DVD Reviews


Fans Only


Isobel Campbell fancies herself something rotten, and it's apparent every time the Belle & Sebastian cellist/singer appears on this DVD. But for every self-indulgent Isobel instance, there are intimate interviews with band members both bemoaning and relishing the lengthy Belle & Sebastian songwriting process, or Stuart Murdoch talking about the joy he finds in riding Glasgow's buses around the city. Perhaps not intentionally, Fans Only as a collection demonstrates the band's maturation from their formation in 1995 to the present—one clip shows Murdoch at a rickety piano soundchecking for a concert at their local library in Glasgow. This is juxtaposed with a taping of the band playing "The Boy With the Arab Strap," like well-seasoned rock stars, at the Coachella festival in 2002. Stuart even tells off the audience for not dancing enough before inviting an audience member onstage. He improvises lyrics by singing, "It may not feel like summer to you, but it feels like summer to us." While late-'90s peers like Super Furry Animals and Travis were codifying Britpop as a homogenous "sound," B&S were creating a brand of their own. By the same token, music videos such as Radiohead's Seven Television Commercials, or more recently, Michael Gondry's work for the White Stripes, are innovative and hip; by contrast, the videos for Fans Only have a home-movie feel to them—slapsticky like Benny Hill, and reeking of the band's adolescent charm. If the videos are at times nauseatingly cute, it's still inspiring to watch a band adored by an army of urban hipsters not take themselves too seriously. SAMANTHA STOREY

Belle & Sebastian play the Paramount at 8 p.m. Wed., May 5. $26.




Let's be frankfurter. We're not familiar with neo-industrial provocateurs Rammstein because of their music, an operatic, cheddar cheese update of Ministry's The Land of Rape and Honey. No, the East Berlin sextet rings a bell because of their stage show, in which they simulate anal rape with one another, deck themselves with fluorescent light tubes, and traipse around in little else but aviator goggles and duct tape amongst enough random floor pyro to send James Hetfield to the Metallinfirmary for life. Most of this tongue-in-every- imaginable-cheek theatricality is captured on the Lichtspielhaus (perfectly, pretentiously translated as "Cinema") DVD, an impressively comprehensive collection of Rammstein's videos (with five painfully overlong, complementary making-of featurettes), as well as six blinding European and Australian live sets. The videos are off-the-charts homoerotic, particularly "Du Riechst So Gut," featuring all six members shirtless and oiled, crushing sunflowers, and the rare English language Depeche Mode cover "Stripped," in which otherworldly-endowed men in G-strings hurl discuses on the beach and sprint manfully along the surf. The inclusion of so much live material is quite the bonus for domestic fans, since Rammstein's pyro license is always in limbo when they tour the States (see: Great White, Rhode Island, 2003). Wanna see brick shithouse frontman Till Lindemann's boots spout flames? Check. How about an entire set of microphones ablaze? Check. Dying to see rail-thin keyboardist "Flake" Lorenz do the German equivalent of the chicken dance? No? Well, um, live and let die, Beavis; plenty more shit gets set on fire real good. ANDREW BONAZELLI



(Spoon/Mute/The Grey Area)

The premier German rock band of the '70s had a name applicable to a lot of things, most prominently their can-do attitude. Can revolved around four musicians—bassist/producer Holger Czukay, keyboardist Irmin Schmidt, guitarist Michael Karoli, and drummer and human metronome Jaki Leibezeit—and constructed songs out of lengthy jams that started minimal and expanded into freak-out mode as often as not. But their posthumous output (literally, since Karoli's death in late 2001) demonstrates that the band was also plenty canny (sorry), doling out remixes and live sets and, now, a DVD that serve primarily to demonstrate that the band's original releases are still the greatest. Aside from a negligible audio CD of the members' post-Can work, Can DVD is notable for including the 51-minute Can-Free-Concert, a combination of live and overdubbing-session footage filmed in 1972 that's interesting primarily when the band hits a groove and holds it, and for early vocalist Damo Suzuki's pink-and-red jumpsuit and monster codpiece. The first disc is split between Free-Concert and Can Notes, a lazy, irritating doc shot by band manager Hildegard Schmidt, also Irmin's wife, during their promotional tour to support 1997's Sacrilege, a remix disc. The real meat here, though, is Can—Documentary, which is stocked with well-chosen footage from the band's many early-'70s appearances on German TV, and is the only real evidence here that Can deserve their cult. MICHAELANGELO MATOS


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