Dirty Old Town is a film about musical group Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, an energetic and creative rock group from the East Coast. Prior to forming The Pharmacists in 1999, frontman Ted Leo was part of several other music groups, including Chisel. Led by a seasoned veteran of songwriting and live performances, it was no surprise that this new group hit the ground running, having released four albums in just five years. With an aggressive sound similar to Elvis Costello and even The Clash, Ted Leo and his group have a great presence that lends itself well to live performance. The music is catchy, but gets even better on repeated listens...a very good indication of quality songwriting and talent. Although I must confess I'm relatively new to their music, it's good enough that I'll definitely keep an eye on these guys.
Essentially, Dirty Old Town is a document of the group's performance at the recent Siren Music Festival in Coney Island, NY. With a brisk running time of just over an hour, we're treated to a nice cross-section of the band's catalogue, including selections from their recent albums The Tyranny of Distance and Hearts of Oak. Of course, in typical documentary fashion, we get to see the band behind the scenes, and it's a great look at a promising young group of performers.
Dirty Old Town
Although I'd have liked to see a more complete section of work and more footage in general, there's a good amount of stuff here for such a young band. This DVD comes to us from Plexifilm, and features a great technical presentation combined with a few interesting extras that fans of the band---new and old---will really enjoy. All in all, Dirty Old Town is a solid DVD release for a band that seems to have their best years ahead of them. Let's see how this one stacks up, shall we?
Despite its name, Dirty Old Town looks very good as far as low-budget documentaries go. Presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio, the majority of the footage here is clean and bright, with bold colors and nice contrast. Some of the crowd shots and other scenes look a little washed out with slightly bleached colors, but this appears to be the intended look for the hot, humid atmosphere. Overall, this is a good-looking DVD that provides more than enough visual bang for a concert performance.
For any fan of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, this is an interesting look at the band in action, and a solid DVD to boot. Even if you've never heard their music before, this is a release worth checking out, if only as a rental. However, the overall performance and DVD production is good enough to make Dirty Old Town a Recommended purchase in my book. Overall, any fan of quality music should try and seek this disc out...it just might surprise you.
Randy Miller III is a part-time cartooning instructor based in Harrisburg, PA. He also does freelance graphic design projects and works in an art gallery. When he's not doing that, he enjoys slacking off, general debauchery, and writing things in third person.