The Stranglers — Live 1978 in San Francisco

When is something of purely historic interest neither historical nor interesting? When it’s the Stranglers videotaped on a crummy black and white camcorder with sound like it’s emanating from the belly of a pencil sharpener. People who long dismissed the Stranglers from the rest of the class of ’77 because they were old hippie misogynists will find nothing here to persuade them that the Stranglers were cooler than the Clash or even Sham 69. You can’t hear Jet Black’s drums, keyboardist David Greenfield looks like his auditioning for the Strawbs and you can’t even make out Hugh Cornwell’s face with all the burn-white ghosting streaks it makes when he swashes it across the screen. To make up for the static camera angles, the producers of this third generation tape superimpose distracting blotches of abstract color and try to improve upon “Burning Up Time” with orange flames. All in all 30 minutes of tedium with stereo or Dolby audio options trumpeted as “extra features.” Good God. If you’re thinking of buying or even renting this, get a grip on yourself.

Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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