Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Supa Lowery Brothers

Supa Lowery Brothers
It's 2pm on a Tuesday and the Supa Lowery Brothers are on the move again. They had set up in a courtyard between 3rd and 4th St. on Market next to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, but shortly into their first number a security guard had come up and told them they can't play there.

As a trio featuring Chris and Wes Lowery with Mekiso Young (appologies, I've lost my notes so I don't know if I spelled his name right) on guitar they face slightly bigger challenges than the average street performers. They are amplified, which is its own hassle, they need more space, and setting up and tearing down is more involved processes.

But even after this first set back, they're undeterred. They settle on the future storefront for Diesel clothing on the three-way corner of Ellis, Stockton, and Market. Across the street world famous Bucketman has taken a break from his own street performance in front of Old Navy and the Supa Lowery Brothers are ready to try again.

Originally from Philadelphia, they have come up from LA to promote their band to a San Francisco audience. Between trumpet solos Christopher holds up CDs for sale to passers by.

The Supa Lowery Brothers are my first official street performer encounter. I had intended to interview a saxophone player I would see just about every day and had even arranged to meet him that afternoon, but he's nowhere to be found. Instead, I found this jazz fusion trio hastily setting up their PA system and asked if I could record them.

After quickly re-assembling themselves on the three-way corner, they begin playing again. It turns out to be a good location. The Apple store is just across the corner, and people congregate in front of them waiting to cross one of the three streets.

I've borrowed a Canon DSLR from a friend to photograph the performers and while I take my pictures spectators stop for a few minutes and move on, some dance including one man who remained even after I left. I didn't see anyone buy the CDs that Chris held up, but they remained upbeat regardless.

For them, the tell me, it's all about getting their name out there. They could try and hustle up a club gig which they would have to pay for out of pocket and promote and then play to the people who come in, but they've chosen to take their sound to the street, exposing their music to the lunch crowd in San Francisco's Financial District.

This is the first interview I cut a long time ago on Audacity, which is a good audio editor but I wasn't all that adept at using it editing audio documentaries. It's something I never got the hang of and eventually slowed me to a crawl in the editing process. It's also one of the interviews I stacked at the last half of the track instead of all the way through spread out. The few people who have heard these interviews didn't like that (it is a little jarring when the interview suddenly comes in), so later interviews change that.

I recommend headphones for two reasons, first is so that you can make sure you hear it all. The second reason is atmospheric. This isn't just a music performance, but a street music performance and the sounds of the San Francisco mid-afternoon are just as much a part of it as anything else. So put on a good pair of headphones and let this take you to a bright spring afternoon in San Francisco with the Supa Lowery Brothers. Enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment