First Friday

Zia Records Chandler: Spinning Records and Wheels with Bandcycle

Documentary makers have given a new meaning to riding in style. A team of five filmmaking Brooklynites known as Bandcycle are biking across the country to make a rock doc of sorts.

Bandcycle includes director Michael Kortlander, production coordinator Michael Mallette, and cyclists/producers Michael "Maj" O'Grady, Alex Aeschbury and Dan Elliott. The group bikes from town to town and gathers local musicians to film brief gigs and interviews.

They've been riding all the way from New York City and they've finally made it to Arizona. Last night Bandcycle joined forces with Zia Records Chandler for an in-store performance by Snake! Snake! Snakes! and What Laura Says.

The internet has been their primary tool for discovering local bands in each town where they planned to stop. The local performances they've captured vary from private and public performances in small venues, at music festivals, and everywhere in between.

A combination of passions for music and biking, as well as the determination to ride all the way across the country, have powered the crew through 37 stops and 2,670 miles so far. "You just keep going," Michael O'Grady said. "You just don't stop."

The highlight of the journey was their weekend-long stop in Bloomington, Indiana, during which Crossroads of America Records hosted a music festival with a lineup that was made up solely of Indiana-based bands.

"One of the bands was called Husband & Wife," O'Grady recalls. "They performed for us in a backyard. They had a show that evening, so we got two sides of this band. We got to see them playing acoustically for us, and then a full show. Their fans were so good. The energy was ridiculous. This was one of the best shows I've ever been to."

The only downside of the project is not getting to spend ample time in each location. Bandcycle's demanding three-month-long schedule does not often allow them the time to get to connect with a community and its people. O'Grady said he would lengthen the trip by tenfold if he could do this documentary all over again.

Keep an eye out for the Bandcycle crew tonight. They'll be filming at First Friday on Roosevelt Avenue in Downtown Phoenix.