CHAMPION: Different Directions—The Last Show: CD/DVD

Maybe I’m just feeling a wee bit too old and cynical right now, but when I hear what is essentially an umpteenth-generation Uniform Choice rip off, who were in turn a third-generation Minor Threat rip off, tell a crowd “circle pit this whole fuckin’ room,” I can’t help but feel the weight of all the clichés at work here. Sure, their pitch-perfect recreation of the whole 1980s straight edge thing—the pictures, which look like they were cribbed off a 7 Seconds lyric sheet, a sense of fashion cribbed straight from a Catholic school gym—and their reference to punk’s real major contribution to modern music, its dance, are all well and nice, but I guess that’s the problem. I would honestly love to hear what they come up with once the hero worship and clinging to convention wears off, but here it seems to me they never really stretch outside of well-demarcated boundaries. So many bands have literally little-to-no chance to make any kind of lasting recorded statement, so why waste yours trying to sound like everyone else, you know? The DVD was very well produced, with multi-camera work of the band bouncing up and down in front of an audience going apeshit, clear sound and interviews interspersed, but I’ve seen way too many bands at way too many shows do the exact same shtick for them to really stand out in any way.

 –jimmy (www.bridge9.com)