I’ve written in the past about how powerful a role music plays in our lives. Regardless of genre there is an emotion stirred within us that connects with each passing note. In my youth and still to this day rock/metal always holds a deep connection. I grew up going to as many shows as possible and along with my friends we experienced everything there was to be offered at a show or festival. From small clubs like Irving Plaza and Roseland Ballroom watching Slipknot and Soulfly to the grassy hills of PNC Bank Arts Center for Ozzy Osbourne or huge arenas like Giants Stadium to watch AC/DC tear it up, these shows are a track map of my life. Within all these shows there is a common thread of feeling a sense of community, being able to express yourself without fear of being judged. Director Jonathan McHugh tries to capture the magic that surrounds rock music, festivals and to see if there is any truth to rock being dead in Long Live Rock: Celebrate the Chaos.
The film boasts quite a list of notable rock musicians ranging from KoRn, Godsmack, Papa Roach, The Offspring to Zakk Wylde, Lars, Rob Zombie and Tom Morello. McHugh’s film is mainly based around the festival experience as those run multiple days with dozens of bands playing. The film is able to shed the perception that rock has been labeled with through the decades: Satan obsessed, violent, loners with bad intentions. From nurses to schoolteachers, old and young, gender need not apply everyone is welcome to join in; for most this is a pure release of energy and feeling of comradely. The film showcases individuals who have made friendships and lifelong connections just by attending these shows. Through interviews with attendees and musicians we witness as rock allows the outlet for those to shed the doubt they may have over physical disabilities, to take charge and display an inner courage/strength they weren’t aware of and most of all the ability to help heal when the worst of times occurs. McHugh is also able to show the strength that women within this heavily considered male dominated arena possess with interviews from Halestorm, In The Moment, New Years Day and Skillet. One aspect I feel McHugh could have extended upon were black musicians in the rock genre with interviews from Ice T and Sevendust lead singer Lajon Witherspoon along with others whom expressed feelings of being cast aside because rock was “a white thing”.
There is one thing evident after watching and that is regardless if you don’t “get” the music you have to appreciate how it brings people together. Sure mosh pits look completely out of control but having seen it myself if anyone goes down the first words yelled are “pick em’ up!” As chaotic as everything seems it is our moment of Zen where just for a few hours or days everything is as it should be and we are able to just have fun.
2.5 out of 5
Film is available to watch via HERE
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