Sounds Like a Revolution

I expect you clever cats have noticed that of the words in the phrase ‘music industry’ the second one is holding the whip hand. 80 per cent of global music is owned and put out by the big four: Sony, Time Warner, EMI and Universal.

Inevitably these big wheels are not overly keen on music which poses a challenge to the status quo. The status quo isn’t a problem if you’re ruling the roost. At least there is enough freedom in the Western world for films like Sounds Like a Revolution to be made and distributed. It wouldn’t happen in China.

Enough fraff. Sounds Like a Revolution is a documentary about the current generation of activist musicians whose music poses a challenge to those in power and features the likes of Michael Franti, Paris, Fat Mike, Steve Earle and Ani Difranco. 

Directed by Summer Love and Jane Michener, it is a splicing together of interviews and live performances with a gaze that falls both retrospectively at the history of the protest song and to the side at the relationship between music and politics today.

It was frustrating that the glance focused solely on America but budget presumably was an issue. I also feel that as we consume a heavy diet of US entertainment and foreign policy, it makes sense to eat the stuff with less additives. Sounds Like a Revolution was like a lean steak in a sweet jus. I felt like a better person for eating/watching it.

Punk music dominates the protest scene. We saw and heard a lot from Justin Sane of Anti-Flag and Fat Mike from NOFX. I am truly not a fan of punk. It’s too loud and angry to serve as background music as I lie on my bed dreaming of greatness. But as I watched interviews with audience members after an Anti-Flag gig, many of whom had been turned onto politics simply by liking that music, I felt the electrifying power of a message more specific than ‘do you ever feel like a plastic bag floating throw the wind?’

If only bands from more genres would discover that fire in their belly. If only Katy Perry could look deep inside herself and find passionate opposition to the cuts.

The main problem with SLaR is that it will not have a wide distribution. It is too small to challenge the might of the new Harry Potter. Only a small handful of people will ever know it exists let alone see it. However, if you – unlike Katy Perry –  don’t feel like you’re living in a teenage dream and would like to be inspired by the thoughts, performances and lifestyles of devout musical radicals then there are two chances to catch it…

Sounds Like a Revolution is playing on Wednesday 17 November as part of a documentary double bill at:

Riverside Studios
Crisp Road
W6 9RL

…and on Tuesday 21 December at:

Curzon Soho
90 Shaftesbury Avenue

You may also like

New Year’s Eve Round-up
Absurd Bird, Soho
El Camion, Soho
Unrestricted Film Festival

Reader Comments