In 1976, 14-year-old Bobby Gillespie asked a slightly older Alan McGee to chaperone him to Thin Lizzy’s show at the Glasgow Apollo. This is the story that kicks off Upside Down, an exciting documentary about Creation Records, the once home of My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Oasis, and many others. In many ways, that Thin Lizzy show helped change UK music forever.
Founded in 1983, the story of Creation Records is closely intertwined with the turbulent life and times of McGee, who ran it until its closure in 1999. Bearing the title “President of Pop,” McGee was known for being enthusiastic both about his artists and the rock & roll lifestyle itself, the latter eventually taking a toll on his health and bringing about the end of Creation.
Resorting to graphics reminiscent of an intricate subway map, Upside Down pinpoints the numerous connections of a prolific British indie scene that helped establish a bridge to the euphoric Britpop era. Through extensive interviews, archive material, and several bits of fascinating footage, the documentary reveals how Creation was instrumental in providing a platform for the artists without ever attempting to condition their art in any way.
The turning point, of course, would arrive with the signing of Oasis, which happened at the same time half of Creation was sold to Sony after years of critical acclaim but little to no financial success. This moment, brilliantly depicted in the documentary through a sudden seriousness and ominous background music, would represent both the consecration and downfall of the label. Decadence and disenchantment would do the rest.