The Backsliders-Live at The Basement (2003)

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Released 8-Sep-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Interviews-Cast-Dom Turner
Bonus Track-Live performance of 'Hanoi'
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 75:15 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Dom Turner
Jim Conway
Rob Hirst
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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Plot Synopsis

    The Backsliders have been an integral part of the Sydney live music scene for many years. I have seen them a number of times, either by themselves, with other local bands, in their larger incarnation as The Stumblers or supporting overseas touring acts. Dom Turner (Vocals & Guitar) and Jim Conway (Harmonica) have always been the front line of the band. A recent addition is Rob Hirst (formerly of Midnight Oil) on drums. I have always enjoyed their raucous and infectious brand of delta blues.

    This is the first time I have caught up with them in a few years and the addition of Rob Hirst has changed their sound significantly. He has obviously added to their songwriting talents (he was one of the main songwriters in Midnight Oil & Ghostwriters) which is highlighted by good new songs like Hanoi. Obviously, his musical background is quite different with more of a rock rather than blues sensibility. Personally, I found this mixture of styles slightly difficult to listen to, working much better on some tracks than on others. I don't want it to sound like I am just saying 'I like your old stuff better than your new stuff' because both styles have merit, but to my ears they just don't sit that well together.

    The drummer who previously worked with Dom & Jim was much more of a percussionist and had a lighter touch. I remember him climbing onto the stage at the James Craig Tavern carrying an old leather hat box that contained his cymbals and other percussion instruments and which also doubled as his bass drum. Rob Hirst is a rock drummer (albeit, an excellent one) which to my ears made him slightly unsympathetic from time to time, especially on some of the delta blues tracks. I believe this is due to the generally low volume of the other instruments, acoustic guitar and harmonica. It worked best when he switched to percussion or brushes such as on Kokomo or Black Wind.

    As always, Jim Conway played some excellent harmonica, confirming his reputation as the best player in Australia. Dom Turner was especially impressive when using a National Steel Guitar but did not really seem to be enjoying himself. Rob Hirst, on the other hand, seemed to be having the time of his life.

    The show was not very exciting visually as all three participants were sitting down. The camera also seemed to spend a lot of time focussed on the side of Dom Turner's face, the upside of which is that I now have an intimate knowledge of this part of his anatomy.

    Overall, while the show was well played and the crowd seemed to appreciate the music, from my perspective it was slightly disappointing. Highlights for me were Kokomo, Hanoi, You Gotta Move, Black Wind & House on the Corner.

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Track Listing

1. Smokestack Lightning
2. Jack
3. Hanoi
4. Kokomo
5. Thinkin' Man's Drinkin' Man
6. Walk Talk
7. Wretch Like Me
8. I Wish You Would
9. The Church Of Never Find Out
10. Black Top Road
11. You Gotta Move
12. Black Wind
13. Son Of The Father
14. House On The Corner
15. Rest At Night
16. You Three

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video presentation is very good, clear and sharp throughout. 

    The concert is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which according to the case is how it was originally recorded. 

    The picture is extremely clear and detailed. Shadow detail is excellent and no low level noise is present.

    The colour in this presentation is difficult to rate due to the stage lighting which was predominately red, causing Jim Conway to look as if he was constantly having a hot flush. This combined with his bright red and yellow shirt made his portion of the stage colourful indeed. The others musicians were dressed in black and white predominately. There were no issues with the transfer of the colour to DVD.

    I noticed two minor MPEG artefacts at 11:23 and 32:43 both consisting of a small area of pixelization. Otherwise there were no artefacts to speak of.    

    There are no subtitles on this disc.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sound on this disc is generally very good with no noticeable issues.

    This DVD contains one audio option for the main feature, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s.    

    Vocals were clear and easy to understand. The only audio sync issues I noticed were on one of the extra features (see below).    

    The music came across well with each instrument being clear and easy to distinguish. I would have preferred if the drums were mixed further down as I felt they were too loud on some of the tracks.    

    The only noticeable surround activity was crowd noise such as cheering and clapping.    

    Since the band does not include a bass player the subwoofer was only in evidence when the bass drum was being used.

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menus were presented in 1.33:1, without sound and were static. I found the menu system on this disc slightly confusing due to the folder style being used. It was not obvious where the cursor needed to be to get the main feature going.

Interview With Dom Turner (15:00)

    This extra is presented in 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. It is an interview with the lead singer and guitar player from The Backsliders, Dom Turner. It includes discussion of the band history, the changes brought about by Rob Hirst's addition, blues music in general and the band's lack of a bass player. The visual style is a bit strange including many changes between black and white, washed out colour and a pink filter. It includes footage of the band live in the studio.

Hanoi Live Performance (3:42)

    This extra was presented in what appeared to be 1.85:1, non 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. It seemed to be the same footage of the song Hanoi used in the main feature, with street scenes interspersed and the pink filter used for the interview added. This extra had a slight audio sync issue.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc does not seem to have been released outside of Region 4 and the disc is multi-region coded.

Summary

    This disc is a good live performance by a band which has been a mainstay of the Sydney music scene for many years. Unfortunately, I did not find it as enjoyable as some of the live shows of theirs that I have attended.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    There are two extras, of reasonable quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, May 02, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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