Elisa: Bray: Caught in the Net
Friday 09 May 2008
These days you don't need a commission from a television company to broadcast gigs. You just need a camcorder, a musician, perhaps a crowd for atmosphere and a computer to upload the material on to a website. And if you're lucky, the television companies might then make the approach to air a show.
Already building up a following are the quirky Black Cab Sessions. A cab is hailed and the band or musician jump aboard for a ride while playing one of their songs. One of the most surreal so far is chapter 35 on www.blackcabsessions.com/, which sees Baby Dee perform "Safe inside the Day" on her accordion. Other recent sessions featured Lykke Li and Pete & the Pirates.
In March, Channel 4 aired the session with political poet Benjamin Zephaniah as he performed "Rong Radio Station". His performance is on the site alongside all the past sessions, which include The Kooks. Look out for upcoming transmissions of Jens Lekman, Fleet Foxes, Dresden Dolls and Portishead.
Perhaps with more space to play with, but just as intimate, Daryl Hall recently held his first UK version of his monthly free webcast of gigs, Live from Daryl's House, at his London pad, enlisting friend K T Tunstall. See www.livefromdarylshouse.com.
London-based unsigned musician Jont started his Unlit sessions – a combination of a party and a gig open to everyone – years ago, and when he left for America he had bands play including Solomon, who went on to become The Duke Spirit, and Joan as Police Woman, and later added Adem and Newton Faulkner to his list of gigs played mostly at his MySpace fans' houses.
He took his Unlit sessions on a tour of America, and along the way made a video blog documentary called The State We're In, which prompted Dermot O'Leary to get in touch and the BBC to invite him to curate an Unlit session at the Electric Proms in 2006. Now he has begun a mini-documentary series online about his sessions curated at MySpace fans' houses in Britain. He has been posting a new one at www.you tube.com/user/jontmusic and his own website, www. jontnet.com, each Tuesday. He released his album Supernatural this week and when you buy his download single "Candlelit", you get two previously unreleased tracks free. Jont's last Unlit session in Bristol was shown on the news on BBC1 last week.
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