FAME Review: The Divinyls - Jailhouse Rock: Live at Boggo Road Prison, Australia (DVD)
The Divinyls - Jailhouse Rock: Live at Boggo Road Prison, Australia (DVD)

Jailhouse Rock: Live at Boggo Road Prison, Australia

The Divinyls

MVD Visual - MVD5363D (DVD)

Available from MVD Entertainment Group.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Pure and simple, this DVD rocks its ass off. MVD rescued the gig from a 1993 concert at a notorious Aussie prison, Boggo Road (otherwise known as Boggo Road Gaol, noted for its antiquated 1800s penalogical "principals"), and God only knows why it languished for nearly 20 years, but thank Christ it's now available. With a two-guitar frontal attack by Mark McEntee and Charlie Owen and a hell of a lot more jamming and solos than I expected, the band was on fire. Contrary to the DVD's liner claim, this is a 6-person ensemble, not five, and very well integrated. The rhythm section keeps things moving right along, the keyboardist coloring everything up, while Christine Amphlett provokes, sultries, and sings, watching the guys tear up the floorboards.

The Divinyls have been around since 1980 and knew just what they were doing in the music, theatrics, and PR departments, the '83 Chrysalis LP perhaps best inculcating the band's image. On the cover, Amphlett is dressed in a way too short school dress uniform with white diamond stockings, looking bratty and pouty, hands jammed into her crotch. Combine that with the group's controversial '91 I Touch Myself hit (played here), and you get an idea of the continuity of the brash, slutty, provocative, fuck-you themes running through much of the image and repertoire. In the beginning, Amphlett even used to menace band and audience indiscriminately, creating a bit of a havok milieu. It was great schtick and carried them far…that and a smoking rasherful of killer cuts and a string of hits, most of which are performed here nearly in chronological order.

Amphlett's a bit undermiked for a few songs, balancing out soon enough, but the band is electric from the very first moment, never flagging. There's a decent-sized element of The Motels in the Divinyls, especially here—you know: that cool poppy tunefulness with New Wave deviations stuff—and this only makes me wonder what the hell is going on with Martha Bates nowadays, but, for the moment, who cares? This rave up is all ya could want and then some. I use to wonder if the 80s bands were going to be as durable as the 70s groups, but DVDs like this let everyone know that the later generations ain't gonna let anyone down, and it may be a very interesting next 10 years seeing a reprise of the Baby Boomers in the Gen Xers. With Jailhouse Rock as a milestone preview, it's obvious that no one's going to be disappointed.

Track List:

  • Boys in Town
  • I'll Make You Happy
  • Only Lonely
  • Guillotine Day
  • Need a Lover
  • Open Windows
  • Love School
  • Lay Your Body Down
  • Science Fiction
  • Temperamental
  • Sex Will Keep Us Together
  • Make Out Alright
  • Bless My Soul
  • I Touch Myself
  • Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore
  • Pleasure and Pain
No songwriting credits given.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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