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Stoned Love

June 4, 2013 | by Faber Social

Tags: Manchester, Shane Meadows, Stone Roses

The first warehouse party in Manchester was in 1985. The Stone Roses headlined. Over a quarter of a century on, and the great and good of Manchester and the world’s press were drawn to another warehouse, on the other side of town, for the première of Shane Meadows’ film Made of Stone, his documentary following the reunion of the band. The reunion many wanted but thought would never happen. The reunion even the band thought would never happen. “This is a live resurrection we’re inviting you to, so you better be careful!” announces singer Ian Brown in the film, at the press conference. Meadows explained that when the band first asked him to do the film they stated the première had to be in Manchester.

Quarter of a century. It seems a lot longer. It seems like yesterday. A lot of the crowd at the première were old enough to be at that first warehouse party. Some of them looked like they haven’t had much sleep since. But for all the jaded ravers here, wizened where they were once wiry, still trying to perfect that simian stroll, despite the middle-aged spread, there was plenty of youth here who weren’t even born when the Roses played their first warehouse; the band’s appeal now spans the generations.

The mood was euphoric, more akin to a football terrace or a warehouse rave than a film première. There is something about this band that inspires devotion like no other. ‘She Bangs The Drums’, ‘Waterfall’, ‘This Is The One’, ‘I Am The Resurrection’, ‘Fools Gold’… these are songs we have loved and lost to. Danced, drank, puked, laughed, fought, cried, mourned, rioted and partied to. They remind us of euphoric highs, and have helped us through the odd low. Their back catalogue may be short, but it casts a long shadow. Like any greats, they sound very much of their time, but utterly timeless. The band have aged, so have we, but the music remains ageless.

Meadows admitted that he is a huge fan, that they’re his favourite ever band, so there was a slight worry beforehand that the film would be overly sycophantic. “This is the closest thing to a love letter I’ve ever made”, Meadows admitted, but it thankfully stopped short of fawning. Part of the attraction of the reunion was the sense that no one knew what to expect. The film touches on the fragility of the band, but as the band granted no new interviews, their enigma remains. Mani, the life and soul of this band, once explained how they called themselves “the egg”, with the band in their own shell, and everyone else on the outside, “tapping their beaks trying to get in”. The closest Meadows gets to cracking the egg is the intimate shots in rehearsal, where he places the camera in the crossfire of the four, with Mani facing John, Ian facing Reni, capturing the knowing looks, nods, smiles and infectious joy as they ease their way back into the songs and each other.

Talking about burying the hatchet with Ian Brown at the reunion press conference, John Squire said: “In some ways it’s a friendship that defines us both and it needed fixing”. In many ways they’re the band that defined a generation who felt it needed fixing. Some bands should never get back together as the danger of sullying their legacy is too great. The Roses are different. It was the original ending didn’t seem befitting to their stature. What the world is waiting for, now, is whether the reunion gigs and Meadows’ film will be followed by any new music.