I still remember the only fight I ever had in my life. I must have been about 12 or 13, but to me it still feels like it was a life/death struggle. Fortunately the teacher seperated us, but I remember how that schoolyard became all quiet during and right after the fight. People were ecstatic and just loved it! I didnít though, I remember I was crying like a little baby afterwards, even though I think I beat him up more than he did me (probably wishful thinking?). Anyway, since then, Iím proud to say that I always ran away from fights, and I really think itís not because I was a coward or was afraid of getting beaten up; itís just that I think that violence is only useful in very limited cases. Iíd first want to emphasize that I didnít grow up in a violent environment like Boston and I have had a pleasant, normal life, with a fulltime job and a comfortable house to live in, and therefore some might judge I shouldnít have been reviewing this.
The DVD is a raw documentary, with adapted music, about the Boston underground Hardcore scene, and more specific about the F.S.U.-crew (Friends Stand United) that arose from legendary Boston band SSD. This underground scene has evolved to a worldwide phenomenon. As one of the co-founders witnesses, it was the guy in SSD who took the DC Straight Edge (cfr. Ian McKaye of Fugazi) idea to Boston, but instead of only spreading morality, these guys started spreading their fists to anyone who did harm to any member of their clan. The main idea behind all this, seems to be that thereís a bunch of tight friends who will collectively beat up anyone who touches one of their members. A masked guy, standing in front of the American Flag first explains what the anger is all about, and I can only agree that thereís a lot of bad things going on in many places. But the facts that multibillion corporations destroy independent stores, that expending Universities dimolish housing projects and that new middleclass neighborhoods displace the artists and the poor wonít be solved by fists in my eyes. In fact, not one of these evildoers involved will feel any pain through this behaviour for sure. Quite remarkably though, at the end of the DVD, thereís this guy ďChaboĒ who plain out says ďFuck all the Politically Correct kids and mall-punksĒ, and most of these guys show no sign of political or cultural involvement whatsoever. They just brag about how fucking awful their lives have been, and they admit having impulse control problems and an affinity for violence.
OK, maybe we should understand why they are acting like this, considering the fact that life hasnít been good to them, because of malfunctioning governments, corporate interest and bad social security and whatnot, but I donít see violence as a way to resolve any of this. Furthermore, it seems like all their aggression is focused on other kids, instead of towards the ones who they hold responsible for their not so enviable living. Whatís the point in that?
Interviews with founders of the F.S.U.-crew and bandmembers of Dead Before Dishonor and Blood For Blood donít get me anymore supportive of their causes either. Maybe itís true that people act like sheep and follow a trend too often, but isnít that exactly what they are doing themselves by excluding everyone who thinks different from what they believe in, or who doesnít belong? Their own crew has probably more unwritten rules and regulations (although Iím sure they claim to not have them) than a kid that listens to a popular punkrock band and dresses up like his friends or bands that he watches on MTV. As a matter of fact, I find it hard to believe that certain people will visit their shows, just to start a fight or to harass them, considering the size and posture of the interviewed people. They sure as hell donít look like the feable wuss that would be the center of mockery at a show. Of all the fights that were taped (and they are numerous), thereís not one explanation of what the fights are about; you just see a bunch of people brutally beating up one person, including a beating up of superstar Moby, but I have no clue what started it or what the guy really did wrong here. As stated, they would be solely responsible for Nazi-punks and jocks to stay away from hardcore and punkshows thanks to some good beatings.
Thereís some extras included, featuring old live performances of Wrecking Crew, Ten Yard Fight and In My Eyes. They show how intense these shows can get, and I have no problem with guys going nuts in the pit (I even think itís great), because everyone there knows what to expect when you attend these shows. Also, youíll be able to see how ďunderground surgeryĒ is done to a guy with a large gaping wound. Yep, these guys have their own doctors in the house, because of course thereís no way they can afford professional help. It reminded me of Rambo, but this is real!
When I first read the announcements of this DVD by Crosscheck Records, I mailed them that I didnít like to add releases to our calendar that support violence and beatings. They then claimed that I should see the DVD first and then judge it. Well, Iíve looked to it thoroughly, and all I can conclude is that to me personally this group of people is not that much better than a bunch of nazi-skin punks. Maybe their motivations are somewhat more understandable, but thereís so much similarities with fascist movements (the agression, the intollerance, the gothic printing they use, their flag-adoration, their urge for self-protection, Ö) which leaves me with the bitter conclusion that I wished they were not a part of the punk scene. In my knowledge I never witnessed a fight once at a punk show over here in Belgium. In fact, our little punk community over here has always been proud of the togetherness and fun they share at concerts. Thatís what I understand when I speak of ďunityĒ, and I always bring that up when I talk about punk music to other people.
Iíd advise you to buy this DVD if youíre looking for reality streetfights and cruel images, although I must say most of the tapings are amateuristic and recorded in the dark. Actually, itís almost as spectacular as the reality-TV served on our screen everyday. I didnít find good arguments for this behavior, but maybe thatís because I never got into these unpleasant life-circumstances. Nevertheless, I think these declarations of F.S.U. members sum it up pretty well: ďGiven nothing, we are taking everything, making this world a place of our ownĒ and ďThereís a big misunderstanding here: Itís not being a bully or about hating bullies, it was to destroy bullies in unionĒ. Now, with this negative review, I just hope I wonít get featured as a victim in the 3rd episode of these Boston Beatdown series that should be coming soon. I told you before that I am a pussy, but I think these guys are pathetic. I still have no clue why Chad from New Found Glory (shouldnít he be that mall-punk?) ever endorsed this release.