loudQUIETloud: On Tour With the Pixies

I’m not a fan of the talking-heads music documentary. I find it a waste of time to listen to lesser musicians gush about their idols. But I do appreciate a well-crafted or intimate tour doc, and the 2007 film “loudQUIETloud” is nothing if not intimate – which is the brilliance of it because The Pixies are notoriously shy.

Kurt Cobain once remarked in a Rolling Stones interview that he was basically ripping off the Pixies and that his band Nirvana used their sensibilites by playing softly and quietly and then following up with hard and loud sounds. In this sense, Nirvana didn’t change the course of music in the ’90s, it had already been set by the Pixies.

But despite their incredible music “presence” the band members themselves remained mysterious and elusive. Most of all, the reason behind their 1993 break-up remained unexplained as did the reasoning behind their decision to re-group in 2004. But even after seeing the film, there are no clear reasons other than the band members’ very apparent difficulty communicating – not only with each other, but with their families and their fans.

The conversations that we are privy to are so penetrating that we begin to feel that as an audience we have a closer relationship with the band members than they do with each other. The directors truly achieve here.

This is not a retrospective documentary. Don’t expect to see lots of old highlights of the band’s early years. This is strictly a tour film, and it’s a special gift to be able to travel with a rock band as it shuffles back to stardom. loudQUIETloud is an intimate look at four very different personalities, none of whom appear particularly attention-hungry, but all of whom embody some deep musical and emotional spark. When the sparks meet at the same time, you see fireworks. And when they don’t, you sense the kind of moist discordance that extinguishes any relationship – no matter how brilliant the fireworks.

loudQUIETloud is available for free online viewing through SnagFilms.

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