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 12: The Trophy Fire

The Trophy Fire were recently on the East Coast touring, which included a stop at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. My wife Kristen and I trekked over to Williamsburg and met up with the San Francisco band at that club.

We decided to walk over to the East River at Grand Ferry Park since East River Park was packed with people at the Brooklyn Flea. The day was sunny, hot and extremely humid. The moment we started to walk with the band, it started to rain. Not a heavy rain but a weird sun shower. We kept stopping under trees and hiding in doorways so the camera equipment and guitars weren’t getting too soaked. Thankfully the sun shower stopped right when we arrived at the park.

Ben, Adam and John played 3 songs with the Williamsburg Bridge and Empire State Building in the background. It was a nice spot that I found by just looking at Google Maps. The 3 songs that they played were “Kids” and “Spinning” off their awesome new album Directions For Daylight and a cover of Band Of Horses’ “For Annabelle.” It was a lot of fun hanging out with the band for an hour and filming them. Be sure to get their new album because it’s pretty damn good!

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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Episode 8: The Beards

The Beards, now here is a band that was a lot of fun to film! The Beardly bearded band from South Australia met up with me on one of their press days in Washington Square Park on Wednesday night. The band has been touring this Winter/Spring with dates in LA, Austin (SXSW), Toronto, and New York City. They will be hitting the festival circuit in Australia and Europe as well. The guys sang three hilarious songs about…well you guessed it…BEARDS!

When I arrived at the park after work, it wasn’t really hard to spot the band hanging out by the fountain. We decided to film off to the side since there was other people playing guitars. They performed three tunes (“Born with a Beard,” “Shaved Off His Beard,” and “If Your Dad Doesn’t Have A Beard, You’ve Got Two Mums”) off their Beards, Beards, Beards album. Their latest album Having a Beard is the New Not Having a Beard was released last year but is definitely worth picking up!

After the first song, a fan in the park recognized the band and came over to touch their beards. I didn’t realize until after that Nathaniel Beard was making the girl’s scarf into a beard. It was a great moment, which is all in the episode! It was tough trying to film these guys and not laugh while filming. I think I did well. Even when the camera wasn’t on, the guys were making Beard related puns and jokes. I had a big grin on my face after filming The Beards and they were definitely one of my favorites to film to date. Thanks to Mark Tyson for taking my picture with the band! I always seem to forget to take a picture with the bands and musicians that I film.

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

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Frank Froese – “Toilet Corn”

I’ve known Frank for over 15 years and he still knows how to get a laugh out of me. After filming for the day, we were all hanging out in my apartment. Frank brought up he wrote some improvised songs about his old job and how he used to sing to them there. We were intrigued.

He told us this story about something he encountered at his old job and played us this song he called “Toilet Corn.” Yes, it’s about that and it’s not some hidden meaning. Once Frank finished the song, I said get your guitar back on, we’re filming this! Why Frank doesn’t just write comedy songs is a mystery to me.

Enjoy the awesomeness that is “TOILET CORN!”