DVD: Flipper – Live Target Video 1980-81

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Label: MVD Entertainment Group

Released: February 19, 2008

Flipper is one of those bands that no one really likes for the music. It’s poorly constructed, disjointed and generally just a big mess. Nonetheless, they have fans, even 21 years after the death of singer Will Shatter and a spotty catalog at best since that time. The question then is, “Why?” The noisy, atonal confusion of their set at Berkeley Square in 1980 isn’t nearly as inspired as I expected. Nor does it rise to the level of mayhem that I expected from a band that doesn’t seem to do anything in a conventional manner. Even in the studio, there are hints of insanity that I hoped would be exponentially greater live and they weren’t. It was perhaps mildly crazy and aside from crowd participation on “The Wheel,” the whole thing was just plain dull.

The Kezar Stadium show from 1981 is more organized (though you could never call it tight). While it still lacks the madness I expected from Flipper, they do have a rather ominous presence in contrast to the silliness of the Berkeley Square gig. Even a better show doesn’t quite get this over the hump of watchability though. Flipper remains an esoteric experience that likely requires being in the mood even for their biggest fans. Spending 71 minutes watching two concerts that are difficult to make sense of even in their best moments is a chore. As an historical document, the DVD does provide some additional evidence of just how wide open punk still was in San Francisco in the very early 80s, but it fails to really convey what I felt like. I guess you had to be there.

Rating: 5/10

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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