Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: The Go-Go’s

Many of the best bands burned fast but burned twice as bright. This could have been said about The Go-Go’s. They started out as a punk bad before gradually gravitating towards the power pop which would make them famous.  After a tour of the UK, their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, was a surprise hit in America; topping the charts and going double platinum. The LA band started out in ‘78, released their first album in ’81 but split in ’85, after releasing another couple of albums. And that was that. Until they came back. And then back again….

Alison Ellwood’s new documentary, The Go-Go’s, catches up with the band as they reminisce about their formations, rise to success and sudden split. Mixing archive interviews and concert footage with contemporary perspectives, she weaves a story of a band who were as surprised as anyone else that they become so big, so fast. A band who still are, to this day, the only all-female group who write their own songs and play their own instruments to have topped the Billboard charts.  

The Go-Go’s has many of the hallmarks you’d expect from this kind of music documentary. However, Ellwood’s pacing and neat editing keeps it captivating and lively throughout. There’s a primal force which drives the film forward, which comes from the band themselves and their music. It’s great entertainment and one of those films which is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. There’s never a dull moment in The Go-Go’s.

The Go-Go’s is streaming now as part of Sheffield Doc/Fest.

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