Music In Transit Video Series Features Performances on IndyGo Buses

Writer / Seth Johnson
Photographer / Michael Durr

Its one thing to record a live music session in a studio. Its something completely different to record one on a bus. Herein lies the magic of Indys much-loved Music In Transit video series.

Started in 2019 by esteemed Indianapolis videographer Jake Huber and Square Cat Vinyl Co-owner Mike Angel, Music In Transit is a live music session series featuring Indianas top musical acts performing on IndyGo rapid-transit buses. Initially launched hand-in-hand with the IndyGo Red Line to promote the bus lines visibility, Music In Transit is now in its fourth season, with a new episode dropping via YouTube every Sunday starting on June 26. This season, featured artists include Cloakroom, J. Elliot, Native Sun, Parris LaDame, Pat and the Pissers, Skypp, The Palace, and Wife Patrol.

Music In TransitLooking back on the origins of Music In Transit, Huber says he and Angel initially wanted to record the sessions on a moving bus, but IndyGo had other ideas.

Ideally we wanted to do it while the bus was moving, to make it crazy,” Huber says. But due to insurance purposes, [IndyGo] was like, We can do it but the bus has to be parked.So we were just like, Well just park the bus on Virginia Avenue, fill it up with cameras, let people come on and off the bus, and just let it be an experience.’”

Angel and Huber went big in their first year, booking a lineup of sessions headlined by Durand Jones & The Indications. Slated to open for Jack Johnson at Ruoff Music Center this July, the group is now a globally renowned soul band that first started out in Bloomington, Indiana.

The most memorable one weve done is the Durand Jones one because theyre just so awesome live,” Huber says. From what I remember, a bunch of people gathered on the Virginia Avenue sidewalk for it too, so I thought that was amazing.”

Despite dealing with health and safety protocols, Huber was still able to record Season 2 of Music In Transit in 2020. As a matter of fact, Huber himself caught COVID-19 on the first day of filming Season 2 and had to direct the remainder of the season from his car, which was parked behind the bus on Virginia Avenue.

We had to hire a COVID compliance officer who had people fill out surveys, took temperatures and used a fogging sanitizer to fog down the bus,” Huber says.

When preparing to film a Music In Transit session, Huber explains that he and his crew go through a multistep process with each artist to ensure things go over smoothly.

Once we book an artist I find out if they want to be full band or stripped down,” Huber says. From there I ask for their set list and what instruments theyre bringing. My audio team consists of two sound recordists and then one live audio guy, and they rig the bus up to the bands liking. The band shows up and chooses where they want to sit or stand, and then we work around them.”

Through the years Music In Transit has featured all sorts of Indiana acts, from funk to punk to hip-hop, which Huber says is intentional. I like to keep it diverse and have every act be relatively different, just so each episode is different,” he says. Season 4, for example, includes the modern trap sounds of Parris LaDame along with the dense rock sounds of Cloakroom.Music In Transit

While every artist brings their own musical style to the series, Huber says the acts all interact with the setting of the bus in different ways too.

This year the lead singer of The Palace literally ran across Woodlawn Avenue, stopped a couple walking with their baby in a stroller and sang to them,” Huber says. I like bringing that element of breaking the fourth wall into the video series.”

Having now filmed four seasons, Huber says the Music In Transit experience is something he and his team look forward to every year.

We just have such a fun time,” he says. A lot of us camera guys work together on freelance jobs or on HGTV, and we get bored of what we do instantly, whether its talking-head interviews or stuff we dont want to shoot. So shooting live music is always just refreshing and fun. Its almost like a mini vacation for us.”

Looking ahead, Angel and Huber hope to continue bringing the Music In Transit sessions to the masses, with the help of IndyGo and their partners.

Mike and I want to continue to do this project as long as possible,” Huber says. We were excited to partner with GANGGANG this year, and if they were happy with it, wed love to continue doing it with them. Anything IndyGo wants to do with Music In Transit, were for it.”

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