All-American Rejects - Live From Oklahoma... The Too Bad For Hell DVD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

All-American Rejects

Live From Oklahoma... The Too Bad For Hell 📀 (2003)


The All-American Rejects have really been quite the rags-to-riches story of 2003. Two guys just out of high school sign a deal with indie Doghouse Records, and before their album is even released, Dreamworks ears perk up and sign the kids to a major label deal. Over 700,000 copies later, here the band stands, now a quartet with thousands of pre-pubescent girls wanting to lose their virginity to them. TV appearances are old hat, and sold out shows are assumed, not hoped for. The band really has made it to the big time, and to usher themselves into the complete mainstream, Dreamworks has released a live DVD of the band's homecoming performance in Tusla, Oklahoma earlier this year.

The Rejects catch a lot of flak for their live show, with many people saying they're mediocre at best. I have seen them once and thought they rocked pretty hard, but since then their live reviews have been getting steadily worse. This DVD proves all of the haters, wrong though, as the band is really, really tight for the majority of their 45 minute set. The vocal harmonies are dead-on, the extra bells and whistles are perfectly timed, and the band just plays really, really tightly. The only small disaster is guitarist Nick Wheeler's solo in "Your Star" - it's horribly cringe-worthy, but it's really the only blemish of the set.

The biggest downside to this DVD is that it's this early in the band's career. They've only released a dozen songs thus far, so one can assume that the set won't be incredibly extensive. It's not, as the band plays an 8-song set with a 2-song encore ["Swing Swing" and "The Last Song," predictably]. For a headlining band, 10 songs would make me feel rather robbed had I bought a ticket, but odds are most of these kids' parents bought the tickets anyways.

Side note - there's over 3000 people at the concert in this DVD, and based on the crowd shots, I'm pretty sure that 2900 of them were female.

So yeah, the Rejects blast through every song on their debut except for the best one, that being "Drive Away." Oh well. Even the weaker songs on the album take on a new life in concert, which is a testament to their live show.

Dreamworks also throws on the band's two music videos on the DVD, as well as a neat little feature called "Lost In Stillwater" that shows the band cruising around their hometown via their beat up old van, spending some time at local hangouts, the high school, et cetera. It comes off as sincere, instead of cheesy. Kudos.

Kung Fu Records take note - this is how you do a concert DVD. The footage is crisp and clear, and the angles are much more unique than your basic concert film. It's pleasing to both the eye and ear.

Oh yeah, and to all of you who are going to hate on this band, here's one saving grace - guitarist Mike Kennerty is wearing an Against Me! t-shirt. So there.