Film Reviews

SUPERSONIC

By • Oct 26th, 2016 •

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Oasis’ song, CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA, is an accurate analogy of the cosmic event to the British rockers supersonic explosive speed to the world stage in a cataclysmic rise and eventual decline.

Rock and Roll is synonymous with bad asses. And, no, not the faux Justin Bieber type. Homegrown in an environment of dysfunction and violence, the Gallagher boys have proven to be rough, brash, belligerent, and yes, assholes at times. While their sibling rivalry is legendary, their commentary in SUPERSONIC, not without vitriol, reveals underneath all of the tabloid fodder and a bloodied cricket bat lies brotherly love.

Disbanding in 2009, A24 has just released its two hour OASIS documentary, SUPERSONIC. The film is directed by self-professed fan Mat Whitecross who directed the bio of British punk founder Ian Dury, SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL, and produced by Asif Kapadia who directed the award winning Amy Winehouse doc, AMY.

There are multiple productions on the band found online such as BEHIND THE MUSIC. It would be interesting to know why Oasis was the chosen subject of such a hefty endeavor. The Gallaghers are seen on film through home videos, concert, and news footage. Although they are heard in interviews conducted for this film they are never seen on camera. It is a highly visualized film smartly done. No yawning here as the story draws in the viewer, never allowing for any lag time. SUPERSONIC is not a condemnation nor is it a PR fluff piece. It’s an honest look inward. Interestingly, neither brother had any influence on the final cut. Perhaps this will gain Oasis a new legion of younger generation fans.

Footage of the boys in their younger days is fortunate to be available. The late 80’s early 90’s was on the cusp of great technological advances. The artifacting video and grainy blow up from an inferior medium was long prior to the video recording capability in every phone today and just after the bulky cameras needed to record onto tape. Had it been just a few years earlier, maybe some super 8 mm footage would have been available.

The early Manchester days depict a self-fulfilling prophecy as rock titans. Covered is the relationship dynamic, band formation, and the personalities that gelled cohesively and the antithesis. Is it determination coupled with raw talent and luck or destiny that paves a path? Oasis bypassed the long hard road traveled by bands with only one road trip to King Tut’s in Glasgow, Scotland, that launched them to achieving accolades lauded by fans and critics without ample preparation to the rock god throne.
From here the on-the-road antics and brawls began instantaneously before stardom. They were arrested and deported on a ferry en route to their first international gig. Behavior unbecoming to anyone other than rock stars such as entire hotel room furniture being tossed from windows. And not that crystal meth is a funny, but you need to hear this one.

Weaved into this tale is the recording process. From thoughts on paper to the shaping of songs and the capture of sound. Forget any notion of a boring story of a sound engineer in a studio. It’s pertinent to the story of Oasis becoming a machine that eventually spits out whomever.

I liken Noel And Liam Gallagher to the Krays: the notorious twin brothers Ronald and Reginald of London’s underworld. Antagonism, verbal assaults, battery, and ego. Just like the Krays, the Gallagher brothers were accustomed to cracking one another; Wrestling-like pandemonium in a main event as it was brother vs. brother complete with head trauma by use of the aforementioned cricket bat to guarantee bloodshed.

The Gallagher family backstory is of an immigrant mother who along with Noel and his older brother Paul suffered physical abuse administered by the family patriarch. Eventually, she fled with her 3 children. Both, Noel and Liam, left with wroth, have carried this emotional burden into adulthood. Although scarred, both are bacchants with a talent to create music that is emollient.

SUPERSONIC begins and ends at the Knebworth gig. A huge concert that was too soon in their career that marked an ending and not a beginning. The first song on the first Oasis album is “Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.”

The lyrics in part are:


The day’s moving just too fast for me
I need some time in the sunshine
I gotta slow it right down
The day’s moving just too fast for me

How prophetic.

Oasis has fallen. Is there a resurrection? Go online and type: Rolling, Beatle, Guns. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Guns and Roses are suggested. An Internet search for Oasis suggests sites to delis and spas. For a band that is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records with such fervor and impact on present day musicians, this is odd.

Watching SUPERSONIC in a theater with the film projected correctly and a Dolby sound system cranked up enhanced the experience. Among the few invited audience members in this intimate theater were two people of note. One being Jonathan Clarke of Q104.3. Asking his thoughts, Clarke responded, “I thought the movie was brilliant, it starts with the very beginning of Oasis. The rehearsal space in a tiny rehearsal studio. In Noel’s bedroom playing acoustic guitars. And it goes all the way up to their climatic shows at Knebworth, It takes us from the beginning to the pinnacle. But that’s fine because that’s what the director intended to do.”


Zak Starkey. Photo credit: Franco Frassetti

The second person in attendance was Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr. Zak was the drummer in Oasis from 2004 to 2008, the period of turmoil and turbulence with a permanent roster of rotating members that was not covered in the film. During SUPERSONICS’s period of coverage, the original drummer was kicked to the curb and the bass player quit and eventually made a return.

Zak’s take on the film was, “I really enjoyed it. I found it quite emotional. The relationship between the two brothers and the band. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It was beautiful, actually.”

What better way to leave off then in the words of Liam Gallagher, “We’re the most arrogant fucking bastards.”


OUT OF THE BOX WITH JONATHAN CLARKE can be heard in New York on Q 104.3 FM – Sundays at 9 P.M.

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