Vintage Video: Watch La Peste and the Neighborhoods duke it out around the 1979 Rumble


The year was 1979, and two Boston bands, La Peste and the Neighborhoods, were headed for a showdown at the Rock and Roll Rumble. As this year’s crop of Rumble bands are set to be announced this Sunday on WZLX Boston Emissions, and with the Rumble’s preliminary week — April 3 to 9 at its new home of ONCE Ballroom in Somerville — fast approaching, we once again fired up Jan Crocker’s Kino Digital Video machine for another look at Boston rock of yesterday.

In recent months, Crocker has edited and posted rare video from the Police, the Cure, and Unnatural Axe, and now has polished up two vintage clips, of La Peste and the ‘Hoods.

At the ’79 Rumble, held at the Rat in Kenmore Square, the Neighborhoods defeated defending champs La Peste in what Crocker says many believe to be the greatest Rumble of all time. Participants that year included Classic Ruins, Lyres, Mission of Burma, The Streets,Thrills, Unnatural Axe, and others.


Check out both of Crocker’s clips, with some of his own commentary, below. And head to Crocker’s KDV Archive Portal for more classic video clip of Boston rock and the bands that rolled through town several decades ago…

La Peste "Better Off Dead" from Jan Crocker on Vimeo.

“Footage for La Peste’s ‘Better Off Dead’ was shot at the Paradise Club in Boston in 1979, and edited to the audio from the Boston Rock and Roll Rumble held at the Rat the same year. La Peste won the Rumble in 1978 when it was held at the Inn Square Men’s Bar in Cambridge. La Peste was dethroned the following year 1979, by the Neighborhoods in the finals of the Rumble at the held at the Rat in Boston’s Kenmore Square. La Peste ruled the roost of the Boston Punk scene from 1978 to 80 and ‘Better Off Dead’ has continued to be a rebellious anthem covered by bands for three generations.”

Neighborhoods "Monday Morning" from Jan Crocker on Vimeo.

“This video of the Neighborhoods was filmed at the Rat and Boston Film and Video Foundation (BFVF) in 1979 by Jan Crocker, Ben Bergery, and the MIT Film/Video Section. It first screened on Channel 5 WCVB Boston’s Five All Night/Live All Night in the ‘Death Disco’ program, a compilation of several local Boston Bands produced by Crocker with tons of location and post production support from MIT Film/Video Section and Educational Video Resources (EVR). The Hoods were just hitting their early prime and put on a killer performance at the Rat’s Rock n Roll Rumble in 1979. They dethroned La Peste, the 1978 Rock and Roll Rumble winners in a no holds barred live performance smackdown. Some people who saw that show still think it was one of the best Rumbles ever …if not the best.”

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