Sunday, April 29, 2012

4-20 LA, Knowmads, Chev and Superfire at the Vera Project

The Knowmads are one of my favorite local hip hop outfits, so when I saw they had a show coming up on short notice I volunteered. Short notice shows can be short of volunteers, and the Knowmads shows have a reputation for bringing large crowds that like to party, making security a challenge, so they could probably use me.
It turns out I was right: I was the only security volunteer. It also turns out the show was on 4-20, which I had failed to notice when I signed up. Looks like I was going to be Major Killjoy, running around telling everyone to put it out. On the other hand, I know the dudes in the Knowmads - they gave me my first interview - and they're smart and great at communicating.
I checked in with Tom Pepe and told him what was up and he offered to give us a PSA: It worked perfectly - nobody lit up in the venue at all, and working security was a pleasure. Major props to the Knowmads and Tom Pepe for guiding the crowd and giving them a great show! I got some good footage of Superfire with Rebel: SuperFire also had one number with an electric guitar: I like the sound he gets; they don't integrate the guitar into the music, rather they highlight the guitar for a bit then move back to the hip hop. Interesting, I really don't see too much live guitar at hip hop performances, although the Thermals provided a great power trio backup for some spitting at the 2011 Sasquatch Line-up announcement party. The linked blog post has a photo of the Thermals providing the groove (guitar, bass and drums) for assorted members of Das Racist and Mad Rad as they free styled, I really liked that example.
I got Saturdayzed from a hand held video recorder in the crowd while working security: ...but I mostly wasn't able to film from the crowd, I was too busy working security. I put the other camera on a tripod and turned it on when the show started, then didn't get back to it for quite a while. The result is that I ended up with a 53 minute video here that I haven't sorted out, I think it starts with Chev and then the Knowmads. I wasn't sure if YouTube took videos this long but it appears to have worked fine. I think this has the rest of the Knowmads show and then LA in a single video: I enjoyed the show, the Knowmads have several old favorites like the Boat Can Leave Now and Wildflower (this one is from the 2011 Japan benefit show; if you poke around on my YouTube channel I think I have 3 versions each of Wildflower and The Boat Can Leave Now, maybe 4 if you look hard enough) ...and Saturdayzed that I always enjoy hearing, and the new Knewbook material is growing on me - a couple more shows and the new album will be old favorites too.
The Knowmads paid for some of the costs of producing their new release the Knewbook (available for $10 on bandcamp) with a kickstarter campaign, and several of the contributors got "hang out with the band in the green room" privileges at the Vera Show and shout outs from the stage and so on which was interesting to see. The financial and marketing models used in the music industry are changing and bands like the Knowmads could make plenty of money off of purely virtual (downloaded) copies of their work without a sniff of a record company involved in the financing or delivery of their music. Not bad for a couple of 21 year old north Seattle kids, I hope they sell lots of copies of it! Their earlier "Bus Station" mix tape with 24 tracks is available free here last time I looked too, it's worth checking out!

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