10 Music Documentaries to Stream While Social Distancing

10 Music Documentaries to Stream While Social Distancing
FilmsApril 2, 2020

Just because we can’t gather together for live shows for the time being doesn’t mean we can’t get transported via the power of live music and compelling artist stories. Take a break from binge watching Tiger King to turn on some of the Sofar team’s top music documentaries! 

Itching for a concert experience while staying indoors? Check out daily live streams from amazing artists in Sofar’s listening room.

Homecoming

“In 2018, Beyonce redefined what it means to headline a music festival when she became the first Black woman to headline Coachella. The next year, she partnered with Netflix to release a documentary that gracefully mixes the performances from both Week 1 and Week 2 with footage of six months of rehearsing. We’re able to get a sense of the countless hours and hundreds of people it took to create the now iconic performance, as well as witness her personal journey back to stage after having twins the year before. Beyonce fans will already get it (I’ve personally lost count of how many times I’ve watched it), but even for those who aren’t a fan of her music, it’s a fascinating look into the work ethic of one of the world’s biggest stars.” - Kalyn, Community Support Manager
Available on Netflix

Searching for Sugar Man

This 2012 film is about the search for Rodriguez, the hit singer-songwriter who maybe never existed…? While majorly popular in South Africa in the ‘70s, he never achieved success in the U.S. and then kind of disappeared. Where did he go, and where is he now? You’ll be surprised by the turns the search takes, but not by Rodriguez’s old school songwriting talent.
Available on Netflix and to rent on Amazon

Twenty Feet From Stardom 

When we go to a concert, we tend to keep our eyes on the main singer, but there’s real talent just a few steps away. Backup singers are often singers themselves, who for one reason or another, haven’t had the same momentum in their own solo careers. This 2013 Oscar winner shines a light on a range of that talent, from the dynamite Darlene Love to lesser-know big-voiced talent. It’ll leave you feeling everything from frustrated to inspired. 
Available on Netflix and to rent on Amazon

Stop Making Sense

“Stop Making Sense is part concert, part documentary, shot over the course of four nights at Hollywood's Pantages Theater in December 1983, as The Talking Heads were touring to promote their new album Speaking in Tongues. Director Jonathan Demme (you might also know him as the director of Silence of the Lambs) not only paved the way for other concert films to come, but created a stage like no other for David Byrne to showcase the absurdist, beautiful reality that is the Talking Heads universe. Byrne wearing the box-like 'big suit' throughout the performances feels like the perfect psychological escape for times like these.” - Katie, Global Partnerships Manager
Available on Prime Video

The Defiant Ones 

"Most people think of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ when they think of Dr. Dre, but this series highlights his brilliance as a producer and a visionary in the music industry. I also didn't know the story of Jimmy Iovine (Founder of Interscope) before watching, and that almost deserves it's own story line — the two of them together is too good!" - Will, Global Expansion and Engagement Director
Available on HBO

Amy 

Amy is an intensely beautiful film chronicling the life and untimely death of Amy Winehouse. The film gracefully portrays her immense talent and artistic power, while taking the viewer on an unsettling journey through her tormented relationships and struggles with substances. It left me with knots in my stomach, a pile of tissues, and a yearning for change.” - Grace, Sofar NYC Assistant Director
Available on Netflix and to rent on Amazon

Shut Up and Sing

If all you know about the Dixie Chicks is that they once said something bad about George Bush and then kind of disappeared, you need to watch this 2006 documentary. It follows the all-time top selling all-female band in the wake of the controversy and eventual country music blacklisting, giving a peek into band dynamics and intimate conversations about whether or not to apologize (hint: listen to “Not Ready to Make Nice” to see if they did).  
Available to rent on Amazon

It Might Get Loud

“Three guitar legends — Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs), The Edge (U2), and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin, The Yardbirds) — sit down together in a room for a day and, as you might expect, it got loud. Weaving this jam session with individual profiles, this fascinating look at each musician’s artistry, gear, and influences is a must-see for rock ‘n’ roll fans." - Margot, Sofar Washington, D.C. Director
Available to rent on Amazon

The Last Waltz

The Last Waltz chronicles The Band's final concert on Thanksgiving 1976. Featuring a ridiculous cast of special guests such as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Joni Mitchell and many more, the film is mostly live concert footage intercut with interviews with members of The Band. Did I also mention it was directed by Martin Scorsese?" - Eric, Senior Account Manager
Available on Prime Video

Montage of Heck 

"Composed of Kurt Cobain's own home video footage along with animated shorts of episodes from his life, Montage of Heck is a personal, emotional, and raw tribute to one of music's most mythologized figures. I've been a huge Nirvana fan since my teens, and this film really made me feel genuinely closer to understanding who Kurt was and what Nirvana must have felt like to witness at the time.” - Mike, Senior Product Analyst
Available on HBO

Header image by Yahya