Creation Records was one of the most successful and controversial independent British record labels until its demise in 1999. 'Upside Down - The Creation Records Story' takes viewers through the history of the label and in particular, its figurehead Alan McGee. It'd be wrong to assume that this is simply the story of McGee, or the label's most high profile success, Oasis. It is much more.
'Upside Down - The Creation Records Story' gives plenty of bang for your buck, beginning with McGee's inspirations in Scotland and the birth of the label in London through to the deal with Sony Records and the unparalleled success of Oasis. With a fair amount of chat about substance abuse, crazed parties and a life of excess along the way.
The documentary thankfully isn't just about McGee, who may have been a physical embodiment of Creation, but was just one of an integral team looking after bands from the likes of House Of Love to My Bloody Valentine. (A side note on the latter - in the documentary, McGee refuses to blame them for driving Creation into financial problems.) Most specifically, the role of Dick Green is given the profile and recognition it deserves, as he worked tirelessly to stabilise Creation amidst the madness.
Unfortunately, in attempting to be a "definitive" documentary about Creation Records, it often feels rushed and the sense of chronology can be difficult to grasp as interviewees come and go with alarming regularity. Some of the more prominent elements of the film are perhaps even worthy of their own documentaries - the rise of a Primal Scream or an Oasis and the respective difficulties of Kevin Rowland and Guy Chadwick could all have warranted an hour's in-depth analysis each.
One of the upsides of trying to present a definitive documentary is that due to the sheer weight of coverage, viewers may well have disparate highlights. One of my unexpected points of interest was hearing that McGee was inspired by Television Personalities but quite happily confessed to stealing their records. Which is terribly ironic considering how much he despises illegal downloading nowadays. McGee, however, generally comes across well.
Director Danny O'Connor captures the philosophies and excess of Creation Records in a jovial, enjoyable manner but the overly broad scope means that 'Upside Down - The Creation Records Story' falls short of being one of the great music documentaries out there. Despite its limitations, for fans of Creation Records or any of the (several) bands featured, this documentary is undoubtedly well worth seeking out.
STREAM: Oasis - Wonderwall
STREAM: Ride - Taste
STREAM: Slowdive - Souvlaki Space Station
'Upside Down - The Creation Records Story' is available to purchase on DVD or Blu-Ray at Amazon.co.uk. An official soundtrack is also available, featuring the tracks above.