Rocking while they roll in the Black Cab Sessions

Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:16am EDT
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By Peter Graff

LONDON (Reuters) - It's a rainy Friday afternoon stuck in traffic with the windshield wipers slapping back and forth, and Barry Hyde, lead singer of the British rock group The Futureheads, grins as he tears through the band's latest hit.

"Very nice," says the audience of one, our cab driver. "You have a lovely voice, Barry."

Welcome to the Black Cab Sessions, the most intimate concert series ever filmed, bringing some of the biggest bands in Britain to the smallest possible venue.

The idea is as simple as can be: a film crew meets the band on a London street, flags down a black taxi and everyone piles in the back. The band gets one take to play one song as the cab cruises along the city streets.

It was the brainchild of four friends, two of them with jobs in the film production business and two of them working as music industry gig-bookers.

In just over a year, they have recorded nearly three dozen concerts in the backs of taxis, with their clips becoming a cult hit on Youtube and their own website

They have attracted independent bands you've probably never heard of and big-time headlining acts like the triple-platinum selling group The Kooks.

It's not all rock and roll: cellist Jonathon Byers of the Badke Quartet nails down a haunting movement from a Bach solo suite while balancing his instrument as the cab negotiates corners, the nighttime lights of London flashing behind him.   Continued...

<p>A taxi drives through rush hour traffic in London August 23, 2006. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>