On Wednesday night The Plaza Theatre hosted a movie premiere like no other.
Filmage: The Story of Descendents/ALL is a documentary on the iconic band the Descendents and the “lesser known” band that formed when they dismantled, ALL. For those of you not familiar with the two, the latter being more probable; the Descendents are a late ’70s/early ’80s punk band who basically created “pop” punk as we know it today. ALL is Bill Stevenson’s ambition to keep that dream alive.
To kick off the premiere, local band Racket opened the show with some fun and quirky rock songs, as well as a cover of the Descendents, “Marriage,” to which they did an excellent job. With the hit ’80s movie Gremlins playing on the screen behind them, Racket set the mood for the rest of the night to come.
As the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered. Since travelling through NXNW and many other film festivals throughout the continent, it was time for Calgary to get a chance to view it. Filmage was finally here.
The documentary was everything that any Descendents and ALL fans could possibly ask for. It was more than we expected and better than we could have hoped. They gave us the history, a breakdown of past and present members and a lifetime of stories and insight into the journey of the band. We all know the history of the Descendents, and why ALL had to form in the first place. But hearing it from the people that were involved and the perseverance of Bill (Stevenson) truly showed you how special the Descendents really are. The stories they told go back over three decades of living in vans, heartbreak and plenty of unforgettable times. Did you know “My Age” was written on a bass guitar that Bill found in a garbage can? Facts like this, made the documentary more than just a band bio. Live footage is expected, but the early shows, for many fans, were shows they never had the chance to attend.
When most people think of the Descendents, they think of Milo. What made this film better than expected was that Milo wasn’t the focus. We all love Milo, but Bill was the brain behind it all and it was great to see him get all the credit he deserves as well as members past and present who were showcased throughout the film. Because after all, they helped form the Descendents to what they are today.
After the departing of Milo from the Descendents, Bill came up with the band ALL. ALL being a previous Descendents album and a joking-stab at Milo. It was funny to watch the members of ALL, talk about this Descendents-aftermath. Because everyone knows they would have never achieve the level of success and respect that the Descendents had. Don’t get it wrong, ALL had its moments.
Overall, this documentary was a ten out of ten and all this fan can say is, when does the DVD come out!?
(A huge thank you to the Plaza Theatre, Fifth Reel and The Ship and Anchor for making this premiere possible.)
By Sarah Mac