The Triffids-It's Raining Pleasure (2009)
More…-No Desire - Youth Group
More…-Stolen Property - Steve Kilbey and The Triffids
|Year Of Production||2009|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Steve Levett|
"Evil" Graham Lee
Handsome Steve Miller
Toby Martin and Youth Group
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
It has been over 10 years since David McComb, singer and principal songwriter for Perth band The Triffids, passed away. Ten years earlier than his untimely death The Triffids ceased to be, an end brought on by the rigours of touring and the inevitable fatigue of being the "next big thing" with critical but not public success. Re-unions were planned but McComb's poor health - including a heart transplant and substance abuse issues - put paid to the resurrection of the group.
The story of The Triffids is another rock'n'roll "almost success" story. File it alongside The Go-Betweens, The Laughing Clowns and The Moodists. These bands between them produced a string of critically acclaimed albums and tried their hands at mainstream success including the trip to the UK. All, unfortunately, never achieved the success due to them.
The Triffids gained huge critical favour with their second record, Born Sandy Devotional and its hit Wide Open Road, then went a step higher with the album Calenture featuring the "feel good" hits Bury Me Deep in Love and Trick of the Light. The next albums failed to sell - In the Pines and The Black Swan - and as the 80s came to an end it was all over. In the meantime another former Perth band with a charismatic lead singer, INXS, stormed to international fame.
Anyone wanting to see the gulf between the rock star status of the two bands in the mid-80s could have seen The Triffids in the harsh daylight at the Australian Made concert whilst Michael Hutchence and the INXS gang concluded the show. When The Triffids packed it in the members went back to their real jobs, with the exception of Casey who joined Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
This DVD showcases a series of concerts performed at the Metro in Sydney in 2008 for the Sydney Festival. Originally called A Secret in the Shape of a Song, the concerts were put together by guitarist "Evil" Graham Lee, who has become the unofficial curator of the band and the torchbearer for Dave McComb's legacy. The concerts feature the "classic" line-up of The Triffids - Alsy McDonald on drums, Martyn Casey on bass, Robert McComb on guitar and violin, Lee on guitar including pedal steel, and Jill Birt on keyboards - as well as a host of friends.
The show spans the length of the bands' career and David's solo writings and features all the "hits" performed by The Triffids and by specially selected guest singers. The guests have some connection with the band, perhaps with the exception of Steve Kilbey from The Church and Toby Martin from Youth Group. The songs are performed reverentially and the concert scenes are interspersed with interviews with the key players. The show is MC'ed by tour manager and friend, the gorgeously anarchic Handsome Steve Miller.
The Triffids at their height were a band of rare power and unique style. At a time when rock was rock and country was Slim Dusty they were unafraid to introduce country stylings into their music through the pedal steel of Graham Lee and the violin of Robert McComb. Capped off with the bass vocal rumble of Dave McComb, like thunder across a harsh desert landscape, the band songs were quintessentially Australian without being daggy - they sang of the trees, the beach and the heat of midsummer.
Fortunately, no-one tries to mimic the individualistic performance style and vocal power of Dave McComb. Perhaps Toby Martin comes closest on Personal Things. For his part Steve Kilbey sounds ragged and raw; either he had a cold or the songs didn't quite match his vocal stylings.
Omissions? A few. My Baby Thinks She's A Train was, for many (including me), an entry point to the band and would have made a great cover. Beautiful Waste, a classic, is a surprising omission. A personal favourite, Field of Glass, was absent but perhaps that is for the best. Memories of wig-outs to the full 11 minute plus epic at the pub shows will have to suffice. Whilst You Don't Miss Your Water and Lawson Square Infirmary were covers themselves the band made the songs all their own and it would have been nice to see them on the bill.
Tribute shows can be a mixed bag. The more the deceased is praised as a genius the more likely it is that the show will be the poorer for their absence. This show features a host of great contributors including Mick Harvey, Melanie Oxley and the Snarski brothers. Genuine emotion seeps through when Rob Snarski sings the little known ballad The Good Life Never Ends. Jill Birt pops out from behind the keyboards, as she did all those years ago, to perform the two ballads Raining Pleasure and Tarralup Bridge. But still the absence of Dave McComb is enormous.
It certainly brings back memories. Memories of a band at the height of their powers. Martyn Casey providing the bedrock of solid bass, Robert McComb with his violin giving a quaint blues/folk tinge to the music, Alsy McDonald on drums and the fragile presence of Jill Birt at the keyboard. And, of course, David McComb. Tall, intense and wired. His waistcoat dancing to the rhythm of his flailing limbs. A brooding presence, capped off by a deep, dark voice.
It's Raining Pleasure is a great DVD for fans of the band. It is a fitting tribute to a man who was an accomplished songwriter. Be amazed at the depth of the lyrics. Have a laugh and shed a tear. Then after watching shed another tear for what might have been.
Dave McComb was irreplaceable.
|1. Too Hot to Move, Too Hot to Think|
2. Tarrilup Bridge
3. Bury Me Deep in Love
4. Life of Crime
5. In the Pines
6. Hell of a Summer
7. This One Eats Souls
8. The Good Life Never Ends
10. Setting You Free
11. Lonely Stretch
12. Wide Open Road
14. I Want to Conquer You
15. Jerdacuttup Man
17. Save What You Can
18. Thanks For Everything
19. Trick of the Light
20. Personal Things
21. Raining Pleasure
22. Red Pony
23. Fairytale Love
It's Raining Pleasure was shot on digital video. It comes to DVD in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced. The film combines concert footage with interviews. The latter are clear and bright. The concert footage was shot fairly unobtrusively and presents the band "as is". This is no U2 multi camera extravaganza. The ambitions of the filmmakers were humble and the resulting film is a document of the shows without being a showcase for High Definition digital photography.
There is a fair bit of digital noise about and the colours seem slightly overbright. In the interview footage the reds are a little hot. There is no aliasing and compression is not an issue.
Fans of the band won't really obsess about these issues. Otherwise there are no real problems with the transfer.
There are no subtitles.
The sound for the film is English Dolby Digital 2.0 running at a pretty measly 224 Kb/s. It would have been nice to have a more expansive and higher bit-rate sound mix or even a meaty LPCM track. Some of the songs have quite intricate arrangements with multi instrumentalists and it can sometimes be difficult to pick out the individual instruments.
The bass of Casey seems a little heavy at times, more like a Bad Seeds rumble, but that is probably how it sounded to the audience on the nights.
The dialogue in the interview scenes can be heard clearly and there are no technical problems with the sound.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a few extras.
Youth Group make a good fist of this rare song.
One of the bands' epic work Kilbey performs it in all it's ragged glory.
This is more of a reminiscence than a reading. Older brother John recalls their youth , mainly holidays, and reads a few quirky poems and notes that Dave made in his youth.
A series of rehearsal photographs.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This is an All Region DVD.
It's Raining Pleasure is a fine tribute to The Triffids and Dave McComb. It is living proof that you can pay tribute but, ultimately, you can never go back. The DVD is a fine accompaniment to the Great Australian Albums: Born Sandy Devotional DVD. If nothing it will send you to the back of your CD drawer to pull out those old Triffids’ albums you have been meaning to revisit.
The DVD quality is not particularly great but it is acceptable and there are a couple of interesting extras.
|DVD||Pioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||Pioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||JBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer|