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Rock series ready to go live for 3rd season PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 10:25
Live Wire, a production of WBGU-FM in conjunction with WBGU-TV, returns Thursday to the Clazel in downtown Bowling Green for a third season of rock from hither and yon.
The series, said Stephen Merrill, the station's advisor, will expand to seven shows this year, up from the three productions in its first two years.
That means the show will "give a chance to more bands," he said.
The show is videotaped in high definition digital and then cut into half-hour programs. Those programs air Thursday nights at 9:30 as part of WBGU-TV's local programming block.
In its third year Live Wire is gaining more traction with local audiences, bringing up to 200 people to shows, and more attention from bands throughout the country looking to expand their reach.
Thursday's show, with doors opening at 8 p.m. with music starting at 8:30 p.m., features Super Water Sympathy, a Shreveport, La., band that's recently been on the Vans Warped Tour.
The band's even come up with its own self-made genre they call "water pop." The band describes that sound as "a synthesis of classic symphonic ambiance with modern ethereal anthems."
The bill also include Full Body Tones, from Lexington, Ky., a pop punk outfit is a collaboration of country drummer Willy Freedbody and songwriter Joe Fulton. Recent Bowing Green State University graduate Craig Sullivan on bass.
Two area acts are also on the program. Balloon Messenger, originally a solo project by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mark Daly, has expanded with the inclusion of the former members of the band Cape Canyon.
Toledo-area band The Bricks is fronted by vocalist Chris Metchis, and according to the station's press release features an "energetic kitchen sink approach... that is sure to appeal to people that like to dance at rock and roll shows."
Local performers Zack Fletcher and Christ Salyer will also perform solo sets between the bands.
Merrill who coordinates the student volunteer crews, as more regionally-known bands are included, he hopes the program can attract a few more stations.
Live Wire got its start through requests to the station to host bands. "I've always kind of felt a want for live music in town," he said, "and we know the arts are part of the economy of the town."
In selecting bands "we lean toward the rock vein," he said. They've featured some hip hop but the language can pose a difficulty for broadcast. The show has included some jazz.
In general, he said, the show tries to steer away from the Americana roots music genre simply because that's already well represented on PBS by "Austin City Limits."
Merrill said with six cameras, the show is aiming for a more cinematic feel, "more animated" with "faster cuts."
"Not," he said, "the traditional PBS feel."
The Clazel serves as the right venue for the show. "We have a good relationship with Ammar," he said, in reference to Clazel Entertainment owner Ammar Mufleh.
The venue offers an atmosphere that's at once, intimate, and yet can handle a larger crowd if needed. "It's on the fringe of being a big venue.," Merrill said. As the show extends its reach to more national bands that could be useful.
The Clazel also offers the top-flight sound and lighting that's needed for taping in high definition.
The video screen at the former theater also is a plus when it comes to stage design, he said.
The show is a volunteer effort. The bands appear for free, but in return they get high quality video images that they can post on YouTube or on their own websites.
Live Wire will be presented the first Thursday of each month during the academic year through April, with no show in January.
The shows are free, but a donation of $5 or so is requested.

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