Music in Unusual Places

We’ve all been to the club or stadium (Bon Jovi anyone?) to see our favorite bands play and thanks to the internet we can hear and download new music, albums and more from our favorite shizz.

But what about live performances? Sure, it’s nice to be able to watch Grizzly Bear play at the Pitchfork festival on youtube but the sound is usually shit and to be honest, if I wanted to watch a live performance of my fav band I would probably just go to their show (unless it’s a priceless performance like that time P.J. Harvey showed everyone her cooter on stage).

The current trend nowadays seems to be cool bands recording songs in unusual places. Think Daytrotter but in a taxi cab.

Here a list of some websites where you can check out video and audio of some of your favorite bands performing in unusual, intimate places:

This is a local Phoenix site featuring videos of musical acts performing on Phoenix’s brand new public transportation system, the Metro Light Rail. Viewers can vote on their favorite performances and each video has a short bio on the musical act . It’s cool to see bands performing on the trains while passengers, unaware of what’s going on, are getting on and off at stops. I also really like how the bands are videotaped sitting next to regular riders. Some of my favorite videos on this site are from Nowhere Man and Whiskey Girl, the Phoenix Downtown Chamber Series, Miniature Tigers, Andrew Jackson Jihad, and Fatigo.

Black Cab Sessions

Features some of the more established bands like Calexico, My Morning Jacket, and The Macabees playing in taxi cabs in the U.K. The taxi cabs are driving around and the bands get one chance to play one song. It’s fun to see how the performers respond to recording in such a unique and trying environment. Some do vocal checks before and during the songs, some mess up and keep going, some use their bodies as percussion instruments. One of my favorite videos on this site is Grizzly Bear’s performance of “All We Ask” from their new album Veckatimest. Their ability to harmonize in a moving vehicle in Shepherds Bush is amazing and they sound great. I’m also digging The New Pornographers, Baby Dee, and Bon Iver’s videos from this site.

Burn to Shine

Not a music website per se but it is a cool music project. Created by filmmaker Christoph Green and ex-Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, the project involves finding a house that is about to be demolished in a random city, getting a well-known musician to curate a show at that house featuring a variety of bands from the area, and recording the performances via audio and video all in one day. The results are released on a DVD which is sold for under $15 on the website. So far they have released four volumes of the DVD featuring performances from Seattle, Louisville, Portland, Chicago and Washington D.C. Like I said, the bands and curator have a day to put on the show, which can feature up to 14 different musical acts. Their website features some teaser video of the sessions as well as behind the scenes photos and show layouts. Seattle’s the newest edition to the collection and features performances by Minus the Bear, The Long Winters, Kinski, and Jessie Sykes among many more. The video teasers look pretty rad and the recordings sound amazing.


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