Sound+Vision Ballina Arts Centre’s annual film festival returns this year for a week-long programme celebrating music in film. The festival, now in its seventh year, is an integral part of Ballina Arts Centre’s film programme and each year takes a theme. This year the theme is ‘In Concert!’, and the programme will feature a number of classic concert movies. From the celluloid Valhalla of The Song Remains the Same to Jonathan Demme’s innovative Stop Making Sense, Sound+Vision: In Concert! will have something for everyone and will truly celebrate music in film.
As with previous years the programme of film screening will be augmented by a live performance. This year, we welcome Dublin-based The Group with their live recreation of the greatest concert film of them all – The Last Waltz, a fitting way to round off a week of classic performances.
The programme kicks off on Monday 30th July with Lou Reed Berlin: Live at St. Ann’s Warehouse. Was there ever a more deliriously miserable album than Berlin, Lou Reed’s anguished 10-song tragedy about two star-crossed junkies and what became of them? Recorded in 1973, it was the record that almost broke him. Berlin was a financial flop and a critical calamity; dismissed as “a disaster” by Rolling Stone magazine. Three decades on, the same publication was hailing it as one of the greatest albums ever made.
Berlin, in short, is a beautiful downer. It burns and it bites and it should be approached with caution. For years it seemed that even its creator had no wish to revisit the thing; snubbing it in his live performances and bristling whenever interviewers attempted to draw him on the subject. But in December 2006, Reed agreed to recreate the album in full in a concert film directed by Julian Schnabel, live at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY. Background shots of the characters Jim and Caroline were done by Lola Schnabel.
Sound+Vision 2012 continues on Tuesday 31st July, with Stop Making Sense (1984). Over the course of three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre in December 1983, director Jonathan Demme joined creative forces with cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth and the band Talking Heads… and miracles occurred.
Following a staging concept by singer-guitarist David Byrne, this euphoric concert film transcends that all-too-limited genre to become the one of greatest films of its kind. A guaranteed cure for anyone’s blues, it’s a celebration of music that never grows old, fuelled by the polyrhythmic pop-funk precision that was a Talking Heads trademark, and lit from within by the geeky supernova that is David Byrne. Adm: €5
Fans of classic rock will be salivating at the prospect of seeing The Song Remains the Same, on Wednesday 1st August. Led Zeppelin’s film mixes their 1973 concert at Madison Square Garden with fantasy scenes and footage of the group members backstage and at home. Intense, extended performances of classics like ‘Dazed and Confused’, ‘No Quarter’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ don’t always blend well with the hallucinatory imagery, but die-hard Zep fans will appreciate the set’s uniquely ’70s feel. Grandiose and magnificent, The Song Remains the Same remains a distinctive part of Led Zeppelin’s history.
Ireland’s U2 have, like most other major bands, committed themselves to celluloid on more than one occasion, most successfully with 1989’s Rattle and Hum. And on Thursday 2nd August, younger viewers will get a chance to see what all the noise was about. A concert movie on an unprecedented scale, Rattle and Hum captures U2 – on and off stage – during their triumphant Joshua Tree tour. From the giant Technicolor stadium celebrations to the black-and-white intensity of the indoor shows, this is U2 at their best. Follow the group across America, exploring new influences, playing with the legendary B.B. King, on a journey which takes them from Dublin to Graceland, from San Francisco to the streets of Harlem, from The Joshua Tree to Rattle and Hum.
The screenings programme concludes on Friday 3rd August with Elvis: That’s The Way It Is! (1970). Released in 1970, it documents the rehearsals and the six-night stand at the Hilton Hotel in Ls Vegas, presenting the dawn of Vegas Elvis, the legendary showman whose rhinestone-studded attire established the oeuvre for the growing desert oasis. In addition to this legendary showman, we see Elvis the person, wolfing down hamburgers and suffering from pre-show jitters. Elvis: That’s The Way It Is! was and remains very popular among fans because, in addition to showing actual performance footage, it offers a candid, behind-the-scenes look at how Elvis prepared for his shows in rehearsals, backstage and in his down time. The camera shows all aspects of the show, from a cappella rehearsals and celebrity entrances to crowd reaction and interviews.
All film screening begin at 8pm and admission is €5.
Sound+Vision: In Concert! will finish on a high note on Saturday 4th August with a re-enacting of probably the greatest concert movie of them all. The Last Waltz, Martin Scorsese’s classic document of the farewell concert by The Band, is one of the best loved music movies of all time. Now, Dublin rock’n'roll troupe The Group have brought their own spin to The Band’s magical farewell concert, by creating the ultimate tribute to this sensational show. This fantastic re-enactment has already seen Band fans young and old pouring into their Dublin shows to relive the buzz, excitement and stunning showmanship of the original concert and, of course, hitting the dance floor for some serious music appreciation.
This brilliant tribute night not only stars The Group themselves as The Band (naturally!), but also features a host of special musical guests from the Dublin music scene. The night is a real treat for fans of The Band, Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Neil Diamond, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell et al, and anyone else who loves good-old fashioned rock and country music.
The concert starts at 8pm and tickets are €20 and €18 (concession rate). Booking is essential.
For more information on Sound+Vision: In Concert!, contact Ballina Arts Centre: 096 73593 / ballinaartscentre.com