Eagle Rock Entertainment // 1981 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // January 31st, 2013
The time machine touches down a hot July evening in the land of Alpine skiing, army knives, cocoa and cheese. Stray Cats: Live At Montreux 1981 finds the retro-rockabilly trio commandeering the famous "Jazz Festival" stage. Long story short: they rocked that town and ripped that place apart, with fifteen feverish foot-stompers:
"Sweet Love On My Mind"
"Double Talking Baby"
"Rumble In Brighton"
"My One Desire"
"Drink That Bottle Down"
"Storm The Embassy"
"Stray Cat Strut"
"Rock This Town"
"Be Bop A Lula"
"Pretty Pretty Baby"
A cautionary word for twenty-first century arena rats, raised on corporate-sponsored stadium tours: this concert features no light show, no synchronized dance routines, no pre-recorded backing tracks, and not even the teeny-tiniest bit of lip-sync -- every howl, yowl and yell is live. And that rip roaring sonic avalanche you hear? That's coming courtesy of three spaghetti strand skinny, tattooed Noo Yawkers decked out in sleeveless grease-monkey jackets, drainpipe black jeans, motorcycle boots, and mile-high pompadours.
Lead guitarist Brian Setzer, with his gravel and switchblade vocal range, peroxide blond quiff and baby doll eyes embodies the hot rod fixated love child of David Bowie and Billy Idol. Stand-up drummer man Slim Jim Phantom has the body of a long bendy milkshake straw and the fallen-angel facial features of an Eddie Haskell impersonator. Slap-bassist Lee Rocker is clearly the Swiss miss choice, raising appreciative female screams when he takes over on lead vocals for "Drink That Bottle Down," goes bare-chested for the show's second half, and otherwise lets a smoldering cigarette dangle from his pouty lips while beating his big, bow-less cello all but bloody.
A case can certainly be made that the limited scope of their repertoire (covering hits by late fifties legends Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, and Johnny Burnette, mixed with original numbers perfectly suited for covering by Cochran, Vincent, and Burnette) qualifies the Cats as a niche act, but these high-octane eighty minutes on stage in the land of precision timepieces are sure to have universal appeal for any true live rock and roll fan.
Eagle Rock Entertainment's DVD presentation features no extras and is as no-frills as the band's stage decoration, but equally as effective, giving you the best seat in the house. There are three winning Dolby Digital sound options: stereo, DTS, or 5.1 surround, so amplify accordingly.
Three to get ready; now Go Cats, Go!!!
Guilty? Not so, Daddy-O.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
* Full Frame
* DTS 5.1 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 1981
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Stray Cats Official Site