Andy Warhol’s support of the Velvet Underground is well documented, but a recently unearthed concert doc demonstrates a further intersection between his experimentally minded filmmaking and the Velvets’ boundary-pushing sonics.
The Velvet Underground in Boston is a 33-minute film that was uncovered by the Warhol museum in 2008, before being premiered and preserved at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2010. All had been mostly quiet on that front until last week, when (as Open Culture points out) the film popped up on a nondescript Youtube channel.
The short documents a 1967 Velvet Underground set at Boston’s Tea Party, replete with the blown-out sonics of the time. It’s tough to pick out what song the band is playing at any given moment, especially since Warhol appears to have meddled with the audio in post-production, but it’s still a compelling relic of the mind-altering scene.
Warhol uses a lot of in-camera tricks to play up the strangeness of the footage, but between the disorienting zooms and strobe-like edits, the documentary becomes a striking parallel to the band’s prickly noise blasts. This is, apparently, the lengthiest run of in-color film we’ve seen of the band from the Velvet Underground & Nico era, so catch it above, just in case it gets pulled soon from its dubious source.