FILM REVIEW: “Rock of Ages” hits sour chords

The movie musical has been through a dazzling evolution since the days of the talkies, from stage-bound hokum to brash on-location masterpieces to animated delights. Shoehorned in those, is the lamentable MTV genre, where a song-dense soundtrack of rock songs express the characters’ inner lives, only without the characters themselves singing. Footloose, even Top Gun, fall into the category. Occasionally, we still get the old school versions of classic musicals, like Chicago. Mamma Mia and the upcoming Les Miserables movie, as well as the TV show Glee.

But how well can you combine the ’80s brand of jukebox rock into a traditional musical format? Not well, judging by the disastrous Rock of Ages.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

LISTEN: …Silenze’s “Take This Life”

Perhaps one doesn’t expect a lot of queer-ish hard rock from Milwaukee, but fortunately …Silenze fills that gap (and yes, the ellipses is part of the band name). Out guitarist Spencer Fellner sent me this new track for the band’s upcoming album. He and fellow out member Roxanne Jeske lead the guitar onslaught as drummer Sky Byrd does vocal duty on this track. Byrd and bassist Bud Letendre would be the non-gay part of the band.

I was surprised how mellowed out the track is, but in very good ways. I had heard their 2010 album The Sound of One Hand Clapping which showed potential but still with a bit of greenness in their drive to rock godliness. Here they’ve developed a patience in their delivery of “Take This Life” that in Clapping may have just sounded slow. It has that rawness of an unsigned band but it’s an impressive and mature leap this time around.

 

—  Rich Lopez