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Big Audio Dynamite Live: E=MC2

directed by Don Letts

starring Big Audio Dynamite (B.A.D. II)

MVD Visual

Image - BAD Cover

Is it better to burn out, or just fall into a heap of rust? As the Clash collapsed over the mandatory "Artistic Differences," Mick Jones took what was left to start Big Audio Dynamite. B.A.D. found its niche, but never recaptured the spit and vinegar of the Clash even with songwriting contributed by Joe Strummer. While the Clash sang fast because the Clampdown was just around the corner, Big Audio retreated to the rambling arrangements of disco and stadium rock that were best suited to dancing or getting stoned. The world was what it was, so why bother to change anything? The key to the transition may lie in an innocent sounding line on the back of the 5.1 audio archival DVD - "Jones has teamed up with... video/filmmaker Don Letts." I love film as art, and rock as art, but let's face it, punk was punk, and this feels more like a Prince afterparty, even to the point of a cover of "1999."

While the band seems like its clocking in to a day job, the filming and audio are high quality. The two big hits, "Bottom Line" and "E=MC2" sound nearly as slick as the album versions, complete with the seemly irrelevant audio overlays. The band is shot in a studio with a small audience and excellent sound. Cameramen have the run of the stage, but the editing is excellent and the band looks their best - sober, rested, clean underwear and as in tune as these things get.

Cherry Red: www.cherryred.co.uk