the listenerd

optimized for maximum incontinence

Tag: they shoot music

On concerts and context, indie music style

Many years ago (maybe 2005) for the day job, we wrote about the Burn to Shine DVDs, a series of concerts held in homes that had been abandoned and designated for demolition. A few things felt interesting about the story at the time – 1) The fact that bands were being taken out of their typical music venues and put on display in a wholly different context. 2) The idea of scarcity (currently a hot topic once again, as seen by the Gladwell vs. Chris Anderson debates) – in this case, a fact heightened rhetorically; these concerts were not only one-shot deals in offbeat locales, but they were being recorded in buildings that would soon be destroyed.

Since then, a number of music and pop-culture sites have sprung up around the idea. They invite indie bands-of-the-moment to perform a song or two in a strange setting, then put the mini-concert resultant videos online. (Daytrotter was an early example of a channel that amped up the rarity factor, but did little to change traditional context.)

The most prominent example of sites peddling unique live performances – of taking bands out of context – and putting them online might still be a Take Away Show with the Arcade Fire from 2007. (Another notable example is Brian Wilson’s Black Cab Session. Here’s Bon Iver’s Black Cab Session.)

Here are some additional channels who have, over the past few years, recorded video of live performances in unique venues – in parks, on elevators, in graveyards, in cabs careering across town – thus creating an event that is unique in its context and also wholly one-of-a-kind – then posted them online:

Take Away Shows
Off the Beaten Tracks
Black Cab Sessions
Handheld Shows
They Shoot Music, Don’t They?
Laundromatinee
Pitchfork’s performance series– I’m still not sure what the overall series is called (if anything); Pitchfork has done one called Cemetery Gates and one called Daytripping (and they’re shunting me to the main page right now for some reason)
-(I’m sure I missed a few?)

Everyone already knows that the internet is a copy machine. But what channels like the ones above try to take advantage of the fact that we also live in an era of broader access along the – hold your nose for this – entire entertainment supply chain. It’s important that MP3s can be infinitely copied. But increased access to musicians through multiple media is a shift, as well – and it’s one that creates all kinds of opportunity.

Like inviting indie bands over to play their most pop-friendly songs in your apartment’s elevator, and then publishing the results for an audience of hundreds of thousands.

Links for 4.23.08: Music for Oldsters, gay hip-hop, robot orchestra conductors…

*Too funny: GetBack Media focuses on music fans who are 35+, concentrating on American pop culture from 1968-1990. Those were the days? [musicweek]

*More on the Take-Away Shows tip: They Shoot Music, Don’t They?: tiny concerts, for the people. Not a lot of huge names, but check out Shout Out Louds. [psfk]

*Read Cracked’s Top 10 Unintentionally Gay Rap Lyrics: Tupac’s “Ever since you was a pee-wee, down by my knee with a wee-wee.” [the rap up]

*I’m predicting only niche acceptance: The Ouija board guitar. [bb gadgets]

*A robot, in the form of a Honda Asimo, is going to conduct the Detroit Symphony. [listening post]

*Recommended: Finally, the video for “Smell Yo Dick” is available. NSFW. [lots and lots of places]

*Slightly off-topic: Interview with Craigslist’s CEO. Lots of transcript here: Love it.

*If you bought music from MSN Music back in the day, you will probably be screwed as of August 31, 2008. Due to DRM. You were warned. Many, many times. [ars technica]

*If you enjoy data visualization: Read this list. [kottke]

*Happy 60th, Pops!