Good Cake, Bad Cake
Film Title: Good Cake Bad Cake: The Story of LiR
Director: Shimmy Marcus
Running Time: 82 min
Club,Sugar Club, Dublin (from Wed); Factory, Dublin (from Thurs), 70 min
There are shades of Dig! , Ondi Timoner’s great rock documentary from 2004, in Shimmy Marcus’s cracking study of much-admired but never properly successful Dublin band LiR. What on earth was going on?
The concert footage and snippets of recordings in Good Cake Bad Cake remind us that LiR, formed in the late 1980s, seemed designed for an era that was rediscovering space rock and psychedelica. If LiR had emerged from Manchester rather than Donaghmede, one suspects they would currently be wiping their bottoms with textured gold leaf (or sleeping in whichever dosshouse currently shelters Happy Mondays).
Marcus has tracked down most of the warring parties, and they tell a story that will be all too familiar to connoisseurs of rock catastrophe. LiR seem always to have been on the point of superstardom. From the moment they emerged they were hailed as the next demigods of independent rock. Management was soon secured. The first of many American tours then followed. A record contract was offered. Then it fell through. That pattern repeated itself for a further 20 years.
The director has clearly had to step carefully through a whole hillside of legal minefields. One constantly gets the sense that significant secrets are being held back from the audience.
At one stage, their former manager tells how he and the whole band made their way to London for interviews with a major label. The band members dispute the story. They were (they claim, m’lud) nowhere near the meeting. If somebody is lying, then why are they lying? It all makes for a strangely compelling detective story.
Marcus mixes a few animations in with the talking heads, but for the most part he plays it pretty straight. Happily, his articulate contributors – skilfully edited – tell the story with great enthusiasm. LiR never got to play Madison Square Gardens. But they did get this fine film. That’s something.