unique Form Percussion
D. Blackdeer | Kansas | 05/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"HBO 50-minute special on the group "Stomp" featuring numerous unique performances at different urban locations that are inter-mixed with the group's stage show before a live audience. Very enjoyable for people interested in seeing a group of talented young performers, or musicians, make music with percussion through common everyday items. Using poles, hammers, trashcans, plastic containers, and anything else that can produce a beat or a tone, the group provides some astounding sounds that are only matched by their fascinating techniques. Most remarkable is a portion of the group performing with basketballs in an alleyway, using trash-bins, security doors, and the street itself to produce a rhythmic beat. There's another sequence where they perform in the large kitchen of a restaurant, achieving an amazing range of sounds. The members of the group are entertaining to watch and they add a lot of humor to their performances. The length of the feature is about right and it does not drown viewers with repetitious sounds, a very well done feature on an innovative and unique musical group."
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 05/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What astounds me about these dance/percussion numbers is their intricacy, which must have required relentless rehearsing, and yet there is almost an improvisational, immediate quality about them; some of them are performed on a stage, some on location in New York City, and they seamlessly segue from one to another. I especially like the transition from the alley ball game into the kitchen with the marvelous cigar-chomping chef.This innovative show was created in the early 90s in the U.K. by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas (who met in 1981 as members of a street band called "Pookiesnackenburger") and they share directorial credits for this HBO film; the show in its stage version has received numerous awards with its many productions around the globe.
Some of these performers have star quality, and it's a shame names are not put to the faces, but with so many different casts world-wide, even the ones in this film remain only as part of a list in alphabetical order. The cinematography is also excellent, by Christophe Lanzenberg.
One would think that a wordless show with only percussion for music would become monotonous, but it captures and holds our attention because of its imaginitive skill, its humor, and the talent and energy of its performers. Dance fans will love "Stomp Out Loud". Total running time is 50 minutes, and that includes a 5 minute sketch on the who, how, and where of the film."
An interesting complement to the live show
J. Lizzi | Costa Mesa, CA | 04/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"We already know the extent to which complex, entertaining rythmic compositions can flow from this ensemble's use of everyday ordinary objects, household items, or even junk. Stomp is so clever that way, and I can't help but reminisce about how often I banged on stuff just for entertainment in my younger days.This performance, taken from an HBO special in 1997, sacrifices a bit of the energy of Stomp's live show for the more intimate perspective gained by having a camera filming in the midst of the performers. More interesting still are the different locales (all in New York City) used for a number of the routines: a Soho alley, a kitchen, a rooftop, and even under a pier at a sugar refinery. I thought the camera work was excellent, and I appreciated having different "stages" upon which to showcase these talented performers (they're all accomplished percussionists). The on-stage (i.e., with the audience) portion of the show differs from the rest in that four cameras were employed to capture a variety of viewing angles from on-stage and off. You can't get this experience from seeing them live (for me, twice), so that's why I like having this DVD. Aside from the percussive interaction of the "band," you can also see their faces, so there's an acting component of the show that adds another fun dimension.A few minor disappointments: fifteen chapters (performance routines) are listed in the keep case notes; however, there's no #15 in the show. Also, the run time was several minutes shy of the stated 50 minutes (the missing routine?) which is REAL short to begin with. The "Special Features" part of the disc contains nothing but reading material and a few photos. I was hoping for something like "Stomp - Behind the Scenes," which would have been a blast, so there's almost nothing to be experienced in terms of the group members' personalities or the filming experience. Maybe on another DVD . . .Overall, I'd recommend this to just about anyone interested in percussion or performance art."
Super set + good camera work = awesome production!
Adam Weiner | San Jose, CA USA | 04/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll assume people know of STOMP from reading about them or seeing them somewhere prior... This video stars many members of STOMP, but seems to feature the cream of the crop for most of the pieces. There are brooms, poles, garbage cans, scaffolds with swaying members hitting assorted junk; but there are a few pieces here that can't be performed on a stage. For the most part, we are watching a short set on stage, but there are cuts and segues to little "skits" or pieces that happen elsewhere, only to return to the stage afterwards. It keeps things fresh, lively. One set involves 6 people, 6 basketballs, and an alley. Lots of interesting patterns come from here. One weirder set involves STOMPers in the kitchen, chopping and cleaning and cooking - more on the visual side, but it gives STOMP another side to enjoy. Two water-themed sets come first with the members in the water hitting pipes, then a cut to the stage again where members play barrels while being rained upon. The rhythms and energy are enough to make this video good enough just to have playing in the background, and definitely a must-buy to watch. But when you mix in unique pieces that you'll never see on stage, camera angles and close-ups that you can't get at a live show, and a few brief interviews of members, this will get you to do some STOMPing yourself!"