This is a 2 disc DVD set from one of the most important bands in Industrial Music: SKINNY PUPPY. The first DVD (which the bulk of this review will focus on) is all live performance and the second DVD is archival footage from different moments in the band’s history as well as another concert segment from their 1986 European tour.
The live performances on DVD 1 were shot in Toronto and Montreal and contain a large proportion of material from the 2004 album “Greater Wrong Of The Right”, as well as a good selection of “greatest hits” spanning their career. The sound and video quality are excellent as are the performances of the musicians. The focus is largely on vocalist and permanent member OGRE, as it should be; he is an eccentric and bizarre front man and very entertaining to watch. Whether he is slowly dripping blood onto himself, wrapping his person in crime-scene tape, or walking onstage covered in dust and debris, his presence brings the songs to life; using his body as a visual canvas for the lyrics of political protest and rage against the system. I can imagine that seeing this production live must have been a very visceral evening.
If you haven’t heard it before, SKINNY PUPPY’s music is almost entirely electronic, an often violent collage of sounds and beats which occasionally morph into a structure before devolving into something else. The keys and percussion are handled by other permanent member cEvin KEY and his ability to create masses of eerie noise is the perfect backdrop to OGRE’s tortured moans and machine like ranting. The material on this is largely more dance-like in its grooves than some of their earlier material; a little more structured.
Beginning DVD 2 is an interesting and critical documentary (by director\guitarist William Morrison) about the Iraq war. While slightly out of place, it serves to remind that SKINNY PUPPY is at its heart a very political band and also to keep alive the truth that war is much, much more than most of us see on the news; interviews with Gulf War veterans bring this truth home in a meaningful way. A 30 minute live\tour diary of their 1986 tour is next followed by short segments from the “Last Rights” (my favourite SP album) and “Too Dark Park” periods.
The DVD comes in great packaging adorned with some interesting and graphic images and all in all is an excellent package. I think this DVD serves as the perfect way to hear (and see!) the band for the first time, or re-acquaint yourself with an old favourite .I’ve never been a huge fan of the band, but enjoyed what they do enough to own 4 or 5 albums over the years. This DVD represents them well, although your enjoyment may depend a lot on how you feel about “The Greater Wrong Of The Right” as an album. (Online February 25, 2006)