A Take Away Show

It’s been a while since I gave the blog some love. The site has been offline due to hosting issues, and the whirlwind change my life has seen in the past several months has prevented me from correcting it. A proper update is forthcoming.

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For the first time in over a month, I have a free weekend to sleep in and relax.

With no commitments and a fresh pot of coffee in front of me on this lazy, overcast morning, I’ve found myself binge-watching videos from the French website La Blogothèque, which has been producing the Take Away Show series since 2006. Originally created and directed by the indie-famous guerilla filmmaker Vincent Moon, the premise is all too simple and romantic: remove artists from their normal setting (studio or stage) and let them perform in uncommon, intimate locations. Common settings find artists in Parisian apartments and back alleys, but the nature of the series encourages originality.

 

I’ve long enjoyed the Take Away Shows without really appreciating they were all coming from the same place. That finally changed when I saw the project’s most recent piece, which finds Jack White playing two cuts at a picturesque chapel outside of Paris. The video is devastatingly gorgeous, and the sheer production behind it shows the growth La Blogothèque has experienced since the lo-fi days of Moon filming with handheld camera.

 

Some of the first episodes I remember seeing take me back to 2007, when Beirut and Arcade Fire were still bands that belonged to an exclusive following. The first finds Beirut mastermind Zach Condon in his quintessence of the time, singing on a Paris street with his old-world band. I already miss the days when this was indie music’s the zeitgeist sound.

 

This footage of Arcade Fire (later used in Moon’s feature-length concert film, Miroir Noir) still gives me goosebumps. The entire band manages to squeeze inside of an elevator – instruments and all – to play a chilling version of “Neon Bible”. Multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry might steal the show with his use of a magazine to create rhythm. The second song, performed in the audience at a live gig, shows the band in their crowd-moving glory before they were selling out sports arenas.

 

This far into the series’ life, the width and depth of its exploits is simply stunning.

Below are some other classic pieces. You can explore them all here.

 




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