Nostalgia is the dominant emotion in much filmmaking about music. The primary impulse of many biopics, musicals, and documentaries is to memorialize music or musicians who have had a significant impact on the filmmaker’s life. Too often this has its own dangers: the rare biopic that does not sag with pacing problems suffers because it cannot establish any critical distance from its subject. But the mode can be uncannily beautiful — from the elegiac rhythms of, say, Clint Eastwood’s Bird, or the smoke-filled purism of Robert Altman’s Kansas City.
And a trawl of various music acts. Highlights were BC’s No Luck Club and Toronto’s Holy Fuck:
Holy Fuck are reductionists, intent on marshaling the squeals and protests of equipment designed for other purposes. At the Reverb, the audience comprised the would-be-hip and the professionally curious. It was a brilliant set, but only a few people got it. Much of the audience seemed more concerned with impressing the other people there. It was an elitist crowd, brought by the Now magazine showcase, of which Holy Fuck were the fourth act. Downstairs from the intimacy of Holy Joe’s, the Reverb has something of the church about it, and something of the thoroughfare. Its high ceilings produce great sound, showering shards of noise back to the audience along with drips of condensation from the air conditioning, a venue in which a dropped glass produces a shatter rather than a smothered crunch. But the utilitarian design — the traffic to the bar and the washrooms and the exits runs along the back — means that until an act is truly engrossing, it feels contingent. There is little to keep you there; you could be listening to another act upstairs (or downstairs, at the Kathedral) within moments, or out on the street. It does not ask anything of audience. It does not require you to commit. You have to want to be there, and you have to want to stay.