Apart from the legendary Terry & The Idiots episode (“Banana Bread Recipe” anyone?), the funniest moment in Lech Kowalski’s classic punk rockumentary DOA is probably the vox-pop with American Sex Pistols fans on their ill-fated 1978 US tour. The Stateside punks appear a peculiarly geeky bunch. Bad haircuts, laughable attempts at anarchy chic and a hysterical attitude. “When I first saw Johnny Rotten,” squeals one girl, “I thought I was gonna vomit. He was so beautiful!”
Twenty-six years later, Being John Malkovich director and pop promo maverick Spike Jonze has repeated exactly the same formula in a similarly hilarious study of punters before, during and after a recent Yeah Yeah Yeahs show at San Francisco’s Filmore. There’s 10 year-old Sidney, a girl named after Sid Vicious by her punk-loving mom. Another surly teen tells Spike that she’s had sex with a crackhead whose nose started bleeding mid-coitus. A quarter century on, it’s comforting to know that the next generation of US punks are just as weird.
Even so, Jonze’s attitude to the YYYs fan-base is inevitably affectionate. He is, after all, currently dating Karen O, their electrifyingly charismatic frontwoman who steals the Filmore show itself with her Olympic-standard beer spewing and spastic tantrum dancing. Beside staple favourites from last year’s five-star Uncut-rated debut Fever To Tell (including their heart-popping tour de force “Maps”), we’re also given live previews of six new songs; all boasting noticeably weightier post-punk riffs and, en masse, an auspicious appetiser for the as yet unrecorded second LP promised next year. In the hazy aftermath of their most recent London show, this writer drunkenly embraced O and guitarist Nick Zinner in a shameless moment of post-gig euphoria, hiccupping: “You guys have restored my faith in rock’n’roll!” Watched stone cold sober, this DVD produces the same emotion. So beautiful you could vomit.
DVD EXTRAS: Bonus live footage, four single promos (including Jonze’s controversial “Y Control”), MTV Awards performance, Japanese tour doc.