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February 11, 2010

Movie Review: It Might Get Loud

Okay, so I don't know whether this movie went under everyone's radar, but I caught something about it in a guitar magazine a while back then I was reminded about it by a band-nut friend of mine, who insisted that I watch it. So, last night, I did.

Brief synopsis: it's a [cough] rockumentary which brings together 3 guitarists from 3 musical eras. Representing the 60's and 70's, we have Jimmy Page, from the 80's and 90's, the Edge and from the new millennium, in comes Jack White.

Apart from giving hard-core guitar nerds something to think about during sex, what was the main thrust of the film, I hear you ask. Well, I think it was trying to give some insight into what drives someone to become a musical innovator, whilst at the same time charting the course of musical history.

Yes, I'm a guitar nerd. Yes, I really enjoyed it. Watching the show was a really strange experience, though. You really got the feeling that each of these guys was a major loner and that music was their connection to the world... well, with the exception of Mr White, who I thought was pretty damn cool, all things considered. Noisy. Cool.

There was precious little interaction between the guitarists and their surroundings. Everywhere they were filmed was deserted, bleak. You got the feeling that somehow that was a reflection of their souls.

Mr Page came across as sublimely laid back, a contented survivor. Mr Edge, well, he annoyed me with his "I'm just strumming an E-chord and this 12-foot stack of electronics manned by two technicians is what's actually making the sound". Mr White, well, he acquitted himself well in an almost Tim Burton meets A Clockwork Orange fashion.

Ach, I shouldn't be so down on Mr Edge. He found his sound through manipulating and modulating. That in itself is valid in an Jackson Pollock in a beanie kind of way. I guess there's a kind of jealousy there in the whole 'you made it, but not the way I would have chosen'.

If anything, my main complaint about the movie was that it was too short. I wanted it to be a 3 hour show. I wanted more riffs, more NOISE. I wanted to know these guys more...


Istvanski said...

They had to maintain an aura of mystery; hence the short film.

Colin Gillman said...

Divvna knock the Edge man. He was my inspiration when I was considering taking up guitar the first (aborted) time around.

Furtheron said...

I had almost dismissed this as probably being one of those - "look at me I'm a star" type things. hmm...

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

—Herbert Spencer

Anyway having again exposed my lacking as a human being...

The Edge is a brilliant innovator - ok maybe he isn't this flash guitarist with all the chops etc. However I can't play a bloody note and it sound like him... I can't get from the strings to the noise through the effects. Jimmy Page I can get around as it's notes, I play the same notes as him (mostly in the right order) and it is something like him... Jack White as well - although I don't like his stuff personally.

Also I look at U2 and see that their last album still caused massive coverage on Radio 1 - now these are dinosaurs aren't they now? But still relevent to the youth of today as well of those of us who grew up with them. That to me is one of the remarkable stories of U2.

Aside all that - interesting observation about them as people... I've known a few good musicians in my time and can agree they struggle to be in the world and only seem remotely at home or comfortable within their music. Maybe that is why we do lose so many of them young (Hendrix, Bonham, Kossoff etc.) perhaps it's just too difficult to bridge the two. Mr Page should be contented - he's managed it and kept it together pretty well.

This isn't a comment it's becoming a Sunday Times review of the blog post... What am I like :-)

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