Music Features

Later With Jools Holland Presents Louder (DVD)

If I've said it once, I've said it countless times to anyone who'll listen: music on television is crap. Unless you're entertained by top 40 fluff, we've had little decent viewing since the White Room. The sycophantic Jo Whiley Show and the horror of MTV2 excepted, all we've got left is Jools Holland.

How exactly the keyboard player from the sporadically successful (though ace) Squeeze managed to become a frontman for TV shows isn't known to me, but the general format of his, the BBC's 'other' music programme, is as reassuring in its format as it is frustrating. Every week it seems we can, at the least, expect a) the weeks hot tipped indie band b) a more established indie act c) a mainstream rock act d) a weathered old blues type who you thought was dead, and e) some weird world music type, who is neither known or likely to sell records to anyone except Peter Gabriel.

So it came to pass a compilation of people from categories A-C was released, and here it is. The bad news it's a total mess: there's great performances aplenty, but we can only presume it was put together by committee. How many people wooed by the laid back West Coast vibe of Mazzy Star are also into the tiring capitalist rock of Metallica?

Yet obviously someone made an effort, as real "Fuck, I'd forgotten about them!" moments come when Porno For Pyros and the Screaming Trees pop up on the screen, the former complete with ridiculous ballet style performance that takes the word "pretentious" to a whole new level. There's also cracking numbers from the Jesus and Mary Chain (who are followed by B.R.M.C. somewhat appropriately) and Primal Scream, while At The Drive In deserve much credit for their chaotic performance which seems to send parts of the audience into numbed shock.

Cue the other side: there's also the horror of the Stereophonics doing their cringeworthy Vegas Two Times. Then just when you've got over that shock, there's the Nuclear Fallout of them duetting with the Black Crowes. As a wise man said, 'keep musicians away from musicians'. Elsewhere, the dumb rock posturing of the Datsuns pales in comparison to New Order's Cystal while the Hives sound as flat as ever live, bringing to mind to question: who exactly does their sound?

32 performances may sound a lot, but the question is who's going to be interested in more than half? The great majority of them don't come across as being classic music television moments (though At The Drive In push it close). A varied, though unessential, collection. 6/10


From an idea such as this, it's hard to wonder what they would come up. No surprises, then, when all we get is a small collection of the various mini interviews Holland does during the show, including Courtney Love being as loathful as ever. Holland obviously isn't an investigative journalist and so most of these descend into jokey chats. Though Bernard Sumner's confession that "Hooky's guts" was one of the reasons for the New Order split is priceless. The only exclusive is a short interview with the Foo Fighters in which Dave Grohl comes over as affable as ever. He even manages not to look bored by some particularly uninspired questions ("Who were your influences?" "What are you ambitions?") by, it seems, the work experience kid. 4/10