September 23, 2020
One boy’s climb from disco organiser to Scottish entertainment kingpin – directed by the man himself – contains battered sausages but needed more bite
Schemers review – the rise and rise of Dave Mclean, rock promoter
This account of the rise of Dundee music promoter Dave Mclean, later to become the UK’s tireless ambassador for grunge, is directed by Dave Mclean, produced by Dave Mclean and co-written by Dave Mclean; at least the film doesn’t shy away from the chutzpah of the vanity project. As his younger self progresses from on-the-fly student discos to a dicey triumph via sweet-talking Iron Maiden to play Dundee’s Caird Hall in June 1980, Mclean ramps up this account of Tayside wheeler-dealing with abundant freeze-frames and a street-sprint intro that leave no doubt which modern Scottish classic it is emulating.
“Davie” (played with smiling self-assurance by Conor Berry) is helped on his way by small-time dealer Scot (Sean Connor) and homebody DJ John (Grant Robert Keelan). Their badinage flows naturally from a script with a wry enjoyment of local idiosyncrasies (like the chip-shop scene in which Davie measures out the mileage from London to Dundee using a battered sausage as a ruler) that doesn’t skimp on entertainment in the early stages.
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