DVD Review: THE MELVINS Across the USA in 51 Days: The Movie! – Metal Injection

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The raison d'etre is right there in the title: back in 2012 (which makes this DVD a bit on the  belated side but whatever) the mighty Melvins undertook a novel tour, playing all 50 American states plus the capital of Washington, D.C. in 51 days. Which may not seem all that astounding an achievement considering the band pared their schedule down to one city per state in order to make this happen, but unlike most tours that cover several cities per state and often boast in excess of 4x the overall number of dates the Melvins embark on here, you have to understand that this 51-date concept includes no days off.

Across the USA in 51 Days: The Movie!,  then, is really just an hour-long travelogue documenting the travails and encroaching exhaustion that such an endurance test dictates. The whole thing  is shot on cell phone cameras for a cinema verite feel that predictably varies wildly in quality, with many images appearing in triplicate across the screen to reflect the dreaded Vertical Video Syndrome.
With a running time of just under an hour, the systematic coverage of each and every tour stop means that every city flashes by in a minute or less on average, so even as travelogue goes what we see here is much more by way of clowning and mugging for the camera than anything scenic. There's no time for real reflection, let alone comprehensive coverage, although occasionally the loose, anecdotal narrative does yield something interesting.
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The band's dour humor shines through even early on in the tour, with band members and crew alike reassuring each other that there's no way the tour will see the finish line (if you've ever seen the Melvins live you know full well that King Buzzo is the absolute last frontman to feed the crowd bullshit like "thank you, Cleveland! Your city is great, the crowd was superb, we can't wait to come back next time!")
Considering the Melvins have not released a videotaped live performance since 2008, and that only the second  of their long, storied career, some fans may walk away from Across the USA in 51 Days disappointed  in the lack of performance footage. It's a valid complaint: the travelogue makes a barely adequate case for its own existence, but the scant 52-minute running time means this bare bones DVD (there are no supplements whatsoever) could have easily been fleshed out with some representative performance clips, if not actually a full song from each tour stop (which, let's face it, would have been fucking epic).

And that's basically it in a nutshell: what would have made a fine ancillary supplement to a more robust DVD falls pretty flat on its own. This is definitely a "one and done" watch, but hey, if the tossed off,  effortless approach – I don't even think this qualifies as a cash grab – sours you on the band just don't come  to their next gig. The fuck do they care?
3/10

Shockingly not horribly expensive.
Including everyone from Melvins to Witch Vomit.
Plus releases from Couch Slut, Dvne, Pearl Jam, SeeYouSpaceCowboy, The Ghost Inside, Oak, Ash & Thorn, and (the) Melvins.
I don’t wanna talk to her.
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