Gosh, I fell for this band. Back in my “you-go-out-every-night-and-see-a-band” days, I, uh, pretty much went out every night to see a band. Sometimes I knew what I was getting into, sometimes I had no idea. Those nights without expectations were unsurprisingly a mixed bag. Most nights were meh, every now and then I wouldn’t last a song, but then there were those nights where you heard a band doing something special, making a connection with crowd, maybe even playing an unfamiliar brand of music.
Sea of Bees did it for me when they played HiFi on July 15, 2015. I started recording for the Live at Fi podcast just a few weeks before Sea of Bees showed up and was still working out exactly how we were going to get these bands recorded. I showed up early to set up and was happy to meet Julie Ann and the rest of the band. All friendly, all happy and ready to play. The crowd wasn’t very big, but they showed up early, clearly expecting a lot of competition for seats. These people knew something I didn’t know and when Sea of Bees started playing I figured it out – Julie Ann Bee has start power. Such a unique voice and a set of original songs with strong, singable melodies that manage to steer clear of the traps of nostalgia. I loved the set and happily purchased a vinyl copy of their latest LP, Build a Boat to the Sun. I was too dopey to get autographs but I should have.
Live at Fi – Sea of Bees on iTunes
Live at Fi – Sea of Bees on Soundcloud
Episode two of The Live at Fi podcast has gone live and it’s a nice to see (hear, really) the show evolving and coming into itself. This episode is essentially a document of a very interesting live experiment. Ira Robbins, one of the prime movers behind Trouser Press magazine drew up a list of favorite songs from the past few decades, handed that list over to Tom Shad (NYC musician and scenester par excellence) who hand picked singers and a band to perform the songs live at The HiFi Bar. Kind of mix tape come to life and a terrific selection of songs and singers.
I love nights like this – it’s an opportunity to hear some familiar songs performed by a crew of artists that may be unfamiliar. In other words, a great way to discover a slew of talented performers in one night, the equivalent of months of club hopping.
For the podcast we picked seven favorite performances from the evening, then Mike Stuto recorded an interview with Ira Robbins and Tom Shad in the back room at HiFi to talk about how the night came together. Interestingly, Ira wasn’t able to attend the live show, which really just ends up making his perspective even more unique.
Recording these shows is always a little daunting. I never know exactly what’s coming up next, and honestly there’s not much I can do to control the recording once the show begins.
Colin Poellot did a fine job on the live mix, and any vocals and keyboards on the recording come from the live mix, augmented by a battery microphones placed by me to capture the live sound of the stage and the room without trickery. If you weren’t there, you’ll hopefully get that “You Are There” sensation.