Stark & Dark Concerts?
August 30, 2022 8:04 PM   Subscribe

Stop Making Sense had a kind of stark & dark look in terms of lighting and maybe even stage furnishings. What are some other concerts or live performances like that?

In case it helps pin it down a little bit, (R-rated movie gore warning) I noticed that Critters has a performance that hit me as kind of similar.

I also thought about The Lost Boys' saxophone scene but maybe it's too much flames or warm lighting--anyway it's dark in a way, like it takes place at night and the vibe is a little dark? But lighting-wise it's not quite dark enough for this inquiry I guess.

But that's all I got! Links welcome, thanks.
posted by circular to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
Best answer: David Byrne's "American Utopia". Nothing on stage at all. All the instruments are carried and wireless, and everyone is in grey suits.

Peter Gabriel's "Secret World Live". No amps or mic stands on stage. There are still drums and keyboards, but the stage is very clean.

For both, the lighting is much less stark than "Stop Making Sense", but still quite minimal compared to what you usually see at bigger concerts.
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:11 PM on August 30, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Big Time (Tom Waits)
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:12 PM on August 30, 2022

Best answer: The look of Stop Making Sense reminded me very much of the aesthetic of Neil Young's live concert film called "Rust Never Sleeps" (1978). The stage is dark with giant speakers and microphones and Young appears very small against the dark backdrop and says, "When I grow up, I'm going to get a real guitar". Most of the songs are moody, acoustic works from his Ditch Trilogy.

There are some weird Star Wars outfits for the roadies.

Anyway, David Byrne's Big Suit look seemed inspired by Neil Young's look from that film, so you might find it interesting if you can find a copy.
posted by effluvia at 8:28 PM on August 30, 2022

Best answer: Bauhaus 1980
posted by philip-random at 10:44 PM on August 30, 2022

Best answer: The analysis in Stop Making Sense: Think Of It As A Musical, Not A Concert Film makes a lot of references you might want to follow up.
posted by caek at 9:26 AM on August 31, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The film version of Spalding Gray's stage monologue Swimming to Cambodia has minimal furnishings, stark lighting, etc. Here's a clip.
posted by Caxton1476 at 11:11 AM on August 31, 2022

Best answer: PS - I was also directed by Jonathan Demme.
posted by Caxton1476 at 11:12 AM on August 31, 2022

Best answer: It's a little flashier and with some moving set pieces, but to my memory there are no videos or anything but monochrome lights in NIN's Lollapalooza set. I think the first song and lighting effects call directly back to Stop Making Sense, but I might be wrong.
posted by Snowishberlin at 9:52 AM on September 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, I got really sick RIGHT after posting this askme but I really appreciate all the answers, this gives me a ton of interesting stuff to check out. Thank you!
posted by circular at 5:15 PM on November 7, 2022

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