Blazin' Squad Live Review

Tracklist: Bounce, Play The Game, Reminisce, All I Wanna Do Is Rap, I Understand, All About The Music, Hold On, Standard Flow, Anything, Steam, Love On The Line, The Love Song, Where The Story Ends, Roll With It, We Just Be Dreamin', Crossroads.

So who's your favorite then? You clicked upon this review, so it's a given that you're a fan, no? My favorite is Strider for having the coolest name. As to which one he actually is, he could be any of them, really. They're all fairly interchangeable and that is probably why they are so 'big'. Blazin' Squad are probably the world most hilarious example of a record company going hell-for-leather in an attempt to cover all bases and construct a band that would appeal to pretty much every segment of the target pre-teen audience. 'But they're not manufactured, are they?' you cry, 'they consist of two crews that used to hang out together and make music and all that stuff for real, maaan, aren't they?' Well, that's what the record company biography says, so it must be true. Interestingly, the other crew was called The Incredible Crew. Why is it interesting? Dunno. Anyway, here it is, for BlaZers everywhere, an early Christmas present from Warner Music it's Blazin' Squad in all their digital glory on DVD for you to drive your parents mad with, or, if you're older and sadistic, your partner.

As concert videos go, it's something of an oddity. There's an air of forced hysteria that bands like the Spice Girls or Boyzone never had to manufacture. There are spaces in the audience, for heaven's sake. Musically, Blazin' Squad seem very young so, to these old ears it sounds like children shouting through microphones, badly. Not a pleasant prospect but let's be fair, no-one's going to squeal "Ooooh, Blazin' Squad, I hate them, I think I'll buy this DVD" so as far as it goes the music here sounds very good. Puzzlingly in these digital days, it's only got a 2.0 stereo soundtrack, but I doubt you'll really notice the lack of rears; it's a personal opinion, but music tends to sound better in stereo, anyway. It's well produced and all the well-known ones are here and present. And it sounds "like the CD" so that must be a good thing. It's a good thing if you are scared of the unknown and unfamiliar anyway.

Before the raw excitement of the concert gets underway, you get some interviews with the lads, just to get you all wet and in the mood, and this is one of the highlights - Here are some of the thoughts and insights of a band with access to your children -

"Yeah, we all 'ang out togevver innit"

"Most of em come round my 'ouse, cos like I got my own apartment 'an 'at now" (Apartment? Yes, gentle reader, you read that right. He calls his 'flat' his 'apartment', a trick you would do well to follow if you wish to sound cool in front of the kids)

"It's kinda what made us" (getting to number one)

"That song was for the ladies" (Hilariously followed by shots of pre-pubescent young girls in a state of very subdued excitement)

"Cos we got a lotta songs, we thought we'd do a long set"

"I didn't think we had enough songs, but it turned out we managed"

"We hung about in the studio a lot, practising"(followed by shots of them having dancing lessons)

"Traveling’s alright cos we got beds on the coach"

"The traveling, the sleeping"(highlights of being on tour)

"Sometimes I get a bit, like, homesick"(awwwww)"

"I'll still be making music, DJ-ing 'an 'at"

"Our record company proper liked it, innit."

The last statement follows a section that'll have the conspiracy theorists amongst us excited. They claim that there's ten in the band as to make a demo cost £200 and it was easier for them all to get £20 each together to make the demo as they couldn't raise any more. Then they released it on their own label and it got to number three in the charts. Now, call me Mr Cynic, but you don't start your own label without a considerable amount of cash behind you, and you certainly don't get to number three in the charts without a large amount of promotion, which again costs cash. Them pluggers don't come cheap, ya know. So, where did the extra money come from? I think we should be told, and if you know, please post a comment after this review, as I won't sleep properly until the facts are known.

Blazin' Squad are, in all but name, the So Solid Crew Juniors. A horrible, cynical cash-in designed to numb the minds and remove the knickers of girls not old enough to know better, but we can't really blame them for that. It's doubtful that any of the ten members will make much money out of it, they probably get paid in Big Macs, and record companies have been doing this since year dot. They're harmless enough, really, and this DVD is value for money if your 'into' them, but if you are into them, you've probably not read this far and are now sending me an abusive email (make it dirty and I might adjust the points awarded). If it’s a present for your teenage daughter you're looking for, then you won't find anything offensive here, really. They're very much a child friendly band despite the macho posturing. It'll be gathering dust in a year or so, though, and you won't even be able to tape over it, as was surely the fate of thousands of copies of the Bros videos.

The Disc

Anamorphic Widescreen 1:85/1 and digitally shot, so every sweaty hair on every sweaty head can be counted. And if you were in the crowd when this was shot, you'll surely spot yourself. There's not that many people in the crowd after all. Sound is also good, stereo only, but it's rich and warm sounding. Do you really want them coming from all your speakers anyway? What a horrible mental image that is.

Extras

Now this is quite good, you get all five videos here, in all their glory. It's the very definition of the word 'Bonus'. Not anamorophic, but you can't have everything.

We Just Be Dreaming features them 'getting down' with girls that look far too old to be seen with them, and is quite good for a laugh. You'll giggle like a schoolgirl as they try and do that wavy arm thing and look all tough and 'street'. I used to have a Christian friend who used to talk about how 'tough things were', when he was growing up on the 'street'. When pushed, it turned out he meant 'street' in a being 'forced to go out and knock peoples doors to bother them with leaflets' sense and Blazin Squad are very much that sort of 'street'.

Reminisce has had some money spent on it. On clothes, mainly.

Where The Story Ends. If only. Possibly the best of the lot, it features the band playing 'live' in a shopping centre. Seriously, and underneath a MEGAstore as well, whatever that is. It's nice to think of it as a sort of Kwik-Save or something. There could have been some digital trickery here to remove the name of a proper shop?

Love On The Line Phone sex? Make love on the line? Yep, that's what this ones all about and oddly disturbing it is, as well.

Crossroads You must have seen this one on CD UK. Age has improved it none.

There's a Photo Album and a Weblink as well, both of which are self explanatory.

There's one scenario, though, where this video, is unhesitatingly recommended, and that's if you’re interested in media manipulation and misrepresentation. It's clear from watching this, that Blazin’ Squad are simply not that huge a band, but every effort has been made to make it look as though there is some sort of phenomena going on. It's clear that this is not the case, so as an example of how not to do things - this is it.

Sadly, the review copy didn't have the temporary tattoos that the retail copy is promised to have, and I've been unable to safely steal some, so you'll have to take their word on that; but they wouldn't fib about something so important.

Film
5 out of 10
Video
8 out of 10
Audio
6 out of 10
Extras
7 out of 10
Overall

7

out of 10

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