Before the emergence of the house and rave music scenes in the late
80's, there was Northern Soul. This phenomenon happened in the north of
England where several clubs emerged where DJs played obscure American
soul records. It may not sound like much now but I am guessing it meant
a lot back in the mid 70's, particularly when you take into account the
state of music in Britain at the time. Watch re-runs of Top of the Pops
if you need proof that popular music in the UK was pretty dire on the
whole at the time. These northern soul clubs offered up something
energetic and joyous. From the perspective of today when everybody can
get access to any music at the click of a button, it's amazing to think
that some of the songs back in the day only existed on one solitary
record owned by one DJ; so if you wanted to hear it, you had to go to
see his set. The competition between DJs became intense but sadly such
a retro scene was always going to have a finite existence because
eventually there were no more obscure soul records left to find. Its
details like these that I find most interesting about the northern soul
movement, a music scene I am too young to remember.
The film itself is strongest in its early stages when it focuses on the music scene more. It's such a specific phenomenon, it's fascinating in itself. Unfortunately, it does lose steam a bit in the second half as it concentrates more on the inevitable dramatic down-side that the narrative in these types of films seem to demand. In truth it's not entirely unreasonable to broach the subject of drug abuse as by all accounts a few northern soul fans died as a result of this and the scene was fuelled to a large extent by narcotics just as the dance music scene of the last twenty-five years has also. It additionally portrays 70's Britain as a beige hell, with fashions, haircuts and décor all of a remarkably appalling standard; in fact everything seems to lack any joy at all, aside from the music itself. But there is much humour in the script to alleviate the grim state of affairs somewhat and the young cast do good work alongside a selection of well-knowns including James Lance, Ricky Tomlinson, John Thomson, Lisa Stansfield and Steve Coogan. All-in-all, Northern Soul has a fairly generic story-line but it is made more interesting on account of the interesting scene it is based around.
Action / Drama / Music
Action / Drama / Music
'Northern Soul' is the story of a youth culture in the 1970s which changed a generation.It tells the tale of a nightclub based movement which developed in Northern England . The film is an authentic and uplifting account of two young boys whose horizons are opened up by the discovery of black American soul music. No longer satisfied with the prospect of a small town life and a factory production lin , they dream of going to America to discover super rare records which will help them become the best DJs on the Northern Soul scene. The difficult journey forces the two best friends to confront rivalry, violence and drug abuse as their friendship and loyalties are tested to the limit.
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February 11, 2015 at 11:39 AM