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The Camera Guy

February 6 2005 01:01 AM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

Back in 1998, a friend of mine clued me into one of his friend's bands, called Collapsis. He and Collapsis singer Mike Garrigan had become friends while attending UNC Chapel Hill, and both played semi-regular solo acoustic shows in and around Chapel Hill.

After catching a couple of Collapsis shows that November and meeting them, I ended up attending nearly every Atlanta-area show of theirs (plus a couple of nearby ones) over the next year and a half. More than one of those shows had an audience consisting of myself and two other people, one show being the one that their guitarist dubbed a year later as "the lowest moment of our career". Through all of that, I ended up becoming a familiar face at their shows, and it wasn't uncommon for me to help load equipment and/or help sell merch during shows.

By early 2000, their album (and touring) had gone national. I caught one last Atlanta show that April. By the end of the year, their label had more or less given up on promoting them. They played a show in early 2001 in Athens that I didn't make, and then that was it. The band dissolved.

After that, I kinda lost track. Mike joined Athenaeum not long after Collapsis' breakup, and, honestly, I'd never really gotten into their music. He put out a solo album in 2002, and I kept meaning to order it from CDBaby, but hadn't actually done so.

In January, Mike booked a solo acoustic show at the same venue that I'd seen Collapsis play the most often. At first, I was kind of hesitant, granted how long it'd been since I'd seen Mike play. On the day of the show, I convinced myself to go, largely driven by my recent pledge to attend more live shows.

The show ended up being a lot of fun, even with the songs I didn't know. It wasn't a big audience by any stretch: probably thirty folks, many of whom were with the opening band (who stuck around to watch). Mike ended up playing for about 90 minutes, and, I have to admit, it didn't feel anywhere near that long. Early in the set, Mike surprised me by asking me if there was a song I wanted to hear. Off the top of my head, I chose a Collapsis song, "Superhero", that was one of my favorites from those days.

As I was sitting there, it struck me how hard it was to believe that it had been almost five years. I recently turned thirty, and it really is true: spans of time that used to seem like an eternity start to feel like no time at all.

And I had to laugh: early on the show, one of the audience members had to leave, but wanted to buy a CD. I ended up selling merch. Just like the old days.

Towards the end of the show, Mike asked me if I'd take his videocamera and film part of the show for his video tour diary. He mentioned later that he'd gotten the camera to record footage for his website, but hadn't been able to get any footage of himself playing. So I ended up filming probably the last half-hour of his set.

It turned out pretty well. Mike built a video about the evening around one song in particular, called "Water and Wine". I think the video sums up the evening quite nicely. (The "twin" effect that pops up at one point in the footage was something he added while compiling the video.)

Anyway, you can watch his video tour diary (including the footage I shot) here:

Mike Garrigan Tour Diary: Smith's Olde Bar

(Edit: Oops. Now links to a local copy.)

Next time he pulls through town, I think I'll be there. And I can guarantee I'll know more of the songs.

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