Live Music Is Better - The Taper's Thread

Discussion in 'General Music and Vinyl' started by Yer Ol' Uncle D, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Yer Ol' Uncle D

    Yer Ol' Uncle D Well-Known Member

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    I had the utmost pleasure of attending a gig with @lee newman the other night. As is often the case, I was taping the show. While we were hangin' out beforehand he asked me what got me into taping in the first place. Great question.

    I gave him my condensed taping backstory. It all started with an intense love of live music and the spontaneity and improvisation that comes right along with it. There's nothing like that buzz, that electrical charge, that catharsis you get from a live show that's striking all the right nerves. I've been taping live shows, both openly and on the down-low, since 1986. I'm no pro, just a hobbyist, and have had varying levels of equipment and success over the years. I've made some nice tapes, made some clunkers. Either way, I always love being able to relive the moment over and over again. I tend to hear so much more when I can revisit a show a few times.

    One thing I inexplicably left out of the conversation with Lee, the most important thing, is that I love freely sharing good music with good people, especially music by bands I dig to expand their fan base, increase attendance at their shows and sales of their wares. The show we were checking out, a Lee Bains III And The Glory Fires gig, is a perfect example. I feel so strongly about this band, their music and their message that I want to do everything I can to help get the word out.

    I also thought about the flip side of the equation - for the most part live taping seems to be a dying art. Fewer and fewer folks out there are willing to invest the time, the money and the attention it takes to produce a decent quality live recording. For most people holding an iPhone in the air for half a song and capturing some overdriven audio will suffice. Thank goodness The Grateful Dead didn't come along during the mobile phone age - you never woulda heard of 'em. Tapers helped make them a household name.

    So...I thought I'd start a thread for folks to share their live recordings. I gotta think...gotta hope...there are some other tapers - past or present - out there in the VMP community. If you feel the inclination dust those recordings off and come on in.

    It only seems fitting the first post be something from the show I saw with @lee newman that kindled this whole idea.

    Here are a couple songs from my recording of Lee Bains III And The Glory Fires at The Pinhook in Durham, NC on 7-27-17. These two tracks and Lee's intro to each will give you a basic idea of their sound and their politics. I often describe LBIII&TGF to folks who've never heard 'em as The Clash via Birmingham, AL. Got quite a nice soundstage on this one. Not a bad headphone listen. Their brand new LP is available in the VMP store presently. Stock up.

    If there's any interest by anyone in owning the complete show I'll abide and get the whole shebang up for everyone to grab. This sample and the link are public. Please share this music with anyone you think might enjoy it.

     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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  2. Yer Ol' Uncle D

    Yer Ol' Uncle D Well-Known Member

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    A couple more to kick things off.

    These songs are from a Black Crowes show I recorded at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville, NC on 9-19-10. The Wolfe is probably my favorite mid-sized venue - great sightlines and nice acoustics. This was during The Crowes 'Say Good Night To The Bad Guys' tour. It was a series of shows that clocked in at 3 to 3 1/2 hours each with split acoustic/electric sets. It should be noted the term 'acoustic set' was used rather loosely. I was lucky enough to see 6 shows on the east coast leg. This tour was top shelf.

    Here's a song from each set, both covers.

    From the acoustic set we have The Crowes interpretation of the David Whiffen song 'Lost My Driving Wheel'. In my mind it's as perfect a rendition as you're gonna hear. Chris is in fine voice and we get a slow build til Luther Dickinson unleashes a guitar solo around the 6:00 mark that will make you cry. Just beautiful.

    The second track is the show closer, a cover of The Flying Burrito Brothers' 'Hot Burrito #2'. The Crowes have always had a man-crush on Gram Parsons. And that's OK - they always had the soul to do him justice.

    Please share these links with anyone you feel might enjoy this music.



     
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  3. indiemisanthrope

    indiemisanthrope Well-Known Member

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    Actual question, what *is* the right way to do this?
     
  4. GroovesInMiddleAmerica

    GroovesInMiddleAmerica Well-Known Member

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    IDK If times have changed, but the old school way used to be with a decent microphone and a DAT recorder if you couldn't bribe the sound board guy to let you plug in (either way you'd want to stand near the board because thats where the best sound was).

    I never invested in tape equipment, but I did once upon a time be a bit torrent administrator for a site for tapers and live concert traders to download and share live recorded concert bootlegs. Maybe some of y'all will remember this from 13 years ago, the site was called Sharing the Groove and I started helping them out not long after I turned it.

    The standard for uploading shows to the tracker was to put lineage notes of how the recording made it to the tracker.

    Such as: type of microphone --> type of dat recorder --> type of recording software used to process --> final lossless format (either SHN later, FLAC)

    A lot of jam band recording was done on that scene (Psychedelic Breakfast, Nero, Phish, etc), plus old hippie groups like the dead and greg allman were popular along with a lot of 90s adult contemporary like DMB and Counting Crows.

    We used to do a lot of "B&Ps" too where you could send someone blank CDRs and return postage and they'd burn these live recordings for you and mail them back. Back before the internet speeds were so damn good.

    I used to take over whole computer labs in undergrad burning CDs for people I met through this lifestyle while watching simpsons episodes. Good times.

    Still have my etree account too :)
     
  5. indiemisanthrope

    indiemisanthrope Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, thanks for the info. So do you have to be discreet about doing this? I mean, aside from people not putting in the effort anymore, how do venues/bands feel about people coming in with microphones and recording their shows? For bands with an established tradition of taping and bootlegs already, I'm guessing it's not a big deal, but I'd guess it's more acceptable at an indie venue than it would be at like a LiveNation theater, right? Is there an etiquette to the whole thing?

    Sorry, @Yer Ol' Uncle D, I know this wasn't intended to be a tutorial thread, don't wanna derail it too far.
     
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  6. swamp

    swamp Well-Known Member

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    I have a Chris Staples iPhone 6s Plus > MacBook Pro > iPhone 6s Plus live tape recording available for trade. Hit me up with your tape token offers or equal high qual DFB recs.
     
  7. GroovesInMiddleAmerica

    GroovesInMiddleAmerica Well-Known Member

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    Some bands don't give a shit. some venues don't give a shit. all depends on a lot of things.

    Sometimes they do and you have to be discreet about getting your equipment in. Dudes would have equipment taped to their leg and a microphone running out of the top of a hoodie and all kinds of craziness.
     
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  8. Psymon

    Psymon Well-Known Member

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    While I never taped, I traded/b&p'd back in the day (phishhook, anyone?). This is a great idea for a thread, @Yer Ol' Uncle D!
     
  9. Yer Ol' Uncle D

    Yer Ol' Uncle D Well-Known Member

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    Questions are good. That's what helps propagate the taper species.

    On the set up - as with most hobbies you can spend about as much money as you can imagine on gear. On the flip side there are lots of very economical choices out there that will enable a newbie to get into the hobby and produce some very listenable results. At a minimum a starting point would be a digital recorder with some built-in mics geared toward capturing full spectrum live audio. I'd recommend going a step further and starting with a digital recorder and some external cardioid mics. Again, lots of choices. You can spend a mint, but you don't have to do that to make a good recording.

    On the physical act of recording - Just as important as the equipment is being as close to the "sweet spot" - the spot with the most perfect sound in the venue - as possible to record. The sweet spot in a room can vary wildly. It can be near the soundboard - the soundman is assumedly mixing everything to sound good at his spot - but that's not necessarily a hard, fast rule. In many small clubs you find the soundboard off to one side or in an unconventional location. Trust your ears - find a spot where you get the best balance of sound and record from there. As @GroovesInMiddleAmerica mentioned, many folks try for a soundboard patch. A SBD is a nice resource to have but in many cases, especially in smaller clubs, the SBD feed will be limited and only contain vocals, bass and occasionally some drums. SBD feeds often sound dry and sterile. A great alternative is to mix a SBD feed with an audience source to give the recording some ambience, life and feel of the room. A nice example is the Lee Bains recording I posted. It's a mixdown of a SBD feed (it contained vocals, bass and drums) and an onstage source I recorded with mics that give you more prominent guitars and a nice soundstage. Ultimately, in my mind, the aim of a live recording is to allow the listener to close their eyes and aurally see where everyone is standing on stage just like they're standing in the crowd and watching the show.

    Who cares, who doesn't - All bands basically fall into 3 categories - those who embrace taping and do everything they can to inform venues of their stance and help out tapers, those who are fine with taping but don't have a formal policy to aid tapers in doing the deed and those who are totally against recording. Results will vary wildly. Even bands that are openly pro-taping can have snafus with the venue. I've had the folks at the door call the band or tour manager on multiple occasions to get my gear in.

    The good news - there are many resources to help you figure out all this stuff.

    For all things taping - equipment advice, taping policies of bands, buying gear - this link is a great resource. http://taperssection.com/ As with any forum, you'll run across your contributors who have $5000 rigs and think everyone else is a lesser human. Just ignore 'em. As I said earlier, a very fine recording can be captured with economical gear in the right conditions.

    Here's a link that will connect you to bands who have formally given permission to fans to tape and freely share their shows as well as a bunch of stuff you can stream and/or download. https://archive.org/browse.php?collection=etree&field=creator

    The bottom line - HAVE FUN! It's a great hobby and there's no better feeling than turning someone on to a band you love via a recording you made.

    The only bad recording is the one that isn't made.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  10. Yer Ol' Uncle D

    Yer Ol' Uncle D Well-Known Member

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    This thread is all about freely spreading the music to help the artists gain more fans, sell more tickets and move more merchandise. Don't sit on it - share it!
     
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  11. indiemisanthrope

    indiemisanthrope Well-Known Member

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    This is fascinating! Beyond a vague awareness of people doing this with Dead/Springsteen/Phish/etc. level of bands, I didn't really know this existed. I'm not sure I've ever noticed anyone recording at a show that I've been to. How much active participation does it require on the recorder's part (assuming you're not just plugged into a soundboard)? Does it mean that when you're recording, you're posted up without moving/talking for the duration of the show? Or does that just depend on how "pure" of a recording you're trying to create?
     
  12. GroovesInMiddleAmerica

    GroovesInMiddleAmerica Well-Known Member

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    If you didn't notice it's because they're being discreet.

    Check out this site. I'll bet you can find some recordings of shows you've been to http://db.etree.org/
     
  13. indiemisanthrope

    indiemisanthrope Well-Known Member

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    @Yer Ol' Uncle D Maybe this was the tip I needed about live shows: focus on how great the tape will be.
     
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  14. Yer Ol' Uncle D

    Yer Ol' Uncle D Well-Known Member

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    Here's another fun one -

    Not many artists have the onions to cover Hendrix. Even fewer can pull it off in a respectable fashion. The North Mississippi Allstars and Luther Dickinson are more than respectable. Somehow my recording managed to do it justice.

    The North Mississippi Allstars - "Hear My Train A Comin' ' - The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC 2-20-10

    Please share this link and pass this music along to anyone you feel may enjoy it.

     
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  15. Yer Ol' Uncle D

    Yer Ol' Uncle D Well-Known Member

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    Here's one from my recording of my buddy Alejandro Escovedo in one of my favorite rooms, The Visulite Theatre in Charlotte NC, on 6-26-14.

    This was the last time I talked to Alejandro before he got married, got trapped in a hurricane, kinda lost his mind, got diagnosed and treated for PTSD, and then made Burn Something Beautiful, one of the best records of 2016. Y'all need to go buy it.

    This tour was a unique affair featuring Alejandro on guitar and vocals with accompaniment by Susan Voelz on violin and vocals. It could be beautiful and understated. It could be loud. This one is loud.

    Alejandro Escovedo & Susan Voelz - Chelsea Hotel '78

     
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  16. Yer Ol' Uncle D

    Yer Ol' Uncle D Well-Known Member

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    Promised I'd get a song from this show up in conversation with @Aron last week so here 'tis.

    Had the pleasure of seeing The Evil One, Roky Erickson, in a 500 capacity club a couple weeks ago. If any of you are familiar with Roky and his incredible story, you know his emotional state can make live shows a crapshoot. Couple his decades long battle with mental illness with the fact Roky is now 70 and I went into this thing knowing the odds weren't in my favor.

    Surprise. Roky seemed to be having a blast. I was totally impressed by the strength of his vocals. Plus I'll wager this'll be the only song you hear today featuring electric jug.

    Here he's performing "Earthquake", a tune he wrote for his legendary psych band The 13th Floor Elevators. Enjoy. Share it with your friends. And please support Roky by buying his music and merchandise and attending his gigs.

     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  17. Psymon

    Psymon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting your recordings, friend! Love listening to these. (and keep them coming!)
     
  18. Yer Ol' Uncle D

    Yer Ol' Uncle D Well-Known Member

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    My friend @Psymon has requested more and who am I to deny him. Here's one in his wheelhouse.

    Saw Lou Reed in 2008 in a 1000 capacity club. The band was longtime Lou sideman Fernando Saunders on bass, Tony 'Thunder' Smith on drums and the guitar god Steve Hunter. Steve is half of the incredible guitar duo on Lou's live Rock And Roll Animal LP along with Dick Wagner.

    I thought it was incredibly classy of Lou to bring Steve along on this tour. He stretches out on this one. Enjoy, pass it along and support all the musicians involved with your monetary investments.

    RIP Lou. I sure do miss you man.

     
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  19. TCell

    TCell Well-Known Member

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    I use to tape back in the day. Most of the bootlegs out of Vancouver from the late 90s / early 00s are from me.

    I use to have different mic setups for whether the band allowed taping or not. It's all sitting in a box in my basement that I can't will myself to sell.

    I'll see if I can dig up some old tapes/files and post some files if I can.

    Thanks for @Yer Ol' Uncle D for the blast of nostalgia.

    Edit: I even found an old box of DATs

    upload_2017-9-14_10-13-31.png
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  20. Tyr

    Tyr Well-Known Member

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    I'm just now discovering this thread and I love it!

    Thank you.


    I used to have a subscription to Concert Vault because I too love me some live music recordings.
     
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