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DVD REVIEW: LOUDER THAN LOVE – The Grande Ballroom Story

| 8 August 2016 | Reply

DVD REVIEW: LOUDER THAN LOVE – The Grande Ballroom Story
Produced & Directed by Tony D’Annunzio
LOUD Productions
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

DVD Louder Than Love Grande Ballroom

I have no idea who sent me this DVD all the way from Sweden (plain envelope, no note or name inside, no return address, just a postmark) but I’m glad they did.

Detroit’s Grande Ballroom was an iconic rock n’ roll venue – the sort of place where lives are changed, history is made, and memories etched in stone to talk about forty five years later.

In 1966 teacher cum promoter Russ Gibb visited San Francisco and had his mind blown at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West and Chet Helm’s Avalon Ballroom, determining to apply their novel new promotional ideas to his own new venture back in Motor City.

The Grande opened in the middle of racial tension, inner city violence and industrial breakdowns, giving an outlet to not only big name touring bands, but local acts who would use the Grande’s audience to build early steps on their own ladders to success.

Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson of The Grande’s inaugural house band The MC5, B B King, Roger Daltrey, Don Was, Lemmy, Slash and more pop up with their memories of the place, the scene, the triumphs and problems it and Detroit itself faced, and the sex, drugs and – most of all – the rock n’ roll. It’s not just rockstars, either: there’s MCs, photographers, poster artists, groupies and Gibb himself all giving their personal recollections of a place which obviously changed their lives.

The story is one of not only music but of social upheaval, and although the Grande’s heyday only lasted until 1970 (the venue finally limped to a close in 1972), its importance should not be undervalued.

One of the most irresistible features of Louder Than Love is the plethora of photos and home video footage of Iggy & The Stooges, The MC5, The Who, Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, Grand Funk Railroad and more both onstage and off – it’s an invaluable rock n’ roll time capsule.

Don’t miss the extras either – in addition to more crazy stories of The Grande, there’s the frontal lobe-melting psychedelic light show from back in the day (provide your own soundtrack), MC Dave Miller’s home movies and a silent short film containing footage from a real live open-air love-in.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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