The coronavirus has done Oliver Cromwell’s work for him and shut the theatres.
Performance arts need an audience and we need performers, but that’s all a distant dream. Until the Restoration here are some reminders of what it was like:
The film of the Rolling Stones 1969 US tour was documented by the kings of verite, the Maysles brothers.
The band were at the top of their game, but more interesting is the behind-the-scenes planning for the Altamont disaster, where a man was killed by Hells Angels.
In between there are stolen moments when you see the band behind the façade.
The best rock & roll movie of all time. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones is almost as good but just a pure concert film.
Written by Jack Nicholson, Head is a trip with The Monkees that lampoons stardom and celebrity decades BK (Before Kardashian) with incredible music and a story that pushes every boundary but finally makes sense.
The most horrifying I have ever seen is this documentary about the rapper Li’l Peep.
The film covers his childhood to his roman-candle like career as a Soundcloud rapper.
The filmmakers go into the underworld of these kids who survive on the streets in a haze of pharmaceuticals and grass.
It’s a world of nihilism and doom. Even success beyond his dreams is not enough and Li’l Peep is dead at 21. Everybody should see this.
The BBC commissioned T-Bone Burnett and Jack White to make this 4-part series ostensibly about a recording machine.
On the way through, it is a beautiful history of the roots of American music, going back to the plantations where Mississippi John Hurt, the Carter Family and others made their mark.
Some of these stories have been oft told, but this series goes deeper.
The final episode sees Nas, Alabama Shakes, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Jack White, The Avett Brothers, Bettye Lavette, Rhiannon Giddens Steve Martin, and others recording the older songs or writing new ones together.
Elton John and Jack White jamming was very unexpected.
Live at the Paramount
In November 1991, Nirvana had, one month earlier gone from Nowhereseville, Seattle to literally the hottest band in the world with their debut album Nevermind and the grunge anthem Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Thousands of grunge bands had come out of the mountains where they had been hiding.
Seattle was the locus of music and kids all over the world were wearing flannel shirts tied around their waists.
What happens when all your songs are about alienation and you are beloved by millions?
Kurt Cobain grappled with this and the insane pressure that had come down on the band.
All that craziness and bewilderment and anger came out on this hometown stage. Nirvana is still raw.
The songs, particularly Aneurysm and Teen Spirit just explode with emotion. This is why we used to go out.
Let’s get Lost
Directed by photographer Bruce Weber, Let’s Get Lost documents the life and times of Chet Baker; trumpeter, lover, junkie.
Weber’s delicate style matches the laid-back quality of Baker’s music. A classic
Toby Creswell is a music journalist and pop-culture writer, as well as a former editor of Rolling Stone (Australia) and founding editor of Juice.