Friday, November 29th, 2013
Review of The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone
Shane MeadowsI didn’t respond terribly enthusiastically when The Stone Roses announced their equally inevitable and improbable reunion in October 2011, my fixation on their reputation as a patchy live band and general cynicism about its prospects of lasting long enough to come to North America overriding any fanboy enthusiasm about maybe getting to see the creators of one of the greatest albums of the past quarter-century in the flesh. And indeed, though the reunion has lasted long enough to traverse the globe and reported new material earmarked for a third album, they’ve still not come any closer to Toronto than Indio, California so short of getting on a plane to some far-flung destination to see them, the second coming of The Stone Roses has remained something of an abstraction.
But a viewing of Made Of Stone, the film by Shane Meadows about the first days of their reunion, make me rather regret that. It’s not really accurate to call it either a documentary or a concert film, because there’s little to no talking head footage or insights into the hows or whys of the reunion – and if there was, it’d probably be incomprehensible without subtitles – and there’s not enough complete live performances to qualify it as the latter.
Instead, it captures Meadows’ perspective as a mega-fan with a video camera invited into follow the band around from their initial press conference confirming the reunion, through their secret rehearsal sessions and their first secret show at Parr Hall in Warrington, England, their European tour, and culminating in their homecoming shows at Heaton Park in Manchester, along with some historical footage. And while frustrating for those looking for inside dirt – though you do get the skinny on Reni’s walking out on the Amsterdam show that many feared was the derailing of the reunion before it’d barely begun – it more than captures the excitement of it all, both within the band and amongst their fans. The scenes of those to get tickets for that first secret show after it was announced that morning are genuinely heart-warming.
And while I’m sure the business end of things was key to getting the band back together, the excitement within The Stone Roses about playing together again is tangible. Okay, John Squire is as stoic as he probably ever was, but Mani and Reni and Ian Brown all seem positively giddy about it. And if there was any question if they still clicked musically, the rehearsal run through of “Waterfall” answers it definitively and unequivocally. Reni’s backing vocals are divine and even Brown stays remarkably in key; he’s not quite as good in the actual live performances where he resorts to shouting, but given the right circumstances – or maybe just some really good monitors – he’s still got it.
For all the things that Made Of Stone isn’t, what matters most is what it is and that’s a love letter to the band from a fan that gets as much love in return. A must-see for fans of the Roses, even those skeptical about the reunion. I’m hoping that 2014 is the year that the Roses finally makes proper landfall in North America, but if not… maybe I’ll get on a plane.
Following in the well-received footsteps of their UK labelmates Temples, London psych-kraut outfit TOY will be undertaking a North American tour behind their second album Join The Dots, due out December 9. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on January 14, tickets a most post-holiday friendly $11.50.
Video: TOY – “Join The Dots”
Video: Peggy Sue – “Idle”
Maxïmo Park have announced details of the deluxe version of their new album Too Much Information, due out February 3. It will include a bonus disc including a handful of cover versions, including a Leonard Cohen song they’ve made available to stream. DIY has a quick chat with the band about making the new record.
Video: Trans – “Dancing Shoes”
Video: London Grammar – “Nightcall”
Tim Burgess of Charlatans tells BBC that their new album will feature contributions from their late drummer Jon Brookes, who passed away back in August. The record is due out in the new year.
Camera Obscura are featured in the latest 4AD Session videos set.