Backseat Beat is a video series highlighting indie musicians and the city by the Bay. Armed with Flip cameras, we interview bands in the back seat of our ‘83 Volvo as we spirit them away to unexpected, forgotten corners of San Francisco, where they plug in outdoors to play a few tunes. Each band’s performance transforms these urban spots from their anonymous day to day existence into surreal, magical backdrops.

At this point, we pretty much assume that a given Backseat Beat shoot is going to involve some kind of risk to person or property. Since our shoot with indie pop outfit Ash Reiter dawned sunny and clear as a bell, we settled on a picturesque kind of danger — the risk of bodies and equipment tumbling hundreds of feet from a bunch of boulders down a canyon tucked into a fold of the urban landscape.

After carefully cramming four people, a drum kit, amps, and mike stands onto a rock perched above a craggy slope, we deduced that Ash Reiter is a) not afraid of heights, b) unfazed by massive amounts of poison oak, and c) has a good enough sense of balance that she can rock out without losing her footing. Apparently, the potential negative consequences of playing live over the edge of a canyon doesn’t ruffle a band that has spent hairy nights in their van, bathing in ponds, subsisting on cream dogs and 12-egg omelets while on the road. Ash Reiter is kind of hardcore, in her own gentle way.

The weather was insanely beautiful for November, no one fell off the cliff, no one (well, except for Jaime) got poison oak, and the band played perfectly without attracting the attention of the police. We weren’t disappointed that it all went off without a hitch — but things went so smoothly, it almost didn’t seem like a Backseat Beat shoot. Much to our surprise, while loading out the gear, we discovered that Scott, the bassist, wasn’t actually in the band, and had only been enlisted the day before to fill in for Mike, who couldn’t make it. Major kudos to Ash, Will, Drew, and Scott for pulling off that little last minute switcheroo. We couldn’t tell that they hadn’t been playing together for years. Take a look and see for yourself.

—Dana Goldberg

Ash Reiter ep6

Ash Reiter

About Backseat Beat
Created by Brad Robertson
Produced by Dana Goldberg & Brad Robertson
Hosted by Jaime Lee Currier