SXSW Film Review: 'Born in Chicago'

Archival footage meets contemporary performances in this music doc

SXSW Film Review: 'Born in Chicago'

24 Beats per Second, World Premiere

D: John Anderson; with Barry Goldberg, Sam Lay, Elvin Bishop, Paul Butterfield, Michael Bloomfield, Nick Gravenitas, B.B. King, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Buddy Guy, and many others

“You cannot play music that hasn’t passed through Chicago.” So declares Marshall Chess, scion of legendary Chess Records and narrator of Born in Chicago, which focuses on “the transition” from the city’s blues giants – Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, et al. – to the very young white musicians who sat at their feet, studied their licks, and took their places among the bands that both extended the tradition and spun off the myriad genres of rock & roll. The film began, said director John Anderson, as a concert film of the Chicago Blues Reunion, and grew into a broader project of Out the Box Records, sustaining the music chronicled here. Fascinating archival footage is mixed with contemporary performances – often yearningly brief. Survivors recount the early South and West side clubs, and inheritors (e.g., Jack White) describe the influence and transformations of the blues as the central matrix of popular forms. Enjoy, and ponder.

Friday, March 15, 5pm, Alamo Ritz

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
Slate includes everyone from Wes Anderson to the Zellners

Monica Riese, Jan. 30, 2014

Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
The comedian and showrunner will speak March 9

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2014

More by Michael King
Election Ticker: Masters of Disasters
Election Ticker: Masters of Disasters
T-minus 46 days until you vote

Sept. 21, 2018

Point Austin: Dark Money, Sunlight, and Political Soccer Games
Point Austin: Dark Money, Sunlight, and Political Soccer Games
Shadowy funding works its way into Austin campaigns

Sept. 21, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Film, SXSW, South by Southwest, Born in Chicago, John Anderson

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle