Urgh! a Music WarDirector: Derek Burbidge
This music documentary presents 30 different performances nonstop, featuring both well-known and lesser-known bands with names that sound like they were picked at random from words thrown into a salad bowl and then mixed at high speed: Pere Ubu, XTC, Wall of Voodoo, Oingo Boingo, Steel Pulse, Surf Punks, 999, UB40, Echo and the Bunnymen, and so forth. The sounds recorded on this documentary are as varied as the names of the bands, and so there is something for everyone here -- at least, everyone enthralled by music as boisterous and eccentric (in some cases) as the nomenclature of the groups themselves.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Warner Archives
- [Wide Screen]
- Sales rank:
Cast & Crew
|Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark||Actor|
|Echo & the Bunnymen||Actor|
|Gang of Four||Actor|
|Lyndall Hobbs||Associate Producer|
|John W. Simmons||Cinematographer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Watching Derek Burbridge's 1980 rock concert film, "Urgh! A Music War" is very personal to me because for one thing, it's one of my favorite rock and roll films. It also perfectly captures the idiosyncratic sense of daring that was commonplace in late Seventies/early Eighties punk rock and New Wave. Unfortunately, this film has not been available on DVD for more than two decades due to difficulties in securing the musical rights. And when "Urgh!" did finally come out on DVD, it's still not perfect: there were a couple of performance that looked like they were cut and there are no extras or chapter stops on the disc. Having said that, though, I have to say that "Urgh!" looks and sounds fantastic thirty years after it came out. This collection of thirty different live performances brings back a time when rock bands didn't need dance troupes to get their point across. Some of these bands went to much better things like The Police ("Driven To Tears") and Joan Jett ("Bad Reputation"). Some of them became underground heroes such as Pere Ubu ("Birdies") and The Gang Of Four ("He'd Send In The Army"). Some of them were never heard from again like Invisible Sex, a group of anonymous musicians who dressed up in lookalike masks and radiation suits. What emerges from these performances, which range from a full-scale concert in Prejus, France (which includes The Police, UB-40 and XTC) to intimate yet brilliant shows at New York's CBGBs featuring The Fleshtones, is a remarkable kinescope of the DIY spirit that would later become known as alternative rock. Mind you, not every performance clicks---there's an obnoxious Los Angeles group called Surf Punks, who come across as not being able to play or sing. There's even a brief moment of poetry by John Cooper Clarke; if you remember him from "Evidentally Chickentown" on "The Sopranos", you owe it to yourself to see him in doing a poem about a "Health Fanatic". There's even a performance by New York avant-garde artist Klaus Nomi, oversized tuxedo and all, just three years before he died of AIDS (one of the first known rock performers to die from the disease). It's hard to say which are the best performances in the film. However, I'm inclined towards The Dead Kennedys unbridled, ferocious performance of "Bleed For Me" and The Cramps tearing into their inner-psychobilly "Tear It Up". Like I said, this DVD is far from perfect. However, when you see the late Lux Interior squirming all over the stage, practically swallowing his microphone, that alone is enough to recommend "Urgh!"