Roadies: The Load Out – The Industry is Dead, Long Live Phil (Review)

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Cameron Crowe finished up his 10 episode series Roadies with a clear, yet bittersweet, message. “The Load Out” celebrated the death of the “industry” while stating that the memories of better days would live on through people like Phil. Long live Phil.  Toward  the end of the episode, all the roadies hug the dead man, symbolically embracing the old days of rock and roll.

Days that are, according to Crowe, gone.

At the close of the episode,  Reg (Good old Double D, which does not stand for Due Diligence as  Kelly Ann tells the English patsy.) comes running back to the stadium. He has seen the newly dubbed Pistachio’s latest movie. The normally cold Brit becomes overwhelmed by the imagery and comes to pound on the stage door.

There is no response.  Reg pounds harder and more insistently on the closed door, standing in the rain, head down and determined to come back.

But, Crowe is telling us that we cannot come back. Old time rock is gone, the industry is dead. Killed by smart phones, the internet and millennials who will never really “get it.”

Above all else it is the industry heads themselves who have killed off the notion of bands working the old way. Preston, played brilliantly, if rather sparingly, by Brian Benben, hires Reg to break up Staten House Band. His plan is to set up a solo career for Tom.

Unfortunately, for Preston, Christopher and Tom start speaking, after Chris returns to Janine, and it seems there may be a bit of hope after all. Except after this scene, we have Reg wanting to come back…

The death of Phil signals the death of the industry as we know it.  As  Chris B. Hayner implies, Crowe is using the death of “White Buffalo” as the swan song of Rock and Roll in general.   There is still hope, however.

If Reg can get someone to open that door, he could  become the band’s savior.  He told Preston that he could make it work. The only problem being that no one may actually care enough to bring back the band and an old way of entertainment being killed by greed and apathy.

The theme throughout has been that when the band tried to return to the olden days, Kelly Ann, complaint that they never play the old songs anymore, signaled a beginning of the end for the band.

Crowe is telling us, in essence, that Thomas Wolfe was right. You cannot go back. To do so is to invite ruin and a calamitous end.  Phil “came back” and died. His temerity is repaid with memories and  sudden death.

Another sign that the old ways are gone is Rick’s symbolic shaving of his beard and his marriage to Natalie Shin.  He knows that to survive, he must embrace the changes and he does so, although Rick does not look happy at all.

Taken on face value, the season finale of Roadies is bizarre.  Granted there is a heavy focus on music,  the guest list is long and multi-facetted. Jackson Brown, Eddie Vedder,  Robyn Hitchcock and more stop by to pay tribute to Phil. A legend in the industry.

This too could be another message from Cameron Crowe, the legends are gone.  Now that rock and roll has left the building, it will not return in the way that we know it.  Certainly there are still legends in the industry, The Rolling Stones, for example, but Crowe is telling us that when these go, they will not be replaced.

The creator is probably not too far off the mark. In a time where reality television creates instant “stars” and the Internet slowly changes the way people react with one another this could indeed be the death knell for entertainment as we know it.

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On the other side of this coin, how ironic was the final pose of Phil’s? Standing with his  arms outstretched, the less than pristine (in life) man is given a Christ-like stature in death.  A man who killed two people and stole goods from the victims of Hurricane Katrina is elevated in his death.

Brilliant.

Many things were settled in the final episode of Roadies. Natalie Shin becomes validated as more than a stalker-y fan.  Shelli and Bill become an couple.  Reg realizes that deep inside he belongs in the industry. Bill tells Shelli about that unbroken egg.  Most importantly, however, is Kelly Ann getting her nickname; Pistachio.

Herein lies the last bittersweet tone in the episode.  Kelly Ann has been fixated about not having a nickname.  Lately,  however,  it has become less of a concern as she becomes attracted to Reg.

Phil’s dying breath is used to grant her wish and he gives her a nickname, something she desired so much for so long.  Sadly, It is a name she may never be called as the industry is dying, if not dead already.

Roadies was a brilliant soap opera set in the world of touring bands.  Kudos to the cast, and to the guest stars, for giving this show a feeling of reality, their performances all added depth to this entertaining show.

To Cameron Crowe we say thank you for  this often funny,  and quirky, look at the “backend” of the business.

CAST:

Roadies: The All Night Bus Ride -Lynyrd Skynyrd and Phil (Review)

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Roadies “The All Night Bus Ride” fosters a bit of rock and roll history via Phil’s long tale of getting started in the business.  This episode seems to put the “curse” in the back seat until the end.  Phil’s origin story is the center piece here and it is a fun, but sad, look at the meteoric rise of his band; Lynyrd Skynyrd. The one that got Phil into the business.

This could well be the best episode of Roadies so far. There is a parallel here between two bands. Staten House Band is being sabotaged by Preston (Brian Benben) via Double D, aka Reg. Phil tells about how he was introduced to the business via Cuban cigars and Lynyrd Skynyrd.  It is, essentially, the tale of two bands (Get it?) where one is being destroyed by a power play and the other wiped out by fate at the height of their popularity.

(It should be pointed out that there is still a Lynyrd Skynyrd band, but only one of the original band members is attached. Ronnie Van Zant and two other band members died. The group disbanded for a time but reformed later on with Ronnie’s younger brother filling in.)

Of the two stories, it is Phil’s that entertains the most.  Apparently, according to Zap2it, a good portion of the tale is true. The band had a reputation for being rowdy and “ready for a fight.” They also did get big very quickly.  It was their epic rise that ultimately got Van Zant and the rest killed.

Using a Convair CV-300 that was passed over, according to “rock legend,” by Aerosmith the group were flying to venues.  The plane crashed after running out of fuel and the rest, as they say, is history.

Back to that long bus ride: The crew are worried about how many will be going on the European leg of the tour. Reg is looking at the financials yet again. Phil is still telling his story and Shelli gets a call from Sean; his father has died.

Shelli has to leave the tour.

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Shelli leaving the tour, temporarily.

Dead Sex is still a a passion for all the crew. David Spade is featured yet again as the protagonist in this “show within a show.” Reg, who has become addicted to the program like everyone else, He  realizes,  while watching the latest episode, that  he is a pawn. 

This is something that Spade’s character learns in Dead Sex. Reg works out that all the cuts he made,  and people he fired,  was really a waste of time. The budget was an impossibility. No matter how many corners were cut Reg would never be able to meet his target.

Double D realizes that he was sent in to break up the band and allow Tom to move over to a solo career. Preston has been using him to destroy Staten House Band.

Meanwhile, Milo and Kelly Ann clear the air and Donna reveals that Halsey is trying to steal the entire crew away.  Bill and Shelli are still a “thing” but this family death may result in a cooling down period.

Ron White kills it in this episode. There could well be an Emmy with his name on it for this show alone.  Other notables in this episode were Nathan Sutton; who played Ronnie Van Zant and Connor Weil as the Young Phil both knocked it out of the park.

Roadies has now taken a bit of a dark turn.  Preston wanting to break the band up and using poor old Double D to do it is pretty despicable.  It seems that no one in the band, not even Tom, is aware of Preston’s plan. At this rate the European tour that everyone was so worried about may never happen at all.

This was a brilliant meld of fact and fiction. Allowing the fictional character of Phil to do a “You Were There” recreation of Van Zant and his band’s meteoric rise to fame. It was a loving homage to a group of artists who loved a scrap and who produced classics that still move to this day.

Were Lynyrd Skynyrd really so “rough and ready?”  They must have been. It can be no coincidence that Rob Zombie chose Freebird to end The Devil’s Rejects. The three violent characters who die shooting at the close of the film do so to that epic anthem.  Of course the main reason is clearly the matching of three deaths but in essence what other band fit so well.  Echoing the mythos of the main characters in the film.

Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime.

MAIN CAST:

Roadies: Carpet Season – Phil’s Return (Review)

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After last week’s attack by Janine with its residual blowout the tour continues.  This episode sees Phil’s return,  Christopher’s iPad goes missing as does Janine’s yearbook.  Kelly Ann confesses to Bill that maybe not all the eggs were broken. Roadies “Carpet Season” also has the band being photographed by Kelly Ann’s idol, Abby Van Ness.

Bill is undergoing a bit of a shaky patch. The Janine debacle (with her confession of having sex with Bill while she was dating Christopher)   causes Chris to fall off the wagon and he is drinking again. Bill goes to an AA meeting at Seattle, the next city on the tour.

Somewhat annoyingly Phil returns during Bill’s vastly improved circle meeting.  Preston (Brian Benben) tasks Bill with finding the missing items and to make up with Phil. It is Shelli’s birthday and Reg is less than pleased to see the man who pulled a gun on him return. 

Things are a bit tense between Double D and Phil initially and Bill has to intervene.  Halsey is the musical open for the band this week.  Wes, who is a huge fan, gets to spend some time with the artist.

Photographic diva Abby Van Ness, and her obsequious (and annoying) assistant turn up for the photo shoot.  Shelli and the diva immediately butt heads. Abby, as the “up her own arse” photographer to the “stars,” makes ridiculous demands on the crew and the band. Shelli spells out how it will really happen and neither woman is impressed with the other.

Kelly Ann is beside herself with excitement over the chance to meet her idol. Later, as Abby and her assistant Bethany set up for the shoot she meets the photographer.

It does not go well.

The young grip is overawed and Abby acts like a b*tch. She insults the younger woman and  makes references to her parents. The photographer then attempts to continue her bullying but Kelly Ann strikes back.

Shelli is furious and she confronts Abby. She tells the diva that if she speaks to any one else on her crew that way Abby will have her head shoved up her arse, by Shelli.  Abby is intrigued.

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Carla Gugino as Shelli in Roadies

Meanwhile, Bill, Phil and Reg learn that the band archivist, Mike Fingers, took the iPad and the yearbook. After getting the address from Puna (Branscombe Richmond) the three men go to collect the items. 

Wes clicks with Halsey and she asks him to join her tour. Winston (Ethan Michael Mora), the devil child, overhears the offer and is upset at the thought of losing his “manny.” Later, the guest artist learns that her tour budget will not cover Wes joining up. He and Halsey then “stage” a moment for Winston who is pleased to have his manny back.

Phil, Reg and Bill confront Mike Fingers and end up getting the stolen items back and enough things to complete the band’s boxset.

The photoshoot is a disaster. Abby tries bullying the band into submission and it does not work. The breaking point comes when she rubs Janine in Christopher’s face,  Rick snaps and the band follows suit.

The band members begin destroying the props set up by Abby and Bethany. As the photographer and her assistant stand by in shock, Kelly Ann calmly walks up and takes  “the shot.”  It is, of course, brilliant. Abby and Kelly Ann share a look.

By the end of the show Reg and Phil have sort of made up but Double D is still upset about Janine.  Shelli  celebrates her birthday…with Bill.  Kelly Ann is left alone at the bar and she sees the couple leave together. She smiles.

In this episode of Roadies “Dead Sex” is mentioned, at least twice, and not seen – no David Spade this week.  The men discuss it briefly on the way to Finger’s house, “It’s a metaphor,” and Wes brings it up as well.

Halsey’s musical numbers are brilliant as is her performance.  Anyone not a fan of this beautiful and talented artist before will become one after this episode.

Rosanna Arquette ruled as the b*tch photographer and Lyndon Smith was spot on as the sycophantic assistant.

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Rosanna Arquette as Abby Van Ness

The curse, even though both Bill and Kelly Ann state that they do not believe in such things, paused slightly in this episode. However, the preview of next week’s Roadies seems to show that the unbroken egg is still causing problems.

Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime. Stop by for the soap opera of the show and stay for the music and the guest stars.

MAIN CAST:

Guest starring Rosanna Arquette as Abby Van Ness and Lyndon Smith as Bethany Ian-Crouch. 

Musical Guest:  Halsey

Roadies: Lost Highway – Janine Attacks (Review)

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The budding romance of Reg and Janine comes to a screeching halt in  Roadies this week. While last week’s episode made Christopher’s former lover seem like perfection on two legs, “Lost Highway” removes the facade completely.  Seems that unbroken egg in is indeed causing problems for the tour.

Janine did seem too good to be true. Sadly, Reg’s innate social awkwardness and perhaps his very Englishness, kept him from seeing any deception.  It is easy to see just why Christopher was so destroyed by this woman.

The band’s problems do not stop with Janine. Kelly Ann loses her laminate and has to wear the “turkey hat of shame.” Bill does put up a half-hearted defense for the rigger but is voted down by Shelli.

Rick, with Natalie Shin in tow, has been misbehaving (calling the governor’s wife and professing his love) and he brings a personal intervention specialist Marc Maron.  Rick’s antics last week had Lucius ready to file a lawsuit as well.

Double D tells the crew that he has  Jack White  set up to open for the band. They do not really believe him as one points out, “He opens exclusively for The Rolling Stones.”  Later it turns out that Reg spoke to Jack Black’s manager and Jack turned down the gig. (It did not fit Tenacious D‘s esthetic.)

Wes and the Devil Child, aka Winston (Ethan Michael Mora) have a massive falling out after Tom’s son spills a health drink on John Mellencamp’s Woodie Guthrie guitar.

Milo and Donna’s band get the nod, once again, to open. Rick’s friend Marco, however, is chosen by the bassist to open instead.  A disastrous decision as he does a 45 minute comedy routine that throws everything off.

Outside of all these peripheral problems, there is the unveiling of Janine as “woman scorned.”  Far from being the earth mother type she presented to Reg, she has declared war on her former lover and Bill.

In short order she reveals that a “tell-all’  book is on its way, that she kept everything and that Bill, Christopher’s bestie, had sex with her. Reg is beyond dismayed as he sees his perfect woman turn into a fire breathing Boudicca.

Shelli and Bill have decided that their sex session has to be  a “one off” and by the end of the episode, she is talking to Sean.  This may not end well for anyone as Bill and Shelli still seem a bit too attached.

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Amusingly, Kelly Ann is forced to do “her man’s” laundry for his big date with Janine. The crew and band still believe that Kelly Ann and Reg are an item.  (On a sidenote, Double D’s socks have banana’s on them. Is this an in-joke about Bananas In Pajamas? This Aussie kids show was very poplar in Rafe Spall’s home country. Answers in the comment section below, or on a post card please…)

It seems that Phil (Ron White) and his warning about ensuring all the eggs were broken was a good one. One egg was left intact as the bus drove away and Kelly Ann saw it. In many ways the gripper’s return, after starting to leave for film school, has been bad thing. 

Reg and Kelly Ann seem to have brought a ton of bad luck to the tour. Although it does look like the rigger fits the role of Ishmael in this scenario. If things keep going so pear shaped for the tour, this may well be Kelly Ann’s new nickname.

Looking at next week’s previews, it appears that someone else recognizes that the tour is in trouble and Phil is brought back. It also appears that Wes’s instinctive mistrust of band archivist Mike Fingers was spot on.

Guest star Joy Williams killed it as the angry ex-lover.  Her transformation into a vitriol filled  shrew was splendid.  Rafe Spall with his reaction to all this was priceless.

Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime.

 

MAIN CAST:

Guest Starring:  Jacqueline Byers as Natalie Shin, Joy Williams as Janine Beckwith and Marc Maron 

Musical Guest – John Mellencamp

Roadies: Friends and Family – Supermoon (Review)

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It looks like that unbroken egg from the cursed episode last week may indeed be influencing  the remainder of the tour.  The roadies in “Family and Friends” are doing a home town show in Denver, Colorado and the supermoon is apparently affecting everyone.

The Episode:

Janine, who broke Christopher’s heart, asks for and gets tickets to the show.  Double D is instantly besotted with the woman and does not leave her side.  Meanwhile Kelly Ann and Reg have been linked romantically, much to the consternation of Kelly Ann.

Double D however only has eyes for Janine. He is so enamored of Christopher’s ex, that he asks her back to the show again.  This can not end well for either the lead singer or Reg.

Rick and Natalie are now an item, after Atlanta, and the bass player is not doing too well. He collapses and requires a couple of  “B-12” shots.  Shelli is feeling isolated as no one is returning her calls.

Bill goes to get Christopher’s Nudie jacket. It is stored at Lorraine’s house, where he once lived, and while searching for the jacket, he finds that cup.  Bill takes a moment to do a “12 step” atonement with his ex. When he returns to the show, Shelli and Bill have sex.

Mike Finger (Ely Henry), the band’s biggest fan and archivist,  proves to be  a treasure trove of information. The  little chap is  a repository of knowledge and gossip about the band as well. He also, rather oddly, does not want to meet the group.  Finger prefers to  keep his perfect vision of the his idols untainted by reality.

Natalie Shin is now a legitimate member of the  tour with her own “real” laminate.  How long her relationship with Rick will last is uncertain. The bass player could not remember her name when introducing her to Lucius.  Still, as the ultimate groupie, Shin will most likely bounce back from any romantic set back and zoom in on another band member.

Kelly Ann is really upset about being romantically connected with Reg.  She tells everyone that it is not true and her protests fall on deaf ears.  Wes accuses her of fabricating the whole thing herself and then feels badly about it.  Kelly Ann is ordered to take photos of the “meet and greet” and she takes lots of “arty” pictures.

Later, Shelli complains that all the photos bar one are unusable. Before she leaves, Shelli tells Kelly Ann,   “There is one usable shot in there.” Ever the optimist, after thinking about Shelli’s feedback, Kelly Ann smiles;  pleased that she got one shot.

Bad Luck:

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Lucius

Milo and Donna’s band come within a gnat’s whisker of opening for the Denver show when Lucius go “MIA.” As the group nervously prepare to go on, Lucius turn up. Their excuse is that they got caught up in “Dead Sex” and lost track of time.

Milo is upset that Kelly Ann and Double D have “hooked up.”  His bad day becomes complete when Rick asks for Natalie during his episode in the dressing room.

Shelli’s sister does not turn up and she gets called “ma’am” by the lad she has been flirting with. She too has been compulsively watching “Dead Sex” as she has not even have phone sex with her husband for far too long.

Dead Sex:

A series  starring David Spade that is about a deadly virus that can only be halted by having real sex, versus the phone kind.  This “show within a show” is watched by all the roadies. This feels like a nod to the Brit “one-off” series Dead Set which was a zombie apocalyptic film set in the UK’s Big Brother house.

Final Thoughts:

Bill and Shelli having sex will not end well for anyone.  Reg’s infatuation with the woman of the song, Janine, is also bound to end in tears.   The device of having a new opening act for each episode continues. (This is an interesting set up, it allow the audience to view, however shortly, a mixture of the more well known rock acts and a few that more…obscure.

The Phil  “circle” thing has now become Bill’s “thing” as he fully takes the reins from Phil.

 

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Imogen Poots as Kelly Ann and Rafe Spall as Reg

Comic moment of the entire episode had to be Imogen Poots’ reaction to the Reg/Kelly Ann “hooking up” rumor.  A close second was the scene where Milo explains keeping his trousers in the freezer on the bus. Milo says, “Freezer equal  fresh.” Donna, “Washing makes fresh but never mind.”

Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime.   Tune in and see if that unbroken egg does equal a curse. One that is influencing everyone’s actions and reactions.  After watching the preview to next week’s episode that does look to be the case or is it all down to that supermoon.

MAIN CAST:

Guest Starring:  Jacqueline Byers as Natalie Shin and Joy Williams as Janine Beckwith 

Musical Guest – Lucious