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also known as A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984

You Weren't There2007

  • 4.0
YOU WEREN'T THERE: A HISTORY OF CHICAGO PUNK 1977-1984 looks back on the impact that the Punk movement had on the Windy City. Though overlooked in the annals of Rock history when compared to media-centric Los Angeles, New York and London, Chicago served as an important early supporter of this burgeoning and controversial scene. From what is now considered to be the first Punk dance club in America (La Mere Vipere), to proto-hardcore clubs (Oz, O'Banions) and All Ages DIY scene (Centro-Am Hall), Chicagoans made sure that there were outlets for the genre that was often blacklisted by the mainstream local live music scene. This small, but dedicated scene had to endure harassment from the Police, City Hall, Neo-Nazis and even the audience, as well as making uneasy alliances with the ever-present Chicago criminal underworld. It was a scene that could be violent and unsavory at times, but always tempered with large doses of humor, art and intelligence. YOU WEREN'T THERE talks to the DJ's, musicians, promoters, artists and fans who were pivotal in creating the Chicago Punk scene. The film also features classic archival footage of such great Chicago bands as Naked Raygun, the Effigies, Strike Under, Big Black and Articles of Faith, as well as lesser known greats Silver Abuse, the Mentally Ill, the Subverts, Negative Element and many more. This is a rare glimpse into a truly one-of-a-kind American underground music scene.

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2 members like this review

Awesome interviews, great footage. Thanks for documenting this little-known piece of music history.

Member Reviews (3)

Awesome interviews, great footage. Thanks for documenting this little-known piece of music history.

2 members like this review
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A well done documentary on the inception and nurturing of the Chicago punk/hardcore scene. It seems Chicago has always been the kid brother trying to catch up with the older, more experienced sibling..."c'mon guys, I wanna play too!" It that sense, the misguided pride in a geographic location and chip-on-the-shoulder trying too hard can detract from original, confident art. And these are some grumps, too. The belief that the music ended when the "originators" stopped playing it is bunk. Chicago gave birth to plenty of exciting, creative, relevant punk post '84. Just because you can't find it doesn't mean it's not there, you geezers. So while the film is crafted nicely, moves at a good pace while giving a lot of information, it's too bad the last 5 minutes is embittered dudes waxing nostalgic like old hippie burnouts would about the '60s, maaan.

2 members like this review

cool doc on that time and space ... who knew? some kind of punk back-water in the mid-west, growing like a weed! man they had it hard, mediocre music but captures the zeitgeist of the era thanx fandor!