Asian Dub Foundation :: Live Tour 2003: Keep Bangin' On The Walls
[mute england]   review from sharaab  

The Asian Dub Foundation: Live Tour 2003: Keep Bangin' On The Walls DVD captures ADF at the height of their massive popularity in Europe. Playing a warm July concert at the Eurockeennes festival in Belfort, France in front of a crowd of ten thousand strong, ADF is truly in their element and shows us why Bobby Gillespe of Primal Scream once called them "the best rock band in the world." One definition of "the best band in the world" is that none can come on after your performance because the audience is so blown away that no one can compete. If the performance on this DVD is any indication, then the ADF are truly in close contention for the title.

With their trademark "wall of sound" firmly entact, ADF starts the concert off with the energetic "Cyberbad" off of their latest album, Enemy of the Enemy. On hand for the blistering performance are the usual suspects: Dr. Das on bass, Chandrasonic on guitar, Pandit G on decks and effects, along with new member MCs Aktarvata and Spex, Rocky Singh on drums, and Cyber on dhol and tabla. Noticeably absent is Sun-J, who usually handles all the live sequencing and electronics, but his duties are handled adequately by Pandit G this time around.

After "Cyberbad," the band jumps into an energetic rendition of "Blowback," also off of the last album. The video production on the DVD is excellent, intercutting various angles and shots of the band from 200 feet away, and then cutting into close-ups of the various members. The shot style and fast cutting lends to the energetic vibe of the band, and shots of the crowd add to the overall experience. The group's musicianship is well on display here, with Dr. Das's rock-solid dub bass lines anchoring the sound, along with Chandrasonic's (at times) frenetic guitar playing. Rocky Singh's drums and Cyber's dhol also add a previously missing element to the band, rounding out their sound and adding a more "live" rock feel. Although the 2 new MCs acquit themselves admirably, I still miss original MC Deedar Zaman. His reggae chatter fit better with the overall ADF vibe when opposed to Aktarvata and Spex's more hip-hop style leanings. This is especially evident in the next track, "2 Face," which is one of the weakest tracks on "Enemy of the Enemy," and doesn't translate especially well to a live setting. The MCs fare much better when they add sparse vocal musings over Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's immortal voice on the rocking "Taa Deem," or on the faster, less hip-hop tempo "Fortress Europe," one of the highlights of the DVD. The band then works their way through "New Way, New Life," a crowd-favorite from the Community Music album. A particularly rousing version of "Rise to the Challenge" follows next, along with "Assatta Dub" which is recognizable as a slightly tweaked remix of "Committed to Life." ADF closes out their concert with "Enemy of the Enemy," "La Haine," "Naxalite," and a personal favorite of mine, "Rebel Warrior."

The in-between track commentary is mercifully short, mainly political slogans from Dr. Das or Chandra, or shout outs to the crowd from the MCs to keep the everyone pumped up. The band is also quite animated on stage, jumping in the air, moving around the stage, pumping fists, and generally keeping things moving. By the middle of the conert, you can see the sweat pouring off the members of the band, indicitave of how much energy they are giving to the performance.

The sound quality is remarkably crisp and clean and sounds great on Dolby Digital 5.1., despite the difficult recording conditions and huge crowd noise. One of the pitfalls of the DVD, however, is the lack of bonus visuals. Mostly this is a straight performance DVD, and they either didn't have the time or budget to build an elaborate interface. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if comparing this to the Tabla Beat Science DVD, there is an obvious difference in production values. That said, the vibes of the two DVDs are totally different, and so the interface is just icing on top of an already very filling and satisfying cake. The ADF DVD still provides ample bonus materials, including videos for "Fortress Europe" and "1000 Mirrors," as well as three other live performances, a documentary, and an extensive photo gallery (which was a big hit with the ladies I was watching this with... apparantley Rocky Singh and Cyber add a new sex appeal to the band).

This DVD is a must buy for any ADF fan. Considering how little of their material gets to us in the states, and that they have only toured here once in their almost decade-long existence, this import is well worth its cost. If you are not a fan, it may still be worth buying just to see the how a true 21st century Asian band rocks the socks off thousands of white kids.

Sharaab is THE DJ/Producer bringing the noise to Atlanta, GA, USA. Visit Sharaab online for more info.]

ethnotechno rating: 3.5 out of 5
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  1. Cyberabad
  2. Blowback
  3. 2 Face
  4. Taa Deem (pick)
  5. Fortress Europe (pick)
  6. New Way New Life (pick)
  7. Rise To The Challenge
  8. Assatta Dub
  9. Enemy Of The Enemy
  10. La Haine
  11. Naxalite
  12. Rebel Warrior (pick)
  13. Fortress Europe (Music Video)
  14. 1000 Mirrors (Music Video)
  15. Charge
  16. Free Satpal Ram
  17. Dhol Rinse
  18. ADF Documentary
  19. ADF Photos Gallery
  20. ADF Photos Gallery Live Tour