Live Music Is Better: An Exploration of BATs (Bands that Allow Taping)

First off, before I get started,  click on this link right here. It takes you to a page featuring a recent live concert for the band I’m going to recommend today.  Once there (it opens in a different window so just leave it open and bounce back to this window) click on the play button for the show on the right side.  There’s no better endorsement for a band, in my opinion, than to actually listen to them play.  Once you’ve started the show, come on back here.  I’ll wait.

Okay, now that you’ve got some quality background sounds,  we can move on.  I love live music.  I have a collection of concert recordings that would make the Library of Congress jealous.  I began to collect live music during my freshman year (turned out to be my only year) at the University of Maryland in College Park when I was turned on to the Good Ol’ Grateful Dead. At that point, Jerry Garcia hadn’t yet taken his guitar and shuffled off this mortal coil, so I had the extreme pleasure of catching about a dozen Dead shows in those few years.  More than that, I discovered something that made them extremely unique; they freely allowed people at their live concerts to haul in all manner of microphones and equipment to record their performance and freely distribute them out amongst their fans.  Trading Dead bootlegs became a favored pastime for me, which led to trading for concert recording from all sorts of bands, some that implicitly allowed taping, and some that turned a blind eye.  In a time before the internet, when the recording industry still completely dominated talent and distribution, the Grateful Dead found a way to use the free distribution of their music to build a following that kept them amongst the top grossing bands in the world for the better part of 25 years, almost completely without the support of the industry machine during much of that time.  Talk about trend setting. (more…)

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Over Yonder in Lancaster

Yonder Mountain String Band at Sunshine Daydreams in West Virginia circa 2004.

Yonder Mountain String Band at Sunshine Daydreams in West Virginia circa 2003.

I’m still in the process of setting this blog up, but I thought I’d put a little something up on the site just so it doesn’t look so blank.  These fine looking gentlemen are Yonder Mountain String Band, one of my favorite bands out there.  Last Wednesday night, July 1, I got yet another opportunity to see them put on their high-energy bluegrass-jazz-blues-rock-freeform jamming show at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA.  The show was fantastic as always, a John Hartford fan’s dream with three Hartford tunes–Howard Hughes Blues, a ripping Cuckoo’s Nest, and the ever-popular Two Hits and the Joint Turned Brown.  The pic here I took myself at a music festival in West Virginia a few years back.  This was taken about a half hour before John Popper, the harmonica virtuoso from Blues Traveler, took the stage for a little jamming with the band.  You can check out that particular show here. It’s free and, more importantly, legal.

And that’s the point.  Yonder was my first experience with how the internet changed the way we all get exposed to new and different things.  I only ran across them because I happened to see a show available to download as MP3’s on a website called Nugs.net way back in 2000.  There’s a lot of interesting things that have gone on over the years with regards to file sharing, downloading and spreading music over the net, much of it good for the artists and the bands, but some of it, self-serving statutes and lawsuits, very bad.  For my first trick on the new site here, I’ll be discussing this, my experiences with Yonder and how it opened up a world of music I never knew existed, and how bands like them have been able to take advantage of the internet to build a career away from the mainstream recording industry.  In the meantime, check out some of their music, and when they come touring around this area again, go see a show.  You won’t regret it.

Published in: on July 4, 2009 at 5:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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