You may recall me blogging about seeing Naked Raygun back in December. They were touring in support of a new DVD called “What Poor Gods We Do Make: the Story and Music Behind Naked Raygun.” I picked up a copy at Easy Street Records on my Friday lunch break and had a chance to watch it today. Short review: a must for any NR fan.
Longer review. This is a two disc set. The main event is a documentary that chronicles rise, fall, and return of one of the great Chicago punk bands. There is very little archival footage of Naked Raygun but the film makes up for that in two ways. First, it features interviews with the band itself and other Chicago scenesters like Steve Albini (Big Black) and various members of the Effigies. Second, it has good footage from two 2006 reunion shows. These provide clips for the band doing many of their best songs. Back in the day, Raygun used to do a blistering cover of “Suspect Device” by Stiff Little Fingers. Jake Burns of SLF lives in Chicago now and he agreed to come out and sing it with Naked Raygun at one of the shows. That moment is captured here, along with a rough bit of rehersal footage. Overall, the documentary is well done, and features some fun stories and great music. The only real downside is that previous members, most notably long time guitarist John Haggerty, do not appear. I don’t know if they were asked and refused or if the band itself preferred to focus on the current lineup.
The second disc is an audio CD. It has about 20 songs recorded at the 2006 shows. The percussion is a bit loud and the production isn’t as good as the previous NR live album Free Shit, but as it’s hard to complain about such a nice DVD extra. The whole thing cost all of $18, which is a bargain for a documentary and a CD full of music.
I’ve heard there is another documentary in the works called “You Weren’t There”, which covers the Chicago punk scene at large. It looks like it’s going to cover bands like the Effigies, Strike Under, Articles of Faith, Big Black, Bhopal Stiffs, Pegboy, and more. If it’s anything like “What Poor Gods We Do Make”, I am very much looking forward to it.