Spin It Round, Flip It and Reverse It

What better way to spend a beautiful summer’s afternoon than surfing the internet? I don’t mean with Wi-Fi on the Quad or outside. With cancer-causing UV rays, West Nile-carrying mosquitoes and freedom-hating terrorists, the sunshine isn’t enough to bring me outside.

What could be keeping me in you ask? Even without the life threatening elements of nature lurking near my front porch, I still would be more than happy to sit in air conditioning and explore one of my favorite Web sites, www.blogotheque.net. A section entitled “Concert A Emporter” is what will draw you into this French site.

This may be painfully old news for some of you, but to those out of the loop, be sure to type that address into your internet browser of choice. This site, though totally in French, has a treasure-trove of wonderful and intimate live performances by some of the biggest names in the world of indie music.

Filmed primarily in the winding urban streets of French cities, the series of videos show artists such as The Shins, Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird and Of Montreal performing in unexpected places and ways. Often they are wandering down a busy street like wandering minstrels. Sometimes they are banging on furniture in a tiny room. The sound quality is strikingly good and the artists don’t fall short; playing brilliant renditions of already amazing songs.

Under the “Music Now” link you can find Sufjan Stevens playing banjo on a rooftop. The Arcade Fire plays “Neon Bible” in a freight elevator with magazine ripping as their main percussion.

Other stand outs include Okkervil River and I’m From Barcelona (the full 20ish member band parading through Paris). More than the great live music, the site is so wonderful because of how it is captured. Watching people walk by the artists, their expressions of confusion, intrigue, or anger add to every piece.

Seeing a little boy sticking his head out of a second story window, staring in confusion down at The Shins, or a group of business people literally frozen by the unexpected beauty of Andrew Bird’s whistle are just as enthralling as the music itself. A lot of times it’s also pretty hilarious; watching drunks watching Of Montreal fumble through a couple songs presumably drunk is pretty refreshing.

The site, which is in the processing of being translated into English, is a great way to escape the everyday. Incredibly popular, spin off sites are starting to pop up. I think this is great for musicians and fans. They love to play and we love to watch – and everyone love’s something new and exciting. Before long we may see a YouTube video of Bon Jovi strumming in some cobblestone alley (fingers crossed). A spin off video featured on the site shows The Sound Team performing in Austin in the midst of a gigantic anti-war rally mere minutes before I crossed that very intersection. Not that exciting for you readers but discovering that at 2 a.m. was certainly a treat for me. Do yourself a favor and don’t go outside … but if you’re cool, you already know that.

Brian loves the internet and can easily be contacted via brianmcgo@gmail.com

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