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“Eddie Vedder sits on a box in a the living room of an otherwise empty Seattle house and plays a ukulele …”
It sounds like the lamest set-up to the worst grunge-joke in history, but it’s not. It’s a scene from the latest Burn to Shine DVD. The fifth disc in the series (though number four’s yet to be completed, for mysterious reasons) settles down in a home in Seattle, and true to the video series’ manifesto, brings in a bunch of Queen City locals and gives them two stabs at recording a single song in the living room. The best take makes it to the DVD, no overdubs allowed. Oh yeah, and after the day’s filming the doomed house meets its end. Well, this time around, the demolition crews stay away, and instead of tearing the home down, it’s packed on the back of a truck and hauled to a new lot.
Although the relocation instead of outright destruction of Burn to Shine‘s setting leads to a less spectacular ending than the homes featured in its three predecessors — and saps a lot of the poignancy out of the moment — that doesn’t mean the bands let their end of the deal slip. Curated by Death Cab for Cutie front man Benjamin Gibbard (and including a performance by Ben), Burn to Shine 5 rounds up a great line-up of Seattle bands: Kinski, The Long Winters, Minus the Bear, Harvey Danger, Eddie Vedder, The Can’t See, Jesse Sykes, Spook the Horse, Blue Scholars, David Bazan, Trumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, The Cave Singers, and Tiny Vipers.
If you’ve seen any of the previous installments in the Trixie DVD series, you know what to expect: No-frills honesty and down-to-earth performances. Directors Christoph Green and Brendan Canty have taken the franchise out so there’s no real surprises left, though that hardly means Burn to Shine has reached the end of its lifespan, Seattle is just an extension of that life.