Episode 21: Janet Devlin

After almost taking a year off (hiatus or vacation?) from Before The Concert, we’re back with Episode 21 featuring Irish singer/songwriter Janet Devlin and guitarist Roo Walker!

Janet’s new album Running With Scissors is a catchy folk-pop album and I like it a lot. She has such a unique, distinct voice and it was a treat hearing it in person. Janet was a contestant on the UK’s version of X Factor in 2011 and she went pretty far too. She was over in Manhattan for some press & events so I didn’t get a chance to see her perform a full set yet but I will next time she’s back in NYC.

I met up with Janet and her guitarist Roo at her hotel, along with her manager and publicist. I was originally going to film in Times Square area but when I went there, it was mobbed with people of course. crowds, Elmos, cops oh my! So it wouldn’t have been a good spot plus I didn’t know how long the rain was going to stay away. We tried filming on the hotel’s rooftop which would have been absolute perfect despite the fact that all the air vents were on full blast! After one try we knew that wasn’t going to work but it was certainly nice up there. We eventually just shot the videos in the hotel room, which worked out well.

Janet started out with “Whisky Lullabies,” and then played an acoustic version of “House of Cards.” Janet and Roo finished things up with a nice cover of Kodaline’s “All I Want.” It was a pleasure to meet and film with Janet and everyone should check out her new album!

You can watch this episode on the Before The Concert YouTube channel as well.

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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 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 11: Justin Sane of Anti-Flag

When I started this video series, one of the few bands or artists I wanted to film in the beginning was Justin Sane and/or Anti-Flag. I got the chance when Anti-Flag was in town for 2 nights at the Studio at Webster Hall in NYC. The band is currently on tour celebrating their 20 years as a band. They play two nights in each city and play different sets each night. Sadly, I couldn’t make it to either shows but heard they were excellent. Hopefully they come back soon because they are a lot of fun to photograph!

We almost didn’t get a chance to film something with Justin because like usual, things were running behind schedules because of traffic. New York City is great but sometimes it likes to throw those monkey wrenches into your plans. Besides the traffic, the weather wasn’t exactly nice out. Thankfully everything came together and I filmed a song with Justin. My wife Kristen came along again but this time she just took some pictures of the filming.

As Kristen and I were walking down Broadway from Madison Square Park, we were being yelled at to cross the street. Of course, I was yelling back saying “where the hell do you expect me to go with all the cars here!?” I found out later that they were filming Anchorman 2 haha. Then we met up with Justin and Chris Stowe of AF Records and walked to the Cube area at Astor Place. Things were running late so Justin just sang “One Trillion Dollar$.” The video is short but I was happy to have filmed at least 1 song.

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

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