Killian Laher writes.
Not a feature film, more a documentary on Creation Records, the bands who passed through the label and most of all, Alan McGee, “creator of Creation”. It takes a more or less chronological overview, covering the moment when Alan met Bobby (Gillespie of Primal Scream), how the label started, the bands (with interviews from most of the main characters), and drugs, drugs, drugs.
It’s easy to forget how many great bands were signed to the label, it’s like a who’s who of late 80s and 90s indie, with everyone from the Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, Super Furry Animals and of course, Primal Scream. There’s great archive footage of all of these bands plus forgotten lesser lights The Loft and the Nightingales. So many different styles were covered on the label, from jangly-indie, shoegazing, acid house and straight-up rock and roll, epitomized by Oasis.
There are hilarious moments right through the film, from Guy Chadwick of House of Love’s complete loss of self-control at the merest whiff of a pill, to Alan McGee’s revelation that he wouldn’t have signed Oasis if he’d known Noel Gallagher was into Rattle and Hum! Although Scottish bands were the core of the label, Oasis were the mainstream success story, the rewards of which nearly killed McGee.
The film is a little bit of a hagiography, due to director Danny O’Connor’s complete failure to maintain any creative distance from Alan McGee, reinforced by the Q&A with both afterward. In fact the tale is dangerously close to rock ‘n’ roll cliché, how success was frittered away through excess, with McGee narrowly avoiding rock casualty status, before the label vanished at the turn of the millennium.
Nevertheless the film is brilliantly edited with great music and archive footage, plus good interviews from some of the better talkers of the era (McGee, Gillespie, Gallagher and the crazy Gruff Rhys). It’s a must for fans of the bands concerned, but also an excellent introduction for anyone curious about what the fuss was about. Hopefully there’ll be some juicy extras on the DVD.