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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Episode 1: Frank Froese

I knew when I started Before The Concert, I wanted my friend & musician Frank Froese to be the first guest for the series. I knew there would be a lot of outtakes & bloopers and I was right. I wanted to be able to film and just play around with everything, and get the hang of things.

My twin brother Matt came along to help out with this filming as well, and he was shooting with the Nikon D7000, I was using the Canon XF100. On a Saturday afternoon, Frank came down to my neighborhood in Jersey City from Scranton, PA area. We spent the afternoon going from location to location and filming Frank perform some songs.

The first spot I wanted to shoot at was the waterfront but I probably should have known there would be issues with the wind and other things. The wind was an issue, as well as us having an audience of people standing by and watching Frank. The people part wasn’t really the problem per say, but it does attract attention. By the end of the first song (“Where I’m From”), I noticed a Goldman Sachs security lingering around and probably seeing what we were doing. I didn’t feel like having this guy telling us what to do so we just left. Figures the very first session I ever did and I attract a crowd and security.

The next spot ended up being at Paulus Hook park which was nice and quiet, except for us and the cicadas. After doing an interview and having Frank play another song (“Handfuls Of Vicodin”), we walked down to the Morris Canal Liberty Park section to see how it was down there. Again, I probably should have known it would be windy and have other noises. In this case, it was just one dog barking every 2 seconds as its owner threw things in the water. After awhile, I said screw it and let’s just film. Bravo to Frank for keeping a straight face throughout his performance of “Kings Without A Crown,” because I nearly lost it a few times from laughing so much. Not about the song, but because of that damn dog!

It was a fun day to film, watch Frank perform, and have a nice field test for the series. I’m hoping to get back out there and film more musicians and bands very soon!

Frank will be playing at Kuzzin’s in Dunmore PA on September 15th. He will be playing a benefit for The Lupus Foundation! Sean Loughney will also be playing. Support a good cause and see some cool music.

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