It Might Get Loudby Robin Scher / 27.05.2010
If you’re an aspiring rocker, expiring rocker or just an appreciator of music blasted through a large amp – watch this movie – it’s the closest thing to guitar porn you’re going to get…
It Might Get Loud is a documentary about the electric guitar, told through the narratives of two incredibly talented and diverse guitarists, Jack White and Jimmy Page, and then also The Edge. The film explores their different philosophies towards of playing and recording their instruments, all the while building on the evolution of their respective careers. This is achieved in a slightly disjointed manner of cutting between scenes of the three guitarists chatting in a living room, set up in a massive sound stage, along with a plethora of guitars, and backstory footage of the artists.
While I would have enjoyed seeing more scenes of simple dialogue between the musicians, the audience is offered a rare and inspiring glimpse into the private world of legendary Page, multi-talented White and then once again The Edge. The opening, and possibly best scene, shows White manufacturing an electric guitar out of a block of wood, a string and a pickup, which sets the tone for his input for the rest of the film. Front man of White Stripes and Raconteurs fame, Jack White was born in the wrong decade and this comes through in his strong emphasis throughout the movie in ‘stripping down’ the sound of his instrument to its most raw form.
Another fantastic and memorable moment is watching Page play the guitar part to “Ramble On”. With white hair, tied up in a ponytail, you are unlikely to witness a cooler grandpa, who still plays with as much passion and balls as he did shirtless in the sixties. Page comes across as a modest and passionate musician who has rightly solidified his place in rock history through his incredible ability at playing the guitar.
And then there is The Edge… Every time this beanie-wearing douche appeared on screen there was a tangible sigh from the audience. Unintentionally providing comic relief during the film, The Edge offers the audience an interesting look at how, simply put, he plays really basic chords and then attaches the greatest effort to putting those sounds through a number of different effects and distortions to produce his “sound”. While there is no denying the legendary status of U2, The Edge just seemed out of place during this movie, apparent when the trio were jamming in the studio. Whilst a strong and inherent connection could be seen in the playing between White and Page, a lost-looking Edge kind of fiddled around with his guitar, wandering what to do without his giant effects board.
I left feeling entertained and with a sudden urge to listen to some White Stripes. Although far from being a great documentary with its jarring scene changes and unfortunate contrast between sounds of gritty blues mixed with Dublin twanging, it’s worth it to remember why you spend so much time strumming the air when you listen to rock ‘n roll…