MOTLEY CRUE LAY 34-YEAR CAREER TO REST WITH “THE END’,

Concerts, Music reviews

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Farewell tours are tricky affairs. Bands come and go—and come back—members leave and return in revolving door fashion and some bands have only one original member left. In short, its not always pretty. In the process certain artists hurt their legacy by staying in the game too long. Mötley Crüe wanted a different kind of farewell.

Mötley Crüe shocked the world in January of 2014 when they announced to decision to call it quits. The Saints of Los Angeles had chosen to end the party sooner rather than later. The band signed a cessation of touring contract, a first in rock history, prior to embarking on a two-year long farewell. In true Crüe fashion, the event served as a tremendous publicity stunt. With displays of “RIP Mötley Crue”, complete with tombstones that read each band member’s name, it would prove to be one can’t miss funeral.

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The End press conference, London, England, 2014. Photo credit: Rolling Stone

If The End has taught us anything, it’s that Mötley Crüe was a wild, untamed beast for more than 34 years. A Mötley Crüe show remained a spectacular, reckless and even chaotic event right up to The End.

Complete with big choruses, pyrotechnics, stage production values, female backup singers and dancers in scantily clad outfits, tears and displays of emotions from the band and fans alike, The End is an exciting visual memento and the end of an era. From the bombast and fire that begins with “Girls, Girls, Girls” to Nikki Sixx adressing the audience, Tommy’s roller coaster drum solo, the flamethrower bass and Vince Neil in tears during the last song of the set “Home Sweet Home”, it’s a relentless, unforgettable journey. It’s one last big, epic, blow-out to top off a truly memorable career.

Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way. Anyone who’s been to a Crüe concert in the last decade can attest that frontman Vince Neil’s voice is not what it once was—by a long shot, some would say—and its true [It becomes especially evident on the live CD of the concert]. In the dysfunctional environment that is Mötley Crüe, however, it works.

Vince Neil’s voice and charisma is part of what made the band so successful. Neil remains one of rock’s ultimate frontmen. Even if his voice isn’t quite up to par at times, the energy and excitement level is there.

Nikki Sixx does a commendable job of looking like one of the coolest human beings on the planet. These are his songs and this is his band. The flamethrower bass bit would make Gene Simmons blush.

Tommy Lee lays down a beat like only he can, providing a solid groove and backbone for the band. While performing a drum solo on his roller coaster contraption, the whole stops unexpectedly in mid-air, Lee’s reaction is nothing short of exceptional.

Perhaps most impressive of all is Mick Mars, Crüe’s sole guitarist. Mars often falls under the radar whenever the band is mentioned, but his playing never ceases to impress even after all these years.

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An emotional Vince Neil in tears during “Home Sweet Home”.

Mötley Crüe’s imperfections are exactly what made them a perfect rock band. Rock was never about perfection. Somehow, when these four beings come together magic happens. New year’s eve 2015 would be the last time this magic would be displayed. Thankfully, the Crüe’s send-off was captured in high-definition for the whole world to relive over and over.

The End comes in standalone DVD or Blu-Ray edition and in DVD/CD, Blu-Ray/CD packaging.

Objectively, the live CD is not incredible—most of the blame can be attributed to Neil’s singing— but the excitement of Mötley Crüe’s last concert was captured and that’s enough. The heart wrenching version of “Home Sweet Home” is almost worth the price of admission alone.

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Nikki Sixx, litterally in the heat of the moment. Photo: Motley.com

The cinematography however, is among the best I’ve seen in a concert film. The cameras capture every bit: the action, emotions and pyrotechnics with beautiful wide angles, just enough slow motion bits, subtle close-ups and depth-of-field shots that would make any rock band envious. Concert cinematography has always been about the emotion and feel, less so about the visuals. The End stands in a category of its own. It sets a template for the next generation of live rock documentation.

There’s a documentary portion just before the concert that serves as a reminder of the dedication fans have for this band. It also legitimizes how big of a draw and band Mötley Crüe really was. The End comes with a few extras. Nikki Sixx talks about his flamethrower bass and Tommy Lee details the history behind his roller coaster drum set.

There are a few more interview that will no doubt be interesting and give insight to fans. Take this particularly one with Nikki Sixx for instance:

“The fact that we’ve lasted is a miracle. Maybe that’s why we’re putting a bullet in its head…We know it’s inevitable that we’re going to break up or blow up or something. Maybe we’re just doing it before it happens anyway. We shouldn’t have lasted this long,” says Sixx in the interview portion of The End.

If anything, The End is a proper send off for Mötley Crüe and one heck of a burial. One final motorcycle ride under the sunset for one of the all time great rock bands. It’s reassuring to see a farewell done right in the world of rock, a landscape where the word “retirement” isn’t always taken seriously. I’ve never been this happy and sad watching a concert on home video.

RIP Mötley Crüe, 1981-2015, you will be missed.

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LIVE DVD TRACK LISTING:

1.) Intro
2.) Girls, Girls, Girls
3.) Wild Side
4.) Primal Scream
5.) Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S)
6.) Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
7.) Rock N Roll Part II / Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room
8.) Looks That Kill
9.) Motherf***** Of The Year
10.) In The Beginning / Shout At The Devil
11.) Louder Than Hell
12.) Drum Solo
13.) Guitar Solo
14.) Saints Of Los Angeles
15.) Live Wire
16.) T.N.T (Terror ‘N Tinseltown) / Dr. Feelgood
17.) Kickstart My Heart
18.) Home Sweet Home
19.) My Way (Credits)

LIVE CD TRACK LISTING:
1.) Intro
2.) Girls, Girls, Girls
3.) Wild Side
4.) Primal Scream
5.) Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
6.) Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
7.) Smokin’ In The Boys’ Room
8.) Looks That Kill
9.) Mutherf***** Of The Year
10.) Shout At The Devil
11.) Louder Than Hell
12.) Saints Of Los Angeles
13.) Live Wire
14.) Dr. Feelgood
15.) Kickstart My Heart
16.) Home Sweet Home

Slow, campy horror with an ending that ultimately pays off

Movie reviews

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Sleepaway Camp, Amercian Eagle Films, 1983. Blu-ray:  Shout! Factory, 2014.

Sleepaway Camp (also known as Nightmare Vacation on VHS) is somewhat of a well-kept secret in the realm of horror. Reading reviews online on Amazon and other websites would have you believe you stumbled upon a five star classic that requires instant viewing.

On the surface however, it’s essentially your average slasher (an exploitation slasher at that), complete with cheese and bad-dare I say horrible-acting. Not that it’s all that surprising when it comes to ’80s horror.It also gathered enough of a following that it spawned three sequels, which, again, is not surprising.

The kills are neither scary or gory at all. In fact, some death scenes are downright laughable. It adopts a 3rd person “Who is the killer” approach that’s very similar to another slasher film, the original Friday The 13th (the murders although toned down, are also very reminiscent of Friday).

So what gives it this small but ever so present cult status? Why does it have so many fans? And why didn’t I give it one star if l seem to be bashing on it?

The one factor Sleepaway Camp does have going for itself is the main character Angela. Complex, quiet, fascinating all the while disturbing. A psychologist’s wet dream really. Her backstory unfolds unto itself (worthy of a review itself) and is the focus point of the story. The actress who portrays her is believable and convincing. She doesn’t do a whole lot of acting per se (or even talking for that matter), and she doesn’t need to. Her strong gaze and facial expressions tell the story her words don’t. Her few words and expressive eyes say a lot about the character when little else does.

Angela’s aunt is another character that leaves a lasting impression for entirely different reasons. She says a lot and is very vocal and it doesn’t help that she acts in an eerie manner although as a whole it made for an intriguing character.

The backstory is nothing short of fantastic for a horror film. The movie doesn’t have the strongest story, but offers a high pay-off. It’s creepy, disturbing, revealing and is the type of “reveal” most horror movies only dream off. in that sense, Sleepaway Camp succeeds.

Another big reason why Sleepaway Camp is worth watching is the ending. All too often in horror cinema, a film manages to keep the viewer interested until the end and when said ending comes, it ultimately disappoints. What we have here is just the opposite. I kept watching for a payoff and boy, did it ever.

I was laughing through most of the death sequences and the bad acting. Then the ending came out of nowhere and scared the heck out of me. Back when I first watched it I was terrified. It gave me nightmares. That ending and image are still very vivid and etched into my mind.

The film is divisive among some horror enthusiasts. It’s also the type of movie where it’s very hard to talk about and not give anything away. There are strong sexual, transexual and homosexual themes to be found throughout Sleepaway Camp that are at the very core of the story and essential to it’s being. I think that those ideas will get viewers talking more than anything else as I have a feeling the concepts would be remembered more so than any of it’s death sequences would. Those themes are not made it out to be the butt of a joke but rather as a case of profile study.

What starts off as a rather bland and average Slasher film soon becomes deeply complex and increasingly psychological. Is it the all-time classic some make it out to be? Objectively, it is not. It is, however, worthy of a look. It’s very slow to build up and it has it’s flaws, but ultimately Sleepaway Camp has a twisted story that rewards it’s viewer. 3/5 stars.