Happy Valentine's Day.
I figured it would either be a complete success, or a total disaster. I wanted to make something special. Get out of my comfort zone. People thought I was crazy. "Have you ever set up a 3 camera shoot?". The immediate thought was "Who cares? I can learn. Gonzo Chicago, right?" I put out the call. Lincoln Hall was overly gracious, willing to let me film it, and help with sound. Robin Taylor passed my e-mails to Alexei Perry, who immediately agreed, saying "it'll be fun", and agreed to an interview.
I, not having delved into the interview world as of yet, figured if I was throwing myself to the wind this much, what could it hurt? It ended up better than I expected. You can read that HERE.
So, somehow, I managed to set all of this up. Now I just had to figure out how to get the cameras. I was even thinking about the fact that I had no computer to edit this stuff on, limited knowledge on the gear I was using, or the logistics of setting this all up. Storage, lighting, memory cards...
So I researched, studied, played around. Spent hours reading.
I put out the call to the community of Chicago, and the city came through in spades. Michelle "Lee" Wallace brought two Canon 7D's with ridiculous lenses. I purchased a sound recorder I ended up not using. Victor Spatafora came onboard, and brought his HVX200.
I started writing interview questions.
Handsome Furs have a new record that will be out by summer. They just spent a big chunk of the last year touring China, Southeast Asia.
Little did I know, hot on the heels of a Mister Heavenly set the night before, they would play around 75% new material. "Oh, I can speak English, hello." Dan Boeckner reiterated. They played two songs they had written two days before the show. Starting the night off with "Damage", a blistering, skittering punch to the teeth that seemed the product of if Big Black had a kid who jumped ship from Bowie to Brainiac. Another, "Below", was a multi-layered bucket of fire that shifted tone and tempo like a frenetic crazy motherfucker, yet keeping a weird dance-club sort of feel. amazing. "Radio Kalinigrad", "Legal Tender", and "I'm Confused" were peppered throughout more strong new songs. The crowd seemed eager. Happy to the "Guinea Pigs" for a very large chunk of material nobody on earth had ever heard before.
...and then there was "Agony". Handsome Furs, they played this live staple since seemingly forever now, the chuggy, 5-minute epic boomed through the beautiful Lincoln Hall, re-affirming to fans, and naysayers, that they are indeed, to quote Spinner, "a force to be reckoned with." , even if Dan doesn't have a guitar strapped around his neck.
Originally, I was out to capture three songs off the soundboard. I ended up filming and recording the entire night. An hour of uncontrolled factors. Lighting, over-heating cameras, two different qualities for the back angle. Unfamiliar settings, equipment, and practices.
Not having nearly the tools to edit such high quality footage, I bought a Macbook Pro from Best Buy, to edit it together, and return it. They have no re-stocking fee. I layed my hands on Final Cut for the first time, and edited it by myself, referring to terrible Youtube tutorials every 5 minutes.
I can promise you that this new record is going to be amazing. Do not worry when you read in interviews that Dan Boeckner takes his guitar off his neck and jumps on keys. Those are some of the strongest, brutal, heart-wrenching songs of them all. They're recording right now, and if all goes as planned, will be out by summer. I can picture the summer dance parties now...
Expect a full-show version due...whenever Handsome Furs are ready to drop this napalm bomb of a new record.
So, thank you Chicago. Lincoln Hall. Michelle Wallace. Victor Spatafora. Robin Taylor. Alexei. Dan. Without your help, it wouldn't have happened.