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I Shot the Band: Company of Thieves

Today we introduce a new feature for The Beachwood Reporter's all-but invaluable music page. We call it "I Shot the Band." In this groovy new feature, we're aiming to create a Chicago music fan's guide to the seemingly unending stream of local band videos available on YouTube.

Now, we're not talking about the slick, professionally made kinds of videos done by paid filmmakers who obviously one day hope to be directing $50 million slasher movies. You can see those anywhere. Nah, what we're talking about here is tracking down, sorting out and ultimately holding up for praise or ridicule the bajillion gigabits-worth of amateur works produced by people who aren't slinging a camera for the money, or for professional advancement, but for the sheer devotion to the bands they're filming.

Their works are labors of love, to be sure, so it probably wouldn't be fair to just totally lambaste them because they're out of focus or have crappy sound or something. After all, some of these vids are shot on the sly . . . I will give points for such chutzpah. But because their makers are slapping them up there on YouTube for everyone to see, we feel we have the right to apply a little critiquing action to them. After all, there are thousands of these band videos to choose from . . . there needs to be some kind of standards by which to sort them all out. I have volunteered to pore through these videos so you don't have to. You can thank me later.

I'm going to concentrate on Chicago-area bands to begin with, mainly because I also see "I Shot the Band" as a way to give the local music scene some exposure. It may expand beyond that . . . probably depending on how long I can stand watching video after video of middle-aged white guys dressing up like the Blues Brothers and jumping around to some half-assed Elmore James cover. I promise I'll weed that kind of shit out.

No, I really promise.

Anyway, on with the first "I Shot the Band," starring the Chicago buzz band Company of Thieves.

*

Band: Company of Thieves

Song: "Hey Ya" (cover of OutKast song)

Date Added: June 12, 2008

Shooter: Bassguitar227

Locale: Welles Park

Video quality: Poor

Sound quality: Good

Creativity: Not much. Static camera.

Difficulty: None. It was shot in a park at free concert.

Overall Beachwood Shaky-Cam Rating: 6 (out of 10)

Comments: This is a pretty good document of the soaring voice possessed by Genevieve Schatz of Company of Thieves, and also features Mark Walloch accompanying her on acoustic guitar at what is apparently the Welles Park Series of free acoustic shows put on by Metro. Schatz is quite something. Her vocals cut right through the ambient noise on this video and come through very nicely.

Company of Thieves is becoming probably the most famous unsigned band in the city. They have been written up by RedEye and were the only unsigned band to play at the Yahoo!/Billboard live music showcase in New York last October. They recently signed a management contract with Chicago-based Second Wave Music and played two slots at this year's South By Southwest. Things seem to be coming pretty fast for these guys.

The video's highlight, besides the pair belting out a rather heartfelt cover of OutKast's "Hey Ya," are the little kids running around in front of the park stage and having a tremendous time. The kids' mom is also constantly in the frame. There's a skateboarder who rolls by a couple times. All in all, Bassguitar227 probably could have done a lot more for us if she could have just moved in a couple steps, given that it was clear sailing all the way to the gazebo stage. But still, the sound is surprisingly good, and that's a big thing.

*

Company of Thieves



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Posted on June 16, 2008


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