As Elliott fans such as myself patiently wait the release of the live CD/DVD combo on Revelation later this year, Japanese label Waver Waver [home of Elliott's last tourmates DRUM:KAN] have stepped up with the release of Last Realize, a DVD of both bands' performances on Elliott's last tour in Japan.
The DVD opens with a montage of footage of both bands hanging out and touring Japan to the tune of "Suitcase & Atoms" in the background. It's a nice behind-the-scenes look at both bands, and shows you that even a group as musically serious as Elliott can still crack a smile offstage. The next 8 songs are all culled from two different performances in Japan. The editing is completely flawless, and the only way you can really tell that two different shows make up the visuals is due to the band members wearing different clothing. The audio is spot-on, as well, to the point where I honestly can't figure out which performance which song's audio was taken from. Excellent work on this.
From a setlist standpoint, the band's all-too-short 8 song set breaks down album by album as this:
US Songs - Dionysus Burning
False Cathedrals - Drive On To Me, Blessed By Your Own Ghost, Calm Americans, Shallow Like Your Breath, Speed Of Film
Song In The Air - Away We Drift, Drag Like Pull
While the set is very False Cathedrals-heavy, all the material has the newer Elliott "sound" to it, heavy on atmospherics and reverb. None of the songs falter at all. My only complaint is that the bass is sometimes hard to hear in the audio, as the recording sounds more like it was recorded form the audience and not the soundboard. It still is an excellent performance piece, however [and once again proves that Kevin Ratterman is one of the most underrated drummers in indie rock, thanks to a wonderful over-the-shoulder camera angle on him the entire time].
DRUM:KAN has the unenviable task of coming second on the DVD [after another short behind-the-scenes piece, this time of both bands touring the US], but does a respectable job in keeping the energy high. Their video is also shot from the same two performances, and the audio/video editing is superb. Their sound is more akin to the Blue Hearts than Eastern Youth, only they sing in English part of the time. Probably the cutest thing about their whole set is that you see the back of Elliott singer Chris Higdon's bald head numerous times from the crowd video shots. It's nice to see touring bands actually enjoying each other's performances.
The DVD then wraps up with DRUM:KAN's music video for the song "Something." The clip is one of the better music videos I've seen in some time, and in a perfect world would be playing on M2 right now. It's chorus will be stuck in your head for days, if you just hear it.
While it's not the most comprehensive documentary on Elliott, it's not trying to be - it's simply documenting the band live, something that sorely needed to be done. For those looking for a complete retrospective, wait for the band's live CD/DVD later this year. If you're as much of a fan as I am, this DVD is definitely something worth tracking down.