The Best of 2018: These were the most-viewed music documentary and concert films last year

By on December 31, 2018

Happy New Year from Night Flight! Over these last few days of 2018, we’ll be posting a compilation of our most-viewed new arrivals from the past twelve months in order to give you a chance to catch up on some of the most popular titles we’ve got streaming over on Night Flight Plus.

If you’re one of the new subscribers who have recently joined the rest of us at Night Flight Plus, you might be wondering what have been some of the most popular titles we’ve got for you to check out on our streaming channel.

Below we’ll be presenting you with a look at the most popular titles in three major categories — this blog will focus on Best Of 2018: Music Documentaries & Concert Films — and we’ll be posting highlights below from some of the Night Flight blog posts during the past year, along with links to those titles on Night Flight Plus.


The Music Documentary section is an essential part of Night Flight Plus’s offerings. This year’s additions to the category saw us focusing on culture of music through poster art, rare on-the-road footage from classic artists and much more.

Here are the new ones you couldn’t stop watching:


D.O.A. is New York City-based filmmaker Lech Kowalski‘s punk rockumentary, centered around the Sex Pistols‘ short-lived, seven-city (mostly) Southern U.S. tour.

In addition to shooting the Pistols in mostly small clubs and rowdy bars, and Kowalski’s infamous footage of a smacked-out Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen in bed, Kowalski’s documentary also features live concert footage of the Dead Boys, Generation X, the Rich Kids, X-Ray Spex and Sham 69, along with additional music by the Clash, Iggy Pop (alternative versions of “Nightclubbing” and “Lust for Life”), and reggae great Augustus Pablo.


American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986

Paul Rachman’s 2006 documentary American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986 features incredible never-before-seen live footage of some of the best primal-to-the-core punk bands from the ’80s, including Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, the Adolescents, 7 Seconds and many more.

This Sundance-selected Sony Pictures Classics documentary features exclusive interviews with Black Flag’s Greg Ginn and Henry Rollins, Minor Threat’s Ian MacKaye, the Circle JerksKeith Morris and Bad Brains’ H.R. (Paul Hudson), along with many, many more!


Aural Amphetamine: Metallica & the Dawn of Thrash

This 2008 UK documentary — which also delves into bassist Cliff Burton’s tragic death on tour in 1986 — tracks Metallica from their earliest days as a Bay Area thrash metal band right up to the release of their self-titled fifth studio album (the Black Album), which the UK’s Kerrang! magazine later claimed “propelled them out of the metal ghetto to true mainstream global rock superstardom.”

The film’s soundtrack contains music by seminal British hard rock forefathers like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and some of those pioneering New Wave of Heavy Metal bands — including Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Def Leppard, Judas Priest and Diamond Head — as well as a few Metallica’s contemporaries, like Venom, Exodus, Slayer, Mötley Crüe and Anthrax.


Finding Joseph I: The H.R. from Bad Brains Documentary

This 2017 documentary delves deeply into the eccentric life of punk rock reggae lead singer Paul “H.R.” Hudson from Washington D.C.’s Bad Brains.

Finding Joseph I also provides some of the answers that Bad Brains fans have been asking about the band’s legendary lead singer, who quit the band numerous times and eventually changed his name from “H.R.” (which stood for “Human Rights”) to “Joseph I.”

The excellent 90-minute award-winning film — lensed by first-time director James Lathos — features never-before-seen archival footage, photography and exclusive interviews with family members, bandmates (past and present), close friends, and those he has influenced and inspired.


Clockwork Orange County

This 75-minute documentary — excitedly sub-titled “The Rise of West Coast Punk Rock!” — chronicles the storied Orange County, CA-punk rock scene in the late ’70s and early ’80s, as well as giving viewers a look back at the fractious saga of the Cuckoo’s Nest, the Costa Mesa-based club owned by the always controversial Jerry Roach.

There’s a little bit of film footage here of the Adolescents, Black Flag, the Circle Jerks and T.S.O.L. (from 1979 and ’80), filmed onstage at the Cuckoo’s Nest, with its weird blue sky and clouds wallpaper backdrop.


Butch Devo & the Sundance Gig

On Friday, January 26, 1996, Devo, always one of Night Flight’s favorites, reformed to play one of the last live music events of that year’s Sundance Film Festival, which was later included as a bonus disc accompanying their The Men Who Make The Music DVD, cleverly-titled as Butch Devo & the Sundance Gig.

Here’s an excerpt from our previously-published blog about this hour-long concert:

“In January of ’96, we closed Sundance Film Festival,” Devo bassist Jerry Casale told Rolling Stone magazine in 2014. “We wore Twenties-style prison suits and dished out classic Devo songs to an unsuspecting audience of Hollywood elite.”


We here at Night Flight HQ would like to thank you for being here. We’d love to take all the credit ourselves for all of the things that make Night Flight special, but the truth is: it’s you.

We thank you for your continued support of Night Flight Plus, and will do our best to bring you even more exciting titles next year (it’s right around the corner!).

To quote Peter Ivers in Night Flight’s 1983 New Year’s Special: “People need to believe humanity has a future, and there can be no future without culture.” Well, Night Flight patrons, YOU are the future of culture. Happy 2019!


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