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Rival Sons – Keep On Swinging

Director/Producer – Dave Cobb
Date of release - Sept 17, 2012
Publisher - Earache Records
Genre - The Rival Sons are often compared stylistically to blues-rock bands from the 1950s-1970s,
particularly bands like Led Zeppelin, The Animals and Free.
The purpose of this music video is to promote the artist and the song. The video needs to fit a clear
genre, which is in this case is classic rock and should be attractive to the target audience, namely
rock fans. It does this by creating elements that are recognisable to the target audience for example
the focus is on the band playing their music. In this case there is a narrative that tells the story of a
small community church, with a girl who is reluctant to join the church and is singled out from the
rest of her family.






The video opens with a fade from black to a vertical shot facing upwards into the branches of some
trees where we see the bright sun breaking through reminiscent of God shining down on his flock.
We hear the diegetic sound of an organ and people cheering, clapping and shouting “Halleluiah” and
praising God, which is used in a sound bridge to help link this shot to the next shot of close ups of
people at church. The style of these shots is handheld and the focus tends to drift to emphasise the
spirituality. Straight away the audience can identify that these people are very religious and
passionate about church, setting the scene for a little Evangelical American church congregation. For
a rock video, church isn’t typically what is expected. So, to open with such a scene throws off the
viewer and makes them question and think about why this has been done.






After a few more shots of the people of varied ethnicity, we see the preacher in the form of a long
shot from one of the pews which place the audience in the action, as if they were sitting in the
church. It then cuts back to more close ups of the people with the same loose style framing and
focus, this style of filming implies the presence of god and that these people are being touched by
their religion. It continues to switch between these shots for a sequence until, a mid -shot of the
preacher with a low angle is used to empower him, making him seem important to the audience. As
he continues to preach to the people, again the loose framing is used along with some match on
action as he gestures with his hands. After he has finished his piece, he introduces guests.











A tracking mid shot runs down the length of the pew as each member of the band stands and walks
on stage, in this case the altar of church, where at this point the tracking shot transitions into a crane
arm shot. The shot follows the band smoothly as they walk up to the stage and ends up framing the
band with a long shot. This is done to again make the audience feel as if they are in the church and
watching the band play, it engages with them more.







As soon as the song starts, the drummer is framed with a low angled mid shot and then the lead
guitarist, this empowers them and follows the theme of presence on stage and within the church of
god. After another mid shot framing both the drummer and the guitarist with the use of the rule of
thirds to compose it, there is a fade to black and a cutaway to some narrative. We see the same
vertical shot as the opening with the addition of a close up with a slight high angle looking diagonally
at a young girl walking whose shoulders are on fire, but she doesn’t seem concerned. This shot
coveys to the audience that the fire is a metaphor for rebellion compared to the church like setting.
It also suggests that this girl is a wild card or that she is reluctant to accept god.





Fading back to black there is a tracking shot advancing down the aisle towards the band, which
draws focus upon their performance and again glorifies then in the light of god. To enforce this idea
it then cuts to a close up profile shot of the preacher nodding his head and smiling, which shows his
agreement with the intensions of the band and their song.

The video then cuts between shots of the congregation and the band. When it cuts to the band all of
the shots are low angles which make the audience feel that they are idolising the band in their
elevated status. Throughout their performance there is diegetic sound from the crowd as if the band
is preaching to them and they are responding enthusiastically. We cut away from the band and see
the same girl again with what appears to be her family walking along a sunny road with her. The
words “Where there’s a will…there’s a way” are being sung by the lead singer which suggest to the
audience that she is going to do something.


Frequent cut aways move from the narrative of the girl to the band. Close up shots of the family’s
faces show their over exuberant happiness which contrast greatly to the blank expression of the girl
who looks at them with disbelief. The environment they are in has a very high key lighting, which
relates to the idea of purity, Jesus and god. All the cut aways are in slow motion to further
emphasise their movements with close ups of them chorally clapping and rejoicing. Cutting back to
the church, ironically the congregation sing along with the chorus “Keep on swinging”, rather than
“Singing”, which is rather unexpected for a stereotypical religious, view of church. Going back to the
band a few whip pans are used to exaggerate the lead singer’s provocative gestures as if he were
preaching to the people.

Again cutting away close ups are used to show the girls concern when she is looking around at her
family and her surroundings. The flock of birds overhead could be symbolic of the gathering of
church goers and the fact that she does not want to be part of it. Although the girl is dressed in
white her dark nail varnish suggests that normally she wouldn’t dress as such and this is being
imposed on her by her family. As she is being baptised it cuts away back to the band where the
whole church congregation is up on their feet dancing which is illustrated with a long shot of the
band with the crowd in the foreground which is stereotypical of a concert. As the song builds to a
climax there is a low angled mid shot of the preacher holding up handfuls of snakes to the rest of the
group in slow motion. This is symbolic of their triumph over evil if the snakes are representing Satan.



It’s at this point that the girl is immersed under the water as part of her baptism. The fire on her
arms is extinguished again of the family and religion trying to oppress her and change her. After her
baptism it cuts back a fast tracking shot down the aisle to a close up of the lead singer who is also
holding fistfuls of snakes. The frequency of the shots of the girl and the church people increase,
whilst the pace of the editing gets faster. By this point all of the shot aren’t static, the girl rejects the
baptism and the camerawork is thrashing around much like her in the water.

The people are all up dancing and feeling god, which is helped with the odd shot with slow motion to
capture their raw emotion and excitement. The variety of angles and shot lengths here helps the
occasion seem manic and full of movement, whilst the girl does the same when trying to break free
from her families grip. To finish the track a long tracking shot sliding away from the stage and back
down the aisle is used to illustrate the toning down of the energy, as if you were leaving the church
with a fade to black. Finally there is a long shot of the landscape with the same flock of birds in the
sky as it slowly fades to black.






In conclusion, the main aspect I would consider within my own promotional music video would be
the short scene at the start of the music video to establish the scene and setting. This would also
make the initial introduction to the video engaging with the audience, as it would contain characters
and a short narrative, which would gab the viewer’s attention.