January 19th, 2011

The Tightrope

Well two big gigs on the near horizon…

We are playing at the beer festival in Beech Mountain this weekend and the Guest List show is right around the corner.  After playing two to three months of Thursday’s at Stella’s it will be nice to play a more set show.  With the Thursday nights we tried to take a different approach than “normal” shows.  We were hoping people could experience more the creative process of a band instead of the final product.  It was a great and not so great idea.

Listening back to some of the research recordings, there were times when it was so amazing. When you could feel the mood and the creativity flowing in a direction that somehow we all were following together, although it was never rehearsed.  Something that usually only the band feels or is a part of in their practices.  Of course like anything that has it’s up and amazing time we had our equally down and “I can’t believe we are letting people hear this” time.  To be honest there were probably only a few people who could hear the things I am talking about but still it was a bit embarrassing.  In what we were trying for that is something you have to risk.  Everything has it’s amazing as well as it’s rock bottoms.  They are both equal learning and changing experiences.  I say it was a great and not so great idea only because it is a bit out of the norm.  Usually in their hometown a band has to think about over saturation.  Playing to many shows and burning out their fans.  Honestly I don’t think we did this but it was something we thought about at first.  Not to mention giving people reasons to not come out and experience it with us because of the mindset, “I will just go next week.”  In the end we just threw our hands up and said “To hell with it, we’re doing it.”    When all else fails do something crazy, right?!  After taking a break from Thursday nights in preparation of our Guest List Show, we have had time to look back at all the Thursday nights and honestly I think it was exactly what we needed to do.  Tim and I went through more emotions, feelings, and questions through the course of those months than in the two previous years.  We learned, shouted, laughed, thought about quitting, felt like rock stars, argued, and many other things. But in the end we became more aware of who we are as artists, even more confident in the choices we had to make.  Probably one of the best ways to say what Thursday nights were was in one of Seth Godin’s blogs, Why We Prefer Live.  That is exactly what it is for us.  Taking the big leap and seeing where it takes us.  Walking the tightrope of performance and creativity to get something new or experience what we have never experienced before.  It’s messy and wonderful all at the same time.

Our Guest List show is on the 28th of January at The Grey Eagle.  It will be an all ages show for all of our under age fans and the cover is $10.  See you there!

September 23rd, 2010

My Movie Watching Addiction

Yes!

I have a movie addiction.  I love movies, not all movies but a lot of them.  For a long time I was the big strong man who didn’t like romantic comedies, only action, but I came to realize at some point that I do like romantic comedies.  About half of them are so stupid.  The characters never develop and the story is pure crap but the good ones are good.  Just about anything with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are worth watching. “Elizabethtown” is one of my favorite romantic comedies… actually everything Cameron Crowe does is awesome, even “Vanilla Sky” which a lot of people didn’t like. I consider to be one of my favorites.  You know now that I think about it, it could be Jen’s influence on me or just me getting older, but some days I just have a romantic comedy itch.  That reminds me of a story.  One day when I was living in Hartsville Jen came home to find my brother Jon and I sitting on the couch watching “Serendipity”.  When she walked through the door I heard her giggle a bit, then she asked “Why are you watching this?”  All we could respond with was, “Because we both wanted to see it.”  She still laughs when she thinks of us, two guys sitting on the couch watching a romantic comedy.

Actions are always good.  Good for just mind vacating.  I am sure that  is what they are banking on when they make those movies.  To be  honest though lately the way over usage of CG is starting to get pretty  annoying.  Good example “Clash of the Titans” or “2012″.  They are not  bad movies as much as after a little while it is just so big that your  suspension of belief starts to fade.  It looks really good, but you don’t  buy into it.  Really… the gi-freaking-normous Kraken at the end of  ”Clash of the Titans”.  Looks good but way too big, even for fantasy,  our suspension of belief can only go so far.   “2012″ was the same way  for me.  The best thing about good action movies… or any movie for  that matter, is leaving things up to the imagination.  You don’t always have to show everything or show such massive size just for the sake of the wow factor.  In the long run it is not worth it.

In the past few years I have really developed a love for directors.  Certain directors are almost garaunteed great movies.  My favorites are Wes Anderson, Cohen brothers, Cameron Crowe, Christopher Nolan, M. Night Shyamalan, Christopher Guest, and with the exception of “Miami Vice”, Micheal Mann.  Of course Robert Rodriguez, Guy Ritchie, and Quentin Tarantino are in the same favorite section but a whole other class.  I love the way these guys tell stories. The story is the crux.  The crucial part that makes bad acting ok, cheesy effects work, or lack of money inspiring.  All these things are magnified when the story is bad, and with a lot of movies these days the magnifying glass must be wore out.  For me I love a simple age old story told with outlandish circumstances.  Wes Anderson is classic for this type of story telling.  What actually happens in the movie is so outlandish that it is almost ridiculous but he uses it to tell a simple story, which brings me to possibly my all time favorite movie.  ”The Royal Tenenbaums”.  I love this movie like it’s crack.  The story is so good and the cast is absolutely amazing which in turn makes the acting superb.  The music Anderson uses in his movies make every scene.  It feels like he is using every medium he can to get what he is saying across.  The music is a character in itself.  SO GOOD!

Oddly enough for the past two weeks or so I have not been watching a lot of movies.  Time is more tight so most times I just simply don’t have the time.  It has been nice to be quite honest.  Maybe a new chapter has opened in my life, or maybe it is just a hiatus, either way I am enjoying where I am.

Steven