CONFLICT IN ENGLAND
Mortarhate Movies MORTDVD2
Running Time approx 4 hours.
Released in the UK 2006
Buy it here CHERRY RED
The 2nd in a series of DVD releases from Conflict. Featuring 2 discs of live archive
footage from over the last 3 decades in England. There's a mammoth 4 hours worth
of viewing here. Which could be seen as an uncompromising form of torture for the
uninitiated? I'm sure they could've condensed this session to a single 2 hour DVD if
you want the truth and nothing but the truth. Especially after we are warned in the
sleeve notes by Conflict's singer, Colin Jerwood that the sound on this DVD is
'not great'. When a band admits that, you know it's gonna be bad, so why release so
much footage? Even if that's what most diehard fans want. Surely even they must be
thinking Mortarhate Movies are taking the piss here by including the abysmal footage
used from the Moseley Dance Centre gig in Brum. Which was filmed entirely during
a blackout or so it seems? Coz with no stage lighting whatsoever, it's like watching a
hardcore X-file episode but without Scully's torch spotlighting the evidence.
However to be fair if you persevere it's not all iffy. The most recent footage from Leeds
Cockpit and Sheffield (both from 2004) plus Derby's Supernova in 2003 boasts
obviously the most pristine recordings of the bunch. Which are in your face and at
close range. But were tragically marred, by a shitty vocal mix on most nights. It's
certainly raw and real, but how raw do Conflict fans need their music to be, if you
can't hear the fucking words? I expect that's open to debate? Conflict is a band that rarely cross borders musically, and certainly won't
lure innocence from abroad with this film. This is for staunch 'Liberators' only and will only appeal to the crustily converted or punks
bought up on the bands heyday. The barrage rarely captures the band firing on both audio and visual cylinders. Colin Jerwood the big
front man still puts in a strong performance through out the bands 25 year career. He attacks the songs with the same venom you
would a riot shield. These days however he strikes you as pseudo Millwall hooligan singing in a protest band, rather than some
Anarchist freedom fighter tearing up the neighbourhood. You rarely see him crack a smile and there's not much emotion in his
performance apart from the relentless slogans launched on top of the barricades. Although he did dedicate 'I'm Starving' to Icons Of
Filth front man Stig, who died prior to this recording. He's joined on stage by various members from the bands past and present.
Including the even bigger bass player John Clifford, from the original '81 line-up, alongside newer faces. And the gigantic drumming
presence of the bearded Paco is there throughout. He's either lost a considerable amount of weight by 2004? Or they've drafted in a
slimmed down look-alike coz the transformation is unbelievable? His drumming is still as good as ever, even when he misses the count
in. The guitar power is supplied by a geezer who seems like he's been with them for a while now. But I'm not familiar with names? But
who cares as long as Conflict's blind attack is let loose. Few songs however are memorable in amongst the raw blur apart from maybe
'Protest To Resistance' and 'The Majestic And Superior' guitar work deserves more exposure. I always found Conflict a band who you
knew exactly what your gonna get on stage. And these performances don't spring any suprises. The message is still 'increase the
pressure' but how many more times can you skin the proverbial cat is beyond me? I much prefer Conflict on record coz with 4 hours of
live footage to sit through you need something to pull you in. And they lack the sinister element of some of their studio highlights on
their live outbursts which is a shame we dont even get none of the choreographied stage routine from a few years back. And when
confronted with the latter day version of the band it just seems like a major testosterone bombardment. Which gives each gig a heard it
all before ambience. However they do still feature some feminine input. They are joined by a second vocalist in red hair and tribal
tattoos who seems as feisty as the main man. Pity the crowd didn't think so as a plastic glass hit's the stage as she exits. And yeah, we
couldn't hear her vocals either? It was also good to see 'The Guilt And The Glory' getting played live in Brighton '84 which boasted a
slightly better sound, enabling us to hear that female statement being read out on top of one of their more outstanding musical
soundtracks, all be it in a frantic live situation. Which was further spoilt by very grainy footage as the rest was lost in the murk.
The most entertaining footage came on thi disc and emanates from Newcastle in 1987, where the crowds were a lot more intense. So
maybe that's why this gig was lumbered by a back of the hall camera angle with only a zoom lens for short lived close ups. At the time
this was shot, ex-Crass frontman Steve Ignorant had joined Conflict as a 2nd vocalist and so they went out on the 'Gathering of the
5000' tour together. A tour which boasted a mammoth 40 track set, which is diligently included here in full. Even with the dodgy sound
in places, it has to be seen viewed just to see Steve Ignorant in a Conflict T-shirt and slicked backed hair as he does battle with a
spiky and on top of his form Colin Conflict. They out shout each other with pantomime passion as the long haired band play out Crass
and Conflict's greatest hits in the background. But with hard-line Col drowning out Mr Ignorants more sinister delivery at every given
chance (even on his own Crass anthems). It become a bit of a joke to witness. Ignorant although a lot more relaxed than in his full on
Crass days still had the ability to whip up a crowd and even steals the show from beneath his protege's rage when he wasn't bawled off
stage. This partnership would've worked great if they both sung their own songs with the others taking a breather. But I'm afraid with
two Anarcho egos and tonsils doing battle and with only one stage to slog it out, there was only ever gonna be one winner! Even Crass
masterpieces like 'Mother Earth' and 'So What' got sabotaged by the Eltham hunt. It was a deadly duo gone wrong, especially with a
prowling Jerwood putting the frighteners on
a petrified looking Ignorant as he tried to
snatch the spotlight from the young lion's
jaws. Ignorant's tenure in Conflict not
surprisingly ended in 1989.
I was never no Anarchist but Conflict were
a band I was very much a fan of during
their early spiky period and caught them
twice in Dudley and Birmingham in the early
80's. And on both times I was entertained
but not liberated. They can still create
some good numbers today but the appeal
for me hasn't lasted. They will always
remind me of Oi! with a spiky conscience.
So it was a pity they didn't include the
rowdy 'Kings And Punks' or easily their
most alluring track ever, the brilliant
'Exploitation' in this 89 track (yeah you
heard right!) collection. This 4 hour slog
would've benefitted greatly with some
interspersed band interviews or reactions
from the crowd. But maybe they're saving those for next time?
Comes in a neat Riot drenched cover with inside pix, but strangely no written propaganda. Have they run outta enemies?
For Conflict purists only.
WORTH A WATCH For Steve Ignorants appearance only. The rest was BORING.
Cheers to Ged Babey for passing this on!