Against Me! has put out a DVD that really has me raring to go for an introduction stating the handful of problems with band DVDs as of late, but it's really not the producers of We're Never Going Home!'s fault that they've crafted a whoppingly great perspective on the Gainesville outfit from the band's U.S. tour earlier this year with Planes Mistaken For Stars and No Choice that few other teams can't touch. Okay, maybe it is.
Throwing in a downright plethora of sound bites and two-cent opinions from a greatly appropriate cast of characters (label people both major and indie, roadies, random fans on the street, band members both from the featured and otherwise) in between roughly a dozen-or-so live songs makes for one of the best music DVDs the year has to offer, despite only clocking in at around an hour. Every "interview" snippet carries commentary wholly contributing to the feel of the story, whether it be hilarious or a serious addressing of the band's unknown future. There's lots of talk about major labels and the free drinks they provide, with the band taking some choice shots at the people they appear to socialize so haphazardly with. You'd be surprised how many represenatives from the companies are discussed and addressed, with some even acting as a primary focus for the story's run. There're Anti-Flag haters as the screen so proudly labels, spewing disgust at the band's co-touring mates of earlier this year, and a good number of fans quick to criticize Fat Wreck Chords, among of course the band's supporting fans, both past and present. Both sides of numerous issues are shown admirably. The disc, of course, shows the band spending their offtime well, be it hotel room strip poker and ensuing half-naked searches for a vending machine, barroom camraderie, or even just dropping shit from ten-story buildings in New York City. One of the little things the DVD does that I really like is occasionally incorporating a slightly grainy feel to the video, giving it a more retro, 70s feel and blending it together with the more technologically-shot footage perfectly.
Oh, the music. Right. You should probably know about that. I'm usually not a big fan of the "live-but-obviously-pre-recorded" video style, but for some reason it works pretty well here after an initial viewing. They use footage from various locations for each song, but it flows nicely and the song's audio constantly fits the live performance regardless of the show's spot. You've got your "Cliche Guevara," "Sink, Florida, Sink," "We Laugh At Danger," and just under a dozen others I'll refrain from revealing. Both the crowd and band are always hugely into it, and the latter is consistently tight. There's an option on the main menu to play all the songs straight without the in-between stuff, but it's not recommended, because it results in ridiculously choppy between-song transitions and abrupt endings, often cutting off at least a split second of the song. However, the extras also include another half dozen songs or so with videos from entirely one spot, including "I Still Love You Julie," "TSR," "Pints of Guinness," and a new song which some of you may know as "Acceptance," and a few other included songs I'll leave a surprise.
The additional extras are short but worth checking out. You can take a tour of the Fat Wreck offices and even get a word from Chief Mike, check out a photo gallery, play a drinking game involving the appearance of a certain character from the band's roadie ensemble, watch an assortment of deleted interview footage, and of course, Raw Dog.
For some reason, the most endearingly humorous moment is when, sitting down talking with Tom in his backyard, the camera pans to the resident golden retriever, who is rolling around vigorously in the leaves. Tom looks behind him, sees the mutt scratching his back against the ground, and can't stop laughing. It probably sounds awkward and unnecessarily included, but for some inexplicable reason gives the DVD even more character. It maybe even sums up several themes of the ongoing "story," and just giving a minute to stop, sit back and laugh at the journey of working to get your own back scratched, rolling around in natural dirt just to solve an itch instead of relying on the greed and immoral compromise that can occur when you let someone else do it for you (for the time being).