I went into contemplation about the importance and relevance of music videos on several occasions over the past few weeks. This made me think deeper about the actual role of the media for musicians. The different ways the artists can use video to support their music and bring their ideas further turned into a burning point of interest for me.
The types of music videos are too many to count – from elaborate “short film” types to vivid animations or simple shots of the band/artist performing. I decided to dedicate a blog post to one of the many formats that seem to spark controversial debates – the live concert footage type of music videos and their role in the scene.
Music videos play a fundamental role in the contemporary music scene. Since this medium was introduced in the 1980s, it kept developing and increasing its relevance as a supplementary element for the art of music.
One of the first music videos to gain massive recognition. An everlasting masterpiece.
The power music videos bless upon artists is undeniable. No matter how clearly articulated a song is, the video format provides an additional canvas for expression. Weather artists use it to enhance the concept of their song or encourage listeners to find a different perspective, utilizing the video format is rarely a bad idea
(unless it is done just for the sake of having a video without any thought put into it, of course).
A beautiful animation telling a twisted story supporting the song, typical for Gorillaz
Naturally, various formats were born with experimentation leading to peculiar developments to the music video format.
Nowadays, it is as diverse as it gets and still keeps evolving with new, successful and unsuccessful, concepts and ideas popping up every once in a while. With so many options about visually representing a song, choosing what type of video to create cannot be an easy challenge for any musician.
One type of video that manages to excite and transmit a special kind of emotion is the live footage type. Something that remains relevant for many different music scenes, but continues being controversial in the eyes of many listeners.
A short film type of music video – absolutely stunning with countless interpretations. Perfect execution and flawless sound supporting the concept (or the other way around?)
I recently came across an article claiming that “nobody wants to see live footage music videos” – something, which in my humble opinion, is total bullshit. Live music videos have great charm and a major role for both artists and listeners.
Why Are Live Footage Music Videos Important?
I have talked about the inconceivable magic of live music on several occasions before, and I still consider it the best manner of music consumption in existence. The phenomenon allows a one-of-a-kind fusion between artist and listeners, it creates a unique environment and a long-lasting bond that nothing else can beat.
Even though this can only be fully appreciated if you become an active part of it, a recording of this marvellous spectacle makes a lot of sense. It manages to contain the essence of the emotions and unity that happens during live shows. It allows people who have experienced it to go back to that special moment with a smile on their face and a rush of nostalgic excitement.
Read my article on the importance of live music
For those who haven’t been part of it, the video footage of live shows presents a teaser of how different live music is from listening to a recording alone. It shows a completely different world that artists and listeners create together.
This type of video is a way to include listeners in the band/artist’s legacy while showcasing the uniqueness of each show and the specific atmosphere created during a concert.
Live footage music videos encompass the emotion and, most importantly, the unity of live shows while also giving a backstage view of the pre-show anticipation, rituals, and preparations.
I would never consider such an emotion-inducing approach towards music videos irrelevant or unnecessary. In fact, I think it is one of the most important mediums artists can turn to when creating a video supporting the right type of song.
Read my article on the current state of live music and the shows I am itching to see when concerts come back to our lives
I have a list of eight of my favourite live footage music videos as examples of how the format can bring out the best of the band/artist when used appropriately.
Feel free to let me know what you think about the topic and hit me with your personal favourite live footage music videos. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!
Hollywood Undead – Heart Of A Champion feat. Papa Roach & Ice Nine Kills
I am opening my list with one of the most adrenaline-infused songs in existence from one of the most energetic bands ever.
Heart Of A Champion first appeared in Hollywood Undead’s sixth studio album – New Empire Vol 1. The track proved to be a certified banger since day one with the classic gangster-vibes, witty lyrics, vile instrumental structure, and aggressive rap verses. The confidence boost and high-energy kick Hollywood Undead are known for radiate from the track, but at that time, we had no idea this was only the start of Heart Of A Champion’s power-run.
The addition of two other viciously energetic bands makes the song a true modern alt-rock anthem. The aggressive additions of Spencer Charnas and fast-paced hip-hop-inspired verses from Jacoby Shaddix blend with the sound and vibe of Hollywood Undead perfectly well.
There is hardly a song better fitted for a live footage music video than this one. It becomes clear with the first few seconds of the video showcasing Spencer hyping up a wild crowd for what is to come. It only gets louder, stronger, and faster with the progression of the song and the perfectly timed entrances of Jacoby and the Hollywood Undead gang.
The energy of the crowd is beyond obvious, and the connection between the three bands and the audience is impossible to miss. It is also worth noticing the incredible synergy between the collaborating artists and the unity they achieve during the performance.
Linkin Park feat. Jay-Z – Numb/Encore
While on the wave of nu-metal/rap-rock fusion – Numb/Encore is one of the most iconic collaborations in the history of music. The Linkin Park/Jay Z mash-up paved the road for the progressive development of rap-rock and proved that genres should never be seen as limitations for any artist.
The video captures the outstanding energy and fascination radiating from the artists and the crowd alike. The active involvement of the audience in the whole performance makes things even better here. Some goofy footage of the recording of the song and the pre-show preparation appear to make the video even more appealing and wholesome.
Typically for Linkin Park and Jay Z shows, the live act is as entertaining and energetic as it gets. Staying still and not participating in the show is not an option – the music video for Numb/Encore clearly indicates the values of both artists when it comes to live concerts.
Of Mice And Men – Never Giving Up
Never Giving Up captures the pique of Of Mice And Men. The song is an anthem of empowerment and inspiration, support, unity, and the power of community.
It is also one of the tracks showing what a refined evolution of a band looks and sounds like – a beautiful blend of aggressive, gritty screams and growls with gentle singing and back-vocals. The instruments fit each part of the song perfectly and highlight the message in the core of the song.
The video is probably the best example of how live concert footage can be used for enhancing the value of a song. The band combined their bouncy, emotional live performance with the untamable energy of the crowd, the dynamic mosh-pits that are always part of the package, some backstage snapshots, meet and greet moments, and powerful band-audience interaction.
The video makes you appreciate the band and the community around it, no matter if you like their music or not. It is a demonstration of the bond that forms around artists and listeners, the support they give to each other, and the dedication to the music from all parties.
You know it works well because when you finish the video, you immediately add Of Mice And Men to the list of bands you have to see live one day.
While She Sleeps – Empire Of Silence
While She Sleeps have always had a clear socio-political stance and expressed their care and appreciation towards the listeners. It will not be an overstatement calling them one of the best and most important bands for modern metalcore.
From their well-articulated (and relevant) value system to the refined sound uniting earth-shattering growls and mild back-vocals with lighter motives, the band is criminally underrated for what they manage to achieve.
Empire Of Silence from the third full-length You Are We captures the essence of While She Sleeps. It uses the live concert footage to represent the unbreakable connection the band instantly forms with the audience, the dedication of the crowd towards having an absolute blast, and the pure passion of the band for their art.
A combination of a well-documented performance, a hyper-energetic crowd, initiating bone-crushing mosh pits and stage-dives blends in with the charm of the intimate venue where the magic happened to deliver a powerful end-result.
Ghost – Life Eternal
Ghost is an extraordinary band for whom live concert videos have unmatched potential. The cult-like theatrics of the band and the sever obsession of listeners help shows become more of a convention than a concert.
While the music is undeniably of the highest quality, the highlight of the show is the role-play and the creative ways fans come up with while impersonating the different figures of the Ghost mythos.
The dramatic effect of the song is greatly increased thanks to the well-executed video
Life Eternal is one of the latest videos of the band, it perfectly shows the otherwise indescribable atmosphere during live shows. You can feel the wholesomeness and total immersion taking place during the show.
The interesting thing about this particular video is that the focus here is almost entirely on the audience. There are only a few shots of the band performing and being backstage – a few peeks at the unmatched stage act taking place in front of the lucky crowd.
The majority of the video is dedicated to the fans for a reason – their creative costumes, tattoos, band-related gestures and the pure joy of witnessing the show are heartwarming. The thing that Ghost manage to orchestrated with their performance is impressive, and the video manages to capture the scope of their influence accordingly.
There is also a very important final shot of the band at the end of the video – it plays a crucial role in the development of the story Ghost are telling. It documents the official annotation of Cardinal Copia as Papa Emeritus IV – the new leader of Ghost who finished his trial and proved to be a worthy leader for the next era.
This final shot makes the whole song and video seem like a tribute to the new leader and his promising reign. An extra element of excitement and anticipation for the fans of the band.
Architects – Dead Butterflies
Dead Butterflies is part of Architects’ latest hard-hitting record For Those Who Wish To Exist. The song is highly emotional and thematically delicate. This is fittingly blended with experimentation of sounds and arrangement for the band.
It works incredibly well and hits right where it has to with the relevant topic and obvious overflow of genuine loss, confusion, and angst.
The interesting thing about this video is that it shows a stadium live performance with no audience. It was recorded during the pandemic and comes to show that live music can still invoke powerful emotions even when there is no crowd to indicate the energy of the act.
The whole aesthetic and vibe of the performances are to die for. A mix of a passionate performance and stunning lights and visuals presented in a monochrome filter make up for the emotional destruction that follows.
It makes you want to see this performed live in front of you and gives the song an enhanced spine-chilling emotional value that is hard to top.
Bring Me The Horizon – Ludens: Live in Tokyo
Bring Me The Horizon is a band with exceptionally good live shows. Not having a live footage music video would be blasphemous.
The band’s live show is a grand spectacle with radically different parts varying in thematics, energy, and overall vibe. What unites them all is the undeniable passion and incredible hype the band manages to contaminate their audience with. Mosh pits and walls of death switch with unified chants and calm singalongs depending on the song, but the energy levels are always rising high.
Ludens: Live In Tokyo manages to capture the essence of a Bring Me The Horizon live show. Most importantly it represents the ecstatic anticipation and hype before the start, the insane connection between the band and the audience, and the scale of the stage act.
Bring Me walked a long road of evolution that helped them increase the scope of their stage show greatly. Ludens: Live In Tokyo accurately showcases the current level of their performance capabilities.
It is grandiose, overflowing with energy, aesthetically pleasing, and conceptually polished.
Hilltop Hoods – I’m A Ghost Restrung
Hilltop Hoods is a band I still consider unfairly underrated. The amount of comfort, joy, and understanding they bring to listeners is especially necessary nowadays. The live shows of the band are a display of unity, support, and a soothing escape from the troubles of real life.
I can only imagine the relief of walking away from the venue fully refreshed and empowered, ready to take the next challenge reality throws at you.
I’m A Ghost is an outstanding song by itself – a neat package of heartfelt emotions impossible not to relate to (and possibly shed a few tears about). The video supporting the Restrung version (full album available) of the track includes the somehow nonchalant but moving performance of the band supported by the soul-melting sounds of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
The awe of the audience and the extracted emotional outpour is clearly visible. Additional shots of backstage preparation are once again added for extra value to complete the powerful display of art.
Follower Choice: Periphery – Psychosphere
I asked my followers on Instagram for their favourite live footage music videos, and I got some good feedback.
Periphery is a fitting example of contemporary progressive rock/metal delivered with style and grace. The build-up the band always creates with their songs is hypnotizing. The only thing to make it better is the explosion of harmonized chaos that follows.
The live footage videos of the band are a proper showcase of their crazy performance and mesmerizing energy levels.
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