DVD Review: Backyard Babies – “Live at Cirkus”
Anyone who has seen Backyard Babies live will know that you are always in for a raucous night of sleazy rock n roll infused with a punk sensibility. The energy levels are always very high, and there is a genuine feeling of unpredictability in the air. Most of this atmosphere is transferred effectively onto the small screen with Backyard Babies’ new live DVD, Live at Cirkus, although, perhaps some elements are lost in that transfer.
The setlist for the live show in Stockholm was a nice mixture of old and new, opening with relatively recent single Thirteen Or Nothing, before getting into older hits like The Clash, Dysfunctional Professional, Star War, Abandon, Look At You and Brand New Hate peppered throughout the set, alongside newer material like Bloody Tears and Wasted Years. There is very much something for everyone, and the band have certainly aimed to please with this selection of tracks.
Nicke Borg’s vocals sound strong and clear, although with enough variation to give this the rough and ready sound a live show should have, while Dregen chips in with his classic raspy vocals alongside catchy riffs and a few sublime solos throughout the set. As always, Johan Blomqvist and Peder Carlsson provide a fantastic base for Dregen and Borg as a wonderfully in-sync rhythm section.
The audio and video quality is very good on this release, something that is not always the case when bands release live shows, and the lighting is mostly excellent (with a couple of moments where it looks a little dim early on, but this strikes me as deliberate). However, there does seem to be a notable lack of crowd shots through the show, which on one hand keeps the focus on the band, but also deprives the viewer of the raw reactions of the assembled crowd in Stockholm that night, which for me takes away something from the atmosphere and feel of the overall presentation. The very best live shows make the leap onto home video seamlessly through a combination of a great band, a great set and being shot in a way that puts the audience at home as much in the moment as those in the third row, so without seeing the crowd enough something is definitely lost. I appreciate it is a minor gripe, but it was certainly a notable aberration for much of the show.
All in all, Live at Cirkus is a very well put together hour and change of one of the great sleazy rock n roll bands of the modern era doing what they do best. The set list is on point, the production values are very good, and the band sound great throughout. Unfortunately, the essence of their live show doesn’t quite translate to the DVD which is slightly disappointing. If you like Backyard Babies this is definitely worth a look, but if you’ve not seen them live perhaps see them on their UK tour this year before picking this up.