Workers In Song Edinburgh (Preview Version)
A film By Julien Pearly
A song by The Dark Jokes
Edinburgh, August 2010 - January 2011
So here we go for an amazing new set of songs from one of the most exciting band in Edinburgh.
For this new WISE episode we introduce Aaron Dennington Band, The Dark Jokes, starting where we left him last time, in an abandoned hospital near Coldingham where I witnessed something unique and beautiful. Without doubt he knew what song would fit this kind of environment and “In a Gregorian Garden” was the perfect choice indeed. When he sings “she (mother nature) gonna make you pay and she will blow everything away”, I’m drown into the desolation of the place and contemplate how right he is. By that time of the week end, I had already filmed a lot and saw the only card I had was almost full and my battery close to die, so I got only half of the song at the end. The situation gave me the idea of breaking the one take rule, like I did for WISE 1.4. It brings a new layer to the song also gives the freedom to travel through time and space. Here thanks to a tv set and through a hole in the ground, our friend Aaron is flew back and fro from one place to another without trouble, just by the magic of imagination and editing.
The song with the whole band was shot the day of the Leith Links Festival, one of the many good things about Edinburgh, with the Meadows Festival just held the same month every year. It’s a friendly free week-end event with lots of stands and great music to enjoy, of course if the weather is on your side. That day I went for the very 1st time by bicycle down the Water of Leith path and I have to say it’s a beautiful wee journey to do if take your time to enjoy the landscape. It took me almost 1hr, stopping by to take pictures with my camera and I wish I had done it long before. When I arrived he and his brother (Paul playing drums) were struggling to start their gig due to a battery problem for their amplification. After many attempts to make it work, they managed to borrow another battery from one of the stand nearby. Hear now how the raw feelings of death and desolation we experienced in the abandoned hospital and Aaron particular skillful finger picking become a funkier wave of sounds full of life when the whole band and all the people present in the park join in.
For Yellow Menace (2.2), I took a playful approach, though the theme of the song is obviously serious and about the police, here it’s more of a blonde menace. But what if you could jump from one person perception to the next and enter into his (her) memory and imagination? Let us assume one or two of them have watched the band live already and remember the experience. So on a sunny day at the Mount, like a lot of people passing by, I enjoyed the weather while watching The Dark Jokes then filmed this song trying to grasp the expression on people faces and their reaction to the music. Again the song happens to be well chosen for the location without any plan on my side. Also by a wonderful game of circumstances I realized I ended up filming in the exact same position than one of the audience leaning against the iron fence. So watch the whole clip as a game of perception. When the trumpet and sax come in we switch to the concert and hear them as a calling for a music experience as intense as I did that night. Shot at The granary down the shore, one busy night of June where I filmed 2 other gigs, I went up on stage among the band and couldn’t get closer to the whole idea of jamming with a camera instead of an instrument. And I can’t recall a comparable emotion as the one I had towards the end when, close to Paul and his impressive drumbeats, the song changes tempo and fly away to another dimension. It’s like the seagull flying in the air at that moment on the Mount, just like in the opening shot, we are thrown against their music as quickly and intensely as we are thrown out of it at the end of each song.
The next song (2.3) is a strong testimony about the controversial shooting and death of Jean Charles de Menezes, which happened two weeks after the London bombings of 7 July 2005, causing the death of 56 people. It’s a though subject again and maybe one of my favorite. I love the rhythm and the bass line. The repetition of his name during the chorus seems like judgmental cry and reminder to the injustice that happened on that night. The other take was shot in Aaron mum back garden the same night than the Leith Links festival. To finish the day with such a superb collection of live songs in a garden of Edinburgh was a pleasure of the senses, and all ended again, though it was quite late, when the police came, they were in black this time, the dark menace had stricken again.
I filmed Low Winter Sun (2.4) the 1st time when the band was still called Burning Clouds the year before, in a superb acoustic version. Now electric this is a powerful pop song about the coldness of Scottish winter and is much simpler in its construction than the rest of the band materials. Opening with the line “wake me up again in spring”, it reflects the feelings we get through when the dark days bring us down and this is why this song goes straight to cheer people hearts up. The 2nd take was filmed at their studio for the Halloween party they organized with other bands the lined up. It was weird though very enjoyable to watch Aaron beetle Juice playing surrounded by witches, gargoyles and especially Paul Hitler bombarding the room of his strong drumming all night through. The warm atmosphere of the place fitted perfectly the spirit of the song.
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