Get Back – The Story of the City that Rocked the World

Get Back - The Story of the City that Rocked the WorldFrom a small basement club to Shea Stadium. Within a matter of a few years one group exploded onto the world stage and changed the course of pop music; and Liverpool would be forever known as the city where The Beatles are from. But it didn’t start with The Beatles and certainly didn’t die with them.

Get Back – The Story of the City that Rocked the World tells the story of Liverpool’s music scene from the 1950’s to present day. It explains how the local music scene was influenced by the docks, the influx of people from around the world, and seamen bringing home records from the United States. Music was already happening in Liverpool in the 1950s with skiffle bands and jazz, along with rock ‘n’ roll artists such as Billy Fury. But by the early 1960’s, clubs like The Cavern and groups began popping up all over the city, and a ‘scene’ was born. Get Back features interviews and live performances from bands, club owners and managers from what was to become known as ‘The Merseybeat‘.

While The Beatles went on to become the biggest and most popular group in the world, others followed in the crush to sign Liverpool artists. Though, within a few years whether, as the documentary suggests, there was a backlash from the London-based music industry against signing bands from Liverpool, or bands failed to move with the times, other cities became the focus of attention, as pop music turned psychedelic and rock replaced pop.

In the late 1970s, following The Sex Pistols and the London-based punk rock scene, the Liverpool music scene was rejuvenated . Once again there were clubs and like-minded musicians coming together. The scene appeared to resonate from a club called Eric’s where the likes of Big In Japan, Echo & The Bunnymen, Teardop Explodes and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark began hanging out, before forming bands. All of whom very quickly went on to sign for major labels, except Big In Japan who, along with Jayne Casey, would later give the world of pop music Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes To Hollywood), Ian Broudie (Lightning Seeds) and Bill Drummond (KLF).

In the late 1980s Liverpool was overshadowed by neighbouring Manchester, with its club The Hacienda and the so-called ‘Madchester’ sound of the Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets and the Happy Mondays. But Liverpool still had a thriving music scene. Baeleric beats and house music found a home in Cream, while bands like The LA’s, The Farm and The Christians continued to add to Liverpool’s rich music history. But with all that had passed throughout the last 60 years, even current bands such as The Wombats, Zutons and The Coral get asked ‘what’s it like coming from the same city as The Beatles?’

Get Back – The Story of the City that Rocked the World is available as a DVD and digital download from Revolution Films & Bulldog Film Distribution.

Shut Up and Play the Hits – a film about LCD Soundsystem

Shut Up and Play the Hits
Shut Up and Play the Hits - a film about LCD Soundsystem

The history of the concert movie is not a particularly distinguished one. From one of supposedly the best live rock bands of the 70s, Led Zeppelin, we got the self indulgent bloat of The Song Remains The Same. Their peers The Rolling Stones gave us a film Gimme Shelter where the music was absolutely the least interesting part of the film.

Not to say that there haven’t been any great concert films but the majority are still contractual obligation nonsense like Keane Live In 3D (are Keane even in 3D in real life?) leaving us with a few exceptions such as the apogee of the genre, Stop Making Sense – a film that stripped out the expected visual cliches and resulted in a film that was intimate rather than cinematic.

So where does the LCD Soundsystem film Shut Up And Play The Hits sit along this unholy spectrum? Well it certainly starts in intimate circumstances. James Murphy, the LCD mainman, is in bed the morning after the final ever concert by the band. He stares dolefully into the eyes of his pug dog who stares dolefully back – its not clear whether his mood is the result of a hangover or regret at the demise of his band or a bit of both.

As the film progresses, footage of James Murphy engaged in everyday pursuits is juxtaposed with scenes from the previous evening. It took ten years for LCD Soundsystem to evolve from what was basically Murphy’s one man band in downtown New York in the early 00’s to the global Acid House/Punk behemoth that they became. In 2011 Murphy announced the end of the band – in the film he cites the onset of middle age as the reason, saying that he blinked twice and realised that he was going grey – and their last ever concert at Madison Square Garden, which this film documents.

The concert scenes are truly fantastic. The band seem crammed on to the stage in a mire of cables, percussion and analogue synths. The fact that the drummer’s over to one side and at floor level, rather than on the traditional heroic centre stage drum riser, just emphasises the feel that this could all be taking place in an enormous front room. Overhead shots of a moshing crowd give a vivd feel of the energy that seemed to feed the entire 4 hours of the concert – fear not LCD agnostics, the film lasts just under 2 hours although a full length version will apparently be released on DVD.

The choice of songs is near perfect – including Us Vs Them, Losing My Edge, Drunk Girls and a sadly truncated Yeah (surely their finest moment). The direction is thankfully unflashy and occasionally not without a little visual wit. As Murphy explains to a journalist how he was never into large scale touring we see a neat line of half a dozen Fender headstocks amidst a small army of roadies. When the band play Losing My Edge, the aging hipster’s elegy to past glories and panic at being usurped by young pretenders, there’s more than one shot of Murphy being eyed up by guitarist and Hot Chip member Al Doyle.

The concert ends, unsurprisingly, with New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down. Balloons descend. Band and audience disperse in a cloud of sweat and regret.

They were a band who combined Punk and Acid House to create music to be treasured and if you never got to see them in the flesh, then this will give you some idea of what you missed.

Frankly, I can’t wait for the 4 hour version.

Shut Up and Play the Hits will be released in the UK in late August 2012.

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Elvis Costello in The Return of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook Live CD + DVD

Elvis Costello & The Imposters in The Return of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook
Elvis Costello & The Imposters in The Return of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook

Elvis Costello & The Imposters in The Return of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook Live CD & DVD from 2011 Tour was originally released in the US in 2011.  It now receives internationally release in three formats – standalone CD, standalone DVD, Deluxe CD + DVD.

The DVD comes with a special introduction from Napoleon Dynamite (Elvis Costello) in true vaudeville style as he introduces Elvis Costello & The Imposters in The Return of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook.

Elvis Costello was once The Imposter, when his record label refused to release a single under his own name, so he used the pseudonym and had a hit single with ‘Pills & Soap’.  For this show Costello’s backing group includes Steve Nieve & Pete Thomas of The Attractions.  But tonight they are to be called The Imposters.

The Return of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook DVD shows Elvis Costello & The Imposters in great from sounding as good as the original Elvis Costello & The Attractions.  The performance is tight, full of energy and includes some of my favourite Costello songs such as ‘Radio Radio’, ‘Alison’, ‘Everyday I Write The Book’ and ‘I Want You’.

After the opening four songs Costello turns his attention to MC Napoleon Dynamite and pulls someone from the audience to spin the wheel.  The wheel is full of songs titles.  Wherever the wheel stops the entertainers will play.  What a great way to play a set, especially when you have the wealth of material that Elvis Costello can call upon.

The DVD gives the impression of an intermit show with Elvis Costello at his best and was recorded over a 2-night stand at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on May 11 and 12, 2011. He is joined by The Bangles to sing a great sixties-dripping version of ‘Tear Off Your Head’. They enjoy the spotlight so much they stay on stage to dance to The Rolling Stones cover version of ‘Out Of Time’; and again for the finale, ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding’.

The Spectacular Spinning Songbook was first played to a US audience 25 years previously and this DVD / CD deluxe edition shows how far Declan McManus has come from mid-1970s London Pub Rock scene, through late 1970s New Wave success as Elvis Costello & the Attractions through to induction in 2003 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The show is a brilliant idea and perfectly executed.  Costello is a star, a superb songwriter, and above all an entertainer.

The DVD includes three bonus tracks including a great rendition of my all-time favourite Elvis Costello song ‘Watching The Detectives’. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good version – too clinical and not packing the edgy punch of the original.

The CD includes many of the same songs as the DVD with a few exceptions.

Elvis Costello & The Imposters in The Return of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook

DVD
I Hope You’re Happy Now
2. Heart Of The City
3. Mystery Dance
4. Radio Radio
5. Clubland
6. God Give Me Strength
7. Tear Off Your Own Head (It s A Doll Revolution)
8. Out Of Time
9. I Want You
10. Everyday I Write The
11. Stella Hurt
12. A Slow Drag With Josephine
13. Jimmie Standing In The Rain
14. Alison
15. Earthbound
16. (What s So Funny Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding
Bonus DVD Tracks
Uncomplicated
Watching The Detectives
Monkey To Man

CD
1. I Hope You’re Happy Now
2. Heart of the City
3. Mystery Dance
4. Radio Radio
5. Everyday I Write The Book
6. God Give Me Strength
7. Watching The Detectives
8. Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s A Doll Revolution) featuring Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles
9. Out Of Time
10. Want You
11. Stella Hurt
12. All Grown Up
13. Lipstick Vogue
14. Man out of Time
15. National Ransom
16. (What’s So Funny `bout) Peace, Love and Understanding

Elvis Costello & The Imposters in The Return of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook CD, DVD or Deluxe CD + DVD.

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Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon – review

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon
Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon

I first stumbled across Kings Of Leon in 2003 with the release of their debut album, Youth and Young Manhood.  The album was as raw as a rare-cooked slab of meat with edges rougher than a stubble-chinned kiss. The band received critical-acclaim in the UK and the album peaked at #3 though fared less well in their homeland.

The second album,  Aha Shake Heartbreak was released a year later.  Musically it was much the same as the first, though I sense a slight turn away from rough, garage-ready sound towards a more studio produced sound that in time would become more commercial and veer away from alternative indie rock to become a mainstream stadium-filling and festival headlining pop rock that would see the Followill brothers & cousins become one of the most successful rock bands on the planet.

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon is a very candid documentary based on interviews with the group and their families.  Explaining how the boys were brought up in a strict and religious environment citing how Caleb Followill was going to follow in the footsteps of his father and become a preacher man before escaping the poor, country small town existence to front one of the biggest rock groups in the world.

Caleb explains how one day he and brother Nathan was home alone and decided to rig a home-made aerial to the only television set which was only used to play computer games.  They were excited to watch Sesame Street.  Tongue-in-cheek he jokes how he will surely go to hell for that escapade. But there is a darker side to the documentary.  The band is shown arguing amongst themselves.  Insults are thrown as they appear fractious and at times without the brotherly love their external persona suggests. Caleb admits openly having had problems with alcohol and other drugs, though suggests he is over that part of his life.

Talihina Sky charts their lives from their humble beginnings in the deep South, through personal troubles and ultimately their love of music that would make them superstars, to signing a record deal and selling out stadiums worldwide.

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon features interviews with the full band – Caleb, Nathan, Jared, and Matthew Followill  plus exclusive footage of other family members and influential figures in the band’s lives and career, this is the first time their tremendous journey has been documented. Talihina Sky is the definitive story of the Kings of Leon, told in their own words.

“10 years ago I witnessed the creation of this family band in their mother’s Tennessee garage. Even then, I was fascinated by their strict Pentecostal upbringing and the eccentric and colourful characters that make up their family. There was no doubt in my mind that they would become one of the biggest rock bands in the world. My goal with this film was to document the roots of their music and how rock-n-roll transformed their lives. I am proud and honoured to share the story of Kings of Leon.” – Stephen Mitchell, Director

Talihina Sky: The Story of the Kings Of Leon is released by Revolver Entertainment on DVD & Blu-ray.

Win a copy of Talihina Sky: The Story of the Kings Of Leon.

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Win a copy of Talihina Sky – The Story of Kings of Leon – Free Competition

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon
Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon is a unique insight into one of the biggest bands on the planet. Now a global phenomenon, the film charts their lives from their humble beginnings in the deep South, through alcohol, recreational drugs and most importantly, the rock n’ roll that would make them superstars, to signing a record deal and selling out stadiums worldwide.

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon
features interviews with all of the band members – Caleb, Nathan, Jared, and Matthew Followill, plus exclusive footage of other family members and influential figures in the band’s lives and career, this is the first time their tremendous journey has been documented.

Talihina Sky is the definitive story of the Kings of Leon, told in their own words. for more information visit www.talihinasky.co.uk.

Free to Enter Competition to win Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon DVD

Buzzin Music has 5 copies of Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon DVD to giveaway.

To enter all you need to do is answer the following easy question:

Q: What is the name of the Kings of Leon lead singer?

Submit your entries to comps@buzzinmedia.co.uk with the subject line: ‘Kings Of Leon’ (other subject lines will not be entered) with your full name, address & contact number.

This Buzzin Media Competition ends has now closed

The editor will randomly choose five winners from the correct answers. The editor’s choice is final.

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