Looking back on a band that's gone the distance - Metro US

Looking back on a band that’s gone the distance

If only we could all age as well as Blur has.

The British
quartet — whose rise to stardom, sad disintegration and eventual
reformation is chronicled in the surprisingly comprehensive documentary
No Distance Left To Run, coming out on DVD next month — were the last
in a string of beloved bands to reunite before rapturous crowds in the
last half of the decade.

Based on interviews with band members
Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree conducted
during their triumphant 2009 jaunt, No Distance delves into Blur’s
early rise through the British pop ranks before nearly becoming
unravelled during a shambolic U.S. tour that ultimately inspired an
Albarn disgusted by America’s cookie-cutter grunge scene — venom drips
from his voice as he describes “that music” — to steer his band
through recording Britpop’s founding document, Modern Life Is Rubbish.

story that follows — a band slowly ripped apart by a perfect storm of
drugs, booze and Oasis feuds — is well known by fans, but No Distance
achingly captures the lingering pain each member carried with them as
they recount years of lamenting the loss of their band or tales of
avoiding one another at the zoo. Naturally, the most riveting
characters are the excessively ambitious Albarn and bona-fide guitar
god Coxon, whose fragility and alcoholism led him to abandon recording
of the band’s final album, the still-great Think Tank.

But this
is a movie with a happy ending after all, and No Distance is packed
with footage of intimate invite-only and surprise shows that will make
you seethe with envy for foolishly living in North America and missing
it all.

A gig at a railway museum launches a blitz of shows
leading up to the rather rousing climax of a headlining set at
Glastonbury that was the kind of life-affirming scene that makes one
realize just how special a band can be, and when an exhausted Albarn
sits at the foot of Rowntree’s kit and sobs, you get the hunch he’s
thinking the same thing.

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