Thursday, October 02, 2008

924 Gilman DVD Reviewed On DOA

Delusions Of Adequacy gets school on 924 Gilman through Jack Curran's documentary DVD.

Media Reviews

924 Gilman Street: Let's Talk About Tact And Timing...
(Alternative Tentacles)
Original review

Everyone, right? Everyone who's ever spent any significant amount of their life going to live shows has a favourite venue, the one place you'd go along to even if you didn't know what was on the bill that evening although perhaps for different reasons, such as - it's where you can hear your favourite kind of music/it's the nearest place doing live shows near to where you live/you are actually a member of what is a members only club - various reasons,but you keep going back there, and the club has a place of some significance in your everyday life, the place you spend all day Thursday preparing to visit on Friday evening -

And for more than one generation of gig goers in Berkeley CA, that is the unobtrusive flat roofed brick fronted building at 924 Gilman St. Only the presence of queuing punters would alert the passerby to the fact there is a venue, and a well established one at that, operating amongst the warehouses and garages on this stretch of the East bay waterfront. Since its opening in 1986 practically every punk band of any significance on the West Coast has gigged, often at their own expense, with the aim of providing what is very definitely a much needed resource in the Berkeley area, as a series of interviews with past and present staff and supporters of the Venue With No Name reveal.

There is a very definite ethos at work around the 924 Gilman Street. More than one interviewee makes mention of the internal politics of the club, the tussels over management (the club was originally set up by Maximum Rock N Roll magazine) and the continuing discussions about what 924 Gilman Street does and doesn't represent, although a broad 'No Racism/Sexism/Homophobia/Major Label Artistes' statement seems to have drawn agreement from all involved.

The film contains footage of around 20 live performances from various moments of the clubs 22 year history and at least as many interviews with assorted Berkeley punk alumni. Some of the bands featured aren't much known outside of the Bay area while others such as Fugazi, Rancid and The Offspring are recognisable names from over the last ten or so years. It must take some serious amount of commitment to keep any small scale venue afloat over more than two decades, especially when it only features one type of music but would I ever want to drop in on 924 Gilman Street of an evening? Regardless of what band was playing? Did I even know the place existed before I watched this DVD? The answers to those questions are yes/yes and no.

-Jon Gordon

No comments: