I've definitely had my minor issues with Boys Night Out's live show the past two years. Starting some time in 2004 it seemed like the Burlington, ON-based band, beginning to grow out of their early post-Grade phase, showed it in their live performances of material from both 2002's Broken Bones and Bloody Kisses and the followup debut full-length, 2003's Make Yourself Sick. The songs were always awfully slowed down and consequently awkward, making the crowd sing-alongs feel like slow motion replays. I never got to see the band play said material with the keyboardist/vocalist they added for the recording of 2005's Trainwreck, Kara Dupuy, but I imagine it didn't exactly reinvigorate the band into once again showcasing fist-pumping pogo-fests.
And then something happened. Dupuy left the band, and the remaining members promised more early songs would be played live on a recent headlining tour -- and what do you know, at their original tempos, the same for which could be said about the MYS tracks. Now while I loved Trainwreck, no doubt, this was definitely more like the fully energetic band I'd first seen open for Catch 22 long before.
Unfortunately, not only does Dude, You Need to Stop Dancing contain a really awkward, strange mockumentary of sorts, but captures the band shortly after the release of Trainwreck and before the completion of the transition phase I wholeheartedly endorse.
But first, the documentary. One of the 2 main pieces of Dancing is a 55-minute piece that highlights the "downfall" of the band -- the tension between band members that eventually leads to their "breakup." You see, these words are placed in quotation marks as this is merely an act, with a number of candid little interviews with the members in which they put on a front in order to create some very bizarre story. The idea is that the most tension is within the trio of drummer Brian Southall, guitarist Jeff Davis, and lead vocalist Connor Lovat-Fraser -- bassist Dave Costa offers criticism on all 3 while Dupuy receives nary a second of face time. The acting is par considering the actors' day jobs, with the ambivalent frustration conveyed well; if it wasn't for a few exaggerated themes and statements, you could almost believe it. Some rudimentary, abbreviated live clips are scattered throughout -- one from a Long Island headlining gig and a few from hometown shows.
The purpose of the documentary is surely beyond me. The entertainment value in it is mild and the humor is relative, the funniest part being when "former" member Southall describes his recent activities in the post-breakup interim. Hopefully the other half of the DVD makes up for it?
Not necessarily so. As previously mentioned, the hour-long set, a headlining set in Toronto on the recent tour with Armor for Sleep, is bogged down by songs performed a little bit slow and even less admirably on the whole. Lovat-Fraser misses about 70% of his notes, as the same can be said for Davis on his backup role. Musically there seems to be little problems -- again, aside from the tempos -- but the vocals seem to rough everything up. A huge barrier between the band and crowd seem to exist, and thus, little connection between the two seems present and it feels a little disheartening considering the rabid fan base the band seems to often carry. The stage is huge and the camera angles are nearly always distant. The sound is quite fine and one of the better elements. Despite that and a sensible selection of material from the band's 3 releases, the set is relatively mediocre and, frankly, a little boring even for the most adamant fan.
Dancing is quite skimpy on the extras, too. In fact, there are no extras, simply a third section entitled 'Music Videos' with 2 of such: "I Got Punched in the Nose for Sticking My Face in Other People's Business," the lead track on MYS, and "Medicating," the first single from Trainwreck, both of which were well publicized by Ferret Records upon their respective releases.
It's no secret around these parts I'm a rather big fan of Boys Night Out, having enjoyed watch a band with punk rock roots planted firmly in bands like Lifetime, NOFX, and Grade experience significant growth and ambition through the years all the whilst writing easily likeable, catchy songs that have always managed to simultaneously showcase some sort of creativity. That being said, they've put their first release forth that I can't in good conscience recommend. The intentions on here are strange and the results simply minimal and/or bland, but in the very least, I'm glad to be able to say this for a DVD release and not necessarily the fruition of their musical talents.