16 August 2010

On Wednesday 18 August, FACT will be presenting a ‘Once in a Lifetime’ opportunity to watch the iconic 1984 Talking Heads film Stop Making Sense.  As the first instalment of our Music and Film series, it will be a special standing only screening in The Box and is a rare chance to see the film shown in its original 35mm glory. 


Talking Heads are one of those seminal bands that have managed to weave themselves into the “influences” lists of many other bands and artists since they emerged on to the New York CBGB’s scene in 1974 and dabbled in 1980s pop. Their contemporaries included other legendary musicians such as Patti Smith, Television, Blondie, and The Ramones.  It’s unsurprising that Talking Heads have managed to infiltrate the musical inspiration of so many modern bands and genres, as their own style was a musical melting pot of influences spanning across punk, new wave, avant-garde, art rock and of course pop. 

Similar genre spanning alt-rock giants Radiohead even took their band name from the Talking Heads song Radio Head.   Talking Heads were famous for their long established relationship with epic producer Brian Eno, and together they produced hits such as Psycho Killer, Once in a Lifetime and Burning Down The House.


Stop Making Sense was shot in December 1983 over three nights at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles.  Just like the band, Stop Making Sense is widely regarded as being one of the finest and genre-defining films of its kind.   The band’s eccentric lead singer, David Byrne, was adamant about the aesthetics of the film and stylistic stage set up.  He wanted no coloured lights on the performers and as few distractions on stage as possible – no drinks, and all of the equipment (even the silver tops of the microphones) were painted matte black. 

There are very few audience shots and the applause is more muted than in most concert videos, as Byrne stated he wanted the viewer to be able to form their own opinion about the performance without being swayed by the reactions of the audience.  Lengthy camera shots absorb everything from the crew setting up instruments to the interaction between band members on stage, allowing the viewer to feel totally involved and privy to all the nuances of the gig that the live audience would have been. 

Byrne is an enigmatic performer at best, and is on form during Stop Making Sense as he moves manically and runs around on stage seemingly bursting with the sheer joy and adrenaline of making music.  His belief that music should be performed visually is evident throughout every song, making this iconic leader of the rock film genre as exciting to watch as the live gig itself.

You can book tickets HERE, or by popping in to FACT or calling 0871 902 5737 – it looks set to sell out, so make sure you book now and avoid disappointment!