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Non-Prog DVD/Video Reviews

Lene Lovich

Live From New York – Studio 54 DVD

Review by Gary Hill

In some ways the punk movement and the hippie movement had a lot in common. They also both shared ground with the early rumblings of progressive rock – although, it’s certainly arguable that that in itself is tied to the hippie movement. The thing is, when you had the hippies doing their thing music had no boundaries. Folk artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez shared the stage with bands like The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. The MC-5 and Black Sabbath came out alongside Frank Zappa. Indian Sitar music was onstage at Woodstock in the form of Ravi Shankar alongside such diverse acts as Country Joe and the Fish and Jimi Hendrix. It was a period of experimentation.

Similar things happened in the punk movement. You had bands like the Talking Heads lumped in with the Sex Pistols and The Dead Boys. Even the Ramones and The Clash were worlds apart in musical style and we can’t forget about The B-52’s and Lene Lovich. I’m not for one minute saying that Lene Lovich’s music is progressive rock, but it certainly shares the same sense of adventure and throwing away the rule book that made early prog what it was. In all honesty, there are some moments in her sound where it does approach progressive rock. The truth is, as this video shows, her music was extremely difficult to pin down. Punk rock merged with new wave, prog rock, world music, jazz and space rock and performance art to create a sound and vision that was totally unique and completely avant-garde. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s definitely creative stuff.

This concert captured her at her best. The only issues here are in the videography department. In the first place the cameras at the time seemed to have some issues with the stage lighting. A lot of the show looks good, but it can get washed out from time to time. Secondly, there is a definite preponderance of early music video period effects. While they are kind of cool because they add a sense of the time period to the thing, they are also a little annoying. The overall review of this DVD, though? It’s definitely good and shows a talented (no one can deny that with a straight face) artist practising her craft.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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