For years, it just wasn't a proper punk rock show in California unless the cops showed up to make everyone's lives miserable, and in late 1990 punk fan and video archivist Richard White was on hand with his camera when the L.A.P.D. decided to shut down a Bad Religion
show at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood shortly after opening act Pennywise
finished their set. The audience rioted, and Bad Religion: The Riot
documents the melee, with footage of a 1988 gig taking the place of the show they didn't get to play. Bad Religion: The Riot
has been transferred to DVD in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1; both the show and the riot were shot with a single camera, so there isn't much variety in terms of the angles, but the picture quality is reasonably good, and White
shows a god eye for the action. The audio for the concert has been mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, though the original recordings were probably monophonic, and while the mix is a bit flat and dodgy, only Greg Graffin's vocals really suffer. The performances are in English, with no subtitles or multiple language options included. Bonus materials include 15 minutes of vintage skateboarding footage from White's library, a short essay from White about how he came to document the riot and its surprising aftermath, brief profiles of the members of Bad Religion, backstage footage from the 1988 show, and a bonus clip of the band playing "I Want to Conquer the World" from an early 1991 show held to make up for the canceled El Portal gig. While it lacks the punch and polish of Bad Religion's recent Live at the Palladium
DVD, Bad Religion: The Riot
is a gritty and accurate look at the band's wild and wooly early days, and those interested in the SoCal punk scene before it went mass will want to give this a look.