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CARTER USM - BACK IN BED WITH CARTER LIVE (DVD)   Print  E-mail 
Written by Graham Reed  
Wednesday, 21 November 2007

 

Hello, Good evening, Welcome...and goodbye to Carter USM. Straight Outta Brixton, Straight onto DVD!

Faster than a drive by shooting on the streets of Clapham, living in a london town populated by pitbull terrorists, mad alsatians and scum slum landlords, Its Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - alive and revived from perfect hibernation for two nights only, one in Glasgow and one in Brixton. Carter in 2007 could be seen as an anachronism, revisiting the glories of the past - given that nothing on the DVD was written after 1993, that might be a reasonable assumption to make.

Devoid of the flashy,pseudo-grainy black and white hyperactive editing more commonly seen in live DVDs (hello! Hamish Hamilton!) or the stadium grandeur of a Wayne (Metallica, Def Leppard) Isham production, Carter in Glasgow has a completely different ethos. Its not slick or polished - its just a straight-up, no bullshit, unflashy film of a one-off live show, up close and personal. Devoid of the tricks to flatter permed rockers egos and armed only with a lightshow and a videoscreen, "Back In Bed with Carter USM" is a raw, authentic document . All the embarrassing stage raps are kept intact; none of the songs are excised because someone played a duff note or sang off-key, later to be re-recorded in the studio. Nope, its warts and all. Every last note, every last song, of a gig that was one of the best I've ever seen. And having seen both of the two shows, the DVD is a damn fine record of it. The DVD isn't above criticism though - some of tracks are banded into seperate chapters a couple of seconds out of place, the rehearsal footage is just played as one track, that sort of thing - but what you see is what you get.

The second the chanting starts and the frantic electro-punk-rock-disco euphoria of "Surfin' USM" kicks in, its like grunge never happened, and somehow, we're magically transported back to a time. Its not just the songs that are old familiar faces - its the ones down the pit at the front are the same as you used to see hiking kit bags around thumbing lifts from one provincial town to the next in search of the elusive moshpit.Down the front, some would describe it as a Dantean vision of hell - a swirling mass of bodies, sweat, and heat. For others, its a chance to relive the memories of a youth long past, its about songs we love and cherish.

Either way, you're only a few minutes away from a hit single, a nostalgic memory. Nevermind that Rubbish on the radio you get nowadays, maybe you just had to be at a certain time and a certain place, but Carter USM never sounded like anyone else. A mix of spiky guitars and synth backings turned into a unique mix of bouncy indie disco pop, from one highlight to the next. If its not "After the Watershed", its "The Only Living Boy in New Cross" ,or "Sheriff Fatman", every single one of them a classic that you know and love.

Its testament to the band that almost half of the two hour set are bonafide hit singles with 11 in the set, interspersed with pretty much every audience favourite you could reasonably expect, a smattering of album tracks, random cover versions of the Pet Shop Boys and Inspiral Carpets, not to mention cherished b-sides such as "Re-Educating Rita".By comparison to the shows of their heyday, Its exhaustingly long, the longest shows they've ever played. Which means one thing - good value for money, flashing strobes, and its as loud as you want.Though the gig itself was the loudest I've ever been to, making Motorhead sound like fairies.

Uncool as hell, but gracing a million front covers in their heyday, Carter USM tonight are a four legged indie disco time machine, and tonight we're gonna party like it's 1991. I know that, because It says so on the back of the DVD… even if they did steal it from my review of the gig itself!) (I'll settle out of court for a free t-shirt, by the way).And not only do you get the complete 1hr 50 minute gig, you get some extra stuff too: an additional three songs in rehearsal not played at the gig itself, and a brief but interesting interview.

Carter were always a legendarily good live band, and that had as much to do with the audience as the band themselves; it was exuberant, life affirming… everything a band should be. Thats exactly what you get here, it does exactly what it says on the tin; Carter playing the classics, It wasn’t modern, it wasn’t trendy, but what it was was a history lesson of just how good bands can be. Two hours and 26 songs later, its all over. Forever. As a memento of the final reformation shows, it could hardly be bettered, unless of course a CD of the fantastic and final Brixton performance wings its way to the shops sometime soon. And If you ever danced like a loon to their tunes in the back room of an indie disco sometime in the 90's, ever watched Top of the Pops or held a kit bag in your hand,stood in a field in Glastonbury sometime between 1990 and 1993 .....this DVD will relieve many memories. Highly recommended. (DVD Available from here, by the way)


Setlist:-
SURFIN USM / SECOND TO LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT / GOOD GRIEF CHARLIE BROWN / MIDNIGHT ON THE MURDER MILE / SAY IT WITH FLOWERS / DO RE ME (SO FAR SO GOOD) / RE-EDUCATING RITA / SEALED WITH A GLASGOW KISS / RENT / ANYTIME ANYPLACE ANYWHERE / THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW CROSS / AFTER THE WATERSHED (EARLY LEARNING THE HARD WAY) / PRINCE IN A PAUPERS GRAVE / LENNY AND TERENCE / GLAM ROCK COPS / RSPCE / LEAN ON ME I WON'T FALL OVER / ...AND BLOODSPORT FOR ALL / THE MUSIC NOBODY LIKES / THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM / IS WRESTLING FIXED / A SHELTERED LIFE / THIS IS HOW IT FEELS / SHERIFF FATMAN / G.I. BLUES

Extras:
REHEARSAL: RUBBISH / EVERYTIME A CHURCHBELL RINGS / SING FAT LADY SING
OCT 2007 BAND INTERVIEW

Comments
Written by markreed on 2007-11-21 07:04:52
not bad for something they had on sale 10 days after the gig!

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