SXSW Film: Ride, Rise, Roar

Ride, Rise, Roar is a concert film documenting David Byrne’s 2008/09 ‘Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno’ tour. The film features 14 songs filmed over three shows in addition to intimate rehearsal footage and discussion about the tour itself . Byrne made an interesting, and some may say, bold decision by bringing along a troupe of modern dancers to help bring something different to the show and help add some visual context to some of the songs. Unlike last years Michael Jackson’s This is It this is a more straight forward concert film with small behind the scenes vignettes.

Ride, Rise, Roar is an interesting look at Byrne’s career featuring well known hits from his days with ‘Talking Heads’ Once in a Lifetime, Burning Down the House and Road to Nowhere.  Also included from Byrne’s ‘Talking Heads’ catalog are I Zimbra, The Great Curve, Houses in Motion, Air, Life During Wartime, and Heaven. A couple of tracks from Bryne’s most recent collaboration with Bryan Eno and the 2008 album Everything that Happens Will Happen Today are also in the mix.

Any David Byrne or ‘Talking Heads’ fan would love this concert film. I was pretty impressed with how well it was shot given all the action taking place on stage lending it a more dimensional feeling than a standard concert film. The dancers aren’t the only ones moving around. Byrne and his backup band at various times are in on the action as well lending some interesting visuals to what could have otherwise been a standard band in front of an audience performance.

I also found the black and white behind the scenes footage inter-cut between performances to be insightful into preparation for the tour. I especially enjoyed a look into Bryne’s recording and the collaborative  effort with Brian Eno.

Director David Hillman Curtis best known, first and foremost, as a web designer has gained notoriety as a documentary director  since beginning work on his “Artist Series.” Hillman was given seemingly unlimited access during the time he spent with the band filming the shows that were used for the film. It’s all masterfully put together that radiates the same energy at the show in the theater.

I give Ride, Rise, Roar 3 “David Byrne fans only need apply” out of 5

by John Coovert

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