Blur: New World Towers, 2015
dir. Sam Wrench
Let’s get something straight: I love blur. And I love concert documentaries. This film is like a dream come true for me, it’s absolutely stunning.
It begins with some beautiful establishing shots of Hong Kong, where they recorded The Magic Whip, and in separate interviews, each band member (Damon Albarn is casually aloof, Graham Coxon is slightly neurotic, Alex James is cooking eggs, and Dave Rowntree is Dad) tells the story of how they came together year after Think Thank for the 2009 reunion, and then again for the Olympics concert in Hyde Park, and how during the reunion tour they ended up stranded for five days in Hong Kong, where they decided to hole up in a studio to jam a bit and came up with what a few years later would be shaped up to be The Magic Whip (if you live in Edinburgh, the poster for it is still up at the Fopp storefront, which makes me personally very happy indeed.)
That’s just the basic gist of it, the film itself holds so much more. It’s about their friendship, their commitment to the band, their unity, and inter-spliced with all that is footage from their concerts in Hong Kong and Hyde Park from the Magic Whip tour. In the film they show some of the classics (“Girls and Boys”, “The Universe”, “Bettlebum”, “Song 2” — no “Coffee and TV” alas) and some of their new stuff (“Lonesome Street”, “My Terracotta Heart”, “Ghost Ship”, “Thought I Was a Spaceman”, among others) and it all comes together beautifully and seamlessly. It’s fantastic to see these guys still enjoying what they’re doing, Albarn jumping about on stage, Coxon slaying that guitar, James sitting with his bass smoking a fag, Rowntree being attacked by Albarn’s water bottles.
New World Towers is heartwarming and blood-pumping, will have you singing along and “aaw”-ing at their friendship, and if you’re a fan of Blur, you will really really enjoy this. I could not recommend it enough.