A Band Apart DVD

When touring Canada goes bad, it’s usually because playing poorly attended shows for nominal amounts of gas money loses its charm. Toronto’s Parkas faced those in April 2004 but endured the added obstacle of singer/guitarist Grady Kelnick quitting mid-tour. The departure is captured in A Life of Crime, a scrappy documentary by Jon Eagan and James Loftus. Intending to film the typical experiences of a Canadian travelling band, the filmmakers got more than they bargained for. The Parkas are robbed in Toronto and Fredericton; play empty, indifferent rooms across the Prairies and Maritimes; and are jerked around by bookers and agents. It’s an insightful representation of the depressing side of road life. Eagan and Loftus weave fiery scenes of Kelnick quitting throughout the film, intensifying what, in lesser hands, might be home movies of a pretty terrible vacation.