Review Summary: The Poison: Live At Brixton Academy - In which Bullet For My Valentine demonstrate that a paucity of good material and poor pacing are ideal fodder to be recorded for perpetuity! Or perhaps not...
Some might question whether it is arrogance or audacity which leads a band with but a single album and EP to their name to release a live DVD. Not Bullet For My Valentine
, who, riding the crest of the wave of popularity and propelled by positive press coverage, set about recording a live show for their fans. Recorded in January of 2006, barely four months after the European release of their debut album, The Poison
, it’s apparent that the Bullet boys haven’t let their paucity of material stop them. Indeed just from the opening sequence of the concert footage, an endless parade of teens gurning into the camera, it’s clear who the band are aimed at, where image and attitude are equally as important as the songs being performed. In fact with a running time of 66 minutes, and with no cover material thrown into the performance, it’s a wonder that the band don’t run out of things to do onstage…surprisingly they don’t even get through their entire back catalogue.
Taking the stage floor (eerily set out like a miniature version of a Metallica
show) to the haunting strains of the Apocalyptica
crafted Intro, the metal assault proper begins with Her Voice Resides, one of the more raucous numbers from their arsenal. Performance wise it’s apparent that not only can the boys reproduce their brand of metalli-lite live, with Matt Tuck capable of reaching all the clean harmonies and deathly growls with nary an error, but the show is also very well produced with excellent sound quality and mostly bereft of stomach churning camera angle changes so often marring live footage. The guitars chug and soar at all the appropriate moments, creating circle pits of enthusiastic youth whenever the tempo allows, with blistering guitar harmonies and solos rattled off to the fans delight. Taking to the high rise gangway of the stage for the softer moments of All These Things and Tears Don’t Fall, and interjecting with apposite remarks such as “London, we love you!”
and “You’re beautiful!”
, the band do their best to carry the momentum and atmosphere, with fan favourite and EP only mosher Hand Of Blood reserved for the encore, and the appropriately titled The End rounding things off. Add to this the requisite sing along sections and bass breakdowns and on paper the show should be triumphant.
Ultimately however it’s the lack of decent material that mars The Poison: Live At Brixton Academy. Whilst the songs themselves are consistent and are reproduced faithfully, the energy never reaches a significant level due to the pauses taken between every song….effectively destroying the forward momentum gained over the preceding 3 minutes. It’s not apparent whether this is to stretch out the running time of the performance or because Matt Tuck needs to rest his voice, but whilst it’s clear that the young crowd love every moment, the live sensation is effectively destroyed for the remote viewer due to this stop start nature of the set. Perhaps if instead of pausing the band had thrown in one or two more of their faster songs (Hit The Floor and Room 409 both omitted), and maintained their pace then the live to celluloid translation would have worked better, but unfortunately it is the album version of The Poison which packs the greater punch.
Extras on the DVD include 5 promo videos for all of the bands singles, and a host of EPK’s and mini documentaries coupled with banal back-stage antics (read as childish japery) and live performances. Whilst they provide some small insight into the rock and roll lifestyle of the Bullet boys, it’s conceivable that in a few years time that this behaviour will be swept to one side, to make way for the newer more mature BFMV. Possibly the next DVD will boast the definitive BFMV performance, but sadly this one won’t convert any not already convinced and whilst a solid performance, doesn’t boast any essential selling points.