The Campbell Brothers – A Love Supreme – Summerstage 2014

I was fortunate to be at the world premiere of The Campbell Brothers‘ A Sacred Steel Love Supreme, celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. A skilled blues and gospel band!

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Summerstage, 2014: the world premiere of The Campbell Brothers‘ A Sacred Steel Love Supreme celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme Photos by Thomas W. Campbell

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Rosanne Cash – Summerstage 2015

Here are some photos I took during the inspired performance by Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal and the incredible band.

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Rosanne Cash and her band played at NYC Summerstage in the Summer of 2014.

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John Leventhal and Rosanne Cash at Summerstage, NYC in the summer of 2014

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John Leventhal and Rosanne Cash made sweet music at Summerstage, NYC in the summer of 2014.

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Photos by Thomas W. Campbell – Special thanks to Summerstage, NYC and the artists for allowing photos to be taken. Always give credit where credit is due.

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Photos by Thomas W. Campbell – Special thanks to Summerstage, NYC and the artists for allowing photos to be taken. Always give credit where credit is due.

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Photos by Thomas W. Campbell – Special thanks to Summerstage, NYC and the artists for allowing photos to be taken. Always give credit where credit is due.

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Photos by Thomas W. Campbell – Special thanks to Summerstage, NYC and the artists for allowing photos to be taken. Always give credit where credit is due.

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Reed, Anderson & Friends at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

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This is all true!

On Wednesday evening I arrived home from work and went for a walk in my Upper West Side neighborhood. Strolling along, listening to music, past the Cathedral, through Columbia University, taking in all of the sights and people on Broadway, I thought this is great place to be – write, work on my projects in the apartment, go for long walks, find the music and art and good meals that are all within walking distance (even long walking distance) from my humble little home.

When I got back to the apartment I plugged in an old radio tube amp and a more modern Fender, split a signal through a cheap tube distortion pedal, and started to see what sounds I could get from the beautiful 1966 Kapa (American) guitar I was so fortunate to come across recently. Got through this recording:

Then a text came in from a friend in the know: Lou Reed’s guitars and amps are droning in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine until 11:00 this evening!! What? Two Blocks away? Another chance to hear these instruments at work? The neighborhood surely does call…

I’ve heard and recorded music over the years at the Cathedral – it is a remarkable building run by great people who understand the value of art and humanity. I loaded up my portable recorder with the freshest batteries I could find and went next door.

There were four (or maybe five) sound stations in the Cathedral, with Lou’s gear in the pew area at the back, an open space, a keyboard, a guitar, and finally Laurie’s performance as one moved toward the front of the structure.

The recording below, of Lou Reed’s guitars and Amps in feedback mode, was recorded on the iPhone and is in mono.

Here is another mono recording, a front angle:

And here is a stereo audio only recording of Lou’s gear from the Pew, with mics facing the amps sitting to the right, about 15 feet away:

The sound design was inspiring and seemed to work like this – each section of performance  had access to a live feed of the of Lou’s guitar and amp feedback and Lou’s section also had a bit of live access to the other performers. It was subtle and allowed each of the performers to play with and react to what was coming from Lou’s gear.
Below is a stereo audio only recording of Laurie performing with an electric violin (of sort):

My recording technique is to go to a space or place, hold the recorder in front of me, and just stand there, occasionally glancing at the device to be sure nothing is distorting etc. Remarkably, people generally just ignore me. Finding a nice spot between Lou’s feedback and the rest of the Cathedral, I set the recorder down at one point and stepped back a few feet. Oddly, or not, people thought the recorder was somehow part of the event – a few people, including a woman and her entire family, came up to study it,

Below, I believe, is one of the recordings made from this spot.

One of the musicians played some subtle and tasty licks, while the cathedral filled with sound around him:

I spent some time in the space near where Laurie was playing, which also included the guitarist (on her side of the space) and a keyboard performer on the other side. Everyone was playing in minimal style, riding the wave of Lou’s feedback and drone. Below is a stereo spatial recording that concludes with movement through the space and an exit through the front door to Amsterdam Avenue.

And here is an older post about a day of celebrating Lou’s life at Lincoln Cener a few years back:

https://twcampbell.net/2016/08/07/lou-reed-day-at-lincoln-center/

 

Easter Sunday 2017 in NYC

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I went to the Easter Sunday parade in Manhattan with a friend on April 16 and we took lots of pictures. What a great day filled with cheerful and friendly people. The weather was lively, fluctuating between sunny and overcast, making for an ever changing tapestry of shadow and light. We shot on the RAW format, which photographers have used for years but, as a filmmaker, I began working with about three years ago. It’s true, as a few cinematographers I have spoken with have said, that it is more like working with film than video as there is a great deal of latitude and information that can be digitally controlled and tweaked. As a documentary film maker I always work in RAW because I’m often shooting and directing at the same time and am unable to get the lighting “perfect”.  And so much of what you are shooting in documentaries simply isn’t meant to be controlled – you are a guest in the doc world as a filmmaker, not the other way around.

Here are a few shots from the Easter Gathering.

Under the City screening on the Bayou

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My short animation Under the City the Blue Bag Dropped was part of the 13th annual Cinema on the Bayou in late January, 2017. I did the first drawings for the video in December of 2008 and just kept coming back to it over the years. Finally, this spring, wanting a followup to my short Rooftop Serenade, that played in festivals last summer, I stayed on it every evening when I got home from work until it was where it needed to be. Everything is hand shot or hand drawn, put together in Photoshop, Premiere and After Effects. The original soundtrack, a song called Jaguar Muse that I composed in 2015, was edited and mixed in Pro Tools.

The festival ran from January 24 to February 1 and took place in Lafayette, Louisiana. The film has previously screened in the Coney Island Film Festival, the East Village Chain Film Festival and was awarded Honorable Mention at The Marblehead Festival of the Arts. The film has also been accepted into the Three Minute Film Festival in Santa Barabra, California and will screen on July, 6 2017.

Lou Reed Day at Lincoln Center!

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Saturday, July 30, 2016 was a day long celebration of the Music and Songs of Lou Reed. Everyone came out to play.
Here is a link to the original web page for lots of info:
http://www.lcoutofdoors.org/events/the-bells-a-daylong-celebration-of-lou-reed

The evening show took place in the rain so it was not conducive to bringing an DSLR camera to the show. But it lingers on in memory – David Johanson was particularly excellent.

One of the daytime highlights was a working display of 6 guitars and 6 amps, all from Lou’s collection, set to a four hour feedback loop in the lobby of Alice Tully hall. Ear protection was handed out. Below is a photo and a link to a 7 minute stereo excerpt I recorded:

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Reed Live Drone Guitars (7 Minute Excerpt)

Here are some photos I took – and a few notes:

@11:30 AM the “House band” played Rockers. Jon Spencer joined the band for “Venus in Furs”. Being a Lou Reed show someone had to unbutton their trousers. The belt came off and he gave his guitar a good thrashing, worthy of De Sade himself, while Sal Maida laid down the bass:

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Felice Rosser, Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley found their grooves.

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Tammy Faye Starlite did some Nico / Marianne Faithful things and looked good doing it.

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JG Thirlwell and Lee Ranaldo.

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Lee Ranaldo, Sal Maida, Matt Sweeney and (I believe) Jesse Malin get down to business.

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Bush Tetras know what to do.

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Kembra Pfahles and the Disco Mystiques.

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Julian Schnabel and Laurie Anderson during the afternoon readings. Sadly, Schnabel’s outdoor screening of his concert film Berlin was rained out later that evening.

Patti Smith Band At Lincoln Center

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Patti Smith and her band, including long-time Smith band members and collaborators Lenny Kaye and Tony Shanahan, opened the 2016 Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival on Wednesday eve, July 20, 2016. It was a rocking show – tight, soulful, Smith’s voice having lost nothing over the years.

The all-female, Latin Grammy–nominated group Mariachi Flor de Toloache  – a quartet bringing New York style to traditional Mexican music – opened the show with energy and style.

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Story Time.

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Lenny Kaye lays it down.

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Feedback Time.

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