'Rural Rock and Roll' about the 'not-famousness' of regional bands
Eureka and Arcata are just north of the so-called Lost Coast of Northern California. That helps to place the towns and place this documentary film about the disproportionate number of bands playing in those towns. The film "Rural Rock and Roll," 60 minutes long, is more like a feature amongst the shorts coming to the Magic Theatre's 6th Nevada City Film Festival, Oct. 5-8.
Eureka and Arcata are not any more rural, really, than Grass Valley and Nevada City, except for being more far out. Off that beaten path are bands with names like Eureka Garbage Company, The Monster Women, Candy Muscle and The Smashed Glass. The lead singer for The Buffy Swayze works in a fast-food joint to earn his living wage. All the members of the longest running local band, The Hitch, are building contractors of one kind or another. In their after-hours exploits, Hitch members seem to be known for their body odor as well as for their rockin' out. It's a working class region, plus the student class of a university town, plus cash crops growing in them thar hills.
The lively peculiarity of this film is laced with snippets of the bands' serious but unambitious satisfaction in making music and a local music scene. "Rural Rock and Roll" interviews a sweep of individual players. Whether these bands get heard at house parties throughout Humboldt County or in a corner space of a bar called The Alibi or in an illicit warehouse venue called 330, half of the audience consists of members from other bands or friends of the scene. It seems that the only reason locals haven't heard a band 20 times is that many bands just fall apart.
This film is quite engagingly about not-famousness, including a faint pulse of "what if" under the pounding "Rural Rock and Roll" beat. Some of that "what if" may show up playing at Cooper's during the festival unless it ultimately feels too much like being on tour. Check for this and the film schedule at themagictheatre.com.