For some musicians, the smaller stages are not always the prettiest. Audience members can get a sense of the awkwardness musicians often deal with in the 8-minute documentary “No Love Deep West,” which debuts at Bowie Feathers on Thursday, March 24. The film follows local bands Alabama Deathwalk and Back of a Car and the cards they were dealt with in their attempt to grasp the attention of audiences who were unfamiliar with their music.
Shot by local artist Farshid Farrokhnia throughout his two-day venture with the bands, the film was captured in Marfa and Lubbock, Texas. Farrokhnia described it as a film that is primarily based on the current disconnection with musicians and audiences.
“As a touring musician, you’re playing shows for people that don’t care about the music,” Farrokhnia said. “They aren’t interested in having that authentic relationship.”
A member of local bands Dubois and Back of a Car, Farrokhnia said he spots the level of difficulty in obtaining a presence for a successful show, which leans on a two-way flow of communication between the listener and artist.
In Marfa, Alabama Deathwalk played at Lost Horse, an old saloon-themed venue, while Back of a Car played a house party in Lubbock. The live music didn’t seem to affect the attendees, perhaps because they weren’t there to listen to a band from El Paso, suggested Farrokhnia.
“For an appreciation, people aren’t just going to bars to listen to shows as much anymore; they just go to get drunk,” he said.
It’s difficult to argue with that notion as the Lubbock audience members had their eyes fixated on their cellphones, which kept a few of them from clapping after songs.
“Both were very different audiences, but the same result: no one listening to the music,” Farrokhnia said.
Alabama Deathwalk singer and composer Eric Reed and Kelley Williams of Back of a Car both decided for the two West Texas shows to be done as solo runs. Originally, Farshid was set to accompany the band to assist with merchandise, but his videography efforts went for the ride as well.
“His vision was to portray us playing heartfelt songs to crowds that weren’t interested,” Reed said. “Those were tough shows. You really had to fight through it.”
The element of difficulty helps Reed stay sharp, he added.
“During that [Marfa] show, I’m playing for the people I’m on tour with and five others,” Reed said. “That idea of ‘What am I doing right now?’ does arise, but at some point, you love playing the songs more than hating to play bad shows.”
“No Love Deep West” screen debut
With performances by Sleep Ctrl and Lunas
Thursday, March 24th, 9pm
Bowie Feathers, 209 S. El Paso St.
$3 for ages 18-20, free for 21+