Heavy Load is Lewes’ answer to the Ramones, a punk outfit subject to the inflammatory mix of ego, fantasy, and desire that fuels any emerging band. They’re also, uniquely, made up of musicians with and without learning disabilities, which makes the band’s survival a precarious negotiation between two different worlds: on the one hand the institutional timetable of day centres, work placements and social workers; on the other the chaotic slacker life of rehearsal rooms, studios and gigs.
Specialising in thrash covers of late 70’s punk – or punk versions of recent pop, Heavy Load is unlikely to have a top ten hit. ‘We like to take a classic song’ says guitarist Mick, ‘and crucify it’. Their cacophonic reinterpretation of Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head possesses a frenzied anarchy that bears no resemblance to the disco original. Their howled version of the Troggs’ Wild Thing adds a psychotic menace that makes you forget that this was once a love song.
Shot over two years when the band record their first album The Queen Mother’s Dead, the film is a comedy of conflicting ambitions capturing the sweat and romance of playing in a band as they move out of the ghetto of disability club nights to test whether their dreams can survive in the mainstream.