Dennis and Lois: The Untold Story of Rock and Roll’s Legendary Superfans

Chris Cassidy’s award-winning documentary about a couple who have been going to shows for more than 40 years gives the term “all ages” new meaning.

Lifelong music lovers Dennis Anderson and Lois Kahlert are perhaps the most widely recognized pair of superfans in the world. With a history of attending concerts that spans more than 40 years, the eccentric but unpretentious couple from New York City has endeared themselves to bands from around the globe, and have become more famous than some of their celebrity acquaintances in the process.

Spotlighted by director Chris Cassidy, Dennis and Lois are now the subjects of their own eponymous biographical documentary, which examines how and why they developed and fed their voracious appetite for live music performances. The film is studded with dynamic concert-footage and candid interviews with dozens of performers who have come to know and love Dennis and Lois over the years. Members of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Mekons, New Order, Doves, The Smiths, Budgie, The Fall, Elbow, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays (who immortalized them in a song), and more, all queue-up to pay tribute.

Regular pilgrims to the streets of Manchester, England, the unmarried but deeply bonded couple have accumulated a mountain of tour t-shirts and ticket-stubs. This conspicuous consumption is echoed in their jammed-to-the-rafters personal residence. A shrine to pop culture, each room in the home is dedicated to a different franchise. Entire bedrooms have been claimed by Spiderman, Batman, The Simpsons – earning Dennis and Lois the nickname “The Toy People.” The basement, of course, is reserved for vinyl.

The Ramones get an entire hallway, featuring one of Dee Dee’s leather jackets and a pair of Joey’s shredded jeans. In fact, The Ramones were one of the first groups to bring Dennis and Lois into their extended family. As original patrons of CBGB’s, the enthusiastic youngsters volunteered to help work the band’s merchandise table and quickly became indispensable assistants. Whether they were scoring good weed for recording artists or giving a traveling troupe a place to crash, Dennis and Lois always found a way to connect with people in a manner that made them feel seen yet utterly at ease.

There’s a powerful lesson to be gleaned from how remarkably forward-thinking and open-minded these two septuagenarians are in their approach to absorbing new sources of inspiration and obsession. Despite the limitations imposed on their three-gig-a-day habit by increasing physical frailty, Dennis and Lois persist in their determination to expose themselves to live music. This is evident in their ongoing support of up-and-coming artists like John Grant and The Vaccines.

As audience-members, punk-rock roadies and Godparents to the scene, they’re not content to simply reminisce about the good old times of yore when legends roamed the Earth. Recently stage-side as A Place to Bury Strangers stirred the room into a calamitous frenzy, an MS-afflicted Lois (the unjaded veteran of 10,000 concerts) raised her hands in ecstatic reverie.

“Smoke started coming up. Everybody was doing this mosh pit, slam dancing, and body surfing. All this stuff going on and I’m there sitting in the chair… They’re passing the guitars over. They’re passing guys over. And, it was like the most incredible show I ever saw,” she says.

Dennis and Lois is available to stream now via AMAZON or iTUNES

X