Dance Hall Crashers - Live! at House of Blues L.A. DVD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Dance Hall Crashers

Live! at House of Blues L.A. 📀 (2005)

Kung Fu Films

I'll be honest: I have never, ever been to a ska show. I've been seeing live music with some regularity for around 4 years now, and I have never seen a ska band play. Doesn't interest me. I enjoy a decent amount of ska, but the prospect of seeing one of those bands' live show has never sparked my interest. Dance Hall Crashers aren't even one of the ska bands I might listen to on record, so I wasn't sure what to expect out of this live DVD, and after it was over…eh?

The crowd at the House of Blues in Los Angeles seemed mightily enthused about the well-known, female-fronted ska outfit, and their enthusiasm showed for the entire set. That enthusiasm would have done well to translate into the actual band.

The two female vocalists of DHC are great showmen. They dance around the stage, get right in the face of the crowd, and they sound fantastic. In fact, the whole band sounds fantastic. I'm not as familiar with their back catalogue as some may be, but I can tell a tight live band when I see one, and the Dance Hall Crashers fit that bill. Granted, the songs aren't the most difficult to play, but all members are cohesive musicians nonetheless. Where I do have an issue is with the energy that the bassist and guitarist put into the music. I realize they're playing relatively simple things, so spazzing out would look awkward and not fit the music, but they could actually look like they're alive, rather than going through the motions. Luckily, both singers are well enough alive as they play the energetic 19-song set. I can't say any song stuck out above all the others, but they played a good mix of fast and slow tunes that the crowd seemed pretty responsive to. Futhering the crowd's approval, they played such favorites as "Elvis and Me," "Cold Shower," and the set closer "Go." But since this is a DVD, the songs aren‘t anything if they're not presented well.

The cinematography is probably the best part of this entire DVD. The picture is of a pristine quality throughout the entire production, the sound is fantastic, and they use a wide variety of camera angles that show the crowd as well as the band themselves. It's very well done, and it looks more professional than the DVDs that a lot of bands sloppily throw together. All members of the band are shot essentially the same amount, with some extra time obviously given to the singers, as everything about DHC's live show is dependent upon them.

It all comes down to whether or not you're a fan of the Dance Hall Crashers. If so, you'll no doubt love this and the sheer number of tracks included, if not, this DVD isn't stellar enough to change your opinions on ska and how it translates live.