Made of Stone (MVD)
By Mike Delano
Emerging from the phenomenal Madchester musical movement of the late ’80s and early ’90s and having sparked the flame that would become the world-consuming Britpop fascination, the influence of The Stone Roses is hard to overstate. Hell, there’s even a full-length, nostalgia-stroking film (Spike Island, named after the venue of the band’s most famous gig) about a group of kids’ desperate efforts to attend the Roses’ career-defining 1990 concert. That’s straight from the Detroit Rock City playbook right there. Is there any chance future generations will film wistful remembrances of their frenzied journey to the Avicii concert? I shudder to think. Thankfully, we’ve got Made of Stone, a reminder of when bands were actually worth sneaking out of the house/standing up your girlfriend/not showing up to work for.
It’s a fantastic documentary of the Roses’ reformation in 2012 after 16 years off the map. Director Shane Meadows’ incredible access to the band enables him to chronicle everything from their first reformed rehearsals (shot in reverent black and white) through their multi-night homecoming shows in front of more than 200,000 fans. A heap of archival footage from the band’s heyday as well as home videos of their nascent years further flesh out the story of a band that made changing the course of popular music look incredibly easy.
This film was clearly made with a lot of love, both for the Roses and for music in general. And anyone who has heard the Roses’ debut album knows where that passion comes from. It’s one of those albums that make you envious of people who have never heard it before and will get to experience it for the first time. The opening four minutes of “I Wanna Be Adored” just floor you, and the album maintains its greatness throughout. It’s inspiring and downright spiritual, and Meadows’ film brings back all of those emotions. Internal and external friction may have conspired to split the band up (first in the ’90s and, the film would suggest, it could happen again at any moment), but regardless of their on again/off again status, the music is still timeless. That’s why Made of Stone wisely lets the music have the final word, with an epic performance of “Fools Gold” closing out the film, speaking a language far more universal than words.