Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: It Might Get Loud

It Might Get Loud is a documentary feating Jack White, The Edge and Jimmy Page. They are some of the more influential guitarists alive and as I imagine, three people very hard to get into the same room... which is exactly what the filmmakers have done in this one and half hour film that includes archival footage, interviews and live performances. If you have ever played the guitar or been a fan of their music, then this movie is peek inside how they work the instrument to express themselves. Each of them comes from a different background but yet the movie works to show each of them as having gone through similar stages in their development.

Jack White likes to fight, literally, with cheap plastic guitars and vintage amps on the verge of breaking up. The Edge is famous for playing with effects until he gets exactly the sound that he hears in the head. Jimmy Page is simply put, is an absolute tone hound and responsible for many of the rock guitar sounds you hear today.

To see Jimmy Page stand in the hallway where the drums for "When the Levee Breaks" were recorded, clap his hands and hear the familiar reverb of the space after 30 years is simply awesome. We also see The Edge return to the school where the members of U2 first performed, which includes the classroom they practiced in, which is even more poignant considering they are playing stadiums on their current tour. The Edge also walks on a small schoolyard stage U2 first played on well over 20 years ago.

In fact the movie is just filled with incredible moments. In one scene, the Edge pulls out a box of four track tapes without any idea of what is really on the tapes. As it turns out, one of them is an early demo of "Where the Streets Have No Name". Jimmy Page rummages around in what could be best be described storage room for his gear, filled with more instruments than your local music shop. Perhaps one of my favorite scenes is when Jack White tells some 9 year old doppelganger to stomp on his #1 guitar like he's putting out a cigarette.

Then there is the scene where Jimmy Page plays the first distortion pedal ever made. That to me is quite magical when you consider everything that comes after that. There also some crazy moments where nothing is even said between these guitar gods. The look on Jack White's face as Jimmy Page plays "Whole Lotta Love" in front of him. The twinkle in Jimmy Page's eyes as he puts on Link Wray's "Rumble". It's almost like you are seeing what it must have been like to be there the first time they heard those recordings.

If these are the types of things that make you get shivers down the back of your neck, then this movie is going to blow your socks off. If you are a fan of any of these bands, then you are really going to enjoy this movie and if you are simply a fan of music, you'll enjoy this well narrated trip through the past, present and future of rock and roll.

It Might Get Loud is currently in limited release. Details here. And will be out on DVD December 22nd. I'm sure the bonus footage on the DVD is going to be KILLER.

Here's the trailer:

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