The Lawrence Arms - An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance [DVD] (Cover Artwork)

The Lawrence Arms

The Lawrence Arms: An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance [DVD]An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance [DVD] (2012)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: JeloneJelone
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Depending on your perspective, the Lawrence Arms are either way behind on issuing An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance, a concert DVD celebrating the band's 10th anniversary show in Chicago three years ago, or totally ahead of schedule with celebrating their 15th anniversary. Either way, it's fi.

Depending on your perspective, the Lawrence Arms are either way behind on issuing An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance, a concert DVD celebrating the band's 10th anniversary show in Chicago three years ago, or totally ahead of schedule with celebrating their 15th anniversary. Either way, it's finally here, in all its drunkenly uneven glory.

Concert DVDs are only a notch about live albums in the hierarchy of essential releases. Instead of just hearing people who aren't you have a good time, you get to see them too. Still, based on the crowd's response, it looks like the Larry Arms put on a good show that night (32 songs!). The band brings all the hits, tells a few funny stories and doesn't embarrass the Larry legacy. For a guy such as myself, who has never seen the band live, An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance delivers nearly two hours of much needed punk rock.

But man are they an uneven two hours. I've heard tales of the band's sloppiness live, and for the first 20 minutes or so, the Larry Arms live up to that reputation. Flubbed notes and botched harmonies abound at first. On the technical side, the camera crew's audio equipment failed while recording "Necrotism: Decanting the Insalubrious [Cyborg Midnight] Part 7." The mixing is odd too. Opener "Cut It Up" sounds really cavernous, while the last five songs or so sound a little too touched up.

If we're talking averages, though, Evening captures a stellar set. Lest we forget, there are still 100 minutes or so of finely crafted Chicago punk that owns faces here. Neil "Tennessee" Hennessy never lets up, opening the set and the encore with the same driving power. Brendan Kelly and Chris McCaughan take turns spinning drunken tales, drawing from all over the band's discography, and even Hennessy gets some mic time on "106 South." It's to their credit that they can play 30+ songs and still have more songs I want to hear. Quality issues aside, it's a good concert.

The special features are a little more mixed. Including the band's music videos (plus Sundowner's "In the Flicker") is neat, but the commentary is a chore. This is the one time I really do want to hear Kelly drunkenly ramble on, but he doesn't have a whole lot to add to the proceedings beyond what he already said that day.

Like the show itself, which attracted concertgoers from across the globe, Evening is decidedly a fans-only release. You have to be a super fan to look beyond the iffy opening and technical glitches. Also, it's two hours of Larry Arms. Still, if you're down with the records, you'll be down with the live set. It's been a while since Buttsweat and Tears, but Evening reminds me why I love this band. Now write another full-length, please.


People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Lawrence Arms - MetropoleAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch]Against Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Lawrence Arms - News From Yalta E.P. [7-inch]Jawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapySundowner - We Chase the WavesDead To Me - Moscow Penny Ante

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
arejaypunx (November 19, 2012)

Absolutely goddamned amazing! 3.5?! What the hell is happening on my punknews?

hobostylee (June 18, 2012)

Okay I never post this is important. I know how to get to the easter egg. What you do is after they play great lakes/ great escapes, brendan says something like man its great to be here and says how its a lot different from that college show in wisconsin or something. I hit enter right then on my laptop i'd imagine its the select button on your controller or x on ps3 etc... then it goes to their first show ever. It took me like two days to figure this out, you're welcome.

paulrulzdood (June 18, 2012)

i think the quality is actually really good as far as punk dvd's go. i mean it makes Alkaline Trio's "the show must go off!" live DVD look like a giant turd.

and Brenden isn't half as drunk as he normally is at the shows i've seen them at (granted i haven't seen them live since late 2005), but he seems pretty sober for this important show and i think they sound very tight as a result. the vocals sound spot-on, although Chris is always slightly off-key in many of his songs, so that's actually normal and not mistakes. i think it all sounds tight.

my only complaint is what someone else pointed out already; the dumb mixing of going from the first live song, to a "opening credits" song, then back to the real set. they should have put the damn opening credits first, then just gone into the set. it's a bad call in terms of editing.

but considering the massive setlist, quality of the cameras/sound and the diversity of the massive setlist; i think this is a big success. they play the old shit, half of "calcutta!", half of "greattest story", etc. it's got everything you'd want in a lawrence arms show other than the actually being there aspect.

wallrock (June 18, 2012)

I watched this while drunk and it was a blast. Seeing it again by sober light of morning I can certainly see a lot of the technical issues but that doesn't bother me too much.

owneroperator (June 17, 2012)

huge larry arms fan. pretty disappointed in the dvd really. was hoping for something better. watching individual songs works best for me. but all in all i guess it's probably about 1/100 of being there. but i wasnt there so this is the best i get. 3 stars.

there is an easter egg? i want an easter egg!

jimmynorville (June 15, 2012)

miki - Brendan has been saying to hit a button on your remote when he introduces the Lawrence Arms' first ever song.

Thumbs (June 15, 2012)

I think it's total bullshit that the two songs from "Buttsweat & Tears" are listed in the track-listing for the set-list.
The addition of "The Slowest... blah blah blah" IN BETWEEN two other actual live songs really, REALLY pissed me off.
Why do that? Why?

Aside from skimming it, I only watched the songs from their first two (read: best) albums. I'll eventually get to watching it from front-to-back...

miki (June 15, 2012)

I dig this big time. It's cool seeing them play such a long set to a full house. The only complaint is that Beex's jokes and stage banter are kinda flat and not as good as most shows I've seen. But if you're a fan of the band you'll love this. Does anyone know how to access the hidden Easter egg portion of the DVD? I guess it has their first ever show

thepopeofchili-town (June 15, 2012)

I kind of forgot this was a thing. Will pick up this weekend.

schaumpton (June 15, 2012)

Menzingers and La Plebe were awesome openers.

kickaha (June 15, 2012)

Overall the sound quality and video footage were both very good in my opinion. I enjoyed the commentary as well. New album soon, please!

ozmanx (June 15, 2012)

I had no idea this was a new release, just picked it up some days ago on a whim.

Betteroffskankin (June 15, 2012)

Great DVD!

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