There’s no better example of this than the collection that comprises this DVD, a document of a show that, literally, came from the basement as the Dogs frequently do house concerts. Landing between the albums Nazarene Crying Towel and The Lost Cabin And The Mystery Trees, songs from the groups first album Scenic Routes intermingle with what would have been their most recent at the time of this recording, Mutt, which was a covers album, which covered material each bandmember had written and recorded with their other numerous bands. We’re talking about seven official albums at that juncture, and where usually at that point band members might have a bristling, subsurface disdain for each other (I’ve seen it in bands after three outings, much less seven) the core of the group shares a camaraderie more akin to family than bandmates.
The sound on the DVD is very good, and that has as much to do with the controlled area it was recorded in as it does with who recorded it (in this case, exec. producer Jeffrey Kotthoff and Jeff Elbel from the band Ping). The visuals, however, are pretty weird, but in a good way. At first it might be offputting to viewers to find how things were assembled, more like the presentation at a seedy drive-in showing a Roger Corman b-movie than a concert feature. There are jump cuts from song to song as opposed to the usual flow of a live recording, but once you’ve adapted to the eccentricities you can start to appreciate the fun all involved are having. Without these trappings, you would have had footage of the band playing a show in a basement. With this band, that’s all well and good but not visually dynamic (last time I checked, it’s still impossible to get a sweeping crane shot in a basement).
The songs, as hinted at before, include favorites like “Why Is The Devil Red?,” Americana-flavored rockers like “Bullet Train” and “A Certain Love” and the satirical fan favorite “Bad Indigestion” featuring this poignant lyric, “The God of our benefits is the great cornucopia, moves His great vegetable hand, puts a little fruit into all of our baskets, helps us function better in the can.”
For those who simply appreciate well-played tunes by seasoned pros who aren’t at each other’s throats or not simply doing it for a crass reunion check, It Came From The Basement is a solid hour of entertainment. For fans of the band, it’s required viewing.
It Came From The Basement is available from Lo-Fidelity Records in three purchase configurations (including audio soundtrack from the show as either a digital download or CD). You can find out more by visiting their Bandcamp page at: