Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It Might Get Loud DVD Release

it-might-get-loudIt Might Get Loud, the theatrical documentary featuring Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White, will be released on DVD and Blue Ray on December 22nd, just in time for last minute Christmas shoppers.

Retail price is set at $27.96 for DVD, $37.95 for blue ray.

And yes, I would love a copy under the Christmas tree honey.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures: Sound Academy Toronto


Them Crooked Vultures, Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, Foo Fighter's/Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Queen of a Stones Age's Josh Homme, and Alain Johannes, stepped on the Sound Academy stage in Toronto without fanfare or introduction, and spent an hour and a half blowing the roof off the place. Loud, tight and played at a pace that can rightfully be described as frantic, Them Crooked Vultures didn't let up from beginning to end.

The show began with Elephants, shifting time signatures throughout, Them Crooked Vultures announced immediately they weren't just another band. John Paul Jones stepped out with an 8 string bass, img_0043but didn't stay with it long as he changed instruments with every song: the 8 string, a regular bass, a slide bass, a keytar, piano, and a baritone jogamathingy, complete with skyward facing strings and built in TV set (lest he miss his favorite soccer team?).

Jones played  with a relaxed calm that belied the thunderous power emanating from himself and his band-mates. Looking at his ease and enjoying himself, Jones even stepped to the microphone for a call and response type verse. His piano solo was shorter than fans of his earlier work are used to, but satisfactorily familiar for that. I couldn't help but wonder if he would call his new piano solo two-bits, as his ex-band mates had stolen no quarter from him in an earlier incarnation.

Unlike Jones' calm detached concentration, drummer Dave Grohl was channeling the Muppets Animal: head bobbing, hair flying, sticks pounding in a frantic blast of timekeeping. Unfortunately, Grohl eschewed a drum riser (or at lease a riser of any significance), making him virtually invisible over heads in the packed house. That aside, his playing was top notch, showing no signs of rust for having spent the past ten years fronting the Foo Fighters instead of drumming.  It's not easy to keep in drummer shape, but Grohl kept it up for the full set, with no breath catching ballads to be found. Alain Johannes filled out the rhythm section with solid guitar duties, as well as playing bass when Jones' played his horizontal slide TV.

As a guitar player I can say with authority it would be a dream to play in front of such a rhythm section, but at the end of the day, Them Crooked Vultures are a Josh Homme vehicle as much as anything else. He fronts the band, he sings, he plays lead guitar. However, Homme's vocal was lower in the mix than is usual, and the vocals got lost in the thunderclap rhythm section. Technical nit-pickery aside, Them Crooked Vultures blew away a jam packed house at The Sound Academy, a startling achievement considering none of the music is available for public consumption as of yet.

Setlist (from setlist.fm)

  1. Elephants

  2. Dead End Friends

  3. Scumbag Blues

  4. Gunman

  5. Caligulove

  6. New Fang

  7. Bandoliers

  8. Interlude w/ ludes

  9. Reptiles

  10. Daffodils

  11. Mind Eraser

  12. Nobody Loves Me

  13. Warsaw



No introduction necessary: Singer Homme introduced Dave Grohl and Alain Johannes, but when it came to Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, he merely pointed to Jones side of the stage before the crowd roared in approval. Despite the lack of formal introduction, by evenings end chants of "John Paul Jones, John Paul Jones..." could be heard between songs.

The very strict no camera policy seen at some TCV shows seemed to relax on this evening, possibly because the size of the crowd made any form of enforcement impossible. That said, heavy use of back lighting by the band made taking decent pictures a challenge.

A variety of t-shirts, as well as a touque style hat was available for sale.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It Got Loud

It Might Get Loud, the guitarist documentary featuring Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White, returned to Toronto, where it was premiered the the 2008 Toronto Film Festival, allowing me to finally catch a viewing.

The documentary brings the three guitarists together to jam, talk guitar and share experiences. The meeting of the fingers is supplemented by following each guitarists to a location away from the meeting: U2's The Edge to  Mount Temple secondary school in Dublin, where U2 formed and performed their first gig; Jimmy Page to Headley Grange, the Victorian mansion where Led Zeppelin recorded their legendary 4th album, as well as Led Zeppelin III and songs that would appear on Physical Graffiti; Jack White is filmed at a home, presumably his, with a young friend in tow, ostensibly 9 year old Jack White. For a guitar geek like myself, and a big time Jimmy Page fan, the result is a must see movie.

The three guitarists are blues/rock guys, with wholly different approaches to the genre, made apparent when Jack White is it-might-get-louddiscussing how he dislikes effects pedals while director Davis Guggenheim edits in a forklift carrying The Edge's pedal board (it is an astounding array of pedals).

Throughout the movie Led Zeppelin guitarist Page is treated as the elder statesman, both by the two younger guitarists and by the director himself. The awe on the faces of Jack White and The Edge when Page plays Whole Lotta Love, inspiring The Edge to move to a different position for a better view. Even when they are driving to their various spots for the personal sections, White and The Edge drive themselves, while Page sits in the backseat, elegant in fine coat looking more like a wealthy banker than rock star. All elegance and grace, the only thing missing from the effect is a walking stick.

Musical highlights include Page playing the mandolin part from Battle of Evermore, White playing an old boogie woogie piano song, stomping his foot and singing along barrelhouse style, and The Edge showing how his effects change a simple song into a complex sounding layer of sound. Jointly they play In My Time of Dying and The Weight, with all three sharing in the vocal duties on the latter (Page most reluctantly). Page showing off his Theremin at movies end is also fun.

It might get loud is a treat for fans of each of the artists or their bands, an absolute must see for guitar players and a gift from God for guitar players who are fans of any of the three.