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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The real guitar heroes: Getting loud and digging deep

    The real guitar heroes: Getting loud and digging deep

    It’s a quiet morning in the muggy pastures of Tennessee, but things are about to get a lot louder. Over a cow’s distant moo comes the abrasive pounding of hammer on nail as Jack White, guitarist for The White Stripes and The Raconteurs, literally redefines his instrument of choice.

    Adorned with an olive-drab vest and matching fedora atop his scraggly rocker’s locks, White synthesizes an empty Coke bottle, a piece of wood and some wire to create a crude yet functioning one-string electric guitar. He plugs in, slips his finger into a slide, then lets loose with a yelping, distorted riff that even the cows can’t ignore. White turns to the camera: “”Who says you need to buy a guitar?””

    David Guggenheim, director of “”An Inconvenient Truth,”” heads a guitar odyssey “”It Might Get Loud”” immediately lives up to its title. The multi-faced rockumentary is an intimate look at what that most celebrated of instruments means to a pan-generational panel of music’s most celebrated of guitarists: Jimmy Page, whose distorted blues licks defined ’70s rock in Led Zeppelin and the Yardbirds; The Edge, whose perfectionistic pursuit of ever-changing guitar effects gave U2 its signature dreaminess; and of course Jack White, the new kid on the block whose mix of old-school blues structures and heavy electric wankery has turned numerous eminent heads in the world of modern music.

    While that lineup of indispensable rockers may seem like a lazy way to get audiences from wide-sweeping demographics into the theater for a one-dimensional display of musical exploitation and idol worship, “”It Might Get Loud”” could not be farther from superficial. From Jack White’s opening arts and crafts project to a tour of Jimmy’s massive vinyl library (and a spontaneous, ebullient air-guitar show) to The Edge’s philharmonic arsenal of effects pedals and mixing hardware, the film is an intimate, intriguing montage of the unlimited power of musical expression.

    Though Guggenheim tells his story in a non-chronological, thematic style broken into chapters, the central focus of the film is a rock ‘n’ roll summit between the three musicians on a secluded sound stage. Through interspersed shots of the guitarists discussing what got them into music, sampling their favorite albums, and teaching each other tricks and licks (the look of reverential wonder on White’s face when Page stands and delivers the main riff from “”Whole Lotta Love”” is priceless), Guggenheim also focuses on the private histories of each musician.

    The Edge gives a tour of Dublin’s Mount Temple Comprehensive School, where he first answered the call of drummer Larry Mullen Jr. to form an after-school rock band that would eventually evolve into the U2 of legend. White chauffeurs the crew through his rural Tennessee stomping grounds, pausing to write and record an original song specifically for the film in a creaking old farmhouse. Page reminisces in the castle halls and verdant grounds of Headley Grange, where he and Zeppelin set up shop to write and record their epic fourth album.

    All the while, we’re along for the ride, marveling at the sincerity and personality of every shot created by Guggenheim’s extreme close-ups of instruments and flailing fingers, and stunning panoramas of the barns, beaches and bastions where each musician goes to become one with his instrument.

    After the rockers detail the myriad ways that guitar has infiltrated and summarily hijacked their lives, the three gather ‘round the sound stage for a once-in-a-lifetime jam session. White and The Edge play off of each other as Page leads the trio through Zeppelin’s version of “”In My Time of Dying,”” and later the three go acoustic for an endearing, folksy sing-along of The Band’s classic “”The Weight.”” Even through the credits, there isn’t a single shot in “”It Might Get Loud”” that isn’t totally sincere, inspiring, or just plain bad ass. It should be required viewing for any self-respecting rocker.

    “”It Might Get Loud”” is playing at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. For showtimes and ticket prices, visit

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