Music

Spotlight: The Art of Live Footage

We’ve looked at found footage collages, now let’s enter from the other end of the video spectrum, where the actual band is front and center. In recent years, any kid with a camera can share some shaky evidence of a show. That development is both entertaining and unfortunate, given that quality usually takes a back seat to speed and relevance. But, among the upload sea, a generation of videographers are raising the standard for performance clips. And now with advancements in recording equipment and web capacity, viewer expectations have caught up, and these projects can more easily float around, which is a win for them, bands, fans … everyone. Some highlights, below.


Perhaps no one site has done more with the craft than La Blogotheque, home of the Take Away Show. Since 2006, independent filmmaker Vincent Moon has shot hundreds of bands doing organic, one-take performances, with spontaneous framing and a unique, warm-toned brand. His late-night session with a young Yeasayer in 2008, still remains one of his best, so we’ll start things off with this classic.


Whatever side of the Maus fence you’re on, there’s no denying the mania in this man’s eyes. And that sort of detail might go under-appreciated in a lesser production. Photographer/videographer Ian Perlman is a staple to the music scene in Brooklyn, with a number of music videos to his credit (Twin Sister, Beach Fossils, Tennis, etc) and having taped countless shows. See more at his Vimeo page.


Ray Concepcion came into blog consciousness around 2009 on a tasteful string of live clips, characterized by single shots, aburpt/abstract close-ups and hand-held effects responding to changes in song—like the seizure that strikes each guitar solo on this Woods clip. Numerous early pieces remain at his Vimeo, and look no further than Pitchfork.tv for more recent work.


The melody of My Bloody Valentine, the mood of Memoryhouse, and the lens of San Francisco visual collective Yours Truly — what a dreamy combination. The band had been closing their sets with the cover, and a few dim, point and shoot bootlegs had already circulated YouTube, and then this came along and gave it real justice.


Another gem from the YT vault, this Morning Bender’s moment created a massive, San Francisco-centric version of “Excuses” that eventually become even more popular than the album version, like the blog equivalent to an MTV Unplugged single.


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