Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Dirty Old Town DVD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

Dirty Old Town 📀 (2004)


The concert DVD has become quite popular in the indie scene as of late. Whereas live albums in audio form are typically frowned upon, live DVDs have been somewhat embraced, leading to literally dozens coming out in the past year and even more scheduled for 2004. Very few ever get it right, though.

Dirty Old Town gets it right.

Dirty Old Town is, at it's core, simply Ted Leo and the Pharmacists playing at last summer's Siren Music Festival on Coney Island. But the film is so much more than that. Director Justin Mitchell trails Leo around Coney Island, and intersperses rather informative interview clips in between songs in the band's oh-so-sweaty [and sadly, much too short] set.

Mitchell also succeeds where many of these concert DVDs fail - you almost never see another cameraperson. This is even more difficult since this is in broad daylight; it's much easier to conceal oneself in the darkened background of the House Of Blues [and yet somehow, the Kung Fu camera operators still can't get out of the way]. Mitchell also explores different types and speeds of film, going from still photo montages to sped up film, from actual film to video, and back again. It's incredibly engaging.

Dirty Old Town's only pratfall is it's bonus features. While Plexifilm said that a Leo solo show from Brownies as well as the band's performace from the NYC Blackout of 2003 would be included, both are sorely underrepresented, with only 3 songs from the solo show and one song [albeit the jam-out of "Stove By A Whale"] from the Blackout show. I shouldn't be bitter, as they are only bonus features and not meant to be the bulk of the DVD, but they leave me wanting so much more.

With Dirty Old Town, Plexifilm has launched a new series of concert DVDs. Ted Leo, alongside Justin Mitchell, has set the bar incredibly high for the rest of the series. If Plexifilm can keep matching progressive artists with equally progressive directors, this series will be full of hits.

2nd Ave., 11am