If there’s one thing I love as much as films, it’s music. I listen to anything that sounds good, but I am more partial to rock and indie music. Over the years, I have listened to a wide range of rock music including punk music, so when it came up that the East End Film Festival was showing a documentary about punk music, I knew this was something I was going to enjoyed… right?
Salad Days is a documentary surrounding the DC punk scene during the 80s and how the genre changed throughout the years but not always for the better. Music documentaries are difficult to make because you want to get across all the information you’ve gathered without being too boring. Salad Days treads this line but at times struggles to keep balance. The interviews are fantastic; they are informative and entertaining thanks to people like Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins but there are some people who are a bit dull and bring the energy down.
Before seeing Salad Days, I knew a fair bit about punk music but after seeing it; it has taught me more about the scene and what happened in DC during that time. The film charts the history of the scene from early beginnings with bands like Bad Brains and Minor Threat, to people using the scene to get away with mindless violence, to ‘Revolution Summer’ of 1985, to how the scene helped the shape the music of the 90s. One part of the punk scene I did know about was straight edge. Straight edge is when someone doesn’t drink alcohol, smokes cigarettes or do drugs, which started when under aged kids would have their hands marked with an ‘X’ at shows so that the bar knew not to serve them.
While the overall energy of Salad Days rise and falls, it’s still an entertaining and interesting documentary. It’s a fascinating look at the DC punk scene with great interviews and very cool visuals that best suit the music. Director Scott Crawford has done a great job of using the money he raised via Kickstarter. You can see that this is something very personal to him and creates a wonderful film. If you love your punk music, you’ll love Salad Days, but if not, it’s still an enjoyable and loud rollercoaster of energy worth catching.