[Echo Chamber (′ek·ō ′chām·bər): noun, 1. a dedicated space for the purposes of transmission and repetition of sound 2. a video segment that features your favorite bands playing your favorite songs 3. a video segment where your favorite bands blow your mind].
Words by Jim
Band / New Shouts
Songs / “Gotta Get Along” & “Sunflower”
Location / SPACE Gallery: 812 Liberty Avenue
Time / Tuesday January 25th
It was a chilly Tuesday evening in late January and I was sick as a dog. I opted to work from home that day to try and rest up, but by the end of the normal work day, I wasn’t feeling any healthier. I was a little anxious about the shoot as I’d never been to SPACE before and the thought of driving downtown during rush hour didn’t seem like much fun. Driving downtown in Pittsburgh at any hour is never fun, am I right? By some miracle, fifteen minutes later, I found myself in a crazy parking garage next to the gallery with a bag full of rented microphones sitting on the seat next to me.
This Echo Chamber was a bit more stressful than those in the past. I’m not going to lie. Our first adventure out of the Regent Square apartment and we were definitely learning a lot. We had arranged the shoot at another location, but it fell through at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts. It happens. Roll with it, Jim. Luckily, Jonathan from New Shouts was gracious enough to recommend SPACE where he was currently working and assured us there would be no problem getting in after hours. He was right about that. We got lucky. I met Blake a bit after six pm at the Crazy Mocha across the street and we strolled past the large glass windows of SPACE. Jonathan was already there sitting in the dark, red hat on his head. Mario and Derek from the band arrived a few minutes later and we found ourselves standing in the large empty space of, well, SPACE. Beautiful exhibits surrounded us, teasing and pleading with us to make them a part of our shoot. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do that out of respect to the artists and relegated ourselves to the front window area to capture the late day activity on Libery Ave. Buses zoomed. People walked. Questioning eyes were directed through the windows at us.
Todd, Mike, and Ailene showed up. The band had already changed and began to languish in the open space reverb. We were drowning in it. Tables were moved. Lights were switched on an off. Chairs and props were hastily arranged. Cory, the final band member, arrived in all white with Justin nearly exhausted from carrying his gear down the parking ramp. We strung cords across the floor, attached lav mics to scarves, and took some B-roll footage. I blew my nose a hundred times. We were ready for SPACE.
“Gotta Get Along” was first on the list with the band a tad nervous. Blake and I retreated to the back of the gallery to chat and take a seat on the cold floor. A few takes later and New Shouts seemed more confident and having fun. Todd and Justin seemed happy with progress and after a few more, we had song number one under our belts. With this shoot we decided to do three songs to keep one in our back pocket. After knocking out the second, we took a quick break. The nice guy at Crazy Mocha gave us free coffee for the band and Blake split to attend to other things. I slowly descended into self-pity as my sickness reared it’s ugly head in the late evening hours. I wasn’t going to make it. I could have fallen asleep on that concrete floor.
For all my nose blowing, pacing, and stomach rumblings, I nearly forgot I was sick as New Shouts began their final song, “Sunflower”. With delicate vocals and harmonies, the band stopped all of us dead in our tracks. The air seemed to get warm. Justin shot me a look across the gallery from his chair that screamed “If you don’t use this song, I’ll kill you”. Easiest decision I had to make.
After a few takes, everyone was tired, happy, and hungry. Camera’s were stowed in expensive bags. Mic cables were looped and stacked. We treated SPACE like it was a national park – leave it just as you found it. Jonathan and I straightened out handbills as we discussed credits and what/if shots that contained artist’s work. With final handshakes and grins, we paraded out of SPACE and into the parking garage at about 10 pm, hands filled with instruments, recording gear, and cameras. Things had gone well – we captured three amazing songs and didn’t break anything. I survived. Mission accomplished.
Huge thanks to SPACE Gallery on Libery Ave for letting us play some music to the beautiful pieces of art. If you love beautiful and unique installation art, stop by and take a look.