Tag Archive for 'R.E.M.'

Radio Kampus. 26th April 2017

Back home to Warsaw after the Spring Break showcase festival, and back on Radio Kampus with a more regular show than we’ve been working on over the last few weeks as we wound down from Tallinn and built up to Poznań.

This week’s show has a couple of blasts from the past and some fantastic new music that’s come in to us over the last few weeks including new releases from The Sky Is, Tepr, Wiry, RAZA, Coltana, and much more. Enjoy.

1. R.E.M. – Radio Free Europe (I.R.S.)

2. The Sky Is – Kudzu (Self-released)

3. Tepr – Arrée (Parlophone)

4. Wiry – Wiry (Dreamland Syndicate)

5. Hey Karen – In Gradients (Self-released)

6. RAZA – Dogons VS Vogons (Self-released)

7. Max Bravura – Stranger (Self-released)

8. Hunters – Hunters:Dead End (Stupido)

9. Ultras – You’ve a Foul Mouth, John Barleycorn (Hello Thor)

10. Coltana – Break Her (Poeticat Presents)

11. Multiplies – Megafist (Self-released)

To be retained #3 – R.E.M., Road Movie. 1996

I have many good memories of R.E.M.  The most recent, of course, doesn’t involve the band itself at all but instead involves my visit to Athens, Georgia and the self-led R.E.M. walking tour to such places as the 40 Watt Club, Weaver D’s and Wuxtry Records.  Almost 20 years before this (17 to be exact: shit!), my dad and I attended the world premiere of the band’s film, Road Movie.

The Green world tour had exhausted the band and after Out of Time and Automatic for the People, R.E.M. disappeared for a few years.  There were no tours.  There was no extended press and publicity and in those pre-internet times the fans held out for any gossip they could get their mitts on.  When the band finally returned in 1994 with the single What’s the Frequency, Kenneth? and the album Monster, their world had changed.  Friends of the band River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain had both died and far from following a trio of albums considered to have been lush and instrumentally layered with something similar, they stripped everything down and produced arguably the most ‘garage rock’ record in their catalogue.

The following world tour in ’95 was fraught with incident, the most harrowing of which was drummer Bill Berry’s brain hemorrhage in Switzerland leading to several concerts (including the Glasgow SECC show for which I had tickets) being cancelled. Far from convalescing though, Bill was back at the drum stool in six weeks and concerts were rearranged; another Scottish show was announced for Murrayfield in Edinburgh and I’m sure I may write about that another time.

R.E.M. closed the tour at the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia over three nights.  All three were filmed and the resulting footage became Road Movie; a companion piece to Tourfilm, the documentary of the Green tour.  When finished, the film was to have its premiere at the ABC Theatre on Lothian Road for the Edinburgh International Film Festival; presented by Michael Stipe, no less.  It was to this very cinema that my dad and I made our way to that August evening.

Sadly, when we arrived, there was a note on the door saying that Stipe had been stuck in transit and wouldn’t be able to present the film as planned.  The premiere, however, would go ahead as planned and a small independent cinema in Edinburgh, packed to the gills with R.E.M. fans, was rocked to its foundations for a couple of hours.

The film itself, to this day, is one of my favourite concert films, pipped only by Heima by Sigur rós.  It’s entirely ‘glam’ in its approach and the concert visuals by James Herbert and Lance Bangs (among others) are particularly eye-catching.  As you would expect, the track listing is a mixture of tracks from Monster and stripped down versions of live favourites such as The One I Love and Losing My Religion.  Of course the real stars of the show are the band themselves and as you would expect Stipe gets the larger screen time but the others are never neglected.  Most noticeably though, the film shows a band just having fun.  It shows a band in love with live music again.  I remember watching the VHS time and time again to get Peter Buck’s moves down just right.  There’s a terrifying picture of me in rehearsal with the band that preceded troika; mid-air in a Peter Buck style jump in a terrible shirt and terrible hair that shows just how well I got it down.

Walking back to the car on the evening of the film’s premiere, I was like a hyperactive child.  Little did I know it would be another 3 years before i’d see R.E.M. live again, this time at Stirling Castle, but I knew I’d have Tourfilm and Road Movie to tide me over until then.

Of course, I was entirely ignorant at the time that my first experience of the Edinburgh Film Festival foreshadowed my own film – Elements; created with We Sink Ships – being premiered at the Edinburgh Arts Festival a mere 14 years later.  But that’s another story entirely.