At Sound Unseen, a quest for the Kinks

Harry Nilsson
An image of singer Harry Nilsson, the subject of one of the documentaries in the Sound Unseen Film Festival.
Image courtesy Lober Films

A mid-life crisis leads some people to buy expensive cars, take exotic trips, or even engage in illicit relationships.

For journalist Geoff Edgers mid-life brought on a desire to try to get his favorite British band of the sixties to reform. The film of Edgers attempt is just one of the offerings at this weekend Sound Unseen Festival in Minneapolis.

Geoff Edgers had always loved the Kinks. But he felt they were under-appreciated mainly due to their own antics.

"Every time they got popular, they did something stupid, and sabotaged themselves," he says in his movie. "And that's why you don't know them as well as you should."

Edgers was going through a small, mid-life crisis of his own. As a journalist he saw the newspaper world crumbling around him. As a middle-aged guy, he saw his life stuck in a rut.

Speaking by phone from Boston, he said as a fan he saw not enough people appreciating what he thought of as the genius of the Kinks.

"It would be a quest," Edgers said. "I didn't know what would happen, but I thought it would be entertaining and if I actually accomplished it I would be thrilled."

Edgers also says he was also in part inspired to make his film -- "Do It Again" -- because of the state of the music documentary. He says all to often music films are made just for fans of individual bands.

Do It Again Poster
Detail for "Do It Again" poster.
Image courtesy Sound Unseen

"But I think for people who aren't already converted, it keeps them out. The thing that I take pride in from this movie, and we've got from some of the reviews, is I don't think you need to be an obsessive Kinks fan to like the movie."

That's music to the ears of the organizers of this years Sound Unseen Festival. They are bringing in 12 films to be shown between now and Sunday.

"Every time they got popular, they did something stupid, and sabotaged themselves. And that's why you don't know them as well as you should."

Program director Jim Brunzell says they cater to a broad range of tastes.

"It's everything from classic rock, to current independent rock and current artists," he said. "And then you've got things like the producer Phil Spector and you've got Charlie Haden, a great jazz musician and Geoff Edgers and 'Do it Again' with the Kinks."

And there's David Byrne in "Ride, Rise, Roar," a concert movie of his recent tour playing music he created with Brian Eno.

"Ride, Rise, Roar" follows Byrne as he not only rehearses his band, but also works with choreographers and a troupe of dancers to create a whole new experience.

Sound Unseen festival director Rick Hansen says one of the dancers, Steve Reker, will perform before the film screens at the Southern Theater on Friday.

"And we are really hoping the dance community is going to turn up for this, is going to come out," Hanson said. "Because it's compelling to watch how they work together, and David Byrne of course has always been an innovator and he's doing something completely different."

Dancers
Dancer Steve Reker (left) will appear at the Southern Theater to perform before the screening of "Ride Rise Roar."
Image courtesy Ride, Rise Roar

Other live events include the Hipshaker DJ's creating a wall of sound in support "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector" on Friday and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks playing after Sunday evening's performance of "Who is Harry Nilsson (and why is everybody talkin' about him?)"

This is a show which particularly excites Rick Hansen, who says while the multi-talented Nilsson was once a household name, many people now have no idea about his remarkable story as a '60s and '70s pop idol.

"And you can't walk away from this movie without a Harry Nilsson song stuck in your head," he says. The rest of the day you are singing "Without You," or "Lime and a Coconut," or whatever it is."

Sound Unseen will also use some smaller venues including the Trylon Microcinema and the Red Stag Supper Club for screenings through Sunday night.

David Byrne and crew
An image, from "Ride Rise Roar" the new concert movie featuring David Byrne.
Image courtesy Ride Rise Roar

Program director Jim Brunzell says he understands what film maker Geoff Edgers says about the state of many rock documentaries, but he's happy the festival features the innovative work being done now, in music and film .

"We feel like, if we didn't bring them to town no-one in this town would get the opportunity to see," he says.

Or in the case of David Byrne, Phil Spector and the Kinks, the opportunity to dance along.

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Online: The Sound Unseen website

The event takes place October 6-9, in various Minneapolis venues. See the event's site for more details.

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