Over the years I've enjoyed several different genres of music, but there was quite a lengthy period where I was a fan of punk rock. I didn't dress the part or anything, I simply just liked listening to the music as I was headed off to whereever I was going - school, work, etc. Fugazi, Jesus Lizard, Nofx and Bad Religion were some of the bands that spent quite a lot of time in my CD player; in high school I spent a lot of time in cramped clubs with bad accoustics listening to many of these bands perform live. Although I've since moved along into listening to other kinds of music, the occasional punk release still finds its way into my listening rotation.
"Riot!" revolves around what was going to be a performance by the band that was cancelled by the fire marshall, inciting a crowd of 1,000 Bad Religion fans that were stuffed into an old theater to riot. $25,000 in damages and quite a bit of broken glass occured and many of the fans were arrested - the events even made the ABC news, giving the band worldwide publicity. Eventually, the band made-up the performance that they missed, but the event lives on in punk rock history. This DVD presents footage from an earlier Bad Religion concert as well as the actual riot footage that was filmed by director Richard White, which is pretty scary stuff as the tension becomes apparent and the bottles start flying.
Songs: We're Only Gonna Die, Part III, Part II, Damned To Be Free, How Much Is Enough?, Doin' Time, You Are The Government, Yesterday, Land Of Competition, Bad Religion, Politics, (((( Armageddon..., Voice Of God Is Government, Frogger, Drastic Action, When, 21st Century Digital Boy.
VIDEO: The entire concert is presented in 1.33:1 full_screen. Recorded on a video camera, the footage is not particularly great looking. Sharpness and detail are actually fairly decent, although the footage varies throughout the concert, with some darker moments looking noticably murky. Some other problems do occur: there are some instances of pixelation and colors do look smeared at times. Overall it's generally watchable and I knew what the presentation was going to look like going in.
SOUND: Where the video quality was watchable, the audio quality is definitely lacking. The concert footage and riot documentary is presented in Dolby Digital Stereo, but clarity is definitely wanting as the music sounds rather loud and distorted. Things start to slightly improve as the show goes on, but not a great deal. Still, I wasn't expecting a great deal from a concert that was likely recorded originally in mono on the video camera a little over 10 years ago
MENUS:: For a low-budget DVD release, this DVD actually presents a nicely done animated menu with clips from the riot in the background.
EXTRAS:: Two documentaries: one that presents clips from the show with director Richard White's comments about the band and his history with punk rock and the other with backstage footage of the band preparing for the make-up show. Also included are nicely done bios of the band with text and video of the band member in the concert.
Final Thoughts: "The Riot" definitely doesn't present high-quality audio or video, but the video camera footage of the concert is generally well-filmed and gives the viewer a "you-are-there" feeling, as it does during the tense riot footage. The concert itself is an exciting, high-energy show that captures one of the older remaining punk bands at their best. Recommended for Bad Religion or punk fans.