Actually, they didn't start out as rivals...
Seven years ago, both were up and coming independent bands that were on the cusp of stardom. Recording, partying and playing shows together, the Dandys and the Massacre were creating all sorts of buzz in the industry and both were pegged to become "the next big thing."
Unfortunately, things didn't exactly work out that way. While one band finally did breakthrough and achieve rock stardom, the other faced nothing but constant turmoil and commercial failures. Then, to add to the drama, one band member invents a bizarre and disturbing rivalry (ala Blur vs. Oasis) that the other band does not want to particpate in. By the end of the film, neither band is on speaking terms with each other.
Even if you're familiar with the bands and you know how the story ends, you don't want to miss this film. Shot over seven years and culled from over 1500 hours of footage, Dig! brilliantly captures the triumphs and tragedies of two underground bands seeking artistic and commercial success. The main focus and real star of the movie is Massacre front man Anton Newcombe. A troubled genius in every sense, the documentary is a fascinating look at a brilliant yet seriously dysfunctional individual who truly believes that he can start a musical (and perhaps social) revolution that will change the world. Watching Newcombe in action is inspiring, frustrating and sometimes downright sad all at the same time. Director/Producer/Editor Ondi Timoner does a magnificent job of capturing what makes Newcombe such an attractive artist from a far but such an uncompromising asshole to those close to him.
I was actually lucky enough to receive my very own VHS promo copy of Dig! and I must admit, I’ve become mildly obsessed with movie. At first, I was excited to see it because I’ve been a fan of the Dandy Warhols for years. However, for some reason, I had never heard much about the Massacre. (The name sounded familiar but I had never listened to any of their records…and I didn’t remember ever hearing their songs on college radio or MTV’s “120 Minutes.”) Now, after watching the film, I’ve become a fan of the Massacre and am really excited to see them play live this weekend.
My advice would be to see Dig! first … (try to catch a Friday of early Saturday screening) and then go see Newcombe and Co. later at the Bottom Lounge. You’ll appreciate the Massacre a great deal more if know the back-story first. Plus, it will be a great exercise in cinema verite…the show will serve as a sort of live epilogue to the film!
Dig! debuts Friday at the Landmark Centure Theatres, 2828 N. Clark
The Brian Jonestown Massacre play Saturday night at the Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton