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 two of our 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.
Michael Hutchence: Mystify
The allure of a charismatic front man has long been the ‘x’ factor for many an influential band. And in the case of Aussie musical institution, INXS, they can arguably lay claim to this country’s most magnetic lead presence of them all, in the form of the sadly departed Michael Hutchence.
In the acclaimed documentary Mystify, director Richard Lowenstein (famous for producing some of the 80’s most iconic music videos), taps into the heart and soul of the notoriously shy Hutchence, giving us a riveting insight into the man behind the myth.
While most of us would be familiar with his INXS’ive output, check out the clip of Hutchence’s 80’s side project Max Q, for a further taste of the man’s eclectic talents..
Catch it on ABC iView.
Who better to curate a documentary on punk rock than the sinewy one himself, Iggy Pop!? In this four part series on SBS, the origins of punk rock as we know it are broken down, commencing with the proto-stylings of the MC5, The Stooges, The Ramones (check out their clip for Sheena Is a Punk Rocker) and the New York Dolls. Parts 2 to 4 focuses on legendary UK first wavers such as the Sex Pistols, the early 80’s LA scene of Bad Brains and Black Flag, and finally moving through to the 90’s breakthrough era of bands such as Nirvana, Bad Religion and L7.
The series is available on SBS On Demand.
The Fauves: 15 Minutes To Rock
Australia has long been a bastion for championing the cause of the underdog. And in the case of 90’s alternative rock gems The Fauves (whose song ‘Dogs Are The Best People’ was one of Triple J’s most loved mid 90’s staples), their 15 minutes has been a long-long road of perseverance while the times were a changing and the musical taste makers moved on from their under rated charms.
In turns laugh out loud funny and soberingly insightful, 15 Minutes To Rock is a documentary of its time, casting an irreverent ‘fly on the wall’ spotlight on the plight of an almost-there band on the cusp of almost-stardom. For anyone who spent the 90’s enamoured in the thrall of indie kicking against the mainstream, this film is a must see.
Check out their track ‘Everybody’s Getting A Three Piece Together’ for a prime slice of their sharply honed witterama and kick-arse musical alchemy.
Biggie and Tupac
Maverick English movie maker Nick Broomfield takes his usual conspiracist approach to his subject matter in this early 2000’s documentary on the controversial murders of two of the rap world’s biggest stars of the time, Tupac Shakur and Christopher ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ Smalls.
Their feud and relationship with Death Row Records head honcho Suge Knight forms the basis of this fascinating insight into the underbelly of the LA rap scene. Check out 2Pac’s vibe here.
The movie is available on SBS On Demand.
Guided By Voices: Watch Me Jumpstart
It’s been said of prolific Guided By Voices front man and song writer Robert Pollard, that he’s written more songs than most of us have had hot dinners – at last count he’s churned out in excess of a staggering 100 albums! Born in the fertile springs of the Dayton, Ohio musical scene, Pollard and his merry men of indie rock trailblazers produced some of the 90’s most thrilling underground releases and this 1996 documentary, produced by band fan Banks Tarver, takes an of the cuff look at the band as they navigate their journey from cult faves to on-the-cusp breakout artists and back again.
From a rich back catalogue, their track ‘Game Of Pricks’, here in remixed format, is hard to top as a killer rock song of the ages.