With its simple and noble motives, Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways series deserves to be regarded as one of the best and most lovingly crafted screen explorations of the music world to date.
It’s set in eight different cities, in each of which Grohl and his trusty Foo Fighters recorded one song for the album that shares this series’ name: each one inspired by the history, characters and mood conjured by that particular location.
In essence this is part history lesson, part ‘making of’ studio document, and given the unerring amiability and charm of the band concerned, a strong sense of altruistic cheeriness oozes from every last pixel.
Whether hanging with Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick in Chicago, or getting all misty-eyed at the mere thought of discovering punk rock for the first time, Grohl is clearly in his element, and the endearingly chaotic narrative that emerges is the work of a musician and music lover rather than some overly analytical director with only a passing interest in Bad Brains’ b-sides.
The album itself may be considerably less exciting, but this particular trek through the USA’s sonic hinterland is endlessly fascinating and a massive amount of fun./o:p