Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Dead Sweethearts' Ball

Every year we are threatened by St. Valentine's Day and every year we ignore it.
In fact, we shun it.
John Aeieieielli's radio show on Austin's KUT plays anti-Valentines songs on the day before (Friday the 13th, coincidentally) as this is also officially Anti-Valentine's Day. This year, it is also the day that the god-awful re-make of "Friday the 13th," is set to be released; it was filmed in and around Austin, but more on that later.

Every year in Austin, right around Valentines, the Dead Sweethearts' Ball has been a tradition. There is a history of the show here on Roger Wallace's soapbox.

I've only been to two so far; once at the Carousel Lounge and once at Ego's on South Congress. This year it's coming home to Ginny's Little Longhorn which is also the home to Chicken Shit Bingo. Again, more on that later.

For me, one of the highlights of these shows is Brian Rise singing "Down In The Willow Garden." Brian is a multi-talented creative person around Austin - musician, screen printer, sound engineer - and has a Hawaiian band called Combo Mahalo. In addition, he used to work with John Waters and can play a mean Tom Waits tune on the piano.
"Willow Garden" has been covered by some of the greats, including:
 - Nick Cave (of course!)
 - Jerry Garcia
 - Simon and Garfunkel
 - Billy Ray Johnson
 and Kristin Hersh (she formerly of the Throwing Muses).

As I have mentioned once or twice, I've been lucky enough to have directed concert films for many bands, including Kristin. We were asked to film her at The Underworld in Camden (North London) around 2001; here she is singing "Willow Garden" during that set...

For the tecchies, it was shot on 3 Canon PAL DV cameras (2 XM1s and one XL1), and mixed live through a Panasonic MX-20 mixer; one of the S-VHS cables was dodgy, which is why one feed is black and white. But it seems to work for the occasion. Audio was from the board with a couple of crowd mics mixed in. From there, it was transferred from PAL DV to VHS, then back to NTSC DV and onto DVD. I've ripped it from my DVD copy using Mac The Ripper and MPEG Streamclip, zoomed in slightly to get rid of annoying timecode dashes, encoded as H.264 and uploaded to YouTube. I'm surprised it's survived!

No comments:

Post a Comment