1991: The Year Punk Broke
Dave Markey, US, 1992, 99'
Smells Like Teen Spirit: Sonic Youth and not yet known Nirvana on a European tour that captures the moment right before “grunge” conquered the world.
Once in a while, there is a documentary that manages to capture a special moment, just before a great cultural revolution. David Markeys 1991: The Year Punk Broke is one of them! A raw, off-the-cuff, 8mm recording of a euphoric tour of European summer festivals (including Pukkelpop) by Sonic Youth. And in their wake, the guitar violence of support bands, like Dinosaur Jr, Mudhoney, Babes In Toyland and the then-unknown Nirvana. Three months later, Kurt Cobain and his buddies let Nevermind loose on the general public, at which point "grunge" conquered the music scene.
Headliner Sonic Youth dominated the on-stage component (it was the time of their most grungy album Dirty), while Nirvana still swaggered around without the immense pressure that would destroy them in three short years. Off-stage, director Markey paints a truthful picture of boredom, drink, nonsense and one-liners, such as "Our audience is expanding; my mind is turning into a fine gelatinous ball of pepper." (Sonic Youths Thurston Moore).
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