‘Live at 9:30’ TV show spotlights D.C. music culture

Media Credit: Aaron Schwartz | Hatchet Photographer

Audrey Schaefer, the 9:30 Club's communications director, helps oversee production of a PBS show about the music venue.

Updated: Oct. 3, 2016 at 11:03 a.m.

Music lovers at GW might spot themselves in crowds on television soon: The popular 9:30 Club has started documenting its performers and concerts on the new TV show “Live at 9:30.”

Produced by D.C.-based production company the Content Farm, episodes are curated by the 9:30 Club’s communications director Audrey Schaefer and the Content Farm’s executive producer Michael Holstein. The show aims to allow music fans outside the D.C. area to experience the 9:30 Club.

Five bands of varying genres are highlighted in each episode to appeal to a wide audience and introduce them to new genres. The first episode of the series, for example, features Garbage, an alternative rock band, with the popular pop band MisterWives and bluegrass group Yonder Mountain String Band. Comedians Hannibal Buress and Lavell Crawford also make appearances.

“It’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle, in a way,” Schaefer said. “If you had a Pandora station, none of these bands would come up together.”

A new hour-long episode airs at the beginning of every month on the “Live at 9:30” website for viewers who missed the television showings in June. The show first premiered on PBS this past April.

Another point of pride for “Live at 9:30” is its star-studded list of appearances. NPR Music’s Bob Boilen, a longtime 9:30 patron and past performer, handles the interviews with ease and obvious experience. Big name artists like Tove Lo, Cold War Kids and Jess Glynne appear in the episodes.

Live concert footage is interspersed with interviews with bands, short sketches and digital animations. But the close-ups of the performances, shot by professional photographers during live shows on GoPros, are the most compelling element of the show.

“It feels like you’re in a live place,” Schaefer said. “It makes you feel like you’re standing in the center of the audience or be jealous that you weren’t.”

One of the goals of “Live at 9:30” is to bring the 9:30 Club experience to fans living in smaller cities who don’t have access to similar music venues, Schaefer added.

Jordan Grobe, an alumnus of the Class of 2015 and now the communications assistant at the 9:30 Club, said the sense of intimacy and authenticity that first drew him to the venue his freshman year has been successfully translated to video for the show.

“We do a very good job of capturing the audience,” Grobe said. “You can see the smiles on their faces.”

A small sign that reads, “Be aware: Filming in progress” is posted in the lobby every time the cameras are rolling to warn crowds that they might appear on national TV. Regardless of the sign, videographers have been successful in capturing concert-goers naturally, Schaefer said.

Schaefer’s first priority in filming the show was to be as unobtrusive to concertgoers as possible, saying that the film crews had to be “ninja quiet.”

“What happens in this room is between the artist and the audience, and you never want to get in between that,” Schaefer said.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that “Live at 9:30” featured GoldLink. GoldLink was not in the show.

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