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Case Number 08840: Small Claims Court

Buy SmokeOut Festival Presents: Body Count at Amazon

SmokeOut Festival Presents: Body Count

Eagle Vision // 2005 // 35 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Corupe (Retired) // March 17th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge Paul Corupe is not a cop killer. He only plays one in GTA.

The Charge

Tonight we get even.

The Case

Ah, the splendorous chaos of rap metal—that resilient scourge of taste, musicianship, and any thinking person above the age of 17. Long before your Limp Bizkits and your Insane Clown Posses brought the genre commercial success with a flurry of naughty words designed to piss off parents and delight sullen teenagers, there was Body Count. The brainchild of rapper Ice-T, Body Count may well be remembered as the godfather of the genre, a talent-bankrupt speed metal group who somehow managed to parlay the controversy over their expletive-laden, murder-inciting song "Cop Killer" into fleeting popularity. If anything, it was a simple triumph of giving disaffected youth what they wanted, a boastfully empty song seemingly conceived to give suburban wannabe gangsters a few lyrics to whisper to their friends after a patrol car turned the corner and was safely out of earshot.

Dropped by Warner Brothers record division after the firestorm over their best-selling debut, the band managed to sneak out two more albums to little critical or popular notice before more or less breaking up. Reunited for the 2003 SmokeOut Festival, a stoner-friendly tour conceived by Cypress Hill, this sneering performance in San Bernardino, California finds Body Count trying to resurrect their questionable clout with a modest crowd of black T-shirt-clad rap metal connoisseurs.

On this DVD of the show, released by Eagle Vision, the band makes their way through a ten song, 35-minute performance, punctuated by Ice-T yelling various things about his crotch. You get:

1. Body Count in the House
2. Body MF Count
3. Masters of Revenge
4. Killing Floor
5. Bowels of the Devil
6. KKK Bitch
7. Drive By
8. The End Game
9. There Goes the Neighborhood
10. Cop Killer

It's almost amazing how the music of Body Count manages to combine some of the worst clichés of both rap and heavy metal, and then top it all off with ludicrous posturing by an extremely tired-looking veteran rapper who—it must be pointed out—plays a law enforcement officer on TV. Even by the loose standards of quality in rap metal, Body Count's musicianship is lacking at best, combining tired, rapid-fire riffs with some of the most tasteless and unfortunate lyrics this side of Vanilla Ice's "Turtle Power." The band's songs—most of which appear to consist of Ice-T chanting some variation of "Body Count's in the house, motherfucker" or "BC, motherfucker"—are formless, almost indistinguishable entities that rely almost exclusively on supposedly shocking lyrics. It's obvious from the first few badly strummed chords on this set that the band was a one-trick pony, a novelty act as firmly entrenched in their time as saddle shoes or Pogs. As a culture, we've moved on to the next fad—it's too bad nobody told Ice-T.

Hilariously, the ad copy on the back of the DVD elevates the band's perseverance through a few miscommunications between the sound engineers and a request by the organizers to cut their set short to heroic proportions. Citing "torrential rain" (which didn't actually happen during Body Count's set) and repeated technical problems, Eagle Vision would have you believe that the show was somehow the ultimate "fuck you" to authority, but on watching the set, it's pretty obvious that this was just a problematic performance that barely moved the audience, who don't seem to know any of the band's songs other than "Cop Killer." Ice-T tries his best to get some kids into the mosh pit, but they aren't biting—maybe they're too scared by the craggy-faced dude angrily running back and forth who looks like he's waiting for an excuse to take his aggression out. Appropriately, Body Count gets their biggest cheers when they name-check superior hard rock acts like Pantera and Slayer.

This release by Eagle Vision sounds and looks about the best you could expect. The image, shot on DV, is generally quite clear and vibrant. A significant improvement over the stereo track, the Dolby 5.1 track is quite excellent—full and rich with good use of the surround channels to give you an experience probably pretty close to actually being in the definitely dazed and probably confused audience. The very limited batch of extras on the disc include a short still gallery, a minute of skateboarding footage shot at SmokeOut, and a five-minute behind the scenes on the making of the concert.

All in all, this is a very nicely presented DVD of an average, truncated performance by a poor band. If you're still a Body Count fan, I'm sorry, but there may be no hope for you.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 65

Perp Profile

Studio: Eagle Vision
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 35 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Concerts and Musicals
• Performance

Distinguishing Marks

• Behind the Scenes Footage
• Photo Gallery

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