While we continue to pine for our live music fix, a top-notch music doco can truly be a worthy substitute, as social distancing keeps us largely housebound.
The hallmark of a great musical doco is in its ability to capture an audience outside of the artist or subject matter’s hardcore fan base. Here’s part one of a two part series, shining a light on a bunch of docos that come highly recommended and are available via free streaming or video sharing services. We’ve also included a seminal track of the artist in question.
Fantastic Man: A Film About William Onyeabor
The story of 70’s cult Nigerian musician William Onyeabor is shrouded in myth and mystery. The movie charts the film makers journey to track down the elusive artist, while shining a light on the Afro-psych-funk tinged sound that so captured musical luminaries as Damon Albarn and David Byrne (who helped bring his music to wider attention via his world music slanted record label, Luaka Bop).
If you’ve yet to hear the giddy wonder of Onyeabor’s unique muse, take a trip to the track ‘Atomic Bomb’ then watch the flick below:
Curse Of The Chills: A Martin Phillips Documentary
Pioneers of ‘the Dunedin sound’, New Zealand act The Chills have long been one of the most revered acts on respected NZ indie record label Flying Nun. This riveting doco charts the journey of the band’s sole constant presence, maverick front man Martin Phillips, whose musical alchemy plays out against his own personal struggles against mental illness and addiction. A powerful story of perseverance leading to redemption and vindication. Check out the clip for Heavenly Pop Hit, then watch the movie below.
The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter
This film tells the story of the The Rolling Stones 1969 tour of the USA, which culminated in the infamous Altamont Festival episode, resulting in the brutal death of a young concert goer at the hands of the Hells Angels, who were the hired security at the event. The tragic event, which has become somewhat synonymous with the death of 60’s idealism, is framed against the backdrop of The Stones putting in some blistering performances on stage and in the studio earlier in the tour. A bitter-sweet and darkly fascinating ride. Here’s the clip for Street Fighting Man to get you warmed up.
Weird fact: A young George Lucas was credited as one of the camera operators shooting the Altamont footage, although none of his footage was used in the final cut of the film below.
Soulwax: Part Of The Weekend Never Dies
Belgian electro DJ aces Soulwax serve as the spotlight for this dazzling road movie, delivering a new-rave explosion of hedonistic excess, humour and delusion as one hand held camera follows them for one hundred and twenty exhaustive shows across the globe. There’s definitely some E Talking here.
Krautrock: The Rebirth Of Germany
Bound by a forward looking desire to transcend Germany’s past, the original and uncompromising cutting edge sounds of the so-called ‘krautrock’ movement of the late 60’s and 70’s, from pioneering acts such as Can, Neu, Kraftwerk and Amon Duul II, has served as inspiration for countless artists such as Bowie, Eno and Iggy through to Radiohead and the new wave of motoric loving psych tinged trippers. Can: Spoon is a perfect example of this sound. This fascinating film looks at the legacy of these amazing bands and how they forged a new musical identity from the ruins of post war Germany.