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Mike Pike
25 Views · 7 months ago

⁣The New York Times Archives:
This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.
Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.

Original text below:
On Aug. 1, 1971, Ravi Shankar, along with George Harrison, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, Bob Dylan and several other notable performers of rock music gave a concert at Madison Square Garden to raise money for the suffering people of Bangladesh. The concert was very popular, and in general a critical success, and, in the language of public relations, a historic occasion. In time it was followed by a record album, which was followed by a charge of financial finagling, which was followed by a libel suit, which has been followed by much journalism, which is followed at last — almost eight months after the event—by a movie, "The Concert for Bangladesh."
It opened yesterday at the DeMille.It is a very good movie as such movies go (and they often go quite badly), and friends who were at the concert tell me that it is a faithful reproduction of the original. This may not sound like much for a documentary filmed on the spot. But anyone who has seen many rock-concert movies will appreciate that in this one there are no unnecessary zooms, no lab-created light shows, almost no exploitation of the on-screen audience, no insistence that a concert of music is somehow a social revolution.Indeed, "The Concert for Bangladesh" exhibits less technical nervousness in the face of musical performance than any other remotely similar film I can think of.
And because it is so little bothered with what it must do next, say, to turn song into cinema, it probably succeeds in moving with its people more closely, and surely differently, than the audience at Madison Square Garden could have done.There are vocal solos mostly by George Harrison, Leon Russell and Bob Dylan, but also by Ringo Starr and the remarkable Billy Preston, and there are sitar and sarod duets by Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Kahn. Saul Swimmer directed, and Dylan and Harrison apparently helped in editing the work of eight cameramen—and I think they all deserve credit for the simplicity with which the film cuts between long shot and medium shot and often very tight close-ups, and leaves dramatic intensity to the music and the musicians, where it belongs.
The worst thing in "The Concert for Bangladesh" is the sound, which is of course very loud, but neither rich nor full. Somebody had the notion of recording the audience (or an audience) response to each number and producing it from the rear of the theater as a kind of canned aid to enthusiasm. This has nothing to do with the spirit or the look of the film, and, given the reticence and intelligence of everything else, it functions essentially as promotional nonsense, a six-track stereophonic insult.
THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH, a documentary directed by Saul Swimmer; produced by George Harrison and Allen Klein; music recording produced by Mr. Harrison and Phil Spector; released by Apple/Twentieth Century-Fox. At the DeMille Theater, Broadway and 47th Street. Running time: 140 minutes. (The Motion Picture Association of America's Production Code and Rating Administration classifies this film: "G—all ages admitted, general audiences.")With: Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann, Badfinger, Jesse Davis, Jim Horn, Jim Kellner, Claudia Linnear, Carl Radle.


Serigo Leone
102 Views · 7 months ago

⁣Kevin Macdonald's three fictional movies have taken him to Idi Amin's Uganda, Washington DC and the northern reaches of Roman Britain. They're all thrillers of various kinds, as are Touching the Void and One Day in September, the tightly focused, feature-length documentaries that preceded them. Touching the Void centres on a dangerous expedition by two British climbers in the Peruvian Andes in 1985 and uses interviews with the real participants and simulated scenes played by actors. One Day in September is about the massacre of Israeli athletes by Arab terrorists at the 1972 Olympics and, in addition to interviews and archive footage, employs computer graphics to explain the course of events.
His new film, a cinebiography of Bob Marley is a bigger, baggier and simpler thing. It's the story of a man who lived an extraordinarily full yet oddly mysterious life and died a world figure 30 years ago, shortly after reaching the age of 36. It is, however, told without any reconstructions or impersonations and neither Sidney Poitier nor Morgan Freeman was called in to deliver a rousing commentary explaining the man's contradictions, achievements and significance.
The picture begins in West Africa at an old fortress on the Gold Coast (now Ghana). Through its "Door of No Return" leading to the sea passed many of the millions of shackled slaves who were shipped across the Atlantic. This was the journey made by his ancestors that shaped Marley's life, identity and music and the belief system that drew them together.
He was born in the remote Jamaican village of Nine Mile in 1945 and Macdonald takes us there in a lyrical aerial shot across the steep, wooded hill country. His mother, Cedella, was black and 16. His father, Norval Marley, a white man aged 65, was employed by the forestry commission to prevent the theft of timber. He rode around the countryside like a seigneurial Cossack and styled himself Captain, though there's no evidence he'd held any commissioned rank or served in any war. In the only known photo of Norval, he's on horseback attempting to look authoritative and his family refused to recognise Bob when he once called on them for help.
Macdonald sees Bob as a man who felt rejected by both the black and the white communities, an outsider who was to find a symbolic home in Africa through embracing Rastafarianism, a style of personal independence and social defiance, and a mission to bring people together in a grand international, inter-racial brotherhood.
Marley grew up in extreme poverty, first in the countryside, then in the slums of Kingston's Trenchtown, where the first photograph of him was taken at the age of 12. The documentation of the early life is thin, but Macdonald is able throughout to draw on the colourful testimony of his formidable mother, his friends, fellow musicians, a variety of female companions (Marley had nine or 10 children by six or seven different women) and later some businessmen, politicians and gangsters.
There are splendid anecdotes about survival, about Bob and his band, the Wailers, developing a new kind of music that fused local and international forms into a distinctive form of reggae, and the zig-zagging of a career that took Marley to the United States, where his mother had relocated, to Europe and to Africa. Much of what we hear from Jamaican witnesses is spoken in a beguiling, if sometimes obscure, patois and there are the kind of contradictions in the individual assessments of his character and the accounts of the fraught progress of the Wailers that one would expect. This is Rashomon territory.
But there are compromises and concessions of a different kind that have come about through the need to secure interviews, musical rights and other necessary forms of co-operation. These are reflected in the names of several family members and various close business associates listed in the credits as producers. Some of these people provide the finest testimony.
Among them are Bob's Cuban-born wife Rita, who worked in his backing group and recalls seeing stigmata on Haile Selassie's hand during his triumphant visit to Jamaica; Bob's three children by her (Cedella, Ziggy and Stephen); the beautiful, spirited Cindy Breakspeare, his trophy companion and former Miss World who bore him a child but refused to embrace Rastafarianism; and the laidback British impresario Chris Blackwell of Island Records.
If Marley ultimately remains something of a mystery (he gave few interviews and in none was particularly forthcoming), we nevertheless get a vivid impression of a career that included a brief stint on a Chrysler production line in Delaware, a long period of apprenticeship as a composer (initially working with homemade instruments) and a rise to local and international stardom. Gradually, the dreadlocks, the music and the cloud of ganja smoke come together to form as recognisable an image as that of the equally short-lived Che Guevara.
He was, however, altogether less militant than Che, virtually apolitical, which did not prevent competing forces seeking his allegiance or seeing him as a valuable symbol for their causes. In 1976, an assassination attempt in Jamaica drove him into exile. It wasn't, however, a bullet that did for him but the stud of a boot during a game of his beloved football in a London park, triggering the melanoma in his foot that eventually consumed his body.
We hear of a beautiful moment in a wintry Bavarian clinic where Bob's mother read the Book of Job to the emaciated singer, his dreadlocks lost to chemotherapy, shortly before he flew across the Atlantic to die in Miami in May 1981.
Perhaps this impressive, thoughtful portrait should have ended there. Instead, it concludes with a succession of Marley's hits being sung in a various languages by cheerful young people on every continent. That's all a little too "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" Coca-Cola-ish for my tastes.


Mike Pike
390 Views · 7 months ago

⁣For most of the naysayers, it wasn't so much the actual music that got their collective goat as it was the way the band portrayed themselves.

“This is a song Charles Manson stole from The Beatles. We’re stealing it back.”
Those were the first words uttered by Bono in the 1988 U2 rockumentary Rattle and Hum before the band ignited a sold-out McNichols Sports Arena in Denver with a rendition of “Helter Skelter” so electric Manson himself might’ve felt its vibes through the walls of San Quentin. Thirty years later, Manson is dirt in the ground and “Helter Skelter” is 12 minutes long on the 50th anniversary edition of The White Album coming out this November. Yet the critical disdain for both the Rattle and Hum film and its chart-topping soundtrack remains the same as it ever was. Upon the release of the Jimmy Iovine-produced album (Oct. 10) and the film (Oct. 27), Rattle and Hum was met with largely complacent and downright hostile reviews.

“By almost any rock & roll fan’s standards, U2’s Rattle and Hum is an awful record,” wrote Tom Carson in The Village Voice. “But the chasm between what it thinks it is and the half-baked overweening reality doesn’t sound attributable to pretension so much as monumental know-nothingness.”
In The New York Times, Jon Pareles accused the band of trying to “grab every mantle in the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame” before scowling “what comes across in song after song is sincere egomania.”
“This is a mess with a mission,” wrote David Fricke in his year-end review of Rattle in the Dec. 15-29, 1988, issue of Rolling Stone. “But a mess nevertheless.”
For most of the naysayers, it wasn’t so much the actual music that got their collective goat as it was the way the band portrayed themselves to filmmaker Phil Joanou, who was only 26 when he directed Rattle and Hum (it was his second feature film behind the 1987 high school black comedy Three O’Clock High). At its root, it’s a highly stylized concert film culled from U2’s blockbuster tour in support of their breakthrough fifth LP The Joshua Tree — the album that catapulted Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. into a new stratosphere of superstardom. In between performances, however, were scenes of the group traversing through American cities crucial to the fabric of rock n’ roll’s history.

They went to San Francisco to play the “Save the Yuppies” concert in Justin Herman Plaza, where they dazzled the impromptu crowd with a version of “All Along the Watchtower” which served as the perfect middle ground between Bob Dylan‘s original and Jimi’s fiery takeover of the song. They visited Harlem, where they cut a gospel version of their Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” with the New Voices of Freedom choir and caught the renowned street blues duo Satan and Adam busking on 125th St. They headed down to Memphis to visit Graceland and cut some songs at Sun Studio, including “Angel of Harlem” featuring the legendary Memphis Horns and references to Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and Miles Davis, and “Love Rescue Me,” a co-write with Bob Dylan which, along with the Daniel Lanois-produced Oh Mercy, helped many U2 fans get hip with Zimmerman. They also recorded “When Love Comes to Town” at Sun, a song that helped many young U2 fans find their way to the catalog of the song’s soulful co-captain B.B. King and such blues classics as Live at the Regal and Indianola, Mississippi Seeds.

These were the scenes that drew the ire of music critics, who were unfairly convinced that U2’s motives came from somewhere other than honest admiration and appreciation. But for a 14-year-old in 1988 in the first weeks of his freshman year of high school, Rattle and Hum — both the film and its soundtrack — proved to be an eye-opening introduction to music beyond my narrow scope of MTV and rock radio at the time. It was the first time I ever heard about A Love Supreme or experienced the string arrangements of Van Dyke Parks, who along with Benmont Tench on pump organ, provided the sweep of heartbreak that imbues the album and film’s closing number “All I Want Is You,” still very much considered U2’s greatest ballad. I never truly, honestly felt the shimmy of the Bo Diddley beat before I listened to “Desire,” a song that earns the distinct honor of being the first single to simultaneously top the mainstream and modern rock Billboard charts (and scored the group a Grammy in 1989). “God Part II” gave me a deeper appreciation for the solo work of John Lennon, particularly Plastic Ono Band, whose key track “God” U2 were responding to as Bono defends John and Yoko by taking a shot at controversial biographer Albert Goldman with the line — “I don’t believe in Goldman, his type like a curse/Instant karma’s gonna get him, if I don’t get him first.” The atmospheric beauty of “Heartland” — featuring Brian Eno on keyboards — was a perfect gateway to the more esoteric moments on The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree, especially for someone who went into the Rattle and Hum experience as something of a U2 skeptic.


Mike Pike
138 Views · 7 months ago

⁣Cliff 'Em All is a compilation of video footage, and the first video album by the American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released on November 17, 1987, as a tribute to Metallica's bassist Cliff Burton, who died in a tour bus accident on September 27, 1986, at the age of 24, near Ljungby, Sweden, during the European leg of their Master of Puppets world tour. Its title is derived from Metallica's debut album, Kill 'Em All. The home video also features a performance with former guitarist Dave Mustaine on March 19, 1983, shortly before his ousting from the band.

The video is a retrospective on the three and a half years that Cliff Burton was in Metallica, presented as a collection of bootleg footage shot by fans, some professional filming and TV shots that were never used and some of his best bass solos, personal photos and live concerts. Photos and narrations by the band (Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett drinking beer) are placed between songs, which focus on Burton before fading into a title card of a performance. The video ends with the melodic interlude of "Orion" as pictures of Burton are shown.
With this video, the band tries to show the unique personality and style he had. While ostensibly the film focuses on Burton, it also has given fans a rare glimpse of Metallica's less-documented early career. This contrasts sharply with the 'Metallica business' represented in the feature film Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.
The back of the case reads "Well, we finally went and did what we always talked about not doing. Releasing a vid[eo]! Before you throw up in disgust, let us (except K.) tell you the idea behind this." The "K" is presumably short for Kirk, explaining why he is on the bottom of the cover.

Mike Pike
3,289 Views · 7 months ago

⁣Searching for Sugar Man is a 2012 Swedish–British–Finnish documentary film about a South African cultural phenomenon, directed and written by Malik Bendjelloul, which details the efforts in the late 1990s of two Cape Town fans, Stephen "Sugar" Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out whether the rumoured death of American musician Sixto Rodriguez was true and, if not, to discover what had become of him.
Rodriguez's music, which had never achieved success in the United States, had become very popular in South Africa although little was known about him in that country.
On 10 February 2013, the film won the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary at the 66th British Academy Film Awards in London, and two weeks later it won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood. Production:
Initially using Super 8 film to record stylised shots for the film, director Malik Bendjelloul ran out of money for more film to record the final few shots. After three years of cutting-room work the main financial backers of the film threatened to withdraw funding to finish it. He resorted to filming the remaining stylised shots on his smartphone using an iPhone app called 8mm Vintage Camera.
Searching for Sugar Man was the opening film at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2012, where it won the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award for best international documentary. It was released in the United Kingdom on 26 July 2012, and had a limited release (New York and Los Angeles) in the United States the following day.
Searching for Sugar Man performed well during its theatrical release, earning $3,696,196 at the US box office (47th of all US docs on Box Office Mojo)

Against Everyone
130 Views · 7 months ago

Watch Part ONE (1) here => ⁣
⁣George Harrison first became known to the world as 'The Quiet Beatle', but there was far more to his life than simply being a part of The Beatles. This film explores the life and career of this seminal musician, philanthropist, film producer and amateur race car driver who grew to make his own mark on the world.

Through his music, archival footage and the memories of friends and family, Harrison's deep spirituality and humanity are explored in his singular life as he took on artistic challenges and important causes as only he could.
Using unseen photos and footage, Academy Award®-winning director Martin Scorsese traces the life of George Harrison in a personal film, weaving together performance footage, home movies, rare archival materials and interviews with his family and friends including Eric Clapton, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, George Martin, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Tom Petty, Phil Spector, Ringo Starr and Jackie Stewart.

Mike Pike
1,393 Views · 7 months ago

⁣With unfettered access to the Zappa family trust and all archival footage, ZAPPA explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time.

Alex Winter’s assembly features appearances by Frank’s widow Gail Zappa and several of Frank’s musical collaborators including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and others.
Directed by Alex Winter

For more great titles, check out Magnolia Selects:

'Frank didn't adhere to any movements': behind the Zappa documentary (The Guardian)

Mike Pike
1 Views · 7 months ago

⁣Peter Gabriel Secret World Live Full Concert - 1994 Italia
Songs list:
Come Talk To Me
Quiet Steam / Steam
Across The River
Slow Marimbas
Shaking The Tree
Blood Of Eden
San Jacinto
Kiss That Frog
Washing Of The Water
Solsbury Hill
Digging In The Dirt
Secret World
Don't Give Up
In Your Eyes

Mike Pike
140 Views · 7 months ago

⁣Jimi Hendrix, Monterey Pop 1967: a live performance never bettered
The festival belonged to Hendrix. Dazzling technique, feedback and fuzz transformed him from a relative unknown into the personification of rock.
When, in June 1967, Brian Jones sauntered onstage at the Monterey Pop Festival to introduce Jimi Hendrix as “the most exciting guitar player I’ve ever heard”, the Rolling Stone got a bigger reception than the act he was announcing. Although a fair few of those in attendance that final evening – some estimates have put the figure as high as 90,000 – would have heard Hendrix’s British hits on America’s new-fangled FM radio, this was effectively the guitarist’s homeland debut. Indeed, the Jimi Hendrix Experience only made it on to the bill after strong lobbying from Paul McCartney, a member of the festival’s organising committee (alongside Mick Jagger, Brian Wilson and Smokey Robinson). That Derek Taylor, formerly the Beatles’ press officer, was one of Monterey’s three founders (the others were Mamas and Papas’ John Phillips and record producer Lou Adler) and knew all about the trio, secured them a prestigious Sunday evening slot.
Coming on after 40 minutes of genial musicality from the Grateful Dead, the Jimi Hendrix Experience had maximum impact as they blasted into their high-octane take on Howlin’ Wolf’s Killing Floor followed by Foxy Lady, the latter introduced with a self-assured: “Dig this.” Their first big American gig might have been a touch belated, but as a band they were more than ready after honing their stuff on the European psychedelic scene. Mitch Mitchell’s jazz-rooted drumming was not fazed by the guitarist’s flights of fancy and able to take a few excursions of its own while holding the groove. Noel Redding’s liquid playing approached the bass as another lead instrument, contributing ideas of its own rather than simply supporting. The threesome meshed superbly on what is acknowledged as one of the best festival sound systems ever – play their Live at Monterey album and you’ll have to remind yourself there are only three people on stage.
Wild thing … Hendrix at Monterey
Central to this, of course, is Hendrix himself: his dazzling technique combines with a use of feedback and fuzz to almost casually create music of stunning strength and inventiveness. His vocals are warm, wistful or lascivious on cue, and never less than engaging; what passes for banter between numbers is winningly self-effacing. This is peak Hendrixosity, a live performance that has probably never been bettered or was never recorded if it was.
The finale of a properly wild version of Wild Thing was the big talking point – unconventional guitar-playing, humping PA equipment, rolling around on the floor and the sacrificial-type guitar burning. But some 50 years later, this looks contrived – merely tricks that obstruct the real magic. The true high point comes midway through, with the run of Hey Joe, Can You See Me and The Wind Cries Mary. Away from the gimmicks, these 12 minutes establish Hendrix as the embodiment of the counter-culture’s musical revolution.
The blues was squarely at the centre of so much new rock music. Here was a player who, unusually in that world, saw the blues as a living entity, not a museum piece to be reproduced. With this performance Hendrix let it be known he understood the blues as a spirit rather than a defined expression and presented its power retooled in a way that musically made sense to hippies’ forward-facing ideologies. Importantly, for the generation that was vociferously protesting the war in Vietnam, the Jimi Hendrix Experience reeked of danger, while the debauched dandy apparel and afros from both the black and the white guys was about as far from wholesome as possible. All of this made a big contribution to funk as it was beginning to take shape, as Hendrix reclaiming the blues became one of the crucial bridges between the Black Arts Movement of the early 1960s and funk as a renaissance emerging at the end of the decade.

'It felt like a wonderful dream' – DA Pennebaker on making Monterey Pop
Monterey Pop wasn’t the first or the most famous rock festival but it was the most significant, marking the moment the previously regional hippy scenes came together and, culturally, could build. Jann Wenner, an attendee who a few months later would launch Rolling Stone magazine, summed it up: “Monterey was the nexus – it sprang from what the Beatles began, and from it sprang what followed.” The festival’s success and exposure turned the US music business upside down by bringing the underground overground with more than a glint of gold about it: “rock”, as opposed to pop or rock’n’roll, became recognised as the new cash cow and executives started conspicuously growing sideburns.
Ultimately, the Monterey Pop Festival belonged to Hendrix. He arrived as a relative unknown to become the personification of organiser John Phillips’ intentions for three days of inclusivity and adventure during the Summer of Love. It is a bitter irony that Phillips had scheduled his group, the Mamas and the Papas, to close the weekend – ie to go on right after Hendrix. Their gentle psychedelic pop looked decidedly anachronistic: there could be no doubt that rock’s baton had been passed forward.
This article was amended on 4 August 2020 to correct a homophone: Mitch Mitchell’s drumming was “not fazed” by the guitarist’s flights of fancy, rather than “not phased”. It was further amended on 5 August 2020 to clarify the attendance figure of 90,000 given for Monterey’s final night is an estimate.
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Unlike many others, the Guardian has no shareholders and no billionaire owner. Just the determination and passion to deliver high-impact global reporting, always free from commercial or political influence. Reporting like this is vital for democracy, for fairness and to demand better from the powerful.
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Mike Pike
1 Views · 7 months ago

⁣The fact that the footage of 1969’s Harlem Cultural Festival that makes up the bulk of Summer of Soul languished for so long outside of the public eye is an injustice. The fact that first-time filmmaker Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson has now brought it all brilliantly into the light makes him not only a documentarian but a revolutionary. The stunning 1969 performances themselves are worth the price of admission, but they grow even more transcendent when spliced together with delightful talking head interviews and haunting historical context. The result is both archival and activating, showcasing a past cultural moment while pushing audiences to pour new energy into the present and the future.

Dubbed “the Black Woodstock” by Hal Tulchin, the man who rolled cameras as the event unfurled, the moving parts of the Harlem Cultural Festival represent a movement that is far more than what that nickname might suggest. The brainchild of event organizer Tony Lawrence, attended by thousands, and boasting a lineup of essential artists, it was and remains an overwhelming example of co-creative, faith-fueled community organizing. There are abundant shots of the crowd accompanying the footage of the performers, but these attendees never seem as if they are simply onlookers. They instead look like they are simultaneously at church, at a rally, and at a club, showing how intersectional true spiritual experience can be, pulling in elements from all three sacred spaces and crafting something that can’t exist without all of the ingredients.

And, in turn, the performers deliver a combination of a service, a protest, and a show. Though good showings are to be expected from names like Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, The Fifth Dimension, Sly and the Family Stone, and Gladys Knight and the Pips, the performances in Summer of Soul reach greater heights than could be expected. Whether or not these are the best technical performances that these stars have achieved is hardly the matter; these aren’t just performances, they’re incantactions, invocations, and explosions of unshakeable inspiration.
Though there are countless high points, the centerpiece of the performance footage is an impromptu “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” duet between a weary Mahalia Jackson and a fresh-faced Mavis Staples. This collaboration would have been a wow moment even if just performed well but these two vital voices combine to craft something almost otherworldly, something that truly must be experienced to be understood.

The interviews and accompanying contextual footage add both levity and gravity to the proceedings. Hindsight reflections from performers and audience members show the human hearts and souls at the center of the excitement while accompanying snapshots of what was occurring in the world outside Harlem’s Mount Morris Park keep the happening firmly planted in the bending moral arc of the universe.

Together, these aspects make Summer of Soul a truly prophetic offering, not simply a chronicle, not merely a concert film, but something wholly different and beautifully holy. It’s a passion project that not only unearths and restores a long-hidden piece of history; it might also contain enough restorative breath to unearth a collective liberative spirit that is in need of regular resurrection.


Serigo Leone
2 Views · 7 months ago

⁣Soaked in Bleach. 2015. Directed by Benjamin Statler. Written by Donnie Eichar, Richard Middleton, and Benjamin Statler.
Starring Tyler Bryan as Kurt Cobain, Sarah Scott as Courtney Love; featuring, as themselves, Tom Grant, Brett Ball, Max Wallace, and Norm Stamper.

Admittedly, even though I’ve always thought Courtney Love is bat shit crazy, I never believed she (or anyone else) might’ve been covering anything up or hiding information concerning Kurt Cobain’s suicide. As much as I loved Cobain, worshiped Nirvana as a young musician with a bad attitude and even worse fashion sense, I just took what the media fed me about his depression and how he’d always seemed suicidal, that he took his I.D out and put it on his wallet so that when he shot himself they’d be able to identify his body easily… and so much more.
After watching this, the other reviews and articles touting this documentary as a ‘conspiracy theory’ are way off base. There’s too much in this film to deny, from actual police documents, the tapes Private Investigator Tom Grant has with Courtney Love on it saying some downright incriminating things and even some with Rosemary Carroll (the Cobain/Love lawyer) saying things against Love. See for yourself. Judge on your own. But here’s my take:

The first thing we hear is a conversation between Tom Grant and Courtney. She hired him to investigate after Kurt went missing, this was only briefly before his alleged suicide. On this first tape, Grant questions Courtney about where she’d found some other letter, supposedly from Kurt, and she is telling him it was under the pillows on her bed. Grant, being there the night before Kurt was found dead, knew different; he’d tossed the bed and found Rohypnol, which Kurt had a prescription for. He knew the difference, and yet Courtney tried sticking to her guns even when Tom told her otherwise. So right off the bat, we get this very real, raw version of Courtney – outside of the media, outside of other celebrities and what they think of her or the general public and their view – right from a tape. It’s damning.

From there, we learn a little about Grant whose life story reads much like a lot of police/military officers. The thing I kept wondering is, for those who don’t believe the man or doubt he is credible – what does he have to gain from this? He’s pretty much haunted with what he sees as the facts. He’s not exactly a celebrity himself because of Kurt or Courtney; most people pass him off as just another conspiracy theorist. Yet, as he mentions later, Tom still gets letters, e-mails, all sorts of communication asking about Kurt, wondering why nothing has been done when there’s actually a lot of evidence suggesting he did not die by suicide. It isn’t only Tom who believes, but unfortunately the police seem to be the real roadblock.

It becomes very clear that police negligence really had a hand in what came to pass. On top of that, Courtney Love set the stage for this “suicide” – when she hired Tom Grant, filed a police report (and did so in fake fashion using Cobain’s own mother’s name – the media promptly reported his mom was worried he was suicidal and filed a Missing Persons), and then perpetuated the myth of Cobain being frequently suicidal. What really troubles me is this idea of the myth – that Kurt really wasn’t a suicidal person. Yes, he was depressed. Yes, he had killer stomach pains that put him in agony. But he was happy with his friends and people around him. After the stomach pains were cleared up and doctors put him on the correct medication after many stressful years, Cobain himself told an interviewer he felt the best he’d ever felt and he was plenty happy. Sure, no one knows what’s going on in the mind of someone behind closed doors – ultimately, we never know. I had a friend who killed himself and none of us in our circle of friends ever expected it. Yet so many close friends claim Kurt never ever talked about suicide once.

Furthermore, he’s not in the movie but Buzz Osborne knew Kurt, and the rest of Nirvana, from the beginning – he and Kurt went to high school together, he knew him before and after Nirvana hit the bigtime. Buzz claims Kurt was never suicidal, it was all a lie. He has harsh words for the other Cobain documentary that recently came out, Montage of Heck, because aside from the suicide myth it portrays other stories that are not actually true (the story that Kurt supposedly had sex with an overweight, mentally handicapped girl when he was young is a total fabrication, according to King Buzzo). So during Soaked in Bleach, we get a lot of other opinions from people very close with Cobain that jive with that of Osborne – that Kurt could be quiet, shy, but the idea that he was a suicide case is untrue.
What really drove this home is Courtney Love. When Cobain accidentally overdosed on his Rohypnol prescription after having a glass of champagne, the incident was not called a suicide at the time. At first people speculated it was an attempt, but it was confirmed as being accidental afterwards. Love did not, at the time, claim Kurt tried to kill himself. Nobody did. Then, after Kurt was found dead, immediately Courtney began telling the media how he tried it in Rome, he tried before, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise. This is categorically untrue. Max Wallace brings up the fact they even talked with the doctor who attended to Kurt that night in Rome, and the doctor also denies to the bone it was a suicide attempt confirming it was most certainly an accidental overdose. It isn’t hard to see Love helped the media run with the image of Kurt as a suicidal persona.

Once things get to the real down and dirty faces, looks at the crime scene and all that, it’s even more of an affirmation that Tom Grant is not just some ‘conspiracy nut’. The tapes are one thing, hearing Courtney go on about how maybe Kurt disappearing and all that before his death would be good for publicity on Hole’s next album and hearing her just lie to Grant over and over, but the crime scene is a whole other beast. I don’t want to say too much more because the evidence is some of the real knock-out stuff in this film.
I did like the little drama recreations they did with actors playing Love, Grant, Cobain, and others involved. Some of it was pretty decent. Not that she doesn’t deserve it after seeing this movie, but they really went hard at Love with their portrayal. However, I don’t see it as being that far off base. If you didn’t think Love was crazy before, you absolutely will after watching this. It’s hard not to.

A lot of the evidence presented makes you wonder how this case isn’t being re-opened and investigated again. Truly. This was an eye-opener of a documentary. Even worse, it’s coming out that apparently Courtney Love has bought Twitter followers, et cetera, to help tank ratings on websites for the film; IMDB is usually bad for ratings, but the skewed low rating for this was ridiculous as about 1,000 ratings of 1 before the release drove it down. Suspicious? Make up your own mind.

This is absolutely a 5 star documentary. I love Cobain, his music, all of it, but to see this was truly fascinating. I can’t get over it, honestly. I want to watch it again several times just to take in all the information. The whole thing is spooky. I’ll say no more other than – the directing is great, this whole film is put together well, and Tom Grant is a saint for offering himself up all these years as “that conspiracy guy” who has actually been fighting the fight for real justice.

One thing resonated with me deeply. Tom brought up how there have been tons of suicides that have been copycats of Kurt – either they did what he did exactly, or their suicide notes quoted Nirvana and related to the late rockstar – and he just wants the truth out there. Because it’s a shame for any kid to kill themselves, but if it’s partly due to the fact Kurt supposedly did, when he might not have, then there is a real need to have the truth known. Not only for all those kids, future kids possibly, but also for Kurt, for Frances Bean, and for all the people of a generation who related to him through his music.


Mauricio Delgado
2,298 Views · 7 months ago

⁣"Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story" is one of the most frustrating Martin Scorsese films as well as one of the most out-of-character. Decades in the making, in a way, this is an engaging but disorganized and long-winded (two hours, twenty minutes) account of the time in 1975 that Bob Dylan, nine years on from his motorcycle accident, convened a vagabond caravan of musicians, poets, reporters, photographers, money men, and hangers-on to tour the United States in the lead-up to the country's Bicentennial celebration. The tour was a bust, financially and in terms of cultural impact—or at least that's how Dylan, 78 at the time of this film's streaming premiere, remembers it, while cautioning Scorsese and the viewer that he barely remembers anything at all. Nevertheless, the Rolling Thunder Revue rejuvenated Dylan as a musician, in the manner of Elvis Presley's 1968 "comeback" special. And it generated enormous amounts of tour footage, some of which is reproduced here, within a highly conceptual framework, by Scorsese.

The issue of authorship is nearly as central to this movie as the story of Dylan roaming the United States, driving his own tour bus and performing in small- and medium-sized halls, accompanied by the likes of Joan Baez, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Roger McGuinn, Scarlet Rivera, Joni Mitchell, Ronnie Hawkins, and (in one of his final filmed appearances) Sam Shepard. Scorsese, who over the course of his long career has essentially stamped certain American rock acts, including Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and The Band with "Property of Martin Scorsese," is the credited director, naturally. And as edited by Damian Rodriguez and David Tedeschi, the film bears many Scorsesean hallmarks, including surprising transitions from one idea to the next, and sequences that have been cross-cut in order to provoke questions and create sensations rather than serve up fixed meanings or answers.

But once you look at what the thing actually is, what it's made of, and how the pieces have been arranged, things get curiouser and curiouser. The film is woven around footage shot during the tour by real-life Chicago cameraman Howard Alk (1930-1982), who was hired by Dylan to make a project that somehow never got turned into an actual feature film. The footage has been re-contextualized by Scorsese and presented as the work of European filmmaker Stefan Van Dorp, a nonexistent person played by Argentinean performance artist Martin von Haselberg (husband of Bette Midler, briefly glimpsed in 1975 footage). In interviews, Van Dorp talks in the cliched "high culture" cadences of a mid-20th century moneyed WASP, and speaks on camera of his subjects and collaborators (excluding Dylan and a few others) in an exasperated, withering manner.

Other fictional or questionably involved characters enter the narrative as well, including Paramount Pictures CEO James Gianopulos as the tour promoter; actor Michael Murphy as nonexistent Congressman Jack Tanner (whom he played in two projects for the late Robert Altman); and Sharon Stone, costar of Scorsese's "Casino," as herself, telling the story of how she attended one of the Rolling Thunder Revue concerts as a 17-year-old in the company of her mother and was invited to join the caravan.

Is Scorsese trying to create his own, epically scaled answer to "This is Spinal Tap" or "Zelig"—a mock documentary integrating the real with the fictional, prompting audiences to question the distinctions between them? Maybe. "The Rolling Thunder Revue" starts with a snippet of a silent-era George Melies film of a magic trick and returns to it later, as if to signal that an aspect of illusion is built into the project. The collision of verified events and never-before-discussed anecdotes (some of which, like Congressman Tanner's friendship with President Jimmy Carter, are obviously fabricated) undermines the veracity of everything in the story, like the anecdote about Rivera supposedly taking Dylan to see KISS and inspiring him to don Kabuki-inspired facepaint.

And to what end? What you're seeing, for the most part, are real events that happened in real places to real people, and which therefore have archival value. Even if one were to thread up unedited footage at random, the images and sounds would still tell us a lot about the culture and emotional temperature of the U.S. circa 1975. The concert footage (much of which concentrates exclusively on Dylan, regardless of assurances that the tour was a democratic endeavor) is riveting, showcasing inventive re-arrangements of many Dylan classics, including "Simple Twist of Fate," "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall," and "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll."

In comparison to the material that stands on its own, the absurd touches feel glommed-on and pointless, and much of the time, they don't work. When the Van Dorp character prattles about how he wanted to show "the contrast between the excesses of the people on the tour and the dissolution of society [in] the land of pet rocks and Slurpees from 7-Eleven," it's like being forced to listen to a reading of a satirical short story by a fiction writer who understands the dictionary definition of satire but never figured out what, exactly, he intended to make fun of. The culture itself? The popular art form that tries to respond to the culture? The mentality of the artist mocking other artists trying to respond to the culture?

This is a documentary, and at the same time, it's also a prank or a joke. But it's not particularly funny when it's plainly trying to be. Why? Maybe because it's lumpy and unfocused, meandering from absurdism to poker-faced sincerity (as in self-contained sections about the plight of Native Americans and the fate of one of Dylan's real-life subjects, wrongly imprisoned boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter). Or maybe it's because when you think of Scorsese, one of the great living American filmmakers, a lot of different words and phrases spring to mind, but "goofy" and "wry" and "light touch" aren't among them.

The unsung hero in all this is Alk, whose footage gives the movie its artistic and historical nucleus. He was friends with Dylan from 1963 on, and worked with him on several movies, including "Eat the Document," "Hard Rain" (also about the Rolling Thunder tour) and Dylan's semi-improvised, self-directed "Renaldo and Clara" (where a lot of the footage comes from). Aficionados of analog-era, fly-on-the-wall nonfiction camerawork will admire the intelligence that Alk brings to every composition and camera move—assuming it's Alk's work that we're mostly seeing here, and it's impossible to know for sure, since Scorsese never identifies the footage that way, and lets us believe that "Van Dorp" shot all of it, because that's the joke. There are instances where he even seems to have dubbed Dylan and other real-life personages addressing Alk as "Van Dorp."

Meanwhile, Alk's unobtrusive artistry shines through anyway—as in a lovely moment where Dylan and Ginsberg visit the cemetery where Jack Kerouac is buried, and the camera briefly sneaks away from the two men swapping Kerouac quotes to wander over to the writer's grave site, perfectly framing the rectangular headstone to create a frame-within-a-frame.

At one point, Van Dorp gripes about an obsequious Rolling Stone reporter, real-life journalist and gadfly Larry "Ratso" Sloman, stating that "he didn't want anyone else with vision around." This feels like a self-deprecating joke on Scorsese's own status as an auteur who puts his name on nonfiction projects partly comprised of archival footage created by others. But erasing credit for another artist's work—even an obscure one, even inadvertently, and even in the service of satire and conceptual art—is a dicey business. It backfires here, contributing to the current national malaise wherein facts are provisional and nothing can be trusted anymore, and making the project feel insensitive to the hard-won achievements of real people without whom it would not exist. Buried beneath layers of metafictional tomfoolery is a moving film about an anonymous artist whose achievements remain unrecognized, even by people ideally positioned to throw a spotlight on them.


Mike Pike
123 Views · 8 months ago

⁣A detailed and engaging look into the world of a personal favourite album, covering Porcupine Tree's backstory and how this career pinnacle was born, over nearly two hours that fly by.

PT main man Steven Wilson has a lot of interesting thoughts and insights about music - both his and more generally - but it's hard to deny that he also has some occasionally pretty cringey takes that verge on typical, jaded, middle-aged "everything was better in my day" views (this tracks pretty well with the content of his recent solo material, too). It's also quite sad hearing some of Gavin Harrison and Colin Edwin's concluding statements about the synergy and chemistry in the band, and how any other lineup would just not be the same, in the light of the announcement of the recent Porcupine Tree reunion which features neither Edwin or long-time live guitarist/backing vocalist John Wesley. Also, Richard Barbieri seems weirdly uncomfortable and almost scared of visual mastermind Lasse Hoile, though that could just be general awkwardness.

Regardless of any of that, all four members give their share of entertaining and informative peaks behind the curtain that will be of great interest to any fan of the band and/or album.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 👇

Mike Pike
235 Views · 8 months ago

⁣The 1991 documentary of the making of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' album that undoubtedly broke them through to the mainstream proper with the crossover hit, "Under the Bridge."
When I originally saw the film in the mid-90s, I was astounded at the recording process — with a much younger Rick Rubin and engineer Brendan O'Brien (before he became a household name producer himself with Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden, etc.), and made in a house, the supposedly haunted The Mansion (which Rubin now owns).

It shows a much younger band — there's a lot of serious talk mixed in with their own brand of sexual juvenility.
What's interesting is seeing the brief moments of interplay amongst the Peppers. John Frusciante before his descent into his hell of drugs and madness and his subsequent return to the fold. Kiedis mixing his own sense of the world from the brotherhood he feels with the band, along with Flea's love of funk and the music and his daughter, Clara who's just a toddler here (and now the band's photographer).

The best moments are when the band is shown recording the actual music — insights into the unorthodox methods and instruments they took — playing drums in a bathroom, using oil drums and metallic junk for the breakdown in "Breaking the Girl" and Kiedis' occasional off-tune vocal takes.
The best moment may be the recording on "They're Red Hot", the quiet outro track on Blood Sugar Sex Magik — they recorded it live, outside the house, on the grounds, at night.

If anything it shows a band just before they became HUGE and before the tragic excesses of what this album did to them in their history. Of course, they've recovered and succeeded even further since then, but they almost seem quiet, dour and yes, mature now. It seems that the sex and funk are a little more PC, and a little more PG.

1. Suck My Kiss
2. Funky Monks
3. Sikamikanico
4. Sir Psycho Sexy
5. Mellowship Slinky In B Major
6. Breaking The Girl
7. Fela's Cock
8. Give It Away
9. Apache Rose Peacock
10. They're Red Hot - Written-By – Robert Johnson
11. My Lovely Man
12. Under The Bridge

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 👇

Mauricio Delgado
3,847 Views · 8 months ago

⁣Dave Grohl takes another step toward Renaissance-man status with “Sound City,” his likable debut as a documentary director.
Mr. Grohl has already had considerable success as a drummer, guitarist and vocalist in groups like Nirvana and Foo Fighters and has shown a boundless curiosity with various side projects. (Yes, that was him in a cameo in the 2011 movie “The Muppets.”) Directing “Sound City,” about the recording studio of that name, now defunct, in the San Fernando Valley of California, he shows a decent grasp of how to pace a documentary and how to push nostalgia buttons, avoiding the marsh of smarminess most — though not quite all — of the time.

But “Sound City” is not merely a those-were-the-days eulogy for the studio, which closed in 2011. It’s really three films. The first third is a pleasant, somewhat glossy-feeling look back at the albums that were made there and the stars who made them, with anecdotes from Fleetwood Mac, Rick Springfield and many others that will be candy to several generations’ worth of rock fans. The studio, an unimposing-looking place to say the least, had a knack for turning out a big album just when it seemed on the brink of failure: Fleetwood Mac’s self-titled 1975 album and “Rumours” two years later, Mr. Springfield’s “Working Class Dog” in 1981, Nirvana’s seminal “Nevermind” in 1991.
The film then becomes a chronicle of the slow death of the studio, an analog operation whose heart was a Neve soundboard that recorded on tape, which by the 1980s had begun to be supplanted by digital technology. Mr. Grohl has become something of a musical preservationist, and he and others lament the loss of the human element of the analog era and the emergence of music created and manipulated on computers. It’s not an antidigital argument — Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails makes a case for digital technology as a creative tool — so much as an antiblandness argument.

And then Mr. Grohl turns his attention to making some new music. He bought the Neve board when Sound City closed and installed it in his own studio, and we see him and others putting it to use.
The big draw is Paul McCartney, who is shown recording a song called “Cut Me Some Slack,” seemingly making it up on the spot. It’s a little incongruous to hear Mr. Grohl advocate for a quick-and-dirty approach — “Do it,” he says. “Make it simple. Make it fast. Don’t overthink it.” — while working with Mr. McCartney, whose résumé includes some beloved Beatles songs that were painstakingly assembled track by track. But hey, don’t overthink it.
Mr. Grohl has put a lot of affection into this film, and it shows. One of the nicest touches may go unnoticed. Over the ending credits a catchy song called “Sound City” plays. The vocals are credited to Doug Deep and Paula Salvatore — Ms. Salvatore having been the manager of the studio in the 1980s. Earlier in the film she had spoken wistfully about having dreamed of her own musical career.


Mike Pike
922 Views · 8 months ago

⁣Documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky had begun a professional relationship with Metallica while making their 1996 film Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, about the West Memphis Three. Moved by the story of the West Memphis Three, Metallica, who normally did not allow their music to be used in films, allowed Berlinger and Sinofsky to use their songs in Paradise Lost for free.

The band and the directors kept in touch, discussing the possibility of working on a larger project together. Berlinger split from Sinofsky to direct Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000), which was critically panned and made little money. After this experience, he contacted Sinofsky and Metallica about revisiting their plans for a film.

The year 2000 had been, in the words of bassist Jason Newsted, "possibly the highest-profile year for Metallica ever." The band had released the live album S&M in late 1999, then played a New Year's Eve show with Ted Nugent, Sevendust, and Kid Rock. In February they won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for their cover version of "Whiskey in the Jar" (from their 1998 covers album Garage Inc.).

The following month, they filed a highly-publicized lawsuit against file sharing service Napster. In May they released the new single "I Disappear" from the Mission: Impossible 2 soundtrack; they performed the song at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards in June, and its music video was nominated in five categories at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards that September. Metallica spent June through August on the Summer Sanitarium Tour, playing 20 shows with Korn, Kid Rock, Powerman 5000, and System of a Down. During the tour, singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield was injured in a jet ski accident and had to miss three shows.

Bassist Jason Newsted, pictured in 2013. His departure from Metallica, and its after-effects, form part of the narrative of Some Kind of Monster.
The band took a break beginning that fall, which turned into the longest hiatus from touring and recording they had ever taken.

Against Everyone
24 Views · 8 months ago

⁣The film narrative is focused on the life of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, who was found dead on 23 July 2011 from alcohol poisoning, at the age of 27 at her home in Camden, North London.

The film starts with a 1998 home movie depicting a 14-year-old Winehouse singing along with her long-time friend, Juliette Ashby, at the birthday party of their mutual friend, Lauren Gilbert, at a home in Southgate, London.
The rest of the documentary shows the songwriter's life, in a chronological order from her early childhood, to her music career, which attained commercial success through her debut album, Frank (2003), and second, final album Back to Black (2006), to her troubled relationships, self-harm, bulimia, the controversial media attention, and her downfall with her drug and alcohol addiction, all until her death in 2011. Winehouse is featured throughout the film talking about her early influences and how she felt about fame, love, depression, family and her music career.
The subject of the film, Amy Winehouse performing the Virgin Festival, Pimlico, Baltimore in 2007.

Kapadia conducted more than 100 interviews with Winehouse's friends and family that combine to provide a narrative around the star's life and is billed as "the singer in her own words." The film shows extensive unseen footage and unheard tracks Winehouse had recorded in the years before she died. Unheard tracks featured in the film are either rare live sessions, such as "Stronger Than Me", "In My Bed", "What Is It About Men?" and Donny Hathaway's "We're Still Friends", a cover of Johnny Mercer's "Moon River" from when Winehouse attended the National Youth Jazz Orchestra at the age of 16 in 2000 or never-before heard songs the star wrote, such as "Detachment" and "You Always Hurt The Ones You Love".

There are various pieces of extensive, unseen archive footage of Winehouse, such as when she is video-recorded in a cab with friend Tyler James in January 2001 and driving to tours and on her long-term friend, Lauren Gilbert's holiday tape in Majorca, Spain in August 2005.

The film also shows various interviews, such as with Jonathan Ross, Tim Kash, and a funny video of when Winehouse is interviewed and talked to about singer Dido in 2004, when she promoted her debut album. The documentary also includes when Winehouse performed live from London on the Grammy Awards in 2008, and won the award for "Record of the Year".

The film also features footage from when she was filmed with her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, various performances, and when she auditioned at Island Records in February 2003, singing "I Heard Love Is Blind". Also included is footage from when she was recording her second album in March 2006 and a duet single, "Body and Soul", with Tony Bennett in March 2011 as her last recording before her death.

Some outtakes are also featured of her last shambolic performance in Belgrade, Serbia, a month before she died. The film concludes with long-term friend Juliette Ashby talking about her last phone call with Winehouse, footage of Winehouse's body being taken out of her home after her death, and Bennett stating: "Life teaches you really how to live it, if you live long enough." It then shows scenes from three days later of footage from Winehouse's funeral at Edgwarebury Cemetery and Golders Green Crematorium in North London. Closing clips end the film with videos of Winehouse from her early years until her death, with Antonio Pinto's composition, "Amy Forever".

Mike Pike
545 Views · 8 months ago

⁣It Might Get Loud explores the musical influence and careers of three of the world’s greatest rock musicians, Jack White, The Edge and Jimmy Page. It reveals how they got into music at a young age and followed their dreams to become household names.

Page started playing the guitar in school and went on to write songs for the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. Jack White grew up in Detroit and had so much passion for music that he traded in his bed and mattress so that he could have more space for his drum sets and guitar. His particular taste in music was not popular at the time but that did not stop him from playing roots and blues.

The Edge had a more conservative upbringing and developed his own style of playing the guitar. It Might Get Loud shows all three musicians coming together to discuss their influences and playing each other’s songs for the very first time.

Against Everyone
112 Views · 8 months ago

⁣A documentary record of Talking Heads in concert, using material from three shows in Hollywood, December '83. Apart from what artifice the Heads themselves allow on stage, Demme restricts himself to a cool, almost classic style, with the camera subservient to the action.

Building from David Byrne performing a solo acoustic 'Psycho Killer', to the full nine-piece leaping through 'Take Me to the Water', its distinction is more what it omits than what it includes. Tacky rock theatre razzle is stripped down to humorously 'minimal' conceits of staging, lighting and presentation. Apart from a few moments of incongruous boogieing, the allegedly over- intellectual Heads are revealed to be human, warm-hearted, and possessed of a sizeable humour. A quietly large achievement.

David Byrne walks on to a bare stage with a portable cassette tape player and an acoustic guitar. He introduces "Psycho Killer" by saying he wants to play a tape, but in reality a Roland TR-808 drum machine starts playing from the mixing board. The gunshot-like beats cause Byrne to stagger "like Jean-Paul Belmondo in the final minutes of 'Breathless,' a hero succumbing, surprised, to violence that he'd thought he was prepared for."

With each successive song, Byrne is joined by more members of the band: first by Tina Weymouth for "Heaven" (with Lynn Mabry providing harmony vocals from backstage), second by Chris Frantz for "Thank You for Sending Me an Angel", and third by Jerry Harrison for "Found a Job". Performance equipment is wheeled out and added to the set to accommodate the additional musicians: back-up singers Lynn Mabry and Ednah Holt, keyboardist Bernie Worrell,
percussionist Steve Scales, and guitarist Alex Weir. The first song to feature the entire lineup is "Burning Down the House", although the original 1985 RCA/Columbia Home Video release (which featured three additional songs in two performances edited into the film) has the entire band (minus Worrell) performing "Cities" before this song. Byrne leaves the stage at one point to allow the Weymouth–Frantz-led side-band Tom Tom Club to perform their song "Genius of Love". The band also performs two songs from Byrne's soundtrack album The Catherine Wheel, "What a Day That Was" and (as a bonus song on the home video release) "Big Business".

The film includes Byrne's "big suit", an absurdly large business suit that he wears for the song "Girlfriend Is Better". The suit was partly inspired by Noh theatre styles, and became an icon not only of the film – as it appears on the movie poster, for instance – but of Byrne himself. Byrne said: "I was in Japan in between tours and I was checking out traditional Japanese theater – Kabuki, Noh, Bunraku – and I was wondering what to wear on our upcoming tour. A fashion designer friend (Jurgen Lehl) said in his typically droll manner, 'Well David, everything is bigger on stage.' He was referring to gestures and all that, but I applied the idea to a businessman's suit." Pauline Kael stated in her review: "When he comes on wearing a boxlike 'big suit' – his body lost inside this form that sticks out around him like the costumes in Noh plays, or like Beuys' large suit of felt that hangs off a wall – it's a perfect psychological fit." On the DVD he gives his reasoning behind the suit: "I wanted my head to appear smaller and the easiest way to do that was to make my body bigger, because music is very physical and often the body understands it before the head."

Mike Pike
2 Views · 8 months ago

⁣Martin Miller
Session Band plays Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. Recorded live at
Weltklang Studio, Plauen on 10th August 2017.
Track List:
1. Speak to Me
2. Breathe
3. On the Run
4. Time
5. The Great Gig in the Sky
6. Money
7. Us and Them
8. Any Color You Like
9. Brain Damage
10. Eclipse
Martin Miller - Guitar & Vocals (
Felix Lehrmann - Drums
Benni Jud - Bass (
Marius Leicht - Keyboards & Vocals
Special Guests:
Jenny Marsala - Vocals (
/ jennymarsala
Michal Skulski - Saxophone
Studio: Weltklang Studio, Plauen (Germany)
André Gorjatschow - Director & Camera
Dirk Meinel, Christian Roscher - Audio Engineering
Matthias Prokop, Morgan Reid, Susanne Bartels, Josh McMorran - Camera
Ulrich Wichmann - Camera Assistant
Audio mix & video edit - Martin Miller
Additional Guitars - Martin Miller
Additional Keyboards - Marius Leicht
Background Vocals - Matthias Prokop & Martin Miller
Spoken Words - Levi Clay, Cheryl Harford, Fenn Alexander, Mike McLaughlin

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