Graham Nash at The Pageant – July 26th, 2015

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Graham Nash was a great opportunity to capture an influential recording artist that has been inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame twice in a very intimate setting.  Mr. Nash is most recognized for his efforts in Crosby, Stills, and Nash but has also had a successful solo career as well, so much so that is exactly how he earned his two inductions into the Hall of Fame.  I was able to shoot the first three songs of his first set, and it was a stripped down acoustic performance with one other guitarist who played some lead parts while switching from electric to acoustic.  What I found so enjoyable about the performance was the look of excitement on Nash’s face as he enjoyed simply jamming with the other musician on stage.  Being bare foot during the performance with LED candles lit adorning the foreground of the stage, as well as the homely addition of throw rugs gave a very comfortable feel to the show.  It made you feel like you were in Grahams living room for a cocktail party as you watched him entertain his guests.  I like experiencing artists of this stature in this setting because in my opinion you walk away with a greater appreciation of the artists catalog, as well as obtaining a greater understanding for what the artist has accomplished through the years of their career.  Graham also stopped to tell little antidotes before he went into certain songs which seemed to keep the audience engaged as well.  It was a great show all around.

AWOL, Panic!, and Cold War Kids = Awesomeness! (7/18/15, @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater)

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I had been looking forward to this show for weeks.  Not only because it was the first show I had shot at the Amphitheater in over a year, but also because it was an opportunity to catch the Cold War Kids live yet again!  I have photographed Awolnation, Panic! At The Disco, and Cold War Kids many times before, but for some reason I was just super pumped about covering these bands this time around.  Awol’s new album is really good and has some songs that I knew would be great to hear live.  I was not wrong about that assumption, they sounded killer!  Panic! also puts on a tremendous live show, this show in particular they whipped out a stellar cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” that was amazing and had the crowd going completely nuts.  Although before these two great performances I was treated to one of my favorite bands, Cold War Kids.

Cold War Kids get me every time.  They are just a group of guys who write amazing songs and play the shit out of them live.  The sincerity conveyed by this group is just so damn transcendent, it is seen in every aspect of what they do as musicians.  They of course have the most images in the slide show because I’m a huge fan, which has made me a bit biased in my reporting of this show.  Seriously though if you are looking for a new band to fall in love with check out Cold War Kids already!  Oh, and thank you Live Nation and 1057 The Point for bringing in such a great lineup to include in this years summer concert series at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater.  Also a big thanks needs to go out to Speakers In Code (http://www.speakersincode.com) for having me cover the show for their site, I had an awesome time!

Meghan Trainor at The Pageant – July 14th, 2015

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Meghan Trainor was a great opportunity to photography a pop star on her first tour in a smaller venue.  With the success of “All About That Bass” it has thrown Meghan into the spotlight and with other singles she’s released gaining just as much success, it will be interesting to see if we ever catch her come through our city to play a venue the size of the Pageant again.  I hope the fans that were screaming crazily at this show stopped to realize how awesome that opportunity is from a fan standpoint.  Meghan indeed came out that evening to a wall of sound from her audience bellowing loudly as if they all wanted to be noticed by her individually.  You could tell Meghan was having fun and the show was pretty high energy, as she moved from each side of the stage frequently to engage with her fans.  Her backup dancers were giving it their all as well, providing an element that you don’t generally get exposed to at rock shows.  It was a pretty exciting show to shoot and I was happy to have the chance to capture a pop star who is going to be huge in such an intimate setting as The Pageant!

Corey Smith at The Pageant – July 10th, 2015

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Corey Smith was my first show shooting after about a two week break.  I was not familiar with him before the show because I really don’t listen to country music.  I do enjoy having the opportunity to photograph a genre outside of the realm of rock that primarily makes up my portfolio.  Also country shows are always fun because the crowd is generally pretty vocal and into the artist.  The floor was full that night and people freaked when Corey took stage.  I had only stayed for the first three songs so I didn’t get to hear much of the set, but from what I heard it seemed like a talented group of musicians.  I caught a couple lead runs during solos in some of Corey’s songs that were pretty good.  Unfortunately “new” country doesn’t do much for me but I’ll never turn down the opportunity to photograph something outside of my comfort zone.

An Evening with Sloan at The Duck Room – June 25th, 2015

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Sloan was a show were I was kind of completely out of my element.  It was actually one of the most packed shows I’d seen at the Duck Room all year, and the fans of this band were so excited for them to take stage.  The vibe in the room was just amazing as people traded stories about Sloan’s past endeavors and how special it was to see them in a small room.  They hail from Toronto, were formed in 1991, and released their debut in 1992.  In Canada and other cities across the U.S. they are accustom to playing much bigger venues, so it was a treat for the fans to catch them at the Duck Room.  I was also impressed by the amount of talent the band showcased where many of them proved to be multi-instrumentalists and every member sang lead vocals on at least one song that evening.  It was amazing to see such a versatile band!  Sorry for the delay on sharing these, it was truly an awesome show that consisted of the band playing two sets for 2+ hours!

Smashing Pumpkins “Acoustic” at The Pageant – June 23rd, 2015

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It took me going to this show to realize that the last time I saw the Smashing Pumpkins was the beginning of the end for me as a fan.  I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case as I was really looking forward to seeing how this show went down with it being an acoustic/electric evening.

The show actually started out great with Billy playing a solo piano version of “Tonight, Tonight” and for the 3rd song he ran through a great acoustic version of “Today”.  Then in true Billy Corgan fashion the show quickly went down hill for me.  Honestly the man has a knack for doing what he wants at a show, and I commend him for that.  The sad reality is that the Pumpkins simply don’t have the body of songs to appeal to the mid-level concert goers whom nostalgically go out to see them live now.  This indefinitely makes for a bore of a show packed full of shit that no one gives one fuck about hearing Billy play live.  The lighting also was also so horrible that I only released 3 images from his set.  The only thing that made covering this show not a complete waste of time was one of the openers, Katie Cole.  She is beautiful, talented, and entertaining to see perform as she often stopped in between songs to engage with the crowd.  It kind of gave her set a very “VH1 Storytellers” type vibe.  I dug her a lot!

Sorry to bag on Billy but I’m kind of done with him.

Dawes at The Pageant – June 21st, 2015

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Dawes was one of those acts that come through which I clump in the “indie buzz band” category.  Every few months to every year the industry has bands that just start to stick out.  There is some story in a major publication or album review, appearance on Jimmy Fallon, or a hit song on an indie file soundtrack which catches the eye/ear of the more commercially attentive side of indie rock crowd.  Just enough so that they draw a nice crowd into the Pageant.  Dawes I kind of consider to be one of this years bands to fit the “semi-commercially successful” mold.

To make myself familiar with Dawes before the show I purchased their 2013 release “Stories Don’t End” and immediately fell in love with the record.  I was majorly stoked to see them at the Pageant!  Also on the bill was Langhorne Slim & The Law which also proved to be amazing.  Both artists gave stellar performances and Dawes played for over two hours!  It was definitely not an indie rock show to miss from this years lineup at the Pageant.  I also highly suggest you pick up anything in Dawes catalog, I found “Stories Don’t End” to be a very enjoyable dose of southern indie style rock remnant of My Morning Jacket’s “It Still Moves”.