As my Bengals have been eliminated from the playoffs, and as my beloved Kentucky Wildcats were done by six last night, I spent much of the evening on Netflix. Music documentaries were the order of the night.
First up was Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me. The Memphis-based ur-power popsters are a quintessential cult band, doing brilliant but commercially doomed albums that critics loved and that influenced several later generations of musicians — indeed, only the Velvet Underground could be seen as having a comparable below-the-radar impact. In some ways, the story has become a cliche — artists appreciated later than they should have been. In some ways, the film is itself an example of this: three of the band’s four members have died. The movie focuses on the two principal songwriters, Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, and the stories are enigmatic and heartbreaking respectively. Still, everyone’s voice is heard, and the celebratory/memorial concert at the end puts a nice cap on things.
Next, I watched Teen A Go Go: A Little Film About Rock and Roll History. It’s a look at the mid-60s garage/teen combo scene that I love so much, with particular attention to the scene in Fort Worth, TX. The movie features a great deal of oral history, with members of bands like The Elites, Larry and the Blue Notes, and Mouse & the Traps talking about the venues, the sessions, and the go-go girls that were part of the scene. It’s a great deal of fun, and the interspersed footage and stills of the bands in their heyday are nice as well. Bonus points go to the filmmakers for doing some of the interviews at a still-operating roller rink that hosted its share of shows. I’ll admit I was predisposed to like this one, but I did, quite a bit.
Here’s hoping the rest of your weekend is a pleasant one.