Tue, Oct 7 2008 2:29 pm |
I’ve been on a pseudo-sabbatical since NORA Cup/Interbike. As usual, it’s a lot of talking, a lot of drinking, and a lot of walking, so I needed a pretty hefty break after it was all said and done. But, since that faithful NORA Cup night, I’ve had this unassuming mp4 file sitting on my desktop that happens to contain The Levi’s Video (official name, just so you know). The Levi’s Video premiered the night of NORA to a thousand cheers, but I think the winners and especially the presence of the likes of Stephen Murray and the other presenters overshadowed the “last night was fucking awesome when…” conversations the next day. With that said, I figured it was about time that I snapped back into things and put together a little e-review with a bunch of spoiler screen grabs to entice you. Bear in mind that my little copy is clearly, obviously, and undoubtedly compressed to be easily sent across the internets (but not to you, sorry), so expect the real version of The Levi’s Video to be full HD, in focus, and wonderfully presented. Oh, and that time code in the bottom right won’t be there, either. I say that it will be quality only with faith and trust, knowing that Will Stroud of Nine To Five Films had his face behind the lens and hands on the Final Cut timeline 99% of the time. Have faith.
The intro starts off as a montage of rolling shots, beautifully done imagery, riding, and falls (including Bestwick?). After being on a couple of trips with Will and seeing him force everyone onto an escalator six times to get a transitional shot, it’s pretty awesome to see how well those things have paid off. They add a sense of mystique and really show the lengths that they’ve gone to film this video: all over this little country, Europe, Spain, China, and beyond. The collection of spots throughout the video is better than you could imagine and the combination of riders (I’ll get to those) and filmer has come together.
First section is three way split between Anthony Napolitan, Ronnie Napolitan, and Jeremiah Smith. A real mix of every terrain is in this section: street, wood ramps, cement parks, and trails. Anthony makes the biggest Oregon cement bowl look like it’s a five foot ramp with boooosted flairs, x-ups-to-turndowns, and other combos—all at least six feet out, but probably more like eight. Ronnie comes through with some solid clips, but my little web version had me a slightly mixed up between him and his brother. Pretty sure he threw a whip down a pretty big set and treated a up/down five stair like it was a double. Jeremiah’s big ‘ol red mop was easy to tell apart, though. Whether or not he was riding pegs wasn’t—sometimes they were there, then other times they weren’t, which made some of the grind stuff even more ridiculous. You have to keep your eyes open. Grind stuff aside, Jeremiah throws out some wild bar combos including a bar-catch-bar-catch-no hander. Wild.
Zack Warden wins the award for best intro in his section with Ron Thomas. I know what you’re expecting from the guy you see riding vert on TV, but this section has a lot of park and street stuff in this and surprisingly not a lot of vert from Zack. I first met Zack when he was like 14 and sliding huge rails, but a lot of you may not realize that the guy can also kill it on street. Ron comes through with a wild 720 indown variation and some other good stuff, but I think the wreck that I got a screen grab took him out of filming. This section runs a little short, but it’s all-good.
Jamie Bestwick. I hate to say this, but I’m sort of never happy with a Bestwick section. That sounds worse than I mean it to, but I know, know, know that Jamie has so many tricks on reserve, that I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied. Truly one of the best bike riders to have ever lived. Don’t tell him I wrote that. Okay, now that that’s through, Mr. Stroud went out of his way to make Jamie’s home ramp at Woodward look as good as possible with some legit lighting. It’s still Woodward, but really, I’d rather see Jamie ride what he rides everyday and get the best of what he wants to give us, than see him “struggle” on a ramp that he’s not really familiar with. Anyway, I deem this section the alley-oop section. Everything is done backwards, across at least five boards, and high as fuck. It’s easy to rationalize it, but if you really think about what Jamie does on a casual basis, it’s absolutely unreal. A few straight tricks worth mentioning: tailwhip-catch-one hander, one footer and tailwhip-catch-turndown. Unreal.
Morgan Wade riding to a poppy girl song? It’s expected. Johnny Stevens and Brett Walker join Morgan for a fast-paced and well-rounded section. You know all about Morgan’s riding and there’s definitely a few “what-the…” moments in there. Johnny is pretty much a strict park rider and he has the ability to whips and spins both ways, so make sure you keep your eyes attentive. Brett keeps it on the streets of Corona and Barcelona, and puts down a good mix of smooth and technical riding—including a rail-to-manual-to-barspin down a set-to-manual-to-tailwhip down another set. That’s a lot of hyphens. The last minute of this section is pretty much a mind boggler. I’ll just say that Morgan ends with a gate start to gap-to-rail.
Google searches and YouTube views for Corey Martinez, Nathan Williams, and Dakota Roche are at an all time high. The economy rests on the shoulders of their section…can they handle it? I don’t need to go into details about how these guys ride for you. I will say that I thought the section started off fairly tame, and then a slight interlude from Dakota “out bursting” woke up the entire thing. The last two minutes from this two-song section is pretty much unreal. Corey Martinez not in the NORA Cup top five needs to change next year.
I could say that I know most everyone wished they had more time to film for this video. I could pretty much say that about every video, but really, everything came together. An eclectic, well-rounded group of guys, a good production quality, and amazing riding—all things put in their place. If you can’t get your hands on a DVD, then look for it on Fuel TV sometime in the future, along with a web version (much better quality than what I have) on the Levi’s site.
Will, you’re in trouble. I said no digi-checks!
TAGS: Anthony Napolitan, calamity ensues., Corey Martinez, Jamie Bestwick, Morgan Wade