Some bands are made for arenas, and others for something greater, better fitting the rolling expanses of an outdoor setting to properly flex their muscles. The Stone Roses, re-forming in 2012 after a 16 year split, are one such band. They’re also the subject of a new documentary by Shane Meadows (This Is England, Dead Man’s Shoes).
Documenting the outfit’s return to the stage, The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone is less an exposé on the inner machinations of band politics, than it is a paean to the band itself – what they represented for Manchester in the nineties and the enthusiasm they still draw from their fans. The film, out on general release this week after screening at Melbourne International Film Festival, is fundamentally about love – the love that inspires grown, burly men to weep as they sing, I Am The Resurrection during the band’s triumphant gig at Heaton Park; the love that made Liam Gallagher tweet on the band’s reunion “not been this happy since my kids were born”; the love that takes a group of middle-aged, shambling men, and cocoons them in the adoration of the masses.
It’s the film’s opening shot that perhaps best captures the spirit that the band engenders in its fans: the camera pans over the front row of the crowd at Heaton Park, showing faces contorted in flights of rapture, while front man Ian Brown – who still swings his arms like a cartoon monkey when he walks – comes down from the stage, slapping hands and taking photos as the bass line to I Wanna Be Adored kicks in. This is not a film about the group’s acrimonious split in 1996, nor is it even really about the occasional tensions that drift into the life of a rock band reunited after 16 years apart; it’s a love letter to a group, an era, and a body of work that still elicits the same primal reaction and heady adoration as it did almost two decades ago.
The Stone Roses: Made of Stone is showing at Nova Cinema in Carlton from September 12 to 18.
We are giving away five double passes to the screening of The Stone Roses: Made of Stone on Wednesday 18 September at 7pm at Cinema Nova. To win, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.