Update: In addition to the music documentaries + films highlighted below, there are a number of innovative livestream concert events popping up every few minutes, it seems, in response to the coronavirus pandemic …
The world’s attention surrounds the coronavirus pandemic. Tours are canceled, supermarkets are packed (and, likely, ransacked), tensions are high, and … couches are filled. We’re being told to stay home if necessary and possible, self-isolating to prevent risk of spreading or contracting the virus, which means it’s time to load up on snacks and watch TV.
There are a number of noteworthy music films and documentaries available via subscription streaming platforms at the moment that ought to help scratch that itch for live music, since none of it is happening for the foreseeable future. Some bands have taken to live-streaming gigs in empty venues to help alleviate the absence of going to concerts, which has been fantastic to see, but there are more options out there.
With an assist from Spin and other outlets, here’s a glimpse at some of the titles worth a watch while you’re quarantining at home.
Echo in the Canyon (Netflix)
Director Andrew Slater’s 2019 documentary brought the iconic Laurel Canyon music scene to life with his film, which features one of Tom Petty’s final on-camera interviews, in addition to telling the story of one of music’s most fertile and formative movements, through recollections with the legends who lived it.
Oasis – Supersonic (Netflix)
The battles of the embittered Gallagher brothers are at the center of the saga of Oasis, the Britpop outfit that achieved massive international fame beginning in the 1990s until the egos took over, prompting their breakup in 2009.
Director Mat Whitecross’ 2016 documentary tells the story in rich, stylistic detail.
Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams (Amazon Prime Video)
This film, also directed by Whitecross, bills itself as the definitive story of one of the world’s biggest bands, interspersing live footage from the band’s gigs with interviews and other materials.
The Stone Roses – Made of Stone (Amazon Prime Video)
There probably never would have been an Oasis were it not for the Stone Roses, and the seminal English rock band’s 2013 doc tells its story in effective fashion.
The Dirt (Netflix)
The heavily stylized and grimy The Dirt is Netflix’s biopic of Sunset Strip rockers Motley Crue, and it’s dirty, sleazy, grimy and everything you’d expect in a film about the notorious band — definitely not an OK watch for children, obviously.
Springsteen on Broadway (Netflix)
The Boss stars in this doc chronicling his one-man Broadway show from last year. Tickets were nearly impossible to get, so why not just watch it at home?
ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas (Netflix)
Three men, two beards, countless legendary moments and an unmistakable style. The story of ZZ Top has been meticulously told via a new doc that you can stream now — so why aren’t you already doing so?
Now More Than Ever: The Story of Chicago (Netflix)
This 2016 doc chronicles the life and times of Chicago, “from their jazz-rock fusion roots to chart-topping pop hits.”
Above Us Only Sky (Netflix)
In January, filmmaker Michael Epstein spoke at length with us about his film, Above Us Only Sky, which dives into the story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono with a trove of archival material, interviews and incredible footage from the vault.