Rob Jones
Punk Revolution NYC: The Velvet Underground, The New York Dolls & The CBGB Set is a detailed, diligent and dynamic 2 DVD box.

Disc One is a riveting document on the arrival of The Velvet Underground and their immense influence on contemporary culture. From their early associations with Andy Warhol and his empire this iconic New York institution made an indelible mark on many musicians that followed. From an unlikely bond between Lou Reed and Welsh wizard John Cale the ‘Velvets’ early development was enhanced with the addition of Stirling Morrison and Moe Tucker. From this point a truly original quartet was formed and modern music was kick started!

There is an astute analysis from those in the inner circle plus associates and journalists. The resulting assessment dissects the scene, the sounds and the evolving freedom of 60’s expression that took Reed and his cohorts down a different route to the seemingly dominant peace and love population identified with west coast America. What becomes apparent is the colossus of creativity that sprung forth and even though the emphasis changed when Cale left and Doug Yule stepped in there was still a great deal to champion.

Disc Two moves on from the Velvet Underground template and assesses what followed in terms of the acts that catapulted from a 70’s Big Apple. From this point we are introduced to the likes of the New York Dolls, Television, The Heartbreakers, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Suicide, Blondie, Patti Smith and a cast of other integers. The footage makes for essential viewing and this experience does offer a cast of characters that were to the fore during the rise of rebel rock in a cross section of outlets such as the renowned CBGB’s and Mercer Arts Center.

This a thorough account of an exuberant era that changed the sonic landscape not just in America but globally. The venues, the vehemence, the vitality and the variety make for a tantalising tale. As a viewer please buy in to this bounty because it gives the flavour of a fertile sonic city in its productive prime.