MOVIE REVIEW: THE FAMILY JAMS
hit the road with devendra banhart and joanna newsom on their cross-country tour.
The year is 2004, and Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom are on the brink of something big. Fame? Critical acclaim? What it is, exactly, they can't articulate. But before all this happens, these musicians want to do a cross-country tour their way.
This means traveling city to city with folk quintet Vetiver in a beat-up van, making stops at hole-in-the-wall venues along the way (including one practically deserted warehouse in Winston-Salem, N.C.) and taking travel breaks to chill in parking lots and film guests spots on Adult Swim. Borrowing its name from the indie musicians' collaborative performances at the end of each set, this movie follows the road we all wish we could take.
The Family Jams is just as much a concert film as it is a straight-up tour documentary. Featuring appearances and performances from Antony and the Johnsons, Espers, Meg Baird, The Pleased, and Linda Perhacs, these unique musicians prove that being a family isn't just all flesh and blood- it's more than that.
As the tour winds down in San Francisco, the entire group takes to the stage for one last Jam together. Especially considering how much has changed for these performers in the past seven years, this final scene is nostalgic, intimate and kind of bittersweet. But above all, it makes you so glad you came along for the ride.