Stray Cats

Rumble in Brixton [DVD]

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The on-again, off-again career of this rockabilly revival trio was very much on again for this performance, recorded July 17, 2004, at Britain's Brixton Academy. Caught during one stop of a rare 2004 European reunion tour, the trio shows why it is the standard by which other '50s-'60s revivalists are measured. All three look and sound terrific, and even though guitarist/lead singer Brian Setzer is naturally the frontman (and acts it), drummer Slim Jim Phantom and especially bassist Lee Rocker show that they are not there just as window dressing. The threesome tears through a two-hour, 21-song show that is all the sweaty, nonstop, retro, nitro-charged Americana fun any rockabilly fan could want. The audio version of this show just can't capture the sight of Rocker standing on his double bass while playing it, Setzer on his back on the floor ripping into a solo, or Phantom's wild grin as he pounds the cocktail drum kit. Professional but never overwhelming lighting, superb camera work, and classy Surround Sound embellish the effect, and the occasional shots of the frenzied crowd clearly having a blast also add to the atmosphere. The extras are pretty nifty, too, with a video montage of old TV appearances set to "Stray Cat Strut"; a ten-minute "making of" documentary for the one new track, "Mystery Train Kept A Rollin'"; and a twenty-minute behind-the-scenes short feature on the tour. The package also includes a 24-page book and there's even a hidden "Easter egg" of Setzer playing "Rumble in Brighton" solo, for those who can find it. In short, it's hard to imagine a better DVD package for Stray Cats fans or those younger folks who missed them in their '80s prime and wonder what all the excitement was about.

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