Rheostatics Maple Serum: Live at the Horseshoe

Dave Bidini admits on stage that they wanted to make a modern version of Stompin' Tom's classic concert film Across This Land, which was shot at the Horseshoe some 30 years ago. If so, the Rheos forgot to add all those goofy extra shots of snowmobilers and animated sequences. Instead, director Justin Stephenson used five or six cameras on the tiny Horseshoe stage to give this show more depth, which any club gig sorely needs on video. Occasionally, Stephenson goes way overboard with Woodstock-ish split screens and graininess for its own sake. The band themselves are in fine form, eight nights into 2001's 11-night run, with still-new drummer Michael Phillip Wojewoda displaying finesse and a healthy mutual challenge — both he and the 20-year-old band throw each other curveballs constantly. The set list leans heavily on Night of the Shooting Stars, thankfully the best five songs, alongside a good sampling of the past decade during an hour-long set. As expected, the dramatic epics steal the show: "Christopher," "Stolen Car" and "Dope Fiends." The band provides often hilarious commentary that gets noticeably better after they roll the joint, especially when Martin Tielli mocks his on-stage self as "Sweaty, the Happy Clown." Also included are Stephenson's beautiful videos for "P.I.N." and "Stolen Car," as well as a mini-doc on the making of the "P.I.N." video. There are also two short pieces recycled from the out-of-print, two-volume archival video compilation. Why all of that material wasn't added to this DVD is a mystery. (www.rheostatics.ca)