Straight off a wildly successful premiere at Sundance 2013 comes this thunderously exciting documentary that shows the exhilarating power of music made entirely by human hands and methods. Yes Sound City, the directing debut of former Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, is a chronicle of the titular recording studio in Van Nuys, California, begun in 1969, and boarded up in 2011, becoming the stuff of legend, but Grohl is hunting bigger game here. It's no mere nostalgia trip, it's a celebration of music and what makes it so vital, particularly when real blood and sweat is poured into its making. Amazing archival footage tracks Sound City from its days in the 1970's housing acts like Fleetwood Mac, who made their masterwork Rumours there, on through the 1980's where it saw acts like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Santana and even Rick Springfield pass through its doors, and into the 90's where Grohl and fellow Nirvana members recorded their landmark album Nevermind. Atmosphere and ambience sure didn't draw talent to its halls, the place looks like a shithole. 'You could piss in a corner and no one would notice,' recalls one musician. But you would notice musicians recording togethr in a dank room with incredible acoustics, and Grohl means to put you right there, as intimately as he can. There's no digital trickery, no computers or Auto-Tune going on, just great music being hashed out amid the Neve mixing console.
That mentioning of the mixer doesn't mean Sound City is some tech talk, which is eveident when Grohl actually talks to inventor Rupert Neve, who just kind of drones on and on to the point where a subtitle is place under Grohl's head that reads 'Jeez'.
No, machines are not the draw, the draw is raw, primal music, and Grohl rounds up an all-star array of rockers to pay their tribute, everyone from Trent Reznor to Stevie Nicks, even Lee Ving of Fear. The camaraderie is something to behold.
After Sound City closed, Grohl himself purchased the Neve console, taking it to his own studio, and having friends over to keep the spirit of Sound City alive, which reaches an exciting climax when Macca himself, Sir Paul McCartney gets in on the act, resulting in the song 'Cut Me Some Slack' performed by McCartney, Grohl and surviving members of Nirvana. Grohl makes a fantastic debut and shows he has a future in filmmaking.