Saturday, October 29, 2011

Media Content

After Bumbershoot a few years ago I had so many photos and videos with nowhere to put them or share them so I decided to pay for a flickr account.
Shellac 072
I'm quite happy with flickr, it was an early adopter of the "expose a link/embed URL via UI" feature that I'm fond of for putting photos in my blog. Like this:
Container ship at duskSunset over Vancouver IslandSun setting over straightsI just renewed for my 3rd year and I have 15,744 items, mostly photos with an occasional short video. I used it a little for videos, but it only allows short ones.
For photos it works fine, though.
MidOct 285

I like to take videos and pictures of the shows I go to and then blog with them. YouTube is my current favorite tool for videos. My account supports longer videos too, although I usually break longer chunks of video down into individual songs. Mostly.

Sometimes I get lazy and leave things together and that's not all bad. Breaking the songs apart into separate videos gets rid of the overarching "show" element to some degree.
I've been much more rabid about getting shows taped since I got my second flip. I have well over 500 videos on my YouTube channel, over 31 hours of mostly music. A bit more than 6 hours was recorded at the Vera Project.

I got my 20,000 view of my YouTube videos in October when the channel is 10 months old.

I use flickr for the photos and YouTube for the videos and embed them in my blog, I've got somewhat over 6,000 views of 94 or so blogs.

I'm pretty happy with flickr and YouTube, although organizing tools aren't that good so flickr is kind of overwhelming when you have more than 10,000 pictures.

What would I like to add on to my bag of tricks?

I record sound at shows using a field recorder on occasion. The web didn't offer great integration options until recently, but with HTML 5 that should get better quickly. Posting audio of songs on occasion would be fun.

Being able to use multiple audio and video sources and edit them down to a single video would be cool, but it requires tools and expertise I don't currently have.

Delivery options are interesting. I have 6+ hours of Vera performances on YouTube with a play list that includes all of them. I can build an app that launches that, but a more interesting variant would be to store my preferences for the list - I can mark individual tracks as don't ever play, rarely, occasionally, or frequently play, for example. Now I can run a random selection tailored to your preferences and let you adjust on the fly and add new tracks as they show up...

I interviewed a couple of members of the Knowmads, a local Seattle hip hop outfit, and saw and recorded them 3 times and posted blogs with videos. I've gotten to know them a bit and I plan on checking in at upcoming shows to record them again. With any luck they'll add me to the guest list so I can see them around town, not just at the Vera Project. I'd like to get to some of their shows and I'd like to build similar relationships with other local bands.

The Vera Project has live sound and sound recording classes, I plan on taking those with Ben and perhaps his siblings and my wife if they're interested. I ran sound on a house party and enjoyed getting to twiddle knobs and feel like I was contributing. Producing and recording sound is something I plan on getting better at, too. It's easy to get better when you're starting with no experience or skills!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shellac and Helen Money at the Vera Project

I signed up to do Lead Front Door (sell tickets and check off will calls at the front door) for the Shellac & Helen Money show.
The show was packed with excellent pre-sales and a good crowd showed up for Helen Money who gave us a cello performe.
Shellac 014
Here she's playing pizzicato - she's plucking. She used a loop to play back a rhythm/bass part and then played across the loop, occasionally plucking as in the picture, frequently playing with a bow as in this video:

Interesting sounds, not a typical approach to song structure in many ways but there's still a narrative happening on some level. The range and tone varies more from song to song than I would've expected based on the instrument, definitely some intensity a bit past 3 minutes in for example that I'm quite fond of.

Next up was Shellac and we had a full house.
Shellac 028
They had two guitarists and a drummer and both guitarists sang on occasion, and occasionally nobody sang and they just played their instruments.

Shellac had a good powerful guitar oriented sound, but there was less infinite sustain than you typically get in this sort of power guitar music, so it had a different sound, almost towards the rockabilly end of the spectrum. Not really, more like a head feint in that direction, then off into a direction all their own. Lots of heavy guitar licks, power chords, odd timings, transitions or almost movements in their songs - Shellac structures the songs a little differently than mainstream approaches and I enjoy the different sounding and occasionally unexpected results.

Powerful thrashy stuff, sometimes funny, sometimes menacing, always interesting. I enjoyed the heck out of this show, glad I got a chance to catch Shellac.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Seattle on Columbus Day

On Monday October 10 I was at Westlake Mall while Occupy Seattle was in progress in the plaza across the street. I stepped out onto the balcony to take a look:

The nearest group was a group advocating abolishing Columbus Day with the occupiers behind them, further from the mall.
Normally I wouldn't blog about this on my music blog, except that I ran into some guys playing music:

So I saw a performance of songs from "Street Songs" on the street in Seattle during a protest, definitely an interesting "venue" for a performance. I was happy to see it, I suspect music used to be a larger part of organizing than it is today. I'm mostly basing that on some great songbooks of old labor songs I've seen, not mention all the great protest songs.
The occupiers were cranking out signs too:

They have some infrastructure dedicated to the signs. I had to take a moment to highlight my favorite:

As we left by car we looped back south of Westlake so we could come north with the one way traffic and get a view of the protesters and their signs on the plaza:

So being a protest tourist allowed me to catch another performance, bringing me to 376 performances so far this year, 310 of them for the first time (adding in the 2 from the Veracity/Gallery Opening and the 373 running total as of the end of Reverb).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Two Sisters Gallery Opening and October Veracity Show With Usury and Max Williams

The Vera Project puts on art exhibits in the lobby of the Vera Project every month and has an "opening night" reception with snacks and (usually) some or all of the artists. The October opening was on October 12, the second Wednesday - which is also Veracity Night.
Oct13 025
The art installation was cool and attendance was high.

Tristan booked the bands, a couple of singer/acoustic guitarists. First up was Usury, who recently got to Seattle (in a roundabout way) from Montana, originally.
Oct13 012
Nice voice, nice guitar work, good rhythms and interplay between the voice and guitar. The crowd is large, estimated at 170 due to the gallery show and pretty chatty.

Good professional set - he keeps his focus on performing his songs with a somewhat disconnected audience. The atmosphere was a little more like a bar than the typical Veracity show, usually we get a much smaller audience right up front watching quietly and intently, but we usually don't have the gallery opening at the same time. Usury has some songs on bandcamp worth listening to as well.

Max Williams was the headliner.
Oct13 016
He was good natured about the audience.

Nice playing, good focus and an interesting instrumental break at the end, nice stuff. He played a good solid set of intensely personal songs, this one has some good dynamics in the vocals and guitar both.

Max gives a shout out to his band "Legion of Sparrows" at the end and mentions their kickstarter, check it out if you're interested.
We had a huge group of students from Cornish and as I said the audience was mildly inattentive to the bands, which made it harder for them to keep the intensity up to some degree, but both acts proved to be up to the challenge.

It was nice to see such a large audience at the Vera, it was fun and rewarding putting the event on for such a large crowd.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reverb Festival in Ballard

Carina but us a couple of tickets to Reverb Fest, the local music show that runs on October 8 in Ballard. Seven or eight venues, mostly bars but some small all ages spaces with all kinds of local bands, sounds like fun! Local is somewhat elastic, I saw a good band from Idaho for example, so maybe regional would be more accurate than local, but that's OK, it just gives the festival more good bands to program and us fans get even more cool music. I can live with that.

We ran a little late so we missed most of opening act "The Art of Hip Hop." We managed to see the tail end of the set and I got some video with the ending of one spoken word performance:

I enjoyed this guys bit, but by the time I got the camera out and started he was finishing. Dang, he had some excellent rhymes and some interesting uplifting things to say about the creative process, I guess you had to be there. Sorry.

I got a more complete bit from the next spoken word performer:

You can hear a bit of banter from the crowd - I just missed her introduction and the crowd reacts to the title with a boo, then (on camera) somebody explained the boo. Personal and intense, I like the idea of taking a painful and difficult personal issue and making something creative out of it. I hope she dumps the dude, though.

Next we headed up to the Eagles Auditorium to hear Kaylee Cole. We walked in while she was playing this song:

Nice sound, simple piano backing with good expressive vocals, I love the sound of her voice and the piano sets it off nicely.
After some patter and a list of upcoming shows (always a good idea) she played another nice song I got recorded:

She wanted to do a happy song so she played this one, which she calls "triumphant" - I'm not sure if that's the title or she's describing it. Either way I liked the song and I managed to get a longer bit of her performing which is nice.

We walked back to the Tractor and caught the ending of the last Mutiny Fires song:

They were fun, we heard a bit more from outside and as we crossed the bar, but not that much. I liked the sound, I'll have to keep an eye out for them, maybe see if I can catch more of them.

Next we went to the NY Fashion Academy to listen to Dyme Def.

I've seen Dyme Def several times and I like the approach, good rhymes spit and leads and backing vocals bouncing around, I like the rhythm, rhymes, and flow.

Next back up the stairs at the Eagle to see Seapenny.

She's quite appealing, light high beautiful clear voice and funny material, I'd like a few more listens to make out the details.

The 2 Bit Saloon started up with 3 Ninjas and Tangentbot:

First time at the 2 Bit, cozy (small) space, interesting stuff on the walls and ceiling (skate board collection at 1:08, the video is kind of hard to make out but the sound is interesting, another band that I'd like to get a longer listen to.

Next we went back to the NY Fashion Academy to catch Neighbors:

I saw Neighbors last month at the Vera Project and enjoyed them, they consistently put on fun shows with upbeat slightly punk tinged rock tunes. I love the "I'm beautiful, I'm awesome" bit in this song.

Next we walked further NW to the Sunset Tavern, our first trip their during Reverb, to catch Metal Chocolates:

I enjoy the band checkoff and faux sponsorship, these guys have an amusing sense of humor and play that enhances their shows. I saw them at the Capitol Hill Block Party after party and they were fun there too.
This next number was fun too:

Good use of pacing, slower chorus and droning bits then punchy interjecntions rapping over it, good use of echoed (manually echoed, i.e. repeated a few times each time quieter) backing vocals on occasion. I also have a soft spot for hip hop bands that use live instruments so the trumpet and drums are big pluses too. Nice work getting a few call-outs to musicians/rappers in the audience as well.

Back to the Tractor for the Golden Blondes, who temporarily turned the neighborhood into Ballingham (a mutant Bellingham) to school us on good call and response and how much it can add to a song. They are right - it does add to the song!

Unfortunately that's about all I got recorded, and I didn't see much more, but I loved what I saw. Yet another band worth keeping an eye out for.

Back to the 2 Bit Saloon for Summer Babes, an interesting looking crew. They all wore white and mostly had white guitars. Two guitars, bass, drums and keyboards and rich backing vocals, fun band with a good loud approach.

I think we took a food break around here so we missed quite a bit: The Tom Price Desert Classic, Charles Leo Gebhardt IV, Less Than Equals, James Coates, School of Rock and Dude York. Too bad, but we had to eat.

We got back to the Tractor in time to see Tom Price Desert Classic play some loud rock, here's a short bit from the ending of a song:

I got a much longer recording from Tom Price Desert Classic with a couple of songs, I'm guessing the second was Punch Your Ticket, loud, crunchy, mildly fast and distorted, even some good dynamics and interesting rhythmic variations here and there:

Fun bar band, I could see drinking a few and bellowing along and having a great time at a Cops show. I tried it a little already and it worked well!

Quite a contrast with & Yet, who played acoustic guitar and sang at the Volterra Room:

Earnest and heart felt, nice song. Not as good potential for drinking beer and bellowing along I suppose, but appealing in it's own way. Better for a quieter evening where some conversations might be able to continue between sets.

Cataldo played the Eagles Auditorium with the lead vocalist playing acoustic guitar and a bass, drums, and a fiddle. I like the sound, the fiddle player in particular adds a huge amount between the regular playing and the plucking. Nice approach somewhere between pop and rock and folk, this is becoming one of the main genres of Seattle rock recently.

When done well like Cataldo does it I quite like it. This style is slightly challenging since it tends to lower temperature performances, so they'd better be good technically and able to project emotion with their voices or instruments, or they'll put me to sleep. Cataldo's lead vocals definitely supply an emotional journey for us, and the instruments are different and interesting enough to keep me hooked while the emotion builds, very nice.

We headed back to the Tavern to see the Cops.

I like the wailing guitar bit at the beginning, then the stripped down vocals around :30 in with just the drums, then the wailing guitar starts back in, pretty soon it;s loud and thrashy with a kind of taunting chorus, fun contrasts and energy. Made me want to thrash around, drink, get sweaty, and take a pounding in a mosh pit, but that's just me.

Time for Spurm at the Sunset! Spurm is an odd band - and to me odd is a term of endearment. Their sound is a little hard to describe, you can listen to an odd one here:

Kind of an operatic/over the top treatment of some song that sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it. Their normal lead vocalist played drums on this and the next tune. This short bit has the regular lead vocalist (in a cool hat, maybe a drum major hat?) out in front singing. It';s too short to completely capture what's different about the singer, I think. He's a talented performer with a good bit of charisma, but he also moves oddly and with his fairly tall frame and tendency to lose his shirt he stands out; for me he's the most memorable thing about the band, and this is a band with great songs and performances going for it, the vocalist just stands out to me for some reason.

Next we saw Dennis at the Volterra Room, this was one of the performances labelled "Seattle Music Presents":

I like the instruments - mandolin, banjo, acoustic bass and acoustic guitar, these are more typical of bluegrass except they'd use a stand up double bass. The crod gets into it and the stomped rhythm gives it a bit of a hootenany feel, very enjoyable.

Land of Pines put on a classic set at the Eagles auditorium:

Good traded off vocals, my camera work isn't that great though. I like the Land of Pines, saw them open for STRFKR and Champagne Champagne at the Vera Project and also at the Capitol Hill Block Party. Nice to see them getting an evening set with a good appreciative audience, these guys play well to a crowd.
I got an additional song from Land of Pines and the woman guitarist does leads on this one; on most songs the red-headed dude does lead vocals and sometimes they share them like on the previous song. Nice change of pace, gives them a borader range in my opinion.

We stopped by the Tractor to see some of "Don't Talk to the Cops" which was fun! The Laotian woman on the left  - later I figured out she's Megan "Emecks" Xaybanha danced her butt off and the music was good, including some of the better scratching we heard at Reverb:

Hey, checking to make sure I had the band ID correct I notice that the dude on the right is Larry Mizell, Jr. I read his column all the time in the Seattle Weekly, I hadn't realized he was in this crew. Good show, nice introduction to his work. I got a second joint from them, the DJ scratches his butt off on this one:

Around :40 there's some amusing chatter, then off they go again. I'd like to see DTTTC again, that's becoming a common sentiment fr the acts at Reverb, I guess that's a pretty strong recommendation, come to think of it.

Back to the 2 Bit Saloon for NighTraiN, a fun loud power trio plus a keyboardist (the vocalist played keys on some songs, anyway). Fun and upbeat show, nice sound:

I'm almost certain I saw NightTraiN play a Veracity show last year, but I can't find any record of it so maybe I'm mis-remembering, who knows. With so many all male bands around it's nice to see a kick ass rock and roll outfit that's all female, good stuff!

We dropped into the Conor Byrne to see Mark Pickerel. I like Pickerel, I saw him performing with "Mark Pickerel and the Praying Hands" at Bumbershoot in 2010, I believe. He's playing solo here, stripped down sound but very well done:

This was the only time we made it to Conor Byrne - the shows there started a little later, and we were winding down just as it spun up. I got another short fragment of a song as we entered, you can check it out on my youtube channel if you're interested.

Back to the NY Fashion Academy to see Lurell Low, another talented rapper/hip hop act:

We were running out of energy (and money for beer) at this point so our efforts ran out pretty quickly.

We made it to the Eagles Auditorium to see the Hotels:

A good uptempo rock band, but we didn't stay long and soon wandered back to the car and headed home. We missed quite a few more interesting acts like Virgin Islands, Katie Kate, Tomten, Mash Hall, Grynch, Curtains for You, Grand Hallway, and so on, but we managed to catch 22 performances (counting the 2 spoken word performers at the start as a single "Art of Hip Hop" performance, anyway).

Carina drove home as I had been drinking a mild amount, and we had to stop at Third Place Books so I could use the facilities, which allowed me to catch one last performance: a big band playing for dancers at the Third Place Commons.

That brings me to 373 performances for the year, 307 for the first time. As near as I can figure out, Spurm was the 365th performance I've seen this year.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

West Seattle House Show

Jan teaches piano and guitar and more than half the family has taken lessons from her; Ben is currently taking guitar in Jr. High and supplementing with lessons from Jan so he's making great progress.

Jan writes her own songs and music and has been practicing with some friends for a while now but they hadn't performed live yet. She finally got around to playing a house show in West Seattle this weekend and I got to setup and run the sound for them. Cool!

The house is attractive and it has an amazing view of Elliot Bay and downtown Seattle, along with an interesting if less beautiful view of the container port too. The band setup in the corner by the windows and rehearsed early in the afternoon:
Jan Z house party 004
We hooked up 3 microphones (2 vocal and one for an acoustic guitar), 2 guitar inputs, and Jan's electric keyboard so we used 6 of the 8 available channels. I improvised a wire to connect Jan's home stereo speaker up to the monitor out so we were able to provide vocal and guitar back to the performers so they could hear each other - the piano was pretty much loud enough directly. I was pleased with the sound; while it may not have been perfect you could at least hear all of the instruments and there wasn't horrible feedback or disruption of the performance due to inability to hear or anything like that.
Jan Z house party 042
The performance was at night and the downtown Seattle sky line was a great backdrop.

Jan Z house party 063

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gabriel Kahane, Thousands and Bear Cove at the Vera Project

After the Tuesday night Programming committee meeting at the Vera Project I hung out and watched the show later that evening. I was willing to steer the show if needed, but they got a good crew with Quixote steering and all the door positions and concessions filled so they didn't need me. They even had an official sign-up for the photographer position!

Not having to work made it easier, but I only had my older Flip with me so my recording capacity was limited and I couldn't take any pictures, just high def videos. I prefer high def videos over pictures when it comes to viewing, but it's nicer still if I can post both.

I did get some good videos, just not that many. First up was Bear Cove, performing with a bass, drums, guitar, and a second percussionist. Here's the song I got recorded:

The guitarist plays some nice slide guitar and the second percussionist has switched over to a box on this number. More often he played on the congas, but I didn't get any footage of them with that instrument. While this number is quite bluesy and guitar driven, very old school, they had a nice range and did some more mainstream sounding guitar driven rock too. They were fun and I wish I had the better Flip so I could've recorded a more, they had soem great guitar work, soulful and singing and good songs. The second percussionist in particular is a nice idea, giving them a good powerful beat that drives the number along.

Next up was Thousands, two dudes playing guitar and singing intricate songs with good harmonics. Both vocals are somewhat upper register, maybe a tenor and a second tenor, I suppose. The pleasant melodies and stories in song form combined with the falsetto second vocal and acoustic guitar approach give them a Simon and Garfunkel vibe, and in my book you can do worse than that comparison - I love Simon and Garfunkel.

They use a more dynamic (i.e. much quieter) approach on occasion than is typical, which gives the song a nice light feel and allows the mid- to low tempo quiet songs to still feel like they build and get louder by just approaching typical volumes. Nice control of the dynamics of their performance, they put it to use to enhance the emotional impact of the songs but not in a sledge hammer way, just in a light and beautiful way.

This second number uses more duo/harmony vocals right from the start. The way the 2 guitar parts combine is also quite interesting. For a duo they have quite a bit going on in the live performance - both sing and play, and the careful dynamic control and changing vocal approach give a surprising range to the performance, much more than you'd expect from a "band" of 2 singer/acoustic guitar players.

Gabriel Kahane took the stage for the headlining set using an electric and an acoustic guitar, bass and drums. For the first song he (Gabriel Kahane, I assume; that sounds like a person's name, not a band) played acoustic guitar and sang solo.

Shaky camera work at first, but then it gets a little better. Quiet and intense little song, quite affecting. From the second number on they brought in the whole band. The sound is fuller and great; it ranges from quiet and simple, not that different from the solo song, to complex with harmonies on the vocals and a nice rhythm section driving along as the song builds and the chorus with it's slightly ominous harmonies returns, slightly more intense each time.

Kahane's sensibilities clearly drive both songs, they share a similar sound yet they're quite different as well. Kahane has more tools at his disposal with the band so the transition from solo to group works nicely to introduce him and his basic sound and approach, then embellish it and add layers and complexity without changing the underlying character. Very appealing work, not my usual fare - I mostly like it louder and electric, with some distortion and more of a driving beat, I want to be sweaty and out of breath when it's over - but the beauty and talent make it a moving show in a different way, it transports you without the overwhelming physical rush. Kahane does it by appealing to your sense of beauty and your intellect, a slightly more complicated way to get you to buy into the performance, but just as effective when done as well as Kahane did it.

In case you couldn't tell (I may have just pulled a Jethro Tull, calling a performer by the band name) as usual this is the first time I had ever heard any of these bands. Heck, the first time I'd ever heard of these bands was when I checked the Vera schedule. That just makes it more cool that they were so talented musically and put on such a beautiful show. I love getting to see bands that I've never heard of that kick major ass live with awesome musical skills and wonderful individual approaches to sounds and songs, each killer show is a revelation I'm glad I didn't miss. When I was a kid shows cost a fair amount and I had a limited budget and since I couldn't go to bars yet that left national touring acts. I'd mostly buy tickets to see the headlining bands that I knew well, so there was rarely such a huge element of discovery when I went to shows in my teens. I like that sense of discovery - a new band that kicks ass in some wonderful different way makes me happy! It makes me feel like I'm in on some secret that I would've hated to miss out on.

A Personal History of Shows

I was looking at my YouTube channel which as grown to 482 videos, which is cool, and I realized "they're all recent, and mostly of fairly new bands."

I'm 50 years old now and I've been going to shows since my 16th birthday - Santana in the old Seattle Center Arena on the NW corner of the Seattle Center on March 13, 1977.

I didn't film or videotape anything until the most recent 5 or 6 years, and I only started doing it fairly systematically this year.

As a result I've seen plenty of shows that I wish I had gotten recorded.
Highlights include Santana 5 or 6 times, Bob Dylan 4 times, the Who 5 times, the Rolling Stones with the Clash, the Kinks 5 times, Heart 5 times, the Grateful Dead twice, Eric Clapton 3 times, and lots of one offs and obscure stuff that I loved like Romeo Void, the Fixx, Blue Oyster Cult

Oingo Boingo, Tower of Power, Supertramp, Yes, Violent Femmes, Van Halen, Black Sabbath (w/Ozzie), Don McLean, Roger McGuinn, AC/DC, Robert Plant, the Sex Pistols, Ringo & His All Star Band (the year with Seila E., Howard Jones & Greg Lake), Joan Jett, I could go on for quite a while. Let's not forget beloved local acts of decades past like Young Fresh Fellows (still around 33 years later), Mondo Vita, Allies, Red Dress, Rail, Visible Targets and dozens I've completely forgotten.

I saw plenty of bar bands when I got to be 21, but after having children in 1987 the frequency dropped off substantially.

Fifteen years later in 2002 I started taking my oldest kid to Bumbershoot and then other shows and multiple kids per show. We saw great EMP shows by Neko Case and several great Sound Off rounds and finals and one day while looking for an all ages venue I found the Vera Project. Volunteer driven sounded cool, and the 2 or 3 shows we saw there were fun. Then I got a job in Belltown and the Vera Project moved to the Seattle Center. My nephew came to visit from Klamath Falls and I wanted to entertain him with some Seattle culture so we went to see Jason Webley and check out the new Vera space at the Seattle Center. The show was awesome (including the best ghost story ever) and we all had a great time. I picked up a brochure on the way out and pretty soon I was volunteering, then I became a member. I gave lip service to doing it to support my kids, and I do take them on occasion, but for the most part I'm into it, not them. I'm a Vera member and chair the Veracity committee, booking veracity shows and cooking vegan tacos at the shows and cleaning up after, and I steer shows (assign jobs to volunteers at shows and help make sure they succeed in those jobs) and just generally enjoy the heck out of the Vera Project.

There are many more bands and venues now than when I was younger, and I'm putting effort into making it to shows and as a result I'm getting to see an amazing amount of performances this year. My "going out to shows" rate has bounced back with a vengeance and is now higher than it ever was when I was younger. I no longer use my kids as an excuse to go much; 2 out of 3 festivals and at least 4 out of 5 shows that I've been to this year were without my children. When they do go, they're going with me rather than me taking them.

My estimated rate of going to shows per year:
1977 3 shows
1978-1987 10-15 shows or so annually
1988-2003 1.5 shows annually (babies)
2004 6 shows
2005 8 shows
2006 9 shows
2007 9 shows
2008 15+ joined the Vera
2009 20+
2010 50+
2011 100+ shows

So I'm guessing I've seen 361 shows and probably 1,000 performances total. I didn't keep record and don't have a ticket collection or anything like that so the best I can do is rely on my frail memory for most of the shows I've seen. It's different this year since I blog every show I go to, and I plan to continue that (at a lower rate) from here on out.

I've blogged about 350 performances and I can vaguely recall perhaps 100 more, 150 would be a stretch, so I can recall around half (500 of 1,000) of the performances I have seen in my life. As I continue to blog about the shows I go to the total will increase and in a few years I'll recall 1000 of 1500 or even 1500 of 2000, so the percentage will slowly climb but it's going to take years.

Hmm, this has to be one of my more boring nerdish posts, better add some pictures and videos from somebody else, since I'm talking about stuff I didn't get recorded. Even with a few extraneous videos and pictures, with all the band name dropping and numbers it's still kinda lame.

Tomorrow is Reverb so I should have all kinds of video and photos of bands to post and blog about, and with any luck I'll see at least 15, reaching 365 for the year in early October. Lots of music, only dropping the names of bands I got on video tape, limited numbers, much less nerdy. Well, I still write the text so it's still somewhat nerdy, but less so than this post anyway.
reverbI hope it doesn't rain hard on Saturday, getting between venues so I can see additional acts during reverb would be more more fun in crisp dry fall weather so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sleeper Agent and Us On Roofs at the Vera Project

I steered the Sleeper Agent/Us On Roofs show at the Vera Project this Sunday. We had a good crew show up, enough volunteers to handle front door and concessions, plus a shadow (she's learning to steer, so she "shadows" me, the regular steering guy). Having a shadow means I get to have her do some of the steering overhead so I can watch more of the show and it's easier to film and take pictures.

Oct 078I got the video camera setup and filmed Us On Roofs's fun tight set, these guys rock out! Double guitars, bass and drums with nicely complex music very well performed.
The camera on the catwalk gives a more stable but less intimate view:

Sleeper Agent was quite appealing visually and their music kicked ass.
Oct 106
I also got a huge amount of video of Sleeper Agent. In addition to a tripod mounted Flip on the catwalk filming just about all of the set I filmed 3 songs with the DSLR and another couple with a hand-held Flip on the floor, so several songs are recorded twice from different POV.
Sleeper Agent had 2 guitars, bass, keyboards, female lead vocalist, and drums. One of the guitarist was a co-lead vocalist to some degree, and the drummer and bass player and keys all had mics too, I think.
Here's a tighter shot of the 2 "co-lead" vocalists, they're the focus during the performance, mostly.
Oct 110
The red headed red bearded bass player drew attention both for his appearance (loved the red!) and his excellent bass skills, most of their music had that driving bass powered feel that just gets you bouncing and sweating, this is not music that lets you hold still!
Oct 111
The lead guitarist was pretty talented too, but he was very quiet about it, mostly strumming and picking away but not moving much.
The keyboard player was kind of back and to the side, a little hard to see, but he actually was pretty lively during the performance.
The drummer was fun, kinetic, and a little loud, perfect in a drummer. He was also hairy and a bit messy, which also is pretty much perfect in a drummer. You get a pretty good look at him here, along with a good view of the singer in motion:
Oct 134

Here's the hand held POV fairly up close, I manage to cut out the keyboard and the lead guitarist pretty consistently.
Nice sound, great preformance. Here's another great Sleeper Agent song:

There's quite a bit more video on youtube, and I still have more to process and upload. Fun show, two excellent bands!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Paying the Piper

I blog about going to lots of free shows, but most of the show are only kind of free. More often than not when I attend a Vera Show I'm steering, or at least selling tickets, so I'm working and sneaking in to set up and start the camera so I only end up seeing part of the performance.

For 2 of the 3 big festivals (Sasquatch and the Capitol Hill Block Party) I also had to work to get in for free. Sasquatch in particular took a months long commitment of interviews, writing, and creative work in order to fulfill the obligations incurred getting to see the "free" festival. That sounds like more than it really was: a few hours work each month, nothing too time consuming, and I got a class in interviews and interviewed 5 or 6 or 7 people so I'm learning new skills too.

I'm a Vera member so I serve on committees, and I now chair the Veracity committee so I have to fix vegan tacos and book bands for a show each month, which teaches me other interesting skills.

It does get time consuming though. I have to get 2 or 3 interviews done, follow up on some promotional stuff for Veracity, attend the Programming committee meeting to report on Veracity activity, steer shows, and get videos made and blogs written and so on. I want to get some audio recording equipment and fiddle around with producing recordings and I'll need to take the Vera sound classes; I think I can get my son (who's studying guitar now, all right!) and maybe some other kids or Dana to take them with me.

I probably won't go to as many shows and won't post as many videos (I may see over 400 performances and post 600 videos or nearly so this year), but I should still be breaking 200 shows and maybe 300 videos most years pretty easily.

It's not a living, but it is fun and it keeps me young!