During the 1980s, the American capital and place of its government became home to an underground music scene born out of boredom, anger and frustration with conventional culture and politics. With righteous punk ethics, DIY evangelism and extraordinary energy, bands such as Bad Brains, Government Issue, Scream, Void, Faith, Rites of Spring and Marginal Man would emerge to create a cultural watershed that made it impossible for the mainstream to ignore alternative rock in the 1990s.
At the centre of that watershed was Ian MacKaye, founder of Dischord Records and leader of key bands Minor Threat and Fugazi. MacKaye gives articulate and self-effacing interviews in Scott Crawford’s affectionate, urgent account of Washington during the era.
It is down to other contributors such as Henry Rollins, Dave Grohl and Thurston Moore to celebrate the significant legacy of MacKaye and other semesters, while there’s great archive footage to illustrate how vital the bands were and how hugely influential they remain. (Notes by Michael Hayden.)
This screening will be followed by a free DJ set in the IFI Café Bar from Niall McGuirk from the Hope Collective.
For more films and special guests in July’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Cinema, click here.