The six-person Love Drunk Tour crew never knows quite what to expect when we roll our 15-passenger van up to a location. We're always in touch with the band — to greater or lesser extents — but even after we park the machine, step out and start shaking hands with the band members, there's a lot of uncertainty.
It would be boring otherwise.
On Day 1 of the tour in Ames, we had to race sunlight to shoot Leslie Hall outside in an empty construction yard, while the band practiced its choreography as we walked to the space. On Day 2, the location Dastardly chose allowed us to get just one take in before we got kicked off the property. On Day 3, Brendan Kelly met us at the Gingerman in Wrigleyville telling us that we'd probably be fined if we shot the video outdoors as we'd planned (we did it anyway). On Day 4, we again raced the sunset to capture Frontier Ruckus using natural light in an attic (we eventually had to light it artificially).
On Day 5, we roll up to a large, suburban house set way back on its lot behind a well-manicured yard in a wonderful, pine-laced neighborhood in Gibsonia, in Pittsburgh's North Hills. As the crew — Django G-S, Andrew Roger, Matt Hovanec, Angie Norman and Ben Semisch — hop out of the van, we meet Donora, a three-piece featuring siblings Jake Hanner (drums) and Casey Hanner (vocals/guitar) and bassist Jake Churton.
Jake, who owns the house, walks us through the garage into his basement, where we'll set our scene. He's in the process of turning this long, narrow space into his studio. Its white walls make for a great canvas, so the band asked their friend Ben Tabas to provide visuals — a colorful collage of dance-inspired art and images — through two projectors. The space itself doesn't leave much room for shooters to maneuver, and the projectors requires us to avoid casting shadows as much as possible. These are examples of the little elements that make every shoot different, interesting and challenging.
For the uninitiated, these videos all capture live audio and video in one take. That doesn't mean we only shoot one take, but rather that we use only the take that the band and shooters feel good about. (It's live, so it's not supposed to be perfect.) Sometimes that takes one try, other times it takes five. Usually, the band plays better after one or two takes, and the shooters get better shots because they increasingly know the song, and can better coordinate. Here in this Pennsylvania basement, Donora performs better each of three takes (as do the shooters) on this song that features Casey Hanner singing about "waiting around for that idealized, fairytale version of love." The song, "And Then The Girls," is on the band's second full-length on Rostrum Records.
The third take was killer, but Django's camera's memory card failed, so we had to shoot a fourth. So it goes. The fourth take was the best, anyway.
Six Love Drunk videographers are on tour shooting live, one-take videos with bands across the eastern part of the U.S., spreading the word about Nebraska music along the way. This was day five of 17-day tour. Learn more about the project and the tour here. Watch all the videos here.
audio recorded by Matt Hovanec
audio mixed by Jake Hanner
video directed/edited by Django G-S
visuals: Ben Tabas
* performed Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Andrew Norman is Hear Nebraska's editor-in-chief. He wrote this in the house of It's True's Adam Hawkins and Katey Sleeveless in Greensboro, N.C. Contact him at email@example.com.