Botch – 061502 (DVD)

5 out of 5

Produced by: ?

Label: Hydra Head

Botch’s last live show, recorded for posterity.  Obviously this is going to be a ‘for the fans’ deal; there’s no new material, and certainly a live recording isn’t the best place to start if you’re just getting into the band.  This works best when you’ve spent several years re- and re- and re-listening to the few Botch albums that existed, such that you recognize how awesome it is that the songs translate pretty directly on stage.  It’s also astounding to see them keep up the energy for such an extended set – almost an hour and a half!  If you’ve seen any hardcore group live, you know they tend to peter out pretty early.  That being said, due to those positives, that such a technical band can bring it so effectively, I guess this could pique your interest if you’re already metal-inclined and are unfamiliar with the group.  But.  Yeah.  For the fans.

So on to the rest: The recording is aces.  Pre-planning certainly helped to mic it so that all the elements can be heard; compare to the bonus show from 2000 where parts of the songs can’t be heard.  You’ll recognize your favorite tracks – it was a fine, career-spanning song selection – and probably find yourself head-banging along, feeling the same energy as exists on the recordings.  The footage is interesting.  It’s super dark and grainy, but there are four or five angles and whoever edited it together did some work to time things with the breakdowns and riffs, so it’s not a snooze to watch, especially combined with the crowd / stage vibe.

Extras: There’s a 20 minute excerpt from another show, as mentioned.  Songs featured in the main feature, with less stellar video (it’s one angle) and recording fidelity, also as mentioned.  But what’s good about it is to see… that the band still sounded great.  Sure, it’s only two songs, but it gives you the feeling that Botch was consistent on stage, which is cool.  The music video for St. Mathew is pointless (mostly stitched together footage), but you know what’s the highlight?  Surprise: the commentary on the show.  There aren’t really any secrets divulged or anything, except for the group discussing how often they actually screw things up or stole things, but it’s just a lot of fun listening to dudes who really seem to get along.  It’s essentially listening to guys chat about music and laugh together for an hour or so, and you can tune in or out, but… something.  It’s satisfying.  It’s nice hearing how in to their own music they are, how often they casually reference other groups; they fully exist in this world, and they love it, and they love each other.

I’m not a music DVD fan, but this was surprisingly a ton of fun, and a truly nice addition to a Botch collection.