Wanderer Session #13: Via Audio
Filmed in New Brunswick, New Jersey
It’s lucky thirteen. Vincent Moon told me once that one of the most important things to remember when filming take-away-shows is to enjoy the process. He said if the process is good, the film would be good. This night with Via Audio, so soon after being swept up by Bern & The Brights the night before, I felt what he meant. And I have never enjoyed myself more.
Where to start with Via Audio? I first encountered their music a few years ago when “Developing Active People” played on Garageband.com’s mini-radio. Since then, “Setup” and “If They Find Me” from their EP consistently played in my head. I bought their record “Say Something” shortly after and was instantly in love with their tunes. They were just so unique to me. Such a distinct mix of heartfelt seriousness and a witty sense of humor. They rarely played in NJ. And with no car and no money in high school and a secluded study life during the first two years of college, I never made it to a Via Audio show in Brooklyn.
They came down to New Brunswick only once, I think, and played at the Court Tavern with Like Trains & Taxis. It was the only chance I had to see them. I never made it. I never made it for reasons so misty and elusive in my memories that I’ve begun to think them pointless and unimportant. It made me remember that one missed show for a while.
Those days feel so long ago. It was before getting into this New Brunswick scene, before I learned to play guitar, before Pollifax, before I even vaguely thought of trying to make writing and art and music somewhat of a possible career. Those days feel so long ago.
And here they are. Jessica, Adam, Tom, and David, playing an acoustic set in front of me inside Scott Hall of all places. They’re such a fun bunch. They joked around, drew animals and triangles on the chalkboard, fiddled around with the old Scott piano. They played a whole new block of songs that really brought out my heart that was still stuck on “Say Something.” “Lizard Song,” “Oh Blah Wee,” and “Happening” were superb. It was nice to see their sound evolving without straying far from the romantic humor I love so much about them.
And then they played, “We Can Be Good,” my favorite Via Audio song. “I haven’t played this song in like a year and a half!” says David. “We want to make this special for you guys,” says Jessica. They played it acoustically for the very first time. And judging by their reaction to my request, they rarely play it if they even did at all anymore. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. They played this old song and brought the flood of dusty memories that I’m now writing here so absurdly like a fan boy. David wasn’t sure about releasing it. If it appears on this page, the world has got yet another great piece of music. If not, well, this recorded performance is a great souvenir that I’ll keep tucked away with me forever.
We saw them play a Haiti Benefit a few hours later. The very first time I’ve ever seen them live. I was just inches away from Jessica and her keyboard, cameras at the ready. The entire set was just a blur of high-energy laughing, dancing, melting guitar solos, and people going crazy while they crowded the doors and stage. Even my pictures, so blurry and fiery with nothing but twisting reds and shadows showed the kind of trance I was in.
Before the show, Adam spoke to me about writing and Grad School MFAs. David talked about Highland Park while we drank with Skyla and Mike from Like Trains and Taxis. After the show, they all smiled and gave me hugs before I left.
Chris Harris was still packing up equipment and so, I didn’t get a chance to really tell him how much I owe him for setting the whole Wanderer Session and the following show up.
Skyla and I walked down towards my car and I just thought of Vincent Moon. He told me to just enjoy the process. I’ve never enjoyed anything more than this night while his words echoed in my head.
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