Upside Down The Creation Records Story Review. Rock doc revisits the Shoegaze, Acid-house and Britpop scenes through the prism of the record label that broke them all.
I really couldn’t understand what he was saying but he was clearly enthusiastic. So says Post-punk icon Bob Mould while discussing Alan McGee, the drug crazed, often unintelligible man who ran Creation Records to its highest highs and most dismal peaks.
McGee is the subject of the 2010 documentary Upside Down: The Creation Records Story, which has finally arrived on Netflix Streaming.
The Creation label was created in 1989, only to end 10 years later, but it’s the in-between that mattered.
The documentary features interviews with many alt-rock luminaries, including Jim Reid of The Jesus And Mary Chain, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, and Noel Gallagher of Oasis.
With Creation, the inmates truly ran the asylum. No one had run a label so built out of their own passions to such great success, even while being in such disarray.
Like many moments of musical genius, the film documents several happy accidents, such as when Kevin Shield’s discovered his monstrous guitar sound. Unable to replicate the guitar vibrato of his idols, he found a way to fake it; and suddenly I found this amazingly expressive thing..so in the space of about 4 or 5 days we’d made our sound.Thus begat Loveless, the ever influential dream pop opus.
McGee’s love of Acid-House helped inspire Primal Scream’s Screamadelica, culminating in the club anthem Loaded. But that scene’s drug culture got the label head in a bad way, eventually leading to an overdose and a retreat from public life.
McGee was in such a bad way, he wasn’t around for much of the success of his label’s biggest act Oasis, who epitomized the Britpop scene.
At times, the film gets a bit repetitive. Much self-mythologizing is involved; it seems that every time a new band was signed, that they were the one that broke the label, when in truth, it was the steady stream of the full roster that made Creation an artistic movement as much as a business venture.
Much is made of Oasis’s Knebworth gig, where the band played before over 250,000 people. It showed how far the musical climate had shifted. Once a small college radio scene, alternative music had exploded as much in Britain thanks to Britpop as it had in America with Grunge.
As Bobby Gillespie succinctly puts it; So I guess the Creation story is about the death of the independent really. But what’s clear from the film is how Creation was more than just a label. It was a sonic identity, a way of life, a badge of sonic cool. And anything that overly vibrant and fertile can only last so long. They had a great run.
Upside Down-The Creation Records Story is currently playing on Netflix Streaming. If you’d like to own it on Blu-ray or streaming from Amazon you can order via the links below:
[amazon_image id=”B004P9MW3A” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Upside Down: Creation Records Story [Blu-ray][/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B00E9PXUC2″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Upside Down: The Creation Records Story[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B00447RAVW” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Upside Down: Story of Creation[/amazon_image]