Pete's Blog

Interesting Movie

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Just saw a film called "loudQUIETloud: a film about the pixies" (sic) on Hulu and would recommend it to anyone with 90 minutes to spare. The Pixies were a rock band from Boston that could be said to have played Chuck Berry to Nirvana's Rolling Stones, which is to say primary influence and stylistic guidepost, a generation previous. They broke up just as the Seattle grunge thing that owed them so much was getting started and the film finds them reuniting in 2004 after 11 years apart, to much greater acclaim and reward than they had ever enjoyed in what might be called The Day. Although I no longer purchase rock music that I didn't first listen to in High School I like the Pixies. They can actually play their instruments and write songs, always a plus for a punk band, and the wide dynamic shifts alluded to in the title always seem more musical than those done in their memory by Cobain and his pals. But even if I hadn't liked the music this much I would still have liked the movie. "loudQUIETloud" is more than a concert film. In fact, I don't think it contains one complete song. What it is instead is the best portrait of road life I've ever seen, and a moving story of four musicians at the cusp of middle age forced (for financial reasons mostly) to revisit their youth in some very uncomfortable ways. Recovering addicts need to take extraordinary measures to avoid temptation. Men with families speak to their children via computer hookup (the lead guitarist is introduced to his infant son in a hotel lobby) all the while performing music of heedless, unfettered anarchy to audiences as heedless and unfettered (and young) as they themselves once were, audiences that are far larger and more ecstatic than ever before. A new group dynamic is required, but it seems out of reach. The old patterns prevail. The four like each other well enough and are happy to be making music (and money) together again, but they don't talk. The drummer's burgeoning drug use threatens the bass-player's hard-won sobriety but nobody says anything until the band falls apart onstage one night. The songwriters keep writing songs hoping to record them with the group but nobody says, "Okay, let's make an album." And everywhere, always, the audience - utterly uncritical and very, very young, going nuts when the band simply walks out onto the stage. You can tell this adulation is earned, but still it discomfits. Again and again you hear a distant roaring, then a door is opened and the sound springs at you like some sort of beast. What must it be like to face that every night? What must it be like to get used to it? To take it for granted?

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