Synopsis by Mark Deming
In June 1978, the Cramps, a pioneering New York-based rock band who blend the primitive twangy stomp of rockabilly with the attitude and willful perversity of punk, were touring the West Coast and discovered they'd been lined up with perhaps the most unusual gig of their career. The Cramps were booked to play a show at the Napa State Mental Hospital, a facility for the emotionally challenged, and found themselves facing an audience that was half smuggled-in punk fans and half in-patients whose reaction to the performance was often vocal and demonstrative. A cameraman from the punk-oriented video collective Target Video was on hand with a primitive black-and-white camera, and the results became the infamous The Cramps: Live at the Napa State Mental Hospital. As the band faced a truly unusual audience, it roared through a handful of songs, including "Human Fly," "Love Me," "Domino," "The Way I Walk," "What's Behind the Mask," and "T.V. Set." In 2003, British performance artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard staged a videotaped recreation of the Cramps' Napa performance, which received enthusiastic reviews when screened under the title File Under Sacred Music.
band [music group], concert-tours, mental-institution, post-punk, punk-rock, rock-music, rockabilly-music