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The Clash Live: Revolution Rock (2008).

March 11, 2008

The Scoop:
Consider this the concert film The Clash always deserved. The impact of “The Only Band That Matters” can’t be overestimated, and part of that impact came from their incendiary live performances. “The Clash Live: Revolution Rock” does those performances justice.

Divided into sections corresponding to each of the band’s albums, the film features full songs from rarely seen concert footage, all strung together with brief interview snippets from each era. (Mercifully, “Sandinista!” is represented by only one tune, “The Magnificent Seven.”) We see them grow from grimy punk club sensations to arena megastars, and their energy and passion is evident throughout. And with the exception of “Guns of Brixton” (ruined by a crappy sound mix), all the footage looks and sounds great.

There isn’t much historical context or background information on the band, but there’s so much of that already out there in the world that it hardly matters. All that matters is the music, which still packs a bunch a generation later. Don’t miss this one.

Best Bit:
The 1977 performance of “White Riot.”

Side Note:
The only album not covered in the film is 1986’s “Cut the Crap,” which was the band’s last. By that time, both Mick Jones and Topper Headon had been kicked out of the group, and the album was both a commercial and artistic failure. Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon, who broke up the band immediately after its release, have since disowned the album and no mention of it ever appears in any of the band-approved retrospective projects.

Companion Viewing:
“The Clash: Westway to the World” (2000).

The Clash Online.

Take a Look:
The teaser trailer:

Performing “Magnificent Seven” on “The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder” in 1981:

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