Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN - 24/3
MUSIC @ CPH:DOX 2015Previous Next
author PP date 02/11/15
CPH:DOX is one of the largest documentary film festivals in the world, featuring 200+ documentaries in all styles each year from lesser known pieces to feature-film type documentaries that go on to win awards at Oscars and Golden Globes. It takes place in Copenhagen during November each year and spans a multitude of venues and approaches to the genre, and recorded more than 83.000 visitors in 2014 alone.
Now, you may find yourself asking what on earth does it have to do with this magazine or music in general? Good question, and one that isn't immediately evident from the title CPH:DOX. But the festival is not just about traditional documentaries which you might recognize from DR1 or from Michael Moore productions. Instead, it also offers lots of interesting content for music fans. Both films about musicians, the people behind the scenes, and live performances are a part of the festival repertoire. This fits fell with their ideological objective of trying to bridge the gap between the film world and related art forms, which includes, among many other things, music as an art form, which is prominently on display in various forms at the festival.
With festival start date rapidly approaching (05 November through 15 November), we had the opportunity to preview a few films that we deemed as relevant to music enthusiasts reading this site. This article, therefore, is designed to give you insight on which films and/or performances you should consider checking out during the next week and a half.
There's a multitude of different styles of music represented at CPH:DOX in the form of live concerts at the Copenhagen venues. We'll focus here on the most relevant ones to give you a few recommendations:
While you might know this group from their critically acclaimed post-rock albums, there is also a 1976 Japanese cult documentary carrying the same name. Tonight, the band performs while updated visuals inspired by the film are shown behind them on analog 16mm film courtesy of Karl Lemieux.
Post-punk unit Lower, who have become the next Pitchfork favorite from Denmark, will be performing live while their schizophrenic videos from "I'm A Lazy Son...But I'm The Only Son" are being shown in the background.
Since moving on from Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore has been busy with solo stuff. This is his new band, which will be performing material that spans his entire career including Sonic Youth songs.
Better known as the enigmatic lead guitarist and vocalist for Baby Woodrose, Lorenzo Woodrose will be performing an intimate solo concert at the Albertslund venue Forbrændingen right after the screening of the biographical film Born To Lose, that draws a portrait of one of the most talked about acid rockers in Denmark.
One of the most talked about indie rock bands in recent years closes CPH:DOX with a full performance at the glamorous Store Vega in extravagant fashion.
There is, of course, plenty more to check out, if your interests expand beyond our (admittedly broad) interpretation of rock music. Check out the whole offering of 21 concerts at cphdox.dk.
The programme at CPH:DOX is split into nine categories from Dox:Award that features the international main competition candidates through Politics and Art into Music, which according to the category description celebrate the potential of sound and vision. We've had the opportunity to sample a few of the documentaries from the music category in advance (not all of them were available for the press as pre-screenings), so we've checked out a number of them and jotted down a few spoiler-free thoughts about the ones we saw.
Monsterman is probably the most interesting and unique of the music documentaries we had the opportunity to preview. It tells the story of Tomi Putansuu aka Mr. Lordi, the monster-clad frontman of 2006 Eurovision Song Contest winners, the Finnish hard rock / heavy metal band Lordi. During the film, which carefully avoids revealing Lordi's identity by never showing his face (although he has been 'unmasked' on the internet), we get insight into the turbulent interpersonal relationships behind the band that is pictured as being ran as a part band, part company. There are struggles between band members, departures and tragic losses of longtime members, monetary problems, but also insightful looks into Mr. Lordi's family life, Rovaniemi, and Finnish nature as an inspiring element to his development into a rock star, and much more packed into a little over 90 minutes. With little time devoted to actual songs and performances, this film should be interesting to anyone who's ever wondered what life is like in a highly successful band that experiences a decline in popularity into a gimmick-like status over the years.
The Redemption Of The Devil offers a glimpse into a year in the life of Jesse Hughes, the founding member of Eagles Of Death Metal and a dear friend of a certain Josh Homme. Who knew the charismatic vocalist was such a 'MURICA Republican in his persona? He's turning 40 years old during the documentary, but is dating a 25-year-old ex-pornstar, has no problem posing nude with her underneath what must be kilograms worth of marijuana on film, has educated himself to be a reverend bishop as a devout catholic, is seen at his back porch dressed in American flag apparel shooting pistols and rifles for sport, and is an aspiring politician who worships Reagan's America. A character of contrasts, for sure, who seems to have an opinion on everything and anything during the film, but also a surprising soft side relating to his private family matters that we also learn a little bit about, all the while following the chaotic progress towards a new Eagles Of DM album. With VICE presenting the film, it's the most professionally produced documentary of all the ones we had the opportunity to check out.
Wilko Johnson is best known for his work with British pub rockers Dr. Feelgood, who were one of the primary influences for the aspiring punk movement during the 70s that we heard much more about than of the often under-appreciated Johnson, whose 'duck-walk' performance style is legendary. He's been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is given 10 months to life. Instead of opting for treatment, he chooses to live life in full and enjoy his last moments instead of prolonging his existence with a few extra months through painful chemotherapy. The film is a rather philosophical affair with Wilko offering his thoughts about different aspects of life and what the death sentence has meant for him, interpreted from a variety of different angles. Requires a lot of attention and thought to string together his thoughts which seem to wonder all over the place as the film progresses and follows Johnson in preparation of his final show. If you ask us, this one probably is only suitable for Wilko Johnson fanatics rather than the general public at large.
Danny Says - no trailer available
Danny Says is the documentary of the life and times of Danny Fields, an iconic proto-punk god who has been involved with seemingly everything in the music scene from the 1960s onwards. He's worked as press publicist and manager for acts like The Doors, Cream, and Lou Reed, worked as the A&R for Elektra Records signing MC5 and The Stooges and working with the early Ramones and later proto-punk acts like New York Dolls and Modern Lovers. With more than 250 hours of interviews in his archive, a selection of these is presented in Danny Says with footage featuring iconic stars like Iggy Pop, Tommy Ramone, Lou Reed, Alice Cooper and many others, including of course Mr. Fields himself. Hilarious stories and anecdotes paint a picture of a man in between the buzz of the emerging punk music scene and the business side of the industry.
These are the ones we were given advance access to that we found relevant to highlight in this article. But aside from these ones, you should probably also consider the following films and many other ones available this year:
- Born To Lose (06/11): The film portrait of Danish acid rocker Lorenzo Woodrose.
- 9 Futures: Sounds Fragmenting: A look at the nine of the most innovative music festivals in Europe.
- Breaking a Monster (10/11, 12/11, 14/11, 17/11): A story of Unlocking The Truth, the YouTube sensation of three 11 year old African Americans performing brutal breakdowns at Times Square.
- Kurt Cobain x 2 (14/11): Double screening and acoustic live concert dedicated to the grunge singer's life and tragic death.
- The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead (9/11, 12/11): The history of UK punkers The Damned.
- In Pursuit Of Silence (11/11, 12/11): An anti-music film that looks to prove that silence is the ultimate experience of sound itself. A break from all those breakdowns for you metalheads out there.
So, as you can see, there's plenty to look forward to at CPH:DOX for music fans, not to even mention the wealth of documentaries that aren't relevant for us to talk about right now. For all information, check out their official website, cphdox.dk.