Stop making Sense was filmed over three nights in the Hollywood Pantages theatre in 1983. Directed by Jonathan Demme, it is widely considered the greatest live concert film of all time. It captured the Talking Heads at the peak of their powers by a director willing to enter their unusual world and break conventions in live concert film making.
The film is an exercise in deconstruction, experimental theatre and a one of the most joyous and energetic live performances captured on film. It begins with a minimalist stage setting on which Byrne enters in a grey suit and sneakers, beatbox in hand and exclaims “Hi, I’ve got a tape I want to play”. Four songs later the entire band have seamlessly joined the stage as an evolving art project which builds to the crescendo of a cover of Al Greens Take me to the River.
Demme keeps his focus on the stage and the performers, and we view from the crowd and the band’s perspective and connect with their dynamic. It is Byrne himself who ultimately steals the show along with his now iconic Big Suit. Like Bowie, he uses mime and exaggerated expressions to captivate and fascinate the audience and in particular his dance moves which are equally unsettling and comical and he jolts as if being plugged into the mains and then runs on the spot reminiscent a Jane Fonda workout.
The city suit gradually increases in size during the set and is juxtaposed by his band members neutral coloured playsuits. Reviewing the film in 1984 in The New Yorker, Pauline Kael describes it as “the perfect psychological fit”. Byrne was inspired by the Noh theatre styles while between tours in Japan and wanted to appear exaggerated “bigger” on stage and the square outline of a business suit was the perfect way to execute this.
The film cemented Byrne as a style icon and the first Studio Nicholson menswear collection takes inspiration from him and his play with proportions. The oversized David Byrne coat in wool herringbone is a key piece in both men's and women's winter collections launching early August.