Sham 69

Hersham Boys: The Adventures of Sham 69 [DVD]

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Filmed live at the Concorde 2 in Brighton on April 10, 2002, and released by Secret Records/Quantum Leap on the Music Video Distributors DVD imprint, Hersham Boys: The Adventures of Sham 69 opens with the short and punky "What Have We Got," frontman Jimmy Pursey aging like a subdued Iggy Pop -- and if you turn away from the video the lines on his face just fade away to reveal the same passion and spirit that fans expect. In between the tunes there is interview footage, guitarist Dave Parsons reminiscing about how "Hersham Boys" was written at the "Honky Chateau" studio (made famous as the title of an Elton John album) because the label needed one more song. Their "national anthem," which evolved out of this record industry demand (à la Garland Jeffreys' "Wild in the Streets" and Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust," strangely enough) opens with chords straight out of Eddie Cochran's "Somethin' Else" and works fine all these years later. The sound is in gorgeous 5.1 Surround Sound and holds up well throughout the performance and interviews. "Fourteen Years" provides evidence that this new lineup can handle it, with Ian Whitewood on drums and Matt Sargent on bass. At times the video is dark -- but it captures the energy as those Eddie Cochran chords are used again on "Borstal Breakout." For fans of the group, this is a nice little treasure chest that is apt to pick up some new devotees who weren't born when this music originally happened. The bassist's youthful looks feel like a time transfusion next to his mates, and he plays well with Parsons' slashing guitar lines while keeping a good rhythm with drummer Whitewood, the song "Tattoo" having some nice camera shots to add to the excitement. There's a very readable biography by Betty Chienne, a decent discography, and a set list that allows you to pull up whichever song you'd like to hear. All in all, a very decent affair and a good documentary on Parsons and Pursey's important and creative work.

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