Last night I was rocking it out at the Pageant again, covering 1057 The Points Ho Ho Show #2 which featured Alt-J and Grouplove. Although it was the first time I’ve seen or photographed Alt-J, it marked the 3rd time I’ve photographed Grouplove who are always so much fun live. The lighting was again a bit of a challenge with smoke machines firing heavy and constant back lighting which kept my ISO right at about 2000 for most of the show. I wouldn’t say my work turned out as well as I would have liked it to but I think I did walk away with some great images of Grouplove. Even though Alt-J was the headliner, I personally felt like the show ended once Grouplove’s set was over. Between the energy Christian Zucconi (vocalist/guitar player) and Hannah Hooper (vocalist/keyboard player) were displaying for the crowd, you had a hard time deciding who you should follow as both musicians were shaking, jumping, dancing and moving throughout their entire set. Alt-J was not bad at all, they just had a “chiller” vibe than Grouplove and it was awesome to see the crowd so happily grooving to their tunes as well.
Enjoy the pics, I have tonight off but will be back at it tomorrow for Ho Ho Show #4 featuring 30 Seconds To Mars!
Last night I got to photograph my first show in three weeks and man I was rusty. The lighting of course was not as ideal as I would have liked it to be but in concert photography having those challenges are all part of the gig. To my knowledge last night was the first headlining show Atlas Genius has played in St. Louis. I remember first hearing about the band when I photographed them opening for Awolnation back in July and it appears sense then they have gotten a lot of attention with their current single “If So”, which they played second in their setlist. I was also able to photograph the entire set last night, so I stayed longer than what I generally do for shows I’m covering and to my surprise the band ripped into a cover of the Blur’s “Song 2″ about six songs into their set. I found this to be amusing because a group of people I was standing around kept saying it was a Nada Surf cover, but like every other person their last night, they were young-ins so I let them have their fun as opposed to making it a John Cusack “High Fidelity” kind of moment.
Enjoy the pic, this show kicks off a week filled with 4 concerts I’m covering so stay tuned for more concert photography coming your way!
At the end of September when I traveled to Wisconsin to visit Frank Lloyd Wrights Taliesin we also toured a home called House On The Rock, which was built by Alex Jordan Jr. who was inspired by the work of Wright. This structure I will have to say was not like any other dwelling I’ve ever toured. The home sits up high on a rock 60 feet in the air called Deer Shelter Rock and overlooks the rolling hills in a nearby forest which is quite impressive, and the home itself snakes through different low lit living quarters with low roofs that have ornate decor. Leading into the home you walk across many bridges and passages that are built into beautifully landscaped gardens with flowing waterfalls. Walking through the home you could tell it was a labor of love for Jordan and one of the most impressive parts of the tour is when you walk into the Infinity Room.
This room slowly narrows to a point that stretches 218 feet off of the side of the rock and is 156 feet above the ground level of the forest underneath this dramatic extension. Spending much of his money to build the home, Jordan in 1959 opened the home to the public for tours and to display his random collection of antiques, animatronics, cars, and anything else that he had collected over the years. As you can see from the slideshow it is a random collection of free style photography where I literally took photos of whatever caught my eye. There is no rhyme or reason to what I captured that day but then again that is kind of the overall feeling of Mr. Jordan’s collection of “weird shit”…to put it simply.
This past weekend marked the end of deer season for 2013 as well as the 17th year hunting with my family on our property in Morrison County. To be honest hunting is not so much about whether I come back with venison or not, it’s more about being able to spend some time away from my home and reconnect with family. This activity has become a tradition and something that all the men on my Dad’s side of the family, counting myself, have done for four generations. In between being in a deer stand and having some brews at the end of the day around the fire there is usually a couple hours in the day where we all take time to do whatever we want to do. These are the times I find myself wondering around with my camera trying to notice something interesting or inspiring to capture an image of. This season it felt as if winter went into full swing with temperatures in the morning that ranged from 18-27 degrees. This lead to some fantastically frozen icicles sprouting out of old drain pipes and off the side of bluffs that spanned stories high. As I took pictures along side the bluff featured in the slideshow I could feel drips of ice cold water beading on top of my head, it was quite a humbling thing to experience.
Enjoy the slideshow and try keeping an eye out for frozen structures forming all around you as these cold temperatures are going to be around for awhile. Frozen water is one of the best things to see this time of the year!
On Saturday I got to accomplish a goal of mine that I’ve had since I began shooting shows about three years ago. For anyone that knows me, it is not an unknown fact that I completely adore Pearl Jam. I have traveled many places to see this band and in fact saw my 22nd live show in Oklahoma City, but I have never had the opportunity to photograph the band as a member of the media. This past weekend changed all that and made it possible for me to cross off one of the top 5 things on my “bucket list”. Not only was this show personally special for me, you could tell everyone in the room was having the same amazing and fulfilling time I was. The band has only played Oklahoma City three times in their career, all of which have been 10 years apart. The first time being in 1993, the second time in 2003, and then finally again on Saturday night. I wouldn’t say the setlist was filled with rarities like the die hard followers (aka the Ten Club Members) like to see played in a set but the set did include about every song you’d ever want to see Pearl Jam perform had you never seen them in concert before. From the beginning of the show, when they opened with a b-side from the Alive single titled “Wash”, you knew Pearl Jam was going to play a set that included some of their most known tracks from early in their career. They in fact played at least one song from almost every album they’ve released, the only albums that were not represented in the setlist were their 2003 release Riot Act and their 2006 self titled release which is also known as Avocado. You can click this link to see the entire setlist: http://pearljam.com/setlists/1077/2013/22081/chesapeake_energy_arena. Below are my Top 5 Favorite Moments from the show:
Seeing Pearl Jam play “Evenflow” and then go into their new single “Sirens”, which was so amazing because the crowd sang along to both songs with the same intensity. So much so that Ed continued to play out the chords of “Sirens” so he could continue to hear the crowd sing along with the “Ooh, Ooh’s” at the end of that track.
Experiencing an impromptu wedding proposal from the crowd before the band went into “Just Breathe”. Ed actually acknowledged the couple, gave the girl a microphone, and she asked her man from the front of the crowd to marry her. You have to love the devotion of a Pearl Jam!
Watching Ed go through what seemed like 4 bottles of wine which he was sharing with the crowd, pouring some in people cups, as Mike McCready ripped through solo’s during triumphant songs like “Jeremy” and “Black”.
Hearing a blistering 31 song setlist!
Getting to see a show in a new city amongst a community of fans that love to share the excitement of a band they love so dearly.
Enjoy the pics and let me know you’re favorite thing about Pearl Jam!
This past Tuesday MGMT played Peabody Opera House and I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of their music, but I am a big fan of the Peabody so I will never pass up a chance to photograph there. To sum it up MGMT offered a very pop infused indie rock catalog of songs, and that writing style doesn’t usually interest me. What did keep me interested was there lighting set up.
Bands more and more these days are using some kind of projection screen or LCD based lighting effect during their set. I was able to capture a couple good shoots of what MGMT had going on throughout their entire set and to give this band credit, I think I’m too old or too set in my ways when it comes to music to be “into” to what they are doing. Their set was tight, the sound was amazing, the vocalist hit all his notes, and the lighting offered entirely different show aside from the band performing on stage. In all this was a fun show to photograph and I’m happy I was there to capture it.
Tonight I had a great night photographing a genre of music that I don’t generally listen to. River City Casino hosted a show for one of country music’s biggest stars, Sara Evans, and the place was more packed than I’ve ever seen it. It the room wasn’t sold out I would be surprised. I also randomly ended up filling in as a camera man for a Sara Evans interview, which was awesome in it’s own right, before the show started. Coming off of that cloud I was immediately thrown into the venue to photograph right as Sara took stage. The lighting was fantastic and with the venue so full you could really feel the excitement in the room as the show began. Although I only stayed to photography the first three songs, I guarantee the rest of the show was a treat for the crowd. From Sara’s first song the crowd was clapping and cheering, which kept getting louder and louder with each song in the set. Before tonight I had never heard a Sara Evans song, I had no idea she was from Missouri, and I didn’t realize how many people were into her music.
This past evening went by in a flash and it was just a great experience all around, enjoy the slideshow!
This past Wednesday I got to shoot at Plush which is always a fun experience. I won’t bore everyone with my constant showering of compliments towards this venue but to put it simple, the venue is awesome for three main reasons. The beer selection is superb with I believe 20 beers on tap, they are a full service restaurant so food can be ordered throughout the night, and the room the stage is located in offers great sound as well as many vantage points to enjoy the show from. All of that being said, the show on 11/6 was defiantly one of those that made me feel old.
As the room started getting crowded more and more people started filling in the front, where I was trying to wait out until Tycho’s 2nd or 3rd song, I engaged in many conversations. To be honest I was mostly confused by this group of people in their early twenties, some might have even been freshman’s in college which puts them in the age group of 18-19. What confused me was the entire vibe of the evening and the type of music the two bands were preforming. The opening act Beacon wasn’t bad but the act consisted of two members, one that mostly sampled as well as used an electric MIDI drum throughout the set and the other member sang as well as sampled throughout their set. The vocalist was very high pitched which gave their music a groovy/electronic/indie/ jazz fusion sound. The only thing I can compare it to is Chino from the Deftones performing Sade’s classic “Ordinary Love”. It was not a bad performance, but I must be old fashion and I have a hard time getting into a live performance that doesn’t include real instruments and a drum kit. Two dudes behind mixing counsels will never be a concert to me, it’s more like being at a party in somebody’s poor lit basement. To each their own but as I’ve said, I’m getting older and very set in the ways of rock music. Tycho on the other had was a little more redeeming.
Before Tycho took stage it was clear by the set up that they were going to be a different band compared to Beacon. With a drum kit, electric guitars, and a bass guitar set up on stage I was a little more interested in what they had to deliver. It also appeared that most everyone in the room came to see Tycho so you could really feel the anticipation build before they took stage. From the first note the band hit people were kind of swaying to the music in the crowd, not to mention the show also consisted of some interesting lighting technics with images projected over the band throughout their set. This really added an element for the crowd to experience and be engaged with throughout the bands performance. I was also amazed that I never heard a vocal track in one of their songs, so it appeared to be mostly an instrumental tracks that this band composes. Even with the real instruments on stage the sound Tycho produced was still very electronic. I also noticed that there were no amplifiers on stage and there was an immense amount of sampling equipment Scott Hansen maned throughout their set and I started to hear how every note being played was being processed in some fashion.
If you are a fan of electronic indie music you should check these two acts out, I’m realizing that I am unfortunately not too much of a fan of this genre of music. I still respect their craft but it is not my cup of tea, give me straight up rock music and hold the sampling please.
Tuesday night I got to shoot my first show in three weeks. Every time I catch time off for that amount of time I always walk into my next show a little rusty and this show in particular was challenging because it was a metal show. Metal bands are kind of challenging to shoot because generally their is a lot of jumping, head banging, and flailing guitars. You have to be quick and it helps to have some consistent lighting so you can keep your shutter speed as fast as possible. All the bands that played the other night were defiantly acts that stayed active throughout their entire set.
August Burns Red brought in three other acts that equally rocked the shit out of the crowd. Blessthefall, Defeater, and Bear Tooth all came out swinging, delivering heavy sets that kept the crowd moshing and surfing their way over the barricades. It actually felt like a wave where the crowd progressively grew more and more amped up. Oddly enough I also noticed that many females are gravitating to the metal/heavy music scene, most of the audience crowd surfing were girls who were practically getting tossed over the line of security guards that were kept busy the entire night. I spent along time in the local metal scene and it was great to go to a show and see a group of young people jamming to a bunch of heavy bands.
As they use to say back in the day, “It was metal as f**k”.
At the end of September I took a family vacation to visit the Wisconsin Dells and tour Frank Lloyd Wrights home Taliesin, which is located in Spring Green, Wisconsin. If you are not very familiar with the history of Frank Lloyd Wright, he was one of the most revolutionary architects in history…some would say the best. Most of the homes/buildings you can tour are ones he was commissioned to design from a client base that spanned across the world. I’ve toured 10 or so homes he designed and of that group two were ones he lived in himself. Taliesin is special for many reasons, one in particular is that it showcases one of his signature design models of building “Prairie Style” homes that were designed to be built into the rolling landscape and geography of the region which the building was commissioned for. There are also many different structures on this estate that provide for a very versatile and robust tour.
Other than the home itself there is a chapel, wind mill, school, barn, and an additional home he designed for his sister. Generally you only get to appreciate one dwelling when you tour one of his structures, but in this case you really get to walk into the world of Mr. Wright. There is also a somber side of the history of Taliesin, which was rebuilt three times due to damage from two fires and it was also unfortunately the site of multiple murders that were committed by an estranged member of Frank’s staff while he was away on business. In visiting this home I walked away with a greater appreciation for this man’s life and his work, more so than any of his work I’ve seen to date.
If you are in Wisconsin you owe it to yourself to tour this home…and get fat on cheese curds!