Beastie Boys

Awesome; I F*****’ Wanna See That!

Beasties put new edge on concert film
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – They were the first white rappers to hit it big, and they blazed musical trails on the Web and DVD. So leave it to the Beastie Boys to take the concert film in a radical direction by letting fans call the shots.
For “Awesome; I F*****’ Shot That!,” which previews for one night in the United States on Thursday in digitally equipped theaters, the New York band gave 50 video cameras to fans at a 2004 Madison Square Garden concert who shot the show from their points of view. (The official title does not hide the profanity behind asterisks).
Band member Adam Yauch, who directs Beastie videos under the pseudonym Nathanial Hornblower, spent a year editing the tapes together. He said the aim was to capture the energy of die-hard fans and avoid run-of-the-mill concert footage that he believes seems manufactured and “plasticky.”
“Using the cameras and having the audience shooting — the fact they are dancing and jumping around or spazzing out with the camera — captures the feel in the room,” Yauch said.
For more than two decades, the Beasties — MCA (Yauch), Adrock (Adam Horovitz) and Mike D (Michael Diamond) — blazed trails in music. They became a sensation with 1986’s hit album “License to Ill,” and built a huge following with single such as “Fight for Your Right (To Party)” and “Sabotage.”
The Beasties formed a record label, published a magazine, and, while others fretted about music theft on the Web, offered songs that fans could download and remix themselves.
Under his Hornblower name, Yauch created 2000’s “Beastie Boys Video Anthology” DVD that gave viewers the ability to change camera angles on videos as they watched and/or mix the music in a way that created multiple new songs and new videos.
Yauch got the idea for “Awesome” after watching a short film clip from a Beastie concert that was recorded by a fan using a cell phone. “The energy that was in it more sincerely captured a concert than most things I’d seen, and I thought, wow, imagine multiplying this,” Yauch said.
“Awesome” begins with the cameras being given out before the Garden concert and the Beasties heading onto the stage. For the next 90 minutes, movie audiences see the band perform songs like “Hello Brooklyn” and “Shake Your Rump.”
They also watch concert-goers dancing in the aisles — one fan directs his entire section. Another fan runs to the toilet and a pair sneak backstage. When the band enters the audience for the finale, the cameras capture the pandemonium up close.
The movie premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival to good reviews and enthusiastic crowds. Yauch remembers seeing people jump up from their seats and start to dance, and he added that some people have told him theater owners should install a small dance floor for fans.
Doing so may not be far-fetched. Theater owners are trying to stem declining admissions, which fell nearly 9 percent in 2005. One way to do so has been to install new digital projectors and feature new types of entertainment.
Keeping with their trail-blazing ways, the Beasties are previewing “Awesome” only at 200 digital venues. Preceding it is a 30-minute short, “A Day in the Life of Nathanial Hornblower,” which will never be screened again.
“Nothing about the way ‘Awesome’ was made was conventional, so we are trying to be as imaginative in our release strategy as Adam was in making the film,” said Mark Urman, president of the film’s distributor, THINKFilm.
Following the one-night preview, the film begins playing in regular theaters on Friday, March 31.