Monday, March 05, 2007

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground

loudQUIETloud was a documentary that quickly came out last year theatrically and quickly arrived on DVD shortly thereafter. Any documentary about the Pixies piques my interest, but a certain story ran in the NME right around its theatrical release that made me hold off on seeing it. Charles Thompson criticized certain editing of the film, but the story made it seem like he was very displeased with the film. Coupled with some rather opinion-as-fact comments made by one of its filmmakers in Fool the World, I had a bad feeling about the film.

I watched the film over the weekend and found it pretty worthwhile. This is a fly-on-the-wall film about the band's reunion tour, starting in a small bar in Minneapolis. Following their tour of the states and Europe, there's plenty of intimate access that no puffy EPK would ever show. That's the perk, but the actual film feels less like the dynamic of a Pixies song and more like the dynamic of a Pixies show. Meaning, the music is incredible, but staring at the people making it can be tiresome after a while.

As noted a few times on the commentary track, the film's pacing is meant to go from the loud onstage sound to the quiet backstage, hotel room or tour bus. It's cool to see Joey and Charles spend time with their families, along with Kim spending time with her sister and David in his own world. The lack of communication between the band members is not a fault of the filmmakers or the editor. This is just how the band functioned on this leg of the tour. There are plenty of good times had by the band members, but it remains very clear how all four have moved on in their respective lives.

After viewing the film, I realized how Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's Some Kind of Monster documentary has raised the standard for rock band documentaries. The members of Metallica bore all in front of the cameras because they were willing to bare all in front of the cameras. With the Pixies, their lack of open communication between each other presents many missed opportunities in front of the camera. Word is the film has helped the members communicate with one another.

All this said, I think the best way to understand the Pixies is by listening to their music. In no fault to the filmmakers or the previous live performance DVDs, this band made its legendary status back when there were no such things available. Curious people such as myself wanted to know more about this band Kurt Cobain (and many of his contemporaries) praised, so all we had was the music to go off of. Fool the World is a fantastic bio on the band and pretty essential if you want to know more about their origins. loudQUIETloud digs as deep as it can to get a glimpse of where the band was on this first part of their reunion. The results may not be the most compelling, so maybe a sequel or short follow-up film could provide a different (and more engaging) look at the band.

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