Dan Almoney and Ed Fox’s short documentary Sweet Rock: The Red Weasel Story is just that, the story of the Salisbury, MD-based ’90s alternative band Red Weasel. 20 years after the band’s heyday, Red Weasel re-forms for a single reunion show in front of their adoring fans, and we not only get a front seat for the performance, but we learn enough about the band to understand why they even had anyone there to play in front of 20 years later.
The tale of Red Weasel is no doubt one that many rock bands can relate to in some form or another. At the top of the heap in their hometown and getting some attention from outside their immediate environs, things could’ve gone any number of ways for the band. Unfortunately in this case, despite recording a well-received demo and debut EP, the band’s momentum started to slow and growing older did the rest. No tragic deaths or drug addictions, the band members just moved on with their lives.
Still, there’s something to be said for developing a fan following that remembers you fondly enough to come together 20 years later to watch you rock out on stage again. It was this universal nostalgia that I connected with as I watched the film, remembering bands that I adored, or still adore, that were the world to me years ago, but never quite broke in a big way. I can never go back and re-experience those moments for the first time again, but like the fans and the band itself in this documentary, it doesn’t take much to bring on the memories.
In the end, the story of Red Weasel is not a tragic one befitting a VH1: Behind the Music-style documentary, and happily that’s not what we got here. Again, this story is probably not all that unfamiliar to those that have, or had, bands with a following, and whether you’ve heard of Red Weasel or not, you can still find universal touchstones to embrace in the watching. Most bands won’t have a documentary made about them, however, so for Red Weasel and their fans, this film is truly something special. Plus, the DVD also comes with a CD re-issue of the band’s debut, remastered and retitled, so those of you who find the music for the first time via this documentary can also experience the music after the fact, if you’re so inclined.
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