REVEREND BEAT-MAN: SURREAL FOLK BLUES GOSPEL TRASH VOL. 3 (DVD)

4.5 Stars
Year Released: 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 60 minutes
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Anyone who reads my output on a regular basis knows that I think Voodoo Rhythm Records is the most incredible record label in the world with a talent line-up that has yet to be topped. The man behind it all is Reverend Beat-Man, a musician/visionary whose god-given gifts are as unique as they are timeless. He puts out music for musicians and miscreants and doesn’t care how the “market” will react to it. Unless you deal with the music industry a lot, you can’t imagine how refreshing that is.

As mentioned previously, Beat-Man isn’t merely the founder of the label. He’s also a musician, and that’s what this DVD (in PAL format) is all about: music videos from various directors (including the soon-to-be-new-god of cinema, M.A. Littler) doing their bit to make Beat-Man’s songs come to life. How much enjoyment you get from it depends solely on what you think of Beat-Man’s material.

Reverend Beat-Man’s label is stationed in Switzerland. The acts it signs are mostly non-American in origin. Plenty of them, however, do traditionally American music better than we Americans. Reverend Beat-Man is no exception. He picks up his guitar (or banjo) and produces amazing blues/trash/rock songs about redemption, sex, sin, and Satan. He preaches his attack and croons his Christ. And these videos show why he deserves your attention.

Personally, I detest music videos. I think they detract from the songs. I was part of the first MTV generation, when videos were actually shown on the channel. I admit I liked them at first as it was cool to see the musicians in action, but the novelty quickly wore thin. When I catch a video these days, it’s nothing more than some generic hip hop star lip synching some generic hip hop song about trying to be a Beverly Hills wife while generic hip hop women gyrate around against some generic hip hop background (usually a tricked out Caddy or dimly lit club). To say I was hesitant to watch a DVD of Reverend Beat-Man’s videos would be a lie, though. I knew that whatever Beat-Man would put out would be worth my time. I was right. Boy, was I right.

Since these videos were shot by different directors, they all feel a little different. Some are experimental (using things like animation and puppets), while others tell a story. Some are little more than Beat-Man performing. All of them, however, help take the man’s songs to a new level. Some stand-outs are the strip-club based “Our Girls” (directed by the Cornelia Cimato, who is impressive to say the least); “I’ve Go [sic] the Devil Inside” (Littler); “Jesus Christ Twist,” which is an incredible song that just got better with the help of Rafael Perez; and the visually-simple-yet-striking “I Want You to Feel” (directed by Tea Soza and Tanja Roscic).

These videos aren’t the type you’ll see on any of the music channels as few Americans have yet to embrace “the Beat-Man way.” True music fans, however, won’t let the lack of exposure bother them because these videos are fresh, exciting, and strangely familiar. This stuff is roadhouse magic performed on a stormy night with chicken blood on the walls, a screaming baby, and a nun dripping with sweat. This is the kind of thing the good Lord would have you stay away from, but would understand if you were tempted. He’d forgive you, too… eventually. In the meantime, though, sit back and enjoy the walk into Hell. But watch your feet. This path is paved not with good intentions, but with broken guitar strings and beer bottles, and the pain is something you’ll hope will never go away.



Posted on August 17, 2008 in Reviews by
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