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Braid | Killing a Camera 2004 | review | dvd | Lollipop
Killing a Camera 2004 (Bifocal Media)
by Tim Den
Ah, the anomaly that is indie rock... It's supposed to be the antithesis of mainstream idol worshipping, yet it continually self-congratulates achievements that are - however influential - hardly worthy of such stars-in-the-eyes testimonials as those contained on Killing a Camera 2004. Indeed, it's been five years since the indie darlings called it quits. Indeed, their time together produced records that defined a time period. However, the semi-disappointment of both Hey Mercedes and The Firebird Band, along with the limited shelf life of the quirky/screamy/emo-y style that Braid excelled in, begs the question "Do we really need a retrospective?" And not even at 10 years - at FIVE!?
Either way, Killing a Camera 2004 is here. The original Killing a Camera documentary (released in '99) has been supplemented with newly conducted interviews and never-before-seen live footage capturing the band's last five shows and breaking things up from time to time with anecdotes. The live performances deliver what they promise: Disorderly (especially the Fireside Bowl show), maniacally energetic, joyous fun shared by four men celebrating their time together and the audience who adore them. And it's easy to see/hear why Braid is/was loved so much more than the bands these guys would go on to form. They were musically more challenging, less inhibited, and more interesting than the cookie-cutter rock of Hey Mercedes or the floating nothingness of The Firebird Band. The way the arrangements twisted and turned, driven by drummer Damen Atkinson's effortlessly impeccable chops (the poor guy hardly gets to play anything fun in Hey Mercedes), it's hard not to get riled up by the sheer youthfulness of it. Yet the question still lingers: Doesn't it feel just a little too self-important when bassist Todd Bell continually talks about how much the band means to "kids"? Or how "these kids drove from all over the country to see these last few shows"?
I'm not trying to belittle Braid's influence or importance, only offering the other side of the coin. Isn't that what indie rock's supposed to be about?