Review Summary: The definitive Alien Ant Farm DVD, complete with videos, a live concert, a mockumentary, and lots and lots of titties, testicles, and naked hugs.
Parental advisory: review contains nudity - lots of it - so you've been warned!
Naked hugs. Shaving "downstairs." Fat girls flashing. Humping stuffed animals and/or each other. Oh, and thirteen music videos, a twelve-song live set from Germany, a mockumentary, jam session footage, and some other odds and ends. All of these things are present on the definitive DVD BUSted
from Alien Ant Farm. It is the band's first DVD, and is an essential purchase for any fan of the quirky Californian rock band. As for the review opener? Such is the warning on the back of the case - just replace "review" with "program."
This DVD is basically divided up into five separate sections:
1) Alien Ant Farm's videography, containing all of the band's music videos since the ANThology
days up to Up in the Attic
. There are thirteen videos in all: Smooth Criminal
, and Sticks & Stones
(the last video was previously unreleased), These Days
, and Drifting Apart
, and Forgive & Forget
, Around the Block
, and She's Only Evil
from Up in the Attic
. There are also three other videos, two of which had been previously unreleased: the original version of Movies
, and two alternate versions of the aforementioned track and These Days
2) Live Concert from Germany, featuring a vast majority of ANThology
tracks, but also S.S. Recognize
and Bug Bytes
from the Spider-Man OST
3) Personal Playlist, a nifty feature in which you can play AAF DJ and re-arrange the tracks to play through your speakers in whatever order you please. The DVD is mixed in 5.1 surround, so an entertainment center or other five-speaker system would bolster your listening experience.
4) A mockumentary entitled Road to Wreckage
, which takes you behind the scenes with the band, from jam sessions to sexcapades with giant teddy bears to how the band hangs out when not in the studio. Also included is an interview with frontman Dryden Mitchell and drummer Mike Cosgrove, who give their take on the horrific bus accident and the near-fatal injuries that followed afterwards.
5) Bonus ANTics, which is an Easter Egg-heavy section, includes commentary on the two unofficial versions of Movies
and the alternate version of These Days
. And if you're sleuthy you might catch a few more things, whether you like it or not.
The videography section contains ten videos, some of which put Alien Ant Farm into the mainstream spotlight. From their cover of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal
, which takes place inside a sports entertainment ring surrounded by fans, to the acoustic ballad She's Only Evil
, in which Dryden and Mike are surrounded by thousands of candles a la Staind's "It's Been A While," the videos run the entire gamut of emotions. While Smooth Criminal
is full of color and gusto, the somber feeling the listener receives when hearing Attitude
with its washed-out colors presents a significant contrast in style.
The most notable videos on the disc are the videos for Movies
, These Days
, and Attitude
. The first video takes the band and their fans into a theater, in which the band somehow makes its way into a movie of their own, taking on Ghostbusters
get-ups and turning into Oompa-Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
. These Days
shows the band showing off truANT
's first single while crashing a BET awards show - some of the reactions of the showgoers are priceless - and Glow
features household appliances coming to life and syncopating with the song.
The live concert was shot in February 2002 in Hamburg, Germany. Because of this, the setlist is dominated by ten ANThology
tracks, one track from truANT
, and one track off of the Spider-Man OST
. The overall set is very good, although it gives a rather claustrophobic feel because the stage appears extremely small and the crowd looks cramped. Nevertheless, frontman Dryden Mitchell's interactions with the crowd, particularly when introducing the tracks, is a highlight. For instance, the show concludes with Smooth Criminal
, and Dryden asks if the crowd likes touching little boys. When he doesn't get much of a response, either because the audience doesn't understand English or they have a little boy fetish they refuse to fess up to, the song begins and the building erupts upon recognition of bassist Tye Zamora's Michael Jackson impersonation. It is cases like this where music becomes a universal language and holds no barriers. The sound from the show ranges from okay to terrific: the electric guitars and distortion have a deliciously thick crunch, but songs that rely on acoustic guitars, such as Attitude
, do not get as excellent of a sound. The best tracks on the show are easily Summer
, with Dryden particularly shining with his chorus of "Tried to give you summer, but I'm winter - tried to make you spring, but I fall so hard," Bug Bytes
, which takes Dryden awhile to explain to the audience where this song originates from, and naturally Smooth Criminal
, in which the audience's energy is infectious and seems to pick up the song's tempo even moreso. The lone disappointment for a potential buyer, aside from the odd camera angles and rare sound flare-ups, is the lack of truANT
tracks, but again, it was early 2002 when this concert was recorded, and it is reasonable to assert that most of the tracks were not "concert-ready."
The Personal Playlist feature is self-explanatory: take all of the tracks found on the DVD and queue them up the way you see fit. This feature will not live up to its biggest potential if you only have one or two speakers; instead, multiple speakers would benefit from the 5.1 surround sound. Basically, the Personal Playlist could be both a gift and a curse depending on your speaker situation.
The mockumentary Road to Wreckage
is only a few chapters long, but attempts to showcase everything that encompasses the life of Alien Ant Farm, from the recording studio to the jam sessions to the parties to the dry humping. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments on the DVD, especially if you are a huge advocate for college (and, arguably, elementary school) humor. The mockumentary introduces the band first, including new guitarist Joe Hill, who replaced ex-guitarist Terry Corso in 2005. The rest of the mockumentary follows in chronological order, starting from the introductory ANThology
sessions, to being out on the road supporting the debut album, to the truANT
recordings (which highlight 1,000 Days
and the orchestra used on the acoustic closer Hope
), and to present day. Interspersed between the albums are parties, booze, boobs, penises, and stuffed animal violating, but also a delicate sit-down with Dryden and Mike, who talk about the bus accident that nearly claimed their lives in Spain. As Dryden and Mike explain where they were when the bus collided with a truck and run down their extensive list of injuries, images of those injuries, being pent up in wheelchairs, and images of the bus aftermath are displayed. Dryden continues by saying that his C1 and C2 vertebrae were fused together because his injury to his spine and neck was so severe, and that doctors had to take a piece of his hipbone to complete the surgery. While this is certainly a crucial element to the mockumentary, the band is definitely known for their toilet humor, and it definitely shows in these chapters. The band also has friends from all over the place - New Zealand friends find their way on camera and sing Glow
while in an obviously-inebriated state - and the parties and antics they display on airplanes, in airports, and out in the general public would be certainly shocking to plenty of old ladies... and maybe some middle-aged people, too. Take for example two fat-bottomed (and topped) girls, for instance, who are asked to flash the band while being recorded on camera. One girl does so, only to be taunted by the band, saying "You're totally covering them up!" due to the girl's non-model frame. But in the end, titties are titties for Alien Ant Farm, and that's what you will receive in the end.
The final section, Bonus ANTics, has a couple Easter Eggs along with the original video for Movies
, which takes place at a house party that goes wrong. For example, Tye and some girl go outside to make out, but Tye finds out soon enough that the girl has a massive tongue. It is a goofy video, yes, but the official video is definitely far superior. The alternate video for the track was played for awhile on MTV and VH1 until the official video was shot; in it, the band is on an unfinished set, where black-and-white movies play on a green screen while the rest of the set is all white.
The alternate video for These Days
is basically a continuation of the official, except that the band travels to more places, including their crashing and performing on the floats of a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Parade, to knocking over barricades of a Justin Timberlake concert in a giant ant bus while shocked girls and boys look on in horror. Also, the optional commentary Dryden and Mike provide for the three videos is good for a few laughs and should be considered.
Ultimately, this DVD is a must-own for fans of the band, and is a stellar introduction to first-time listeners, but probably on a "borrow it" basis as opposed to a purchase. The laughs and dry humping are plentiful and the music is rock-solid, especially Attitude
, Around the Block
, and the live track Summer
. Also, not only do you get Alien Ant Farm's entire videography, you get a twelve-song live show that's dominated by ANThology
tracks, a mockumentary that shows all sides of the band and their daily lives, some Easter eggs, some previously unreleased material, and lots and lots of nudity and humping. The parental advisory on the case isn't messing around. Take it from me: when Dryden's in the studio laying down his vocals for a track, beware of seeing a razor, some "external components," and a hairy ass
There - don't say that neither the disc case nor I didn't warn you.