The Performance (4/5)
The Cramps are absolutely one of the greatest bands of the early punk era. Like their peers in the NYC punk scene of the time The Ramones and the Misfits they reached back into rock and rolls early days for their primary influences, in the case of the Cramps this was primarily rockabilly, like the Misfits they blended their love of old school horror and monster movies into their lyrics to come up with a potent rock cocktail that would influence generations of bands to come after then and create a subgenre of music now known as psychobilly.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of live footage of the Cramps released to home video out there, the only other release I can think of is the 1978 performance Live at the Napa State Mental Hospital. That release, however, was shot on low grade video, and even in it's most recent DVD release has in camera graphics forced into the image. This by default makes this DVD The Cramps Live at the Lokerese Festival 2006 the best looking Cramps performance on home video anywhere. Now while I said default that does not mean the image is bad, in actuality the quality of this release is outstanding.
The Cramps due to the horror themes of their music, are considered primarily a night time band, however this live performance took place in the late afternoon, and most of the concert is in broad daylight. I found the change in setting a little disconcerting at first, but once the band hit their stride (around the 4th track), I was too taken in my the performance to care. The late Lux Interior really knew how to work a crowd, and this show proves it. Every live recording I have heard of the Cramps made them sound like a really tight live entity, a band that was as comfortable in the studio as they were on the stage.
Overall, this is a fantastic show. It takes a few songs before the Cramps really kick in to high gear, but even those songs sound incredible. The only real downside to this release is the lack of classic material featured here. It is understandable, they were recording new music up until their last album in 2001(?), and didn't want to play around as a nostalgia act for old punks, and besides the new material fits in well with the old. Like Motorhead and the Ramones, the Cramps found a distinctive sound signature, and used it as a template to create loads of great music throughout the decades. It just would have been nice to hear and see a great performance of Garbage Man, or Goo Goo Muck.
There isn't too much to say here, The Cramps Live DVD at the Lokerese Festival 2006 is presented in it's original 1:33:1 full frame aspect ratio. The image is of a very high quality with a lot of detail present here, for example you can really the see the sweat and wrinkles on Lux's face especially in close up. I can't even begin to imagine how amazing this would look is brought out on Blu-ray. The sound quality is also fantastic, the music practically blared from my speakers, and the crowd levels were mixed well, so that the crowd never overtook the sound of the music.
If you are a Cramps fanatic like me, than this release is a no-brainer. If you're new to the band, I wouldn't call it the best place to start with live Cramps as there are only a handful of classics here (The Way I Walk, TV Set, etc), however the overall performance is excellent. The A/V is fantastic this is one of the best live DVD's I have seen this year. HIghly recommended for punk rock and Cramps fans!