Skip to main content

DVD Review: In Heaven There is No Beer (2012)

No-Money Enterprises
Runtime: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Rated: No MPAA rating
Director: Dave Palamaro
Writer: Dave Palamaro
Starring: Carla Betz, Cooper Gillespie,
Bang Sugar Bang, King Cheetah
Documentary | Biography | Music
In Heaven There is No Beer is the story of the Los Angeles “Kiss or Kill” music scene (2002-2007). Fed up with the posh elitism in an industry filled with commercialist greed and conniving self-interest, a group and their devotees set out to carve their own niche in the music world.

Sickened by the Sunset Strip’s elitist “pay-for-play” policies and the over-the-top trendiness of the Silverlake scene, up-and-coming bands and their fans decided to break all the rules by falling back on the appeal of original music, cheap booze, ridiculously low cover charges, and a homegrown sense of welcomeness and community. And it worked.

Kiss or Kill peaked out with over 60 bands and more than a thousand dedicated fans behind them. From there, we watch as the growth of the movement lends itself back to becoming a threat to what it originally stood for.

Unless you follow the indie music scene, you’ve probably never heard of any of the bands featured here (some of the featured bands include King Cheetah, The Dollyrots, Bang Sugar Bang, The OAOTs, and The Letter Openers). But watch and you’ll hear their story and be able to relate to the struggle that threatens all newbies who get caught up in the growth cycle of success, only to finally become what they hate most.

But there’s more here than just the brief history of a movement most aren’t familiar with. From the bands that support one another through the most humble of beginnings in the backs of seedy clubs, to the jealousy that develops between rivals on their way up to the top, there is the passion of pursuing dreams.

Being rapidly paced, the documentary shows the value of community amongst artists in their attempts at self-expression that most will easily relate to. More than that, it will give all a crystal-clear picture into what it’s like to be an underdog band trying to get their shot at the big show.

Perhaps best of all is that here, we get no music “experts” or paid celebs endorsing anything. The grainy footage and off-sounding voices, recorded in poor conditions with humble equipment, are somewhat of a testimony to their labor of love. The young performers - no doubt wreaking of booze and sweat before, during, and after their performances - are nonetheless primarily riding off of the high that comes from performing before a crazy crowd that madly cheers them on.

Yes, the subject matter reaches out to a fairly narrow audience. And no, the narrative doesn’t grip or move us to or beyond what we would expect. It doesn’t propose or deal with a solution to a problem of global proportions, but it does tell a story of pursuing a vision, followed by a love of self-expression. In an industry dominated by big and bigger names, it’s hard to get recognized.


The DVD release includes a photo gallery with Director’s commentary, as well as notes on the film, deleted scenes, full-length live performances, some trailers and promos, and over 30 minutes of bonus materials. Not many films embody the spirit of Indie-ism as well as is done here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

When free spirit “Jules” (Anna “Go Girls” Hutchison) tells her best friend “Dana” (Kristen “Revolutionary Road” Connolly) what a good time they’ll be having at a cabin in the remote woods, you automatically know and are glad that she has no idea at all what awaits her or her friends, and neither does Jules’ jock boyfriend “Curt” (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth). The same is true of their intellectual friend with his notably piercing gaze, “Holden” (Jesse “Grey’s Anatomy” Williams) and their stoner friend “Marty” (Franz “The Village” Kranz) who seems to have a better grasp of reality, despite himself. Takes all kinds.

After taking off in the RV up the mountain, they stop for gas and run into a weirdly cryptic and confrontational gas station attendant (Tim De Zarn). When they’re back on the road after a near-fight, it isn’t long before they arrive and forget all about it. Following horror movie suit in letting out their whoas about how cool the place is and how much fun they will have losing t…

Movie Review: Django Unchained (2012)

At about 3 hours long, Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest mental sickness-inspired adventure of a slave named “Django” (Jamie Foxx) who is freed by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, “Dr. King Schultz” (Christoph Waltz) who helps Django rescue his enslaved wife from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Mississippi.