review:The Music Biz

"This man is big in security," said the narrator in "The Performance", The Music Biz's (BBC2) deliciously unenchanted account of a Metallica rock concert. The man walking towards the camera could have been used as a fender for a cross-channel ferry - if you weren't worried about damaging the ferry. But he had, it seemed, earned the respect of the fans massed behind the gates. "You fat bastard, you fat bastard," they chanted, displaying the Metallica fan's legendary sense of social nicety. Those who were still sober enough to recognise the television camera flicked sociable 'V' signs in its direction.

The Music Biz, the follow-up to Jeremy and Gina Newsome's excellent The Look, has suffered a little from comparisons with its predecessor - not because there's any particular falling off but because there isn't quite the same sense of novelty. As a subject matter, fashion was virtually an untrodden field, whereas rock music is more like Woodstock after three days rain. This episode was in even greater difficulties, because documentaries about rock performances are a particularly debased form. With some notable exceptions most of them are adulatory and awed, part of the band's retinue rather than outside observers. So how could the Newsomes accurately convey the musical blitzkrieg that is a Metallica tour (Genghis Khan with guitars) while still distinguishing the result from that bastard genre the ("if you will") rockumentary?

With judicious editing is how. One of the pleasures of their highly enjoyable film was that it didn't pretend to be blase about the logistical difficulties of parting 50,000 teenagers from their money. Indeed, some lines in the narration sounded as if they could have come from the official souvenir video. "19 tons of sound system, 64 3,000-watt amps, resulting in a quarter- of-a-million watts of raw metal meltdown," said the voice-over, with a fan's intonation. But you always had the sense that the tongue was in the cheek, not being applied to some intimate part of a rock god's anatomy. Sometimes this was visual - a nifty tracking shot along the miles of neatly arrayed cable was intercut with aerial footage of jammed motorways, laid out like flex on the countryside - a nice simile and a mildly deflating one too. The lighting director's frantic performance at his control desk was intercut with the money-men in the back office, playing arpeggios of profit on their computer keyboards.

Elsewhere the undercutting was more sardonic, a matter of setting up the image so that it was bound to take a comic pratfall: "Can management keep it's promise of no bad language on live radio?" the narration asked with rhetorical innocence, when Metallica finally took the stage. "F-- k you, muthaf--kers," yelled the lead singer, instantly providing the answer. Over footage of one of the support bands preparing to play, polite information shaded over into open sarcasm. "He formed a subtly-named rival band [Megadeth] and released the philosophical album Killing is My Business And Business is Good. But first, a swig of mineral water and a last-minute look at holiday snaps."

Some of the comedy didn't need any preparation. One musician turned up in a hearse, opining that this was the most appropriate vehicle available: "We're that close to death every time we play a show," he said gravely, holding his fingers a plectrum's width apart. The band's managers, a Ben and Jerry double act with a Huey and Duey manner of finishing each other's sentences, testified to the unique emotional rewards of working with one of the world's great T-shirt bands: "This is one of your great things to stop cross-collateralisation," said one, explaining that the record company wouldn't get a cent.

Hey guys, let's rock and roll!

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
Crime watch: Cara Delevingne and Daniel Brühl in ‘The Face of an Angel’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
music Malik left the Asian leg of the band's world tour after being signed off with stress last week
News
Author J.K. Rowling attends photocall ahead of her reading from 'The Casual Vacancy' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on September 27, 2012 in London, England.
peopleNot the first time the author has defended Dumbledore's sexuality
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss