Daily Archives: October 22, 2009

For The Price of a Song

And the flame still burns

And the flame still burns

“Fans aren’t curious people coming out to check something out. Fans are intimately attached to your music.”

I’ve written about Marah several times over the years; they’re one of my favorite bands. Over the last decade plus, their albums have consistently connected and resonated with me, and when they are “on” (which is just about every time I’ve seen them play) they can light a room on fire like few others. And much like Dave Bielanko states above, I’ve seen the depth of devotion that Marah fans have to the band and their music.

The most recent show I saw was February of this year, part of a low-rent under-the-radar tour initially scheduled to work some new material out on the road and get the sea legs out from underneath a new rhythm section. By the time they hit Rochester, New York, the show had turned more electric and there were no new songs in the set. But while the band was still looking for clues (and cues) on occasion, there were enough moments of magic to keep the flame of hope burning. (You can read about that performance here and here.)

I noticed that there was a film crew darting about that evening at the Bug Jar, and hoped that the show was being filmed for a DVD. Frankly, after months passed and I didn’t hear much about it, I forgot about the taping. Wouldn’t be the first time I saw cameras circle at a great show with no public, tangible result.

Until today! Watch the mini-documentary here.

And in case you missed the credits, here’s a link to creator Topher Hopkins’ website. I was hoping the director and producer was a Rochestarian that I just hadn’t met yet, but no such luck; just serendipity that he decided to film at the Bug Jar. And thanks to the fine people on the Marah Board for posting and sharing this. I think more people outside the circle need to see it…it provides a glimpse behind the curtain at what happens on the other side of the stage.

It’s probably hasn’t been the easiest year for the band. A year before, they were ready to hit the road behind a great new album (Angels of Destruction) and the band imploded. This year saw Serge Bielanko take a breather to celebrate the birth and care of his new born daughter while the band would alternate playing as a duo, trio or quartet. Some woodshedding in Pennsylvania ala Big Pink. Some guest spots at festivals. The usual fun of trying to forge ahead and progress without a label, without a distributor, without the financial freedom to be able to do what they wanted when they wanted.

And although the road only got bumpier after this February date – failing equipment, broken down vans – I cling to the unflagging spirit that Dave has in this clip. Because at the end of the day, if you are an artist, the crowds and the attention and the buzz is sweet.  But it’s got to be about you. Without that drive, that soul, that emotional tug to pour yourself onto a canvas or into a microphone, you’re not going to matter. Like a bite of cotton candy at the circus, you’re a momentary burst of glory for the taste buds, then gone, almost before you can swallow.

Marah is more than that. I’m not certain how they will re-center themselves, but I hope what I’m watching is more than a detour. Perhaps it’s a transfiguration. They have earned my faith. I’m pulling for them.

Marah website.

Marah on MySpace.

There is no "i" in Marah

There's no "i" in Marah

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Filed under Editorials, Features and Interviews, Film/TV, Music