Stop Making Sense

Hard to remember now, but David Byrne and Talking Heads once helped to kill album rock and transport the '70s New Wave scene from the Bowery to national prominence. They were briefly one of the big acts of the mid-'80s, just as MTV began its rise. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the excellent 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense represents the band's apotheosis on its final live tour. (Talking Heads would dissolve amid acrimony by decade's end.) "Burning Down the House," from Speaking in Tongues, was a top-10 hit at the time, and Demme's tightly edited doc puts the focus on the group's punchy, off-meter hits and Byrne's increasingly theatrical stage presentation. His oversized white suit and kabuki dance moves make Byrne the center of attention, and he begins the film alone with a tape deck to back him on "Psycho Killer." Still, the groove that informs "Once in a Lifetime" or "Take Me to the River" comes from bassist Tina Weymouth and her husband, drummer Chris Frantz, who met Byrne at RISD. Whatever the group's art-school pedigree, Talking Heads has a rhythmic pulse that's always directed at the dance floor. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Oct. 19-23, 2012

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