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SFF’13 Movie Review: “Sound City”

January 28, 2013

Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 5.49.18 PMI am such the biggest rock fan, you can’t even comprehend that notion. So, when I read up on this film, and learned that Dave Grohl was directing it, naturally this became a top priority for me to see at the Sundance Film Festival. Not only does Grohl prove by every stretch of imagination that he’s an incredible drummer, and a talented front man, but now he can add crafty filmmaker to his resume.

The question however was brought up at the Q/A if he was planning to direct something next, his response in a nutshell was that if he doesn’t have the passion to tell another story then he won’t do so. Obviously rock has been very gracious to Mr. Grohl and his passion for it shows through this film.

Sound City. America’s greatest recording studio housed a one-of-a-kind console, and as its legend grew, seminal bands and artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Metallica and Nirvana all came out to put magic to tape. The film features interviews with many of the artist who recorded their hit albums at the legendary San Fernando Valley studio, not to mention raw performances from the iconic musician. Sound City doesn’t just tell the story of this real-life rock ‘n’ roll shrine, it celebrates the human element of music as Grohl gathers some of rock’s biggest artists to collaborate on a new album. Using Sound City’s legendary analog console, together these artists continue to create musical miracles in a digital world.

If you love rock you will certainly LOVE this movie, every minute of this film tops itself after the next. It was like a kid in a candy store, you just didn’t know what to expect next, who show up in the studio to record with Dave; it’s pure joy-gasm. But, the movies big focus is on the recording technique the studio was known for. The presence of a Neve soundboard, now belonging to Dave Grohl, and the studio’s acoustics, bands and artists swarm by the dozens to record within walls of Sound Studio. You’re left with an imprint of such historical impact it’s left on the world of music in general, not to mention the impact it left on the artists who recorded there.

Favorite part of the movie, hands down, Paul McCartney showing up at the end. The last part of the movie is so awesome, not only is the audience at the screening are clearly geeking out, but in the doc, everyone in the studio is sharing that same feeling and mentality. He’s Paul FUCKIN’ McCartney, who wouldn’t you be feeling that way in the first place??? There’s a great line spoken that sums it up perfectly, as Paul’s there’s jamming with Dave, ‘Yeah, like we’re gonna tell Paul McCartney what to fucking do!’

This is a movie made with a labor of love, and it shows, Dave figures out exactly how he wants it to look, feel, and evoke it’s sound just the right amount of zealousness. “Sound City” is a true testament to how momentous the studio was, as a place, and for the numerous artist who left their mark when they recorded there.


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