Yes, this includes VMA talk. But it’s short, and has nothing to do with twerking (which is now legally a word), I promise.
I bet I speak for many when I use the word “disgusted” to describe my feelings towards Taco Bell’s ridiculous amount of participation in this year’s MTV VMAs (yes, I mean the Moonman for “Artist To Watch (Presented by Taco Bell)”). I was even more disgruntled after finding out that the fast food chain had produced a documentary featuring Nutshell favorites Passion Pit, and their recent 2013 SXSW performance at the Hype Hotel with Wildcat! Wildcat! But then, after doing a bit of research, actually watching the movie, and even submitting to the power of a couple of late-night tacos, my perspective shifted. Not about the restaurant’s presence in the award show, of course. It was actually about the documentary, and the reasons behind the making of it.
First off, there’s a need to clarify. The rock-doc was in fact produced by Taco Bell…more or less. It was funded by the creator of fourth meal’s Feed the Beat program, which is entirely dedicated to the discovery and raising of new bands and musical acts. They help in ways ranging from free tour food to promotion, and even big shows. This where Passion Pit comes in, with the band actually being alumni of the program from during the time that Manners was starting to be shopped around. They teamed up with Feed the Beat again, this time to both return to a festival that they had less than amicable feelings about, and also to support the upbringing of virtually unknown indie rock group Wildcat! Wildcat!, who exploded in a ridiculously similar manner to the way that Passion Pit did a few years ago: online marketing (or a lack thereof) that led to a fluctuation in popularity of one of the band’s tracks. The rest, for Passion Pit anyways, is history. Wildcat! Wildcat!’s journey is just beginning, very specifically at the SXSW show where they opened for Passion Pit. Which is where this film just so happens to start.
The creative part about this movie is that, despite the focus on one specific concert, the content expands way past that. Between sit down conversations with both focus bands, you see many huge topics in the music industry get touched upon. One of the most notable is when Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos actually praises the benefits of illegal downloading and filesharing of music, even going so far as to say “Piracy is the reason that we have a career…at the end of the day it still benefits the band.” The internet is a huge part of the industry according to both bands, with the members of Wildcat! Wildcat! discussing the importance of social media sites taking the place of fans who will stick around to tell you that a show was great. Drummer Jesse Carmichael describes these thoughts as “opinions of people that 5, 10 years ago you would’ve never even known existed…that’s the way we can hear these stories.” Between these interviews, along with interviews of fans, you also get a feel of how unique SXSW as a whole really is, with almost every show being an intimate one.
However, an intimate show doesn’t mean it’s something to scoff at. The documentary goes out of its way to state that it is one of the smallest shows on Passion Pit’s tour. But to Wildcat! Wildcat!, a show at a packed 1500-capacity venue with online streaming and live documentary film crews, it’s no laughing matter. This is a fascinating part of the movie that shows how different two band’s perspectives can be on literally the same exact thing. And the cameras rolled throughout both pre-interviews, post-interviews, and the performance itself to catch every moment of emotion from both bands, whether it be fear, excitement, or anything in between.
Hello Everywhere is one of the most honest documentaries I’ve seen in a while. Maybe not necessarily the most informative or most beneficial to me in history class, but I’ve never seen a film where the topic is as up front as a simple concert, where they just dive into it so clearly. If you are a fan of music, concerts, movies, tacos, or fun, then this is a movie to check out. You can stream it for free here, and if you’re interested, you can also find out more information on Taco Bell’s Feed the Beat program here. And I feel as if, since the main point of the movie is to promote them, I should also let you know that you can check out Wildcat! Wildcat! on their website for tour dates, music, and more.
Now let’s not get crazy here. This is not at all suggesting that “It Might Get Loud” is a new film, nor is this implying that Nutshell is becoming a movie review site. Sure, they will weasel their ways onto our front pages from time to time, but that’s only if they have something meaningful and relevant to Nutshell to share. This documentary (or dare I say “rockumentary”) from 2008 smashes together three of the greatest guitarists ever to walk the earth to simply “talk about electric guitars”. Jack White (The White Stripes), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and The Edge (U2) all come together to create a film classic that had surprisingly never been done before.
The first thing to point out is how incredibly uncomfortable Jack White looks to be throughout the entire film. Not only does he tell a camera privately that the three will most likely break out into a fist fight, but he also watches The Edge and Jimmy Page introduce themselves without saying a word. But you do have the privilege of seeing him make a “guitar” (a few pieces of wood, a glass bottle, a guitar jack and a guitar string) that completely functions and play music with a nine year old version of himself. Eerie? Absolutely.
The guitar tech for The Edge also has his own little cameo appearance, basically to explain how The Edge will never reuse a guitar effect, so naturally has to carry around a 20+ switch effect pedal for every single show.
The meat of the film starts when the three all sit down to actually start the conversation. Talking about how guitars are fading as the popular instrument, how technology is taking over in the world of guitar playing, and how guitar playing is an emotional outlet sets the stage for this movie.
Another core section focuses on things from the respective musician’s careers. The venue of an early U2 show, an Airline Guitar used with The White Stripes, and the recording palace of former Led Zeppelin albums were the focus, along with various stories pertaining to those mementos. If you’ve ever wanted to see a little kid stomp on a guitar, you’d enjoy this part of the movie.
The movie continues to dive deeper into these musician’s pasts. Touching on things like Page’s first bands, The Edge’s nontraditional view of “Spinal Tap”, and Jack White’s early blues influences gives you an in-depth look to where these three men came from and how they’ve created who they are today.
And here’s the part 90% of the people who watch this movie want to see. These three legendary musicians all plug in their guitars to play together. The first is U2 hit “I Will Follow”, in a moment that the The Edge never thought would happen: teaching Jimmy Page a song. It’s not soon after that White and The Edge watch in amazement as Jimmy Page plays the opening riff of “Whole Lotta Love”. The three then all begin playing together again in a rendition of the White-written “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”.
“It Might Get Loud” is definitely a movie for all music lovers to check out. Nowhere else can you get into a detailed history of three guitarists that are this huge anywhere else. The amount of respect between these three men is phenomenal, and it shines throughout the entire movie. Check out “It Might Get Loud” today, it may just change your perspective on the basis of these three musicians and the rock and roll genre as a whole.