If the Kids are United!

Oh you have to love The Casualties, if ever a band wore it's colours firmly on their sleeves it's these guys. They make no apology for taking their inspiration from early 80's hardcore punk and what you see is exactly what you get, warts and all!

This DVD is split into two parts, the first documenting their tour of Mexico and the second following them around Japan. First stop Mexico and we get a documentary following the band from gig to gig but what's odd is that that the first piece of live footage features really poor sound quality and thereafter the actual sound is removed and overdubbed with studio tracks that don't fit the songs they are playing, or if they do they certainly aren't in sync. Furthermore the live clips are exactly that, 30 seconds or a minute of footage which is then faded out, all rather odd. The real value in the Mexico tour footage comes with the film of the band playing to 3000 fans in Mexico City that seem to be stuffed into an alleyway but most of all the show where the crowd think they shouldn't have to pay and promptly storm the venue setting fire to the doors! Absolutely insane and the footage really captures the excitement and danger of the situation, worth buying for that part alone.

Where the Mexico section and indeed the whole DVD fails is that everything is very disjointed, the interviews with fans are largely pointless with none of them have anything meaningful to say except "they are Gods!". There is little or no commentary on what you're watching and although in many instances you can work it out it would benefit greatly from an audio commentary or at least subtitles that weren't littered with spelling mistakes.

By contrast the Japan tour section focuses mainly on the gigs themselves with the sound being just about good enough to avoid being overdubbed, really though it's bootleg quality at best. That said, it really does capture the intensity of a packed, sweaty gig and made me yearn for the days of watching GBH down at Digbeth Civic Hall in the mid 80's. The music is as you'd expect, no frills hardcore punk totally rooted in the tradition laid down by bands like The Exploited, GBH, Blitz and any other number of bands from the third wave of punk. What they do though they do very well and as not that many bands are playing old school punk these days it is quite refreshing.

Other highlights from the Japan leg of the tour include a brief guest appearance from UK Subs front man Charlie Harper and some interesting footage of the Hiroshima exhibition. On the live front there are some great scenes where the crowd invade the stage and a succession of the biggest mohicans you're ever likely to see! All the classic Casualties songs get played, 'For the Punx', 'Punx Unite', 'Casualties Army', 'Tomorrow Belongs To Us', 'Punk Rock Love' and a wad of others.

Although there are a lot of things wrong with this DVD in terms of the way it's put together it is entertaining to watch and you can't help but like the band. For long term fans this should be a welcome release and for those of us that missed punk first time around but caught the 80's wave this is a near perfect recreation of a time gone by. Punk is dead ... but the Casualties are still dying!