It's a no-frills gala featuring alt-rock, folk, and new-wave rock musicians and bands performing one to two pieces from their respective repertoires in studio environs sans a formal audience, And at two hours and change, the DVD offers quite a bit of bang for your buck, while intimating a series of contrasts and styles set forth by all involved parties.
The festivities are launched by Radiohead. Here, the group members reveal their multitasking ways as they execute harrowing dreamscapes atop snappy backbeats, while using timber and polytonal effects to enamor the overall sound. Then Beck and his ensemble generate catchy, techno-pop hooks featuring dual drummers, turntables, EFX and groove based patterns to get your juices flowing on "Motorcade" and "Cellphone's Dead."
Highlights are in abundance throughout, especially when Sonic Youth kicks out the jams via guitarists' Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo's loud, angst-rock chord voicings and droning treatments, complete with a two-bassist attack. Moreover, female vocalist and bassist Kim Gordon takes the edge off the hardcore rock stylizations to counterbalance the group's odd-tunings and broad musical presence.
The artist known as Eels', off-the-wall ballad titled "It's A Motherf***er," projects an anti-pop or 'underground' vibe while acclaimed British vocalist/instrumentalist PJ Harvey renders two gorgeous and hauntingly beautiful works titled "The Piano," and "The Devil." On these pieces, Harvey delves into a folk-pop mindset with yearning choruses, often firmed-up by her whimsical undertones and effective acoustic guitar and piano work. Her multi-octave range is in full force as well, to complement her wordless harmonizations and resonating verse.
Uncluttered sans any trippy visuals, the film hones in on the performers' musical identities, which is a factor that offers an antithesis to many of the patented sugar-coating techniques and distractions frequently evidenced with similar undertakings.