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Minor Threat | DC Space - Buff Hall - 930 Club (Dischord)
Back in the early 80's, punk rock was in need of a new reason, what it got was Minor Threat; Ian MacKaye's pre-Fugazi outlet for anger, disillusionment and personal mutiny. Though they split before they came anywhere near changing the world, their impact still filters through today. Timely then, that here we have their first ever release for the DVD generation, capturing three live performances from 1980, '82 and '83. In 1980, Minor Threat were part of the so-called 'teeny punks' scene, and 'DC Space' is only the second occasion MacKaye had ever sung before an audience. An extremely jittery and unfocused example of early video taping - to a crowd clearly more into leaping than looking - 'DC Space' is done and dusted in a mere 6 minutes. Despite this, it's still Minor Threat's 60 second raging guitar avalanches which somehow shine through the VHS smog.

'Buff Hall' from 1982 meanwhile is filmed just one hour after MacKaye had sustained several injuries in a car accident, and before a mob who threaten to get ugly at any moment. Now with splashes of colour, here we get 17 attacks of seething vocals slotted into only 33 minutes. The killer blow of this release however is '930 Club', recorded as part of a documentary about the Washington DC post-hardcore explosion, just a few months before Minor Threat split for good. The most complete, colourful and captivating of the three films, '930 Club' sees the band building minor revolutions, as they themselves fall apart. DVD extras include an exasperated MacKaye trying to explain his music to a disbelieving interviewer, plus a 16-page biography. Yet it's the demonstration of musical independence - a world apart from any MTV-esque sheen - which makes this compulsive viewing.

Ian Fletcher
November-December 2003