Back Beat

June 6, 2015 at 12:15 am | Posted in DVD Review, Film Review | Leave a comment
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I watched the DVD (2007) of this [1994] film the other night and it really added to my understanding of the origins of the Beatles.

The film revolves around John Lennon, Stuart Sutcliffe, and Astrid Kirchherr. Sutcliffe is Lennon’s best friend; Sutcliffe was also a member of the band that would go onto become known as the Beatles. In all, there have been six musicians who at one time were in the band – Sutcliffe left and Pete Best also ‘left’. Ringo was the ‘latecomer’.

Much of the film takes place in Hamburg; this is where the film really lets one know how formative Hamburg and Astrid for the Beatles.

Hamburg in the early 60’s, compared to Liverpool, was a cosmopolitan centre of new ideas – fashion, artistic, social, etc. Astrid a photographer was woed by Stuart; and inevitably they became lovers. It was she, who gave the Band their haircuts, and influenced their choice of clothing. After their second stint in Hamburg, the Band was recogisable as the Fab Four, and the jeans/blue-shirts/leather-jackets were gone.

At the time, Stuart was John’s best friend, and Astrid came between them. John is portrayed as ‘an angry young man’ – though preferred to think of himself as ‘desperate’. He did not like Astrid taking Sutcliffie, a very talented painter, away from music, the band and him, into the arts world.

The three leads are played by Ian Hart, Stephen Dorff, and Sheryl Lee. Gary Bakewell chips in as Paul McCartney.

Things I never knew: the Beatles started out as a cover band; their first recording work was as a backing band for Tony Sheridan; the 5th Beatle was actually Sutcliffe; and Ring was the 6th.

Worth watching for the history and the times.

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Spector

July 15, 2012 at 10:09 am | Posted in Musical Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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… with the BeatGirls (and Jason Chasland) … a clever parody of 60’s and 70’s music (produced and influenced by Phil Spector) … a history of 60’s and 70’s music (using Phil Spector to connect the songs) … the story of Phil Spector … the wall of sound – (one of Spector’s many innovations).

I went to the opening night of this new BeatGirls show.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, having been to a number of BeatGirls gigs – where they sang some wonderful covers. But this was a show – a story, drama, … . This was also a departure for the Girls – having a male guest performer.

Some of the audience were dressed in 60’s and 70’s outfits. Some of the audience looked like they caught some of the music first time around – they clearly enjoyed the show and the music. Not being a baby-boomer, I missed many of the references.

Spector is a ‘show of two halves’: 60’s music leading up to the intermission, and 70’s music after. The first half was restrained and tidy; the second was psychedelic and a loss-of-innocence (was there really that much sexual goings-on?). In the first half, the Girls were dressed as tidy inspirations for Amy Winehouse – very ‘Mod’; in the second, the Girls were in 70’s flower child outfits (complete with John Lennon headbands). The first half was a music history lesson; the second was a riot of events – culminating in where Spector is currently living (prison) and how he got there (2nd degree murder of Lana Clarkson). In the first half, the wall of sound was explained and demonstrated; in the second it got out of control – I can see why Paul McCartney eventually released Let it Be … Naked – the wall tended to overwhelm the lead singer.

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