Almost every film ever made about a band has at least one point in which its members discuss moments of struggle within the group. Many bands have had points where they didn’t think they would ever record or tour again, and the Meligrove Band are no stranger to that turmoil. In fact, the new documentary Ages and Stages: The Story of the Meligrove Band, features these struggles as the focal point of the film. Few bands have been through the ringer quite like this one, but throughout the many misfortunes that may have befallen them, this film proves that they have built not only a solid fan base, but also have a huge outpouring of support.
The Meligrove Band was formed in Mississauga in 1997 by core members Jason Nunes, Darcy Rego and Michael Small, and since then they have released four studio albums under a number of different record labels. Once signed to V2 records as the label’s first Canadian act, they were suddenly dropped after V2 were bought out. This, coupled with illness, financial troubles and an immeasurable number of mechanical misfortunes on the road are difficulties that the band has had to face over the course of their careers.
Despite all this, Ages and Stages remains positive and lighthearted, showcasing a who’s who of Canadian talent all singing the praises of not only the band’s musical talent, but also the fact that they’re all just really nice guys. This “˜nice guy’ mentality may take some viewers by surprise, as people who are less familiar with the Toronto indie music scene may have preconceived notions of it being full of humourless hipsters. In complete opposition to that, this doc is shockingly funny.
Through the decade old archived footage, it’s easy to see that the guys are not only bandmates, but also very good friends. This is why, despite the film’s somewhat long run time, it remains a joy to watch. It becomes very obvious that the unity between the band members is what has kept them going for so long, and there is no lame rock and roll posturing between them. Watching the movie is akin to finally scoring a spot at the cool kids’ table in high school, and getting a glimpse into their lives.
More intriguingly, the documentary asks why the Meligrove Band still lives in relative obscrutiy. Throughout the film, the band’s sound is compared to ‘The Beach Boys but with balls’, the drumming is compared to the album “Presence” by Led Zeppelin and their album “Planets Conspire” was called ‘their Sgt. Pepper’s’. So what gives? Why has this band been overlooked for so long? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not as easy to answer as it is to ask.
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