Review: Pentagram – When the Screams Come (DVD)
Pentagram - When the Screams Come (DVD) excerpt
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2011 was the year Bobby Liebling leapt from the tomb sporting platform shoes and tight gold pants. Rollicking comeback album Last Rites was a studding achievement; even more remarkable is that Liebling – for years an addicted shut-in – was the subject of two films. The first was the well-received documentary Last Days Here, which covered his attempts to beat drugs and reclaim his life. The second is the concert film When the Screams Come, shot at the 2010 Maryland Deathfest at the beginning of the renewed Liebling/Victor Griffin partnership.
The Deathfest headlining slot came shortly after a US tour plagued by bad luck and inept guitarists. Pentagram is in no way Phish and inconceivably ended many shows with lengthy jams. Leibling noodled with a harmonica and crowds exited. But the rekindled partnership with guitarist Griffin, who played on the career-defining Relentless, changed his fortunes. Pentagram plays taut and smooth on the film, recorded a few months after the ill-fated US tour.
Deathfest wouldn’t seem ideal for filming a doom band. Security guards line the rails, the main stage backs up to a freeway, and headliners get an hour to play. Despite the challenges, Pentagram work their dark magic. Griffin is the key. His tone is inimitable, and his efficient movements add levity to Leibling’s unbridled antics. Liebling looks like a homeless savant, his eyes bug out, he nearly performs oral sex on Griffin’s guitar, and he struts with self-abandon. He’s clearly seizing his chance to play with authority as his 60th birthday looms.
The set list is plucked from the highlights of Liebling/Griffin years and a few Pentagram perennials like "Forever My Queen", and "20 Buck Spin". (The DVD could have used additional extras; the interview largely features Liebling's ambiguous statements about faith and family.) At one point during Pentagram’s set, crowd surfers appear. It’s strange to think that a concert staple didn’t exist when Liebling started writing songs in the early '70s. Perhaps the greatest endorsement is the kids in the front row wearing shirts with indecipherable logos banging their heads to Pentagram.
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You are hosting a dinner party for four. Two attendees are you and Bobby Liebling. Who are the other two, and why?
Please leave your answer in the comments below. Please answer only once. International entrants are welcome. The best answer will win this DVD. Entries will close at midnight PST a week from today, Friday, September 16.
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BUY WHEN THE SCREAMS COME
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