Episode 20: Jake Smith of The White Buffalo

I’m fairly new to The White Buffalo but as soon as I heard songs like “Wish It Was True” and “BB Guns and Dirtbikes,” I became an instant fan that had to get all of the band’s albums. When I knew this Chuck Ragan/The White Buffalo tour was going to stop in New York City, I figured that would be a great time to meet up with Jake Smith of the band.

Originally, I was trying to get both Jake Smith and Chuck Ragan to do something together but I was happy just to film either of them. Like with all Chuck Ragan shows in New York, he was incredibly busy but thankfully Jake Smith found time to film 2 songs with me, even though he was a bit under the weather. Would have been nice to film outside but don’t think we’re quite there yet with the weather in New York. One day is great and then it’s two steps back to being cold again. The schedule was a bit hectic for Jake as well so Team Reybee and me just decided to film in the band’s dressing room at Irving Plaza.

I got into the room a few minutes before Jake came in so I could setup. As I was setting up, I realized that The White Buffalo’s drummer Matt was sleeping on one of the couches. I didn’t even realize he was there! I was trying to setup as quietly as I could so I didn’t wake him up. Once Jake came in, Matt woke up and moved to another couch since the other one didn’t have mirrors behind it. I didn’t want to show up in the video the entire time.

Jake ended up playing “Fire Don’t Know” from the band’s newest album Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways and then one of my favorites, “BB Guns and Dirtbikes.” It was a real treat to hear Jake sing exclusively for me and I was hoping he would play at least one of my favorites. Glad he did! Even though Jake was sick, I still wanted to take a picture with him afterwards. Thankfully, I didn’t catch what he had.

Thanks to The White Buffalo for letting me film in the dressing room before the concert, as well as a nice thank you to the Reybee crew!

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

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Episode 19: Jason DeVore of Authority Zero

I’ve been a fan of Authority Zero since their first album was sent to me for review around 2005. Since then, I’ve been a big fan and love seeing Authority Zero in concert every time they are in town. Like many of the musicians and bands that are featured on this site, frontman Jason DeVore and the band have been on my wish-list to film since I started the series. I was trying to find time to film Jason last June when they played in NYC with Ballyhoo! but couldn’t find time. Thankfully, I finally got around to filming Jason this time!

This episode is a bit different than the others since it’s not a BEFORE the concert episode. Originally I wanted to film Jason before the concert started but with time restraints, we couldn’t make it work. So this is an AFTER the concert episode that was filmed outside the venue, towards the end of the show. It was too noisy to film in the dressing room and thankfully wasn’t raining, so we ventured outside and quickly grew a small dedicated audience.

Jason played two songs, both from Stories of Survival: “Get It Right” and “Big Bad World.” Both songs are some of my favorites so I was happy with the choices. It was great seeing the people around Jason singing and dancing, it made for a better video. During the video, Jason broke 1 or 2 strings while playing and added a verse about it in one of the songs. That made for a funny moment. Afterwards, Jason stuck around the cold to talk with fans and take pictures. I wanted to get a photo with him and a few others jumped in the shot as well, which I was laughing about since I just wanted one with myself. It’s all good, makes for a fun photo. Thanks to the Irving Plaza guys for not stopping the filming!

If you haven’t seen Authority Zero in concert yet, you’re truly missing out! They put on an awesome show and they just keep getting better and better.

I took a ton of photographs at the show, which you can see over at my photo site 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 9: Brad Mackeson

Singer/Songwriter Brad Mackeson is based in Nashville via Portland and recently played a show at Bowery Electric. I decided to meet up with Brad and his friends in a very packed Washington Square Park to film him play some songs off his new album 1945. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, it’s available to listen to on Spotify but I’d recommend buying this one!

The day was beautiful and finally glad I wasn’t filming in the frigid cold. The park was packed with other musicians, a guy playing a grand piano (how does he wheel that around?), skaters, and dogs. Brad started things off with “Rooftop” near the fountain in the park. It’s always fun filming in NYC because people just don’t care and walk around you while you’re filming something. I always wonder if people would notice Bruce Springsteen jamming in the park or not. After “Rooftop,” we moved to a quieter spot on a bench and he played “Late Nights and Gunfights.” Brad ended up playing a new song called “Love Dies Slow” after that! Finishing up the episode, Brad played a cover of the Bob Dylan/ George Harrison cover “If Not For You” near one of the statues in the park. I can’t believe I never heard this song before (maybe I have, who knows) but I had to listen to the original after that because I loved this song!

I originally wanted to film in Cooper Square but Washington Square Park is always an excellent place to film. You just have to contend with other musicians and barking dogs though. Brad was extremely nice and we talked about WWII, his new album 1945, and other things. I sadly missed Brad’s show at Bowery Electric but I’m hoping to catch his set next time he’s in town. If he stops by in your town, check out his set!

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

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Episode 6: Jerad Finck

Every time I film a session outside, I say it was the coldest its ever been. Well, this was definitely the case this time! I met up with singer/songwriter Jerad Finck at The Highline Ballroom on 16th street and then walked down 2 blocks to the little park near the Apple Store. The temperatures felt like they were in the teens or lower. The major problem that night was the wind, which you’ll unfortunately hear in the audio at times.

At one point towards the end, a huge wind gust came through and we were all cringing and kind of laughing at the same time. I think my arms were frozen for the second song too, because I forgot to focus at one point haha. So in a way, the second track is my outtake. It was freezing out, but what do you expect trying to film outside in February. I didn’t want to film inside though. Next time it’s that windy, I need to get some windscreen thing for the lav mic. If there are any audio people out there and have a better idea on how to get rid of this wind, let me know!

Jerad performed the songs “Won’t Give Up” and “Stuck in Your Riddle,” which are off his awesome EP Stuck in Your Riddle on Rock Ridge Music. You can get that on iTunes or Amazon.com.

Jerad Finck was a trooper for putting up with the cold; good thing he didn’t perform barefooted like he normally does. Talk about frostbite! Be sure to check out Jerad live, which you can see some of my photos I took during his set at Highline Ballroom. You can see the rest of them at my photography website SkaPunkPhotos.com.

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

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