Unless you lived in LA between 2002 and 2007 you’ve likely never heard of the Kiss or Kill music scene. That doesn’t make the documentary on the movement, In Heaven There Is No Beer, any less fascinating.
The film, by first-time director Dave Palamaro, chronicles the music scene comprised of a mix of rock and punk-influenced bands like The Dollyrots and Bang Sugar Bang. The scene was started by members of Bang Sugar Bang fed up with having to pay clubs along Sunset Strip for the right to play there. They brought along like-minded bands to play smaller venues in more out of the way parts of town and the fans quickly followed.
For years, and despite moving venues several times, the Kiss or Kill band formed their own community, based on unpretentious music and low cover charges at the door. The doc features interviews from the scene’s founders, fans and many of the bands that played each week. There is also plenty of drama surrounding the scenes ultimate implosion that comes not long after the bands find their biggest success courtesy of record deals and cross country tours. Jealousy and cross-band feuds ends up killing the scene that was founded as an alternative to, well, what the scene eventually morphed into. It’s also a bit ironic that one of the last venues to host the scene was on Sunset Strip.