Episode 17: Jordan Klassen

I’ve seen Jordan Klassen perform on other Canadian sessions sites before like Southern Souls. Once I knew he was going to be in New York for a small show at Bowery Electric, I wanted to film him. The band just released their excellent new album Repentance, via Ingrooves. I’ve been listening to that album just about everyday it seems. Definitely recommend checking it out!

Before their set at Bowery Electric, I met up with Jordan and Jocelyn Price at Cooper Square. The small square is up the street from the venue and I filmed them performing “Sweet Chariot” and “Go To Me.” During “Go To Me,” Jordan ended up shouting the chorus in “Go To Me” and it got a bit loud; it kind of caught me off guard while filming them. Still, “Go To Me” is still probably my favorite track off his new album.

There always seems to be some sort of issue when filming in New York City. Bus noises, cops/ambulances driving by, mics not working, which I thought was happening this time. I thought I had to give up using the lav mics because I wasn’t getting a signal. Jordan looked at the lav mic and he said, “wait there’s a mute button on it.” DOH! Totally forgot there was a mute button on there and that was the reason why it wasn’t working.

I’m hoping I can film Jordan and Jocelyn again in the future since the audio was peaking a few times in the 2nd song. In any event, be sure to check them out on tour if they stop by your neck of the woods in Canada or in the States. If you want to see the photo gallery & a video from Jordan Klassen’s show at Bowery Electric, check out SkaPunkPhotos.com.

If you like YouTube better, you can watch the episode over at the Before The Concert channel.

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Episode 16: Carbon Leaf

When I decided to start Before The Concert, the first band I thought of was Carbon Leaf. Whenever they played their one-mic style songs, I knew that would be perfect for the video series. The guys haven’t been in NYC for over a year since they were recording new music and being family men. Thankfully, they finally returned to New York and played a sold out show. Before their concert, my wife Kristen and I met up with the band at the venue and filmed them playing 3 songs. As you can imagine, it was an awesome time!

When we arrived, we were greeted by Terry, Carter and Barry outside the club. We decided it was way too hot to even try to film something outside. We were lucky enough to film in the next room. It was some sort of winery room where they make the wine. It kind of reminded me of that bubble wonkamobile scene in Willy Wonka. Of course I had Willy Wonka quotes running through my brain before we were filming. Kristen and I filmed some “b-roll” stuff and then it was onto the main event of filming Carbon Leaf.

The band played 3 songs: a sort-of new one called “Ragtime Carnival,” one of my favorites “Learn to Fly” and a new favorite “Donnybrook Affair” off their latest album Ghost Dragon Attacks Castle. During the beginning of “Learn to Fly,” you’ll notice a noise. That would be Jon, the bass player, knocking his bow into his bass and immediately shaking his head and laughing about it. Everytime I see that part, I crack up. There’s other stuff I wished I got on camera, at least to put in an outtake video, but wasn’t meant to be. Some of the audio I got in-between songs was quite hilarious. Terry was goofing off too which we did get some video of that so we’ll have to put that into an outtake. Though there is one scene in the episode that makes me laugh too when Kristen points the camera towards him.

After the filming, I helped the guys film “Donnybrook Affair” again for their PledgeMusic page and filmed it on Barry’s iPhone. My arms were killing me by that point but I think that came out okay for them. We took some pictures with the guys and always the jokester that I am, was making fun of me and Jon since we’re on the short side. I was doing an impression of Frodo and Sam from Lord of the Rings, so I got a stupid looking face in my photo with the band. Hopefully Jon didn’t want to kill me for calling us Hobbits haha. Another hilarious moment happened while Terry was helping me wrap my XLR cable since I’m an idiot and don’t know how do it. We realized Barry still had the lav mic on but went away but the camera wasn’t on thankfully. We found out he was using the bathroom so would have been a funny Naked Gun moment if that was the case. I got to remember to get the lav mics from singers after I’m done filming.

I’m glad I finally the chance to film the band for the series and hope I get to do something with them again. Next time I hope it’s around Xmas time so we can try out their holiday songs on the NYC streets. That would be fun…and cold.

If you like YouTube better, you can watch the episode over at the Before The Concert channel.

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Episode 15: Howi Spangler of Ballyhoo!

For those that don’t know, Ballyhoo! hail from Maryland and play reggae rock. The band recently released their newest album Pineapple Grenade, which is their best album to date and I think one of my favorites of the year. Ballyhoo and Authority Zero just did a co-headlining tour and made a stop at Gramercy Theatre on 23rd street. I met up with Ballyhoo! frontman Howi Spangler and their publicist Becky at the venue, and then we decided to stroll over to Madison Square Park.

I originally wanted to film both Authority Zero and Ballyhoo but AZ was quite busy before the show..err concert. Thankfully, the weather held up because it was supposed to be nasty weather out. There’s no reason to film in a stuffy office or corner of the club if its nice out. I was just worried about filming in Madison Square Park since there’s always park rangers there. Especially with the new restrictions on street musicians, I was thinking we would be kicked out but that didn’t happen. I think if we lingered around, we would have though as some guy with a walkie talkie looked like he was scoping me out as I was leaving. Lovely New York City, where it’s now a Police State and can’t even have someone with a guitar play a few minutes.

But anyway, this was the first time seeing Howi and Ballyhoo! so I was amazed at how tall he was. I told him he made me look like a damn hobbit. Howi, Becky and I walked over to the park and avoided most of the crowd in front of the venue. We tried to stay away from everyone in the park since a lot of people were just relaxing & suntanning. There was a funny moment that happened before Howi began to play. When I put my Zoom H4n recorder with the “dead cat wind muff” down in front of him, Howi looked up and laughed saying he thought it was an animal. Those squirrels in Madison Square Park do come right up to you but this time it was just the mic.

Three Ballyhoo! fans randomly encountered Howi while we were setting up. They stayed around to watch Howi perform “Lost At Sea” and “Walk Away.” During “Lost At Sea,” Howi flubbed the verses a little but laughed it off & pressed on. I like keeping those moments in my videos because it makes me laugh & smile. Like Billy Joel used to sing, we’re only human. I was going to ask if he wanted to do that over again but seemed like Howi just wanted to get back to the venue. He was doing press all afternoon so I don’t blame him.

I was happy to get the chance to film Howi of Ballyhoo!, just wished my footage wasn’t so shaky. Really need to invest in a shoulder rig because the DSLR cameras are too shaky when being used as handheld cameras. I don’t want to use a tripod because I think it’s boring doing it that way (unless I filmed with multiple cameras). But maybe next time I’ll be able to film the entire band. Glad I got the chance to film with Howi and also glad I finally saw the band live as well. Let’s just say I was VERY hungry after that show haha.

If you like YouTube better, you can watch the episode over at the Before The Concert channel.

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Episode 14: Trapper Schoepp

I didn’t know who Trapper Schoepp and The Shades were until their music video for “Tracks” came out early this year. Their latest album Run, Engine, Run was re-released by Side One Dummy and it’s a terrific album! I’m glad I finally found out about Trapper and was honored to film him in some park (not sure there’s a name for it) near City Winery before his concert with Cory Chisel.

I arrived at City Winery a little early so was hanging out inside and enjoying the air conditioned room while Trapper soundchecked. We probably could have filmed inside but since it wasn’t raining at that moment, we decided to head outside. Trapper and I went around the block to a shaded park with checker board tables, homeless guys and pigeons.

Trapper wanted to try a new song “Settlin’ or Sleepin’ Around” which I didn’t know the name of it until a week later when Trapper told me what it was. I probably should have asked him what it was called then. It was definitely a fun song to hear and film and can’t wait to hear that on their next album. I requested to hear “Tracks,” but only if he wasn’t sick of playing it since I’m sure Trapper has been playing it for other video sites nonstop. He obliged and I was a happy guy.

Trapper headed back into the club while I took some more video around the small park. Afterwards, I caught his set at City Winery afterwards for the first time and was very much impressed. I’ll have to make it a point to see him perform with the full band (The Shades) next time they are back in New York. You can check out all my photos from his set at my photography website SkaPunkPhotos.com.

If you like YouTube better, you can watch the episode over at the Before The Concert channel.

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Episode 13: Willie Nile

I’ve been trying to film Willie Nile for awhile now. We were trying to film before his Joe’s Pub performance back in April but it was too cold out. We finally got the chance to meet up at a Book Store of all places. Willie and his incredible backing band of Matt Hogan, Johnny Pisano and Alex Alexander did a quick set at the store in Union Square. They played for a half hour or so and then had a signing for Willie’s latest album American Ride, which is brilliant by the way!

I originally wanted to film Willie and the guys in Union Square but the way the heat has been this summer, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. So, Willie and the band ended up playing in their tiny green room. I requested to hear “Places I Have Never Been” since I haven’t heard him play it before. It’s my favorite song by him. He said he hadn’t played that in over 4 years but did so anyway. It couldn’t have went better in my opinion. Who knows, maybe Willie will break it out during his sets again? After that, he played the title track from his new album American Ride. Such an awesome song!

Besides filming the Aussie comedy band The Beards, this was the only time it was really hard to hold in the laughter. As you’ll see in the video, Matt Hogan was goofing off with the maracas and at one point put one up like a boob. Yeah, I nearly lost it (or did). That was just unexpected and hilariously funny! Then Alex was playing his beer as an instrument for “Places I Have Never Been.” I guess he wanted to join in. Then he took out his phone and was playing an app that plays guitars, violins, etc. so that was making me laugh too because I wasn’t expecting that either. I told the guys after that I didn’t think a green room performance would be so enjoyable. It’s like a campfire sing-along but with alcohol and in a book store. If you haven’t already, be sure to buy Willie Nile’s new album American Ride off Loud and Proud Records. It’s truly one of his best albums to date.

If you like YouTube better, you can watch the episode over at the Before The Concert channel.

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Episode 10: The Jim Ivins Band

Richmond, VA/NYC rock band The Jim Ivins Band played The Studio at Webster Hall last weekend with Son Of Bill. My Wife Kristen and I meet up with the band to film a sort-of acoustic session at a rehearsal studio in New York City. We originally wanted to film in Cooper Square but that pesky Spring weather made us change our plans.

The band was running low on time in the studio space, but we managed to film Jim and Bobby play three songs. “You Can Have It All” started things off, then “It’s Getting Better” was played. For the final song, Jim played “Lost My Mind” solo. In the beginning, we filmed a song with a mirror in the background. I obviously didn’t think things through and you could see my gut in the mirror. Not an appealing sight.

This was also the first time Kristen helped out and thought she did a great job consider she didn’t didn’t know anything about the camera prior to this haha. After filming, we ended up almost getting stuck in a nasty thunderstorm in Jersey City. It felt like a tidal wave came through, thankfully we were inside a Duane Reade. The store doors were flying open, people were fleeing inside soaking wet. If I was out walking in that, I would have gotten all my equipment ruined. Close call!

It was fun filming with my wife and also cool to hang out with the band before their show and film a few tunes. Check out their album Everything We Wanted on iTunes and if they are playing in your neighborhood, go see them play!

If you like YouTube better, you can watch the episode over at the Before The Concert channel.

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