Aug 20, 2009

It Might Get Loud

I didn't have much faith in this film because the preview looked to me like this was some sort of sinister integrated music marketing tool . If it is, it doesn't show it. It's very enjoyable and it would be even more so, if there was more music in it.
Three very different and talented guitarists (Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, The Edge from U2 and Jack White from White Stripes and Raconteurs) get together to talk about their guitars, their beginnings, their influences, and to make some glorious noise. This movie reminded me that I love rock. So sad, I had almost forgotten. I came home to blast U2, something I had not done in ages.
Even though I recently went on a Led Zeppelin spree in iTunes, I had never really looked at Jimmy Page.
As far as I was concerned, Robert Plant stole the show with that torso, those extremely low rise jeans, that hair and that feline growl of his. But look (and listen!) to Mr. Page now. He is seriously the sexiest man alive. Particularly when he holds a guitar between his hands. And plays it. With supreme ease. And out comes trouble. Out comes sexy.
This is what happens when you get older. When you are young you love Bono and admire The (inscrutable, solitary) Edge. When you mature, you love The Edge and you love The Edge some more and you are very much over Bono. The Edge has no antics. The Edge just is. And plays. He is a revelation in this movie. One, because he has a droll, Irish sense of humor. At one point he does yoga with a blackberry and claims it's some sort of ancient Celtic yoga, with as straight a face as they come. Two, he shows us his guitar tricks. You can tell an Edge riff from a zillion miles. Unique and not worth imitating unless you want to sound just like U2. He doesn't mind disclosing how he does it. He plays a magnificent, layered sound and it turns out that he is just strumming two notes (the rest is pedal work and effects).
Both he and Mr. Page are supremely laid back and confident (I guess in their success and their wealth and their age). Jack White, however, comes with a built in need to show off. That he is extremely talented there is no doubt. This movie makes one want to see him when he gets to be older, wiser, and less self-conscious.
The guys talk about how they started, and particularly for the elder statesmen, there is very funny footage of their younger selves. Nobody can escape the phallic grandstanding of rock & roll, but if there is a good corollary to rock stars aging in tranquility is that, at least in this case, they are a repository of gorgeous, experienced sound. When the three play together it's sheer joy, but I have to say, I was missing the bass and the drums. Without them, it may be the blues, but it ain't rock & roll.

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