Thursday, July 28, 2011
There was a quite successful show thrown over at the Ruintown / G-Spot compound at the end of May called Scapescape, which I posted about previously. I had a chance to record a few sets, and I'm finally posting about them here. Let's begin with the musical stylings of the inimitable Mr. Mick Free. As one of Baltimore's premier lyrical talents, he built the energy up on the Ruintown stage. You can catch him next month at the Baltimore All-Rap Round Robin, which I guarantee I'll post about again.
Mick Free Scapescape 05/29/11 by Guy Werner
Dope Body's spastic, experimental punk is a unique fusion of sounds and they played a typically stellar set for the afternoon crowd at Scapescape. These guys have been demanding a lot of my attention lately, and if you haven't been listening you ought to.
Dope Body @ ScapeScape 05/29/11 by Guy Werner
I'll conclude with Big In Japan. These guys have been rock mainstays in Baltimore for years now. I remember catching them on Sundays at the Good Love bar almost ten years ago. With Katrina Ford from Celebration sitting in, their spacey, blunted sound is the perfect way to greet a Summer night. Thus they began the season at Scapescape.
Big in Japan w/ Katrina Ford @ Scapescape 05/29/11 by Guy Werner
Scapescape photo nabbed from Silk and Honey.
Dope Body photo courtesy of Sarah Werner.
Posted by Guy at 7:42 AM
Monday, July 25, 2011
Baltimore's own Wye Oak are currently one of our city's greatest assets. Their recently released album Civilian is doing quite well and last week they played on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I also posted about the brilliant shadow-puppet video they made for the track "Fish", in collaboration with local artists Katherine Fahey and Michael O'Leary. Back in April the band worked with a small group of friends and the puppeteers to actually perform the song "Fish" and the shadow-puppet play simultaneously in a live environment at the Metro Gallery. The results were lovely, and the video below chronicles this brilliant merging of friends, forms, mediums and materials.
Posted by Guy at 4:50 AM
Sunday, July 24, 2011
TV On the Radio is one of my favorite bands, and they consistently put out amazing videos with their music. So consistently in fact that they arranged a whole movie to accompany their new album "Nine Types of Light", both of which were released this past April. Some parts of that modular film are being uploaded now, and the video for "You" by B Clay is touching, sad, smart and compelling. The whole thing is made that much harder by the recent passing, within weeks after the release of "Nine Types of Light", of their bassist Gerard Smith after a brief battle with lung cancer. It is rare I see as effective a use of cinematic structure in a music video as this. Beautiful.
Posted by Guy at 5:21 PM
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Before you get your hopes up about a recording in this post; today's entry isn't so much a look at a performance but a look at the way in which we digitally disseminate performances.
I went to go see Animal Collective play at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD this past Saturday, July 9th. It was good. Not great, and I feel like they missed an opportunity to make it a legendary show, but it was good.* At one point I whip out my phone and start recording a bit. Really I just wanted to show my wife what awesome seats my pal and I had. Over the next few days I was treated to a nice look at how different people process their concert experiences digitally. Blogs posted a bunch of reviews of the show. An article appeared in the Washington Post. The venue itself posted an article on Brightest Young Things. Spin posted an article about it that is pretty positive. A local Google user group I belong to that shall remain unnamed bitched about these articles and a lot of people bitched about the show itself as evidenced by the comments on these articles. I found at least half a dozen cell-phone videos published on YouTube of the concert, and all of them were pretty terrible. There is a torrent on Pirate Bay of the whole show, uploaded from an iPhone.
So all of this gets me thinking about the latest hijinks Apple is up to with the iPhones. It seems that Apple has figured out how to have an infra-red signal commanding phones not to engage their video cameras. According to Patently Apple these systems can be installed at venues and disable the recording functions of all the iPhones in the audience. This will make the music people happy, which will lead to better deals with those music people and iTunes. I've been pretty unhappy with Apple lately (Final Cut 10) but this goes beyond making a poor product. When you buy a device, you expect it to work whenever you need it to. What happens if someone was proposing to their loved one at a concert and their friend wanted to record it? Innumerable instances of personal anecdotes aside, this level of meddling is unacceptable.
I like taping shows. I also like watching shows. If I'm watching a show live and there is a million glowing screens of iPhones in my view just below the stage, I admit that is pretty lame. If I'm watching it on YouTube and all I can find are cell-phone videos, the quality of the video usually blows and does more of a disservice to the performance than anything else. If the artists in question haven't given you permission to post it online and you do so, that is a violation of their intellectual property rights. What Apple is doing is a bit shady, but so is taping a show and posting it on YouTube when that isn't what the artists want. None of these offenses are serious on their own, but if you add them up it almost seems to justify the major offense Apple plans with these infra-red systems.
I propose just exercising a little judgement, and using the right tools. Ask the artist (or someone representing them) if it is okay to record. If you care about the music, you ought to be using a recording device that doesn't make that music or performance seem poor. As for all you artists out there; If there is a person who cares enough to try to do it right asking if they can record, say "yes". Even if iPhones are negated in big, commercial venues there are plenty of other models out there. Chances are you'll see some crummy version of your show online in a day or two. Which kind of video do you want getting all those hits?
So below is my iPhone video (first and last) of Animal Collective playing at Merriweather Post Pavilion. It is more of a public service announcement than anything else, but sums up my views nicely. Hopefully Apple will realize that they don't have to be evil because we'll just be responsible on our own.
* Not worth going into here, but if you see me in person I'll rant for you.
[The photo above was stolen from Spin, but Josh Sisk (an incredible local photographer and general man-about-town) took the pic. Since I know him, for some reason this act of theft seems ok.]
Posted by Guy at 9:16 PM