The burgundy van emblazoned with a smiling woman wearing a gold suit and 5-foot-long, dread-like gold tassels appearing to fly through the air is a strong indication that we're in the right place to shoot Internet sensation-turned indie rap hit-maker Leslie Hall and the LYs.
In hot-pink letters, Leslie's tour machine reads, "Invading Your Community," but tonight we're invading hers.
It's the first date on the 2012 Love Drunk Tour, a pilgrimage that will take, in total, eight Omaha (plus a hop-on from Philadelphia) videographers to some 14 cities over 18 days to shoot live, one-take music videos with about 18 bands in interesting locations. We arrive, set up gear, ready the band, and call "action."
We shoot as many takes as required to get one take the band is pretty happy with (it's live, after all, so it's not supposed to be perfect). Then we delete everything we captured except for that one take, mix the audio and sync it with the video from typically six cameras so, as project founder/director Django G-S says, "what you see and hear is happening in real time." After we load our gear, we hop in the van and hit the road. Everyone works on their specific job on the way to the next city, and Django generally has the video edited by the time we get there.
We'll share one video from the tour on hearnebraska.org and through HN and Love Drunk's social media channels every weekday with the hope that people will watch and share the videos themselves. The goal is to get people excited about great new music, to spread the word about Nebraska's cultural community and to encourage bands we meet along the way to add Nebraska to their future tour routes. There's more to it than that, but I'll dig into more intricacies in future stories.
In an undisclosed location somewhere near Ames, Iowa, we walk into the to-remain-secret building that doubles as Leslie's apartment and a production factory for her insane stage show. Resembling a mechanic's garage but filled with a rainbow-palette of looted craft store items, the back room of the building features some 20-foot-tall shelving holding stacks and stacks of boxes of outfits, merch, textiles, balloons, life-size replica dolls — there's even a homemade confetti canyon. It's a bustle of activity as Leslie and her crew of six dancers/performers fit themselves into spandex suits of odd colors and talk choreography.
More than probably any other element, light is critical to these shoots, and it's the variable most difficult to control. The sun is setting fast, so once Leslie's gang — which could have found a comfortable place in the 1979 film The Warriors — is ready, we hustle out to a sparse, depressing spot nearby that contrasts nicely with the catchy, colorful pop song, and we start rolling.
Here's the result, the first video of the 2012 Love Drunk Tour. Keep following, as we'll drop a new video from the tour each weekday.
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 four of 17-day tour. Learn more about the project and the tour here. Watch all the videos here.
video directed/edited by Django G-S
audio recorded/mixed by Matt Hovanec
* performed Friday, May 4, 2012