Friday, November 10, 2006

Movie Review: loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies

I'm a sucker for a well-done documentary about a band I like, and loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies fills the bill. It displays the greatness of the music that I already loved. It tells me more about the personalities than I knew previously. Kim Deal is the most gracious with the fans, perhaps because, as a female musician, she's still an anomaly and therefore a role model to teenage girls. Dave Lovering is sad, in several meanings of the word, his career as a magician looking disturbingly similar to Gob Bluth's on Arrested Development. Joey Santiago is the most well-adjusted of the bunch, a committed family man who is torn about touring keeping him away from his growing brood at home. Kim's twin sister Kelley, brought along by Kim for moral support, is a fun, blunt addition, not merely a hanger-on.

The scenes where Black Francis (sorry, I just can't quite think of him as Charles Thompson or Frank Black) gets interviewed, resurrected my range of emotions about my days of doing them. On one hand, I recalled why I enjoyed interviewing him several times, especially when he offered his suggestion that if the band were to start recording again, they should really start from scratch with a new name like Vomit Squad. On the other hand, the footage of his phone interviews showed him just as disengaged as I suspected some of my telephone interview subjects were. During the first phoner, he's fiddling with an eyeglass case while talking. During the second, he's lying on his hotel bed in just his underwear, which caused a collective shudder by the audience at the Music Box.

The concert footage proved insightful, too. It reconfirmed my belief that, as wonderfully original as the Pixies' music is, the band was always short on charismatic stage presence, which may have limited their popularity as much as an inherent weirdness to their sound. But it also showcased guitarist Joey as an underrated talent. As singers and songwriters Black Francis and Kim always garnered more attention, but Joey's unique riffs are a large part of their distinctive sound.

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