Sunday, May 19, 2013

American Pancake Videos Part 1 - "Stories from a shitty little music blog"











Being a part time music blogger can be frustrating. For someone like me, who (at one time) did have the notion that I would post something (anything) each and every day and grow this blog into a well known publication, it is humbling to realize that my little pipe dream may not happen. There are so many blogs that do the job better. I find myself so exhausted from my day job that my brain just doesn't seem to function when I try to type in my American Pancake mode. I have thought about throwing in the towel but then I think I think about all the cool people I have met at various shows and I decide to keep this little known shitty blog around for awhile longer. From time to time, it is nice to look back... so indulge me as I share some short remembrances tied to some of the videos I have shot over the last couple of years. (click on the pics to see videos)








One of the very first videos I shot and uploaded, it is special for me because it was the first time I saw Screaming Females live. I also had the pleasure of meeting Marisa and speaking with her briefly. She is so adorable and super nice.








I remember getting to the stage so late the entire field was packed in tight. I had no choice but to snake my way to the sound engineer set up mid field. I leaned against the fence and shot above the crowd. In the end, the video ended up turning out great as I was able to shoot between the the band on stage to the large image of them shot on the screen to their left (thanks for 25 times optical zoom!). The atmosphere bathed in such a lush coat of blue in spots looks so awesome!








Saturday, January the 29th, 2011 was a really surreal day. First of all through connections and a bit of luck I attended two secret shows that Peter, Bjorn and John were putting on prior to their FYF / ERMF show at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock. The top secret shows orchestrated by Sean Carlson were at (of all places) The Lovely Bad Pad (Lovely Bad Things rehearsal space and DIY house party venue which is a garage / backyard party spot smack dab in the middle of OC suburbia) and a very cool loft space (home of Cat Jam Studios) in downtown LA. Doused with a fair amount of Jet lag, the Swedes had just flown straight in from NYC and headed straight to the garage. I wonder to this day if it was a big wtf moment when they arrived to see where they were playing. I mean they were on a promotional tour for their sixth album "Gimme Some" and they are setting up in a tiny space, in a garage, packed with tons of kids to see them. The garage show was fucking ridiculous, the guys were so down to earth and sweet really. Afterwards, the other secret location was announced and this video is the first song of their set. As a video it is, quite frankly, kind of shitty looking. In all the excitement of the evening I didn't set my cam right but I am told by many that they love the hell out of it. The grittiness (a happy accident) looks artsy. It was wonderful to meet and speak with Peter, Bjorn and John. I also met some photographers / writers / film makers that have enriched my life. Eventually, some of my footage ended up in "Peter, Bjorn and John: Digging Deeper" a film by Dezi Catarino. The full review ended up on L.A.Record and, of course, American Pancake.















Trashpretty was the clever name of a vintage clothing store that also served as a music venue and general cool spot hang out in Laguna Beach, California. The shows put on mostly inside the store and occasionally in the parking structure underneath the store were not only oh so cool, they served an important function of drawing kids to the store. It was a necessary business tool that helped offset the super high cost to have a small store in such a high rent district. From the get go, the local police and city management did not show a lot of love to the venue. While the local other businesses didn't seem to mind (in fact, eateries around the store probably loved the extra business they would acquire when all those kids got hungry) the perception was that these shows were just too noisy and the crowd to unsavory for the area. Eventually, the city fathers had their way and in January of 2012, Trashpretty was forced to close their doors entirely.

These videos were shot in the parking structure. Because of the lighting conditions I decided to shoot in black and white. It turned out to be a good creative decision. In both the Tomorrow Tulips and Lovely Bad Things videos the draped sheets and low ceiling made it look more like a desert tent than a concrete and plaster garage. Both videos have much of the performances cast in shadowy silhouettes and the tones, the shades of gray look pretty lush. It has that 1970's documentary film look. I like these a lot. This was also the first time I met the very adorable and entrepreneurial Kylie Kirkwood who puts out a great blog Sincerely California that I am sure you already know about.








The first time I saw Races perform ( and met Wade Ryff) was at the Silver Lake Jubilee in 2011. This performance featuring a particular moving vocal by Barrie Rose pretty much blew me away. I was pleased to see this video pop up on numerous other blogs. About 2 months after this performance the band was signed to French Kiss Records (minus Rose- note: I was never clear on why she and the current band parted company).  I always find myself coming back to this video.

 
 The Growlers shows always make you feel like you are drunk even if you are 100% sober. I believe this video was the first live performance of "Gay Thoughts" every shot and posted online and I love that! Even in the dark shots Brooks charm shines through. Love this video.This one, too, has been published on other blogs.

 FYF 2012 was a memorable for me because it was the first year that I had press credentials (as hard as that is to believe) and thus was able to shoot from the photogs pit which, by the way, don't necessarily make for good videos. Depending on your location, the sound can be off so shooting midway with a zoom lens can be the way to go. That being said, I like capturing the energy of a performance and Sleigh Bells put out some major blasts of energy. In this instance the photog pit was awesome place to be.

 The videos that came out of Burgerama 2, whether it be FUZZ or Pangea or The Lovely Bad Things or Fidlar were just plain epic. In the future many of my fav videos will be from Burgerama 2. There is something about OC crowds. They come to play, to have fun and the energy passing between the bands and the audience is palpable. FUZZ is so fun to watch. Every time I post a video by FUZZ I get a ton of email asking if I have more to share etc. Their fan base is pretty rabid and for good reason.

Ok, slap me upside the head for using a well worn cliche but Kera Armndariz in performance mode feels like a bloody force of nature. When I was invited to cover the New LA Folk Festival, one of the main reasons I said yes was to see Kera and the Lesbians. In the end there were dozens of artists that stoked me up but there is something, some THING about Kera and the boys. This first meeting also lead to an American Pancake Interview which was a ton of fun.

That's it for now. Part 2 will be filled with more favs and little insights. Thanks to those of you who visit my blog from time to time.
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Best to you
Robb





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