‘Long Live Rock … Celebrate the Chaos’ Review: An Ode to Metal

Aside from the sheer nostalgia of seeing large concert crowds thrashing with abandon (and without masks), the rock ‘n’ roll documentary “Long Live Rock … Celebrate the Chaos,” directed by a longtime music supervisor, Jonathan McHugh, lands on a minor note. Largely consisting of talking heads — from fans and noteworthy talent (Rob Zombie, Jonathan Davis, Ice-T) — the film aims to celebrate the uniqueness of the rock and metal communities, but ends up becoming a repetitive sound clip. Subjects claim that this fandom is different from others, but fail to articulate how. Instead, the sorest thumb that sticks out is the concentration of white fans in the scene.

The whiteness of the hard rock world is felt immediately in this film. It’s especially discomfiting to watch an interviewee compare moshing to a “tribal war dance.” McHugh later covers his bases with a quick detour into the Black roots of rock, but the history lesson is too brief and basic. Likewise, its foray into feminism remains surface-level, probing not much beyond crowd-surfing as an act of empowerment.

In its latter half, the gears switch again to address drug addiction and the downfalls of the hard rock lifestyle, but the tonal shift from unadulterated adoration makes this transition jarring. “Long Live Rock” feels, at best, like a passionate but elementary essay. More often than not, it feels like a table of contents. The hot-topic buttons are touched upon, but McHugh doesn’t forge far enough into the mosh pit.

Long Live Rock … Celebrate the Chaos
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 23 minutes. Watch through virtual cinemas.

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