Last night was packed with two acts that completely shaped the landscape of classic rock as we know it. The iconic Jeff Beck has touched so many different bands that you could almost do a version of “7 Degrees of Bacon” with him. Then you have ZZ Top who brought a southern blues aspect to classic rock that has been a staple on radio airwaves for decades. It was amazing to see these guitar aficionado’s completely shine, showing they are masters at their craft as they flew through their sets. The guitar tone from Jeff Beck had such a modern and fat chunky sound, he completely lead his entire band through each song. It was impressive to see an act that really didn’t need a vocalist, Jeff Beck is one of the only axe men I’ve seen live that literally makes his guitar talk. Then you have ZZ Top which is a threesome packed to the brims with so much rhythm and riffs that they can amaze a crowd better then most 5 piece acts can manage to do. It was truly a night filled of guitar awesomeness! Do yourself a favor and see this tour because the encore will not disappoint, as both acts take the stage to trade riffs in a performance that will leave you wanting to hear more.
Last night was just what I needed to spark my fuze again for shooting concerts. Sometimes I think as a music photographer you get into these modes where you are kind of just going through the motions, picking up shows that come up, covering them, and handing photos over. It’s very much like a turn and burn workflow and during those times you start to loose site of what you love most about this art form that you pour countless hours of time into. The show last night was amazing and both bands put on stellar performances. Below are some things that really made the experience awesome for me when it came to each bands set.
These poor guys had the misfortune of having their van breakdown in Indiana on their way to the show, so badly that AAA had to come and pick them up. In fact their set was to start at 8pm and at 8:05 the garage door opened to reveal a AAA flatbed tow truck with their van on it, in which they promptly unloaded directly onto the stage. In a matter of minutes, by 8:15, the band was set up and just flew straight into their set. You could tell it was a hard day and they needed to blow off some steam. That feeling was felt by everyone in the room and we all gave them enthusiasm as they tore through one hell of an emotionally fuzzed set. They were taken back and thanked the crowd for making one of their worst days on tour the best they’ve had on the road in a long time!
Vocalist Mandy Lee, enough said. Look the band up, see them live, and you’ll know what I mean by just referencing her name. She is talented, a superior live performer, attractive, and she exuded the essence of what every female front women should have in a rock band.
The band was fantastic as well filled with a sax, horn, keyboardist, and drummer with an electronic drum pad mixed into an acoustic kit which when all combined made for a wonderfully layered melody of rock pop awesomeness!
Jack Antonoff really shines as a composer and writer on this project, in my opinion it surpasses anything I’ve heard from Fun and I hope to see him obtain the same kind of critically acclaimed success with this endeavor.
The sound of Bleachers music was pleasant as well, mixing a very 80’s influenced sound that to me mimicked the same style Bruce Springsteen had on “Born in the USA”. A couple tracks you could have mistaken for Springsteen covers in my opinion.
The energy was also amazing and really took the feeling in the room that MisterWives left the crowd with and carried it like a wave. Jack’s expressions and erratic movement of the mic stand from different points of the stage kept your eyes moving the whole time.
Enjoy the pics, The Ready Room graciously provided me with some excellent lighting which was responsible for these shots being captured so well! By the way, if you haven’t made it to the venue yet you are missing out. Think the Firebird but spaced out more comfortably with a fresh coat of paint, and located in an area with more eclectic restaurants than you can count!
This past Saturday was the 51st Annual Moonlight Ramble, and if you missed it this year I highly suggest attending next years event. With well over 5,000 cyclists in attendance it is quite a tremendous site to see as bikes fill the streets of downtown St. Louis with attendees starting their 19 mile route right in front of the grandeur of Busch Stadium! Of course if you are a more modest rider you can also choose a 9 mile route if you’d like a shorter ride. With the party kicking off around 10pm riders can socialize and hang out at a lighted parking lot with complimentary bottles of water, listen to a live band, and check out a string of vendor tents that offer anything from sampling chilled coffee drinks to having fun posing in group photos at the AARP sponsored photo booth. After the ride cyclists are then greeted back at the starting line with refreshments and snacks in celebration of completing their route through the streets and neighborhoods of the city of St. Louis. This is a great event for the young, old, and families alike; with this being the longest running nighttime bike ride in the US it is something that we should celebrate in pride for our city.
Last night was pretty freaking awesome. There are certain times in a career as a music photographer that you get an opportunity to photograph an artist that you are familiar with, but may not completely “get” as a performer. Leann Rimes is a prime example of the experience I’m describing. I had the photo pit to myself, I was covering the show for the venue, and I was the only photographer that was approved so I was bound and determined to walk away with some stellar shots. I am of course familiar with some of Leann’s hits throughout her career and it is clear that she is very talented and successful in her genre of music, but what I didn’t realize was that she puts on a fantastic live performance. Being accustom to shooting primarily rock shows and not too many country acts I wasn’t expecting to move around too much in the pit or to have a hard time framing the artist in my shots. I was so wrong in such a great way, Leann had so much energy and she provided some very emotionally driven concert shots! In fact I believe these are some of the best images to date that I’ve included in my portfolio. In all it was a great show to experience and I’m thankful I was there to capture it in pixels.
Last night was what 1057 The Point deemed as their “Big Summer Show” and the line up was packed. Featuring Panic At the Disco, 21 Pilots, Fitz and the Tantrums, Walk The Moon, and Magic Man. As you can tell the line up kind of had a little bit of something to offer everyone. They are in fact all great acts and they are all currently having a great deal of success. Below are a couple observations I had regarding each band.
Magic Man – I unfortunately missed their set.
Walk The Moon – They are a fresh band loving every minute of it and you can tell from their performance. They have a lot of energy and offer a very active live show, I’ll be giving them a listen soon.
Fitz and the Tantrums – This makes the third time I’ve photographed this band and this time I was allowed to shoot the entire set! It was awesome and no matter if you are a fan of their record or not, you will enjoy seeing them live. It is truly music that you can groove to and their entire set is performed to encourage crowd participation!
21 Pilots – I can not say enough about the tremendous act this band is live. From dramatic lighting with a LED drum riser to the usual back flip off the piano, you can be assured that you will be actively entertained through this bands entire set.
Panic At The Disco – I have also photographed this band three times, each in a different sized venue. The first time was at the Firebird, the second time was at The Pageant, and this time it was at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Each time one thing has been consistent, this band causes a frenzy with their fans. Every time there have been screaming girls that were almost crying, as well as countless other ones being pulled from the crowd due to being caught in the hysteria on the floor. It’s a special thing to witness this kind of reaction from a crowd.
Enjoy the pics and happy concert season, it’s my favorite time of year!!
On Wednesday I was attending another show at a venue that is fantastically becoming like a second home to me. Gary Clark Jr. totally rocked the Pageant and the crowd was so ready to receive his performance. I love it as a music photographer when you get to cover a show for an artist you’re not very familiar with but is currently causing a buzz in the industry, and you could defiantly tell that in St. Louis there is a bit of a “buzz” regarding Gary Clark Jr. The venue was fairly full that evening, if not close to capacity, and the crowd was so enthusiastic by chanting “GARY!, GARY!” as Mr. Clark took stage. Opening the set with a very slow groove blues track with a dirty distorted riff and low lighting really helped capture the essence of Clark’s sound. If you are a fan of blues in general but love The Black Keys, Black Joe Lewis, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn then you really must stop what you’re doing and look Gary Clark Jr. up on Spotify. Sometimes as born and bread citizens of St. Louis I think we collectively forget how much rich history we have in the genre’s of Jazz and Blues music, and it’s really awesome to see shows in those genre’s to only realize that the passion for these types of music are still very deep seeded in the culture of our city. It was a great night of live music with an artist that is owning it in his category of the industry. Check out Gary Clark Jr. and please let me know what you thought about the show!
Tuesday was such a great opportunity for me to photograph a veteran in the music industry. Mr. Boz Scaggs performed to a sold out crowd at River City Casino, and as someone who has photographed at this venue many times, it was the most packed I’ve ever seen the theatre! Scaggs, being most well known as a member and sometimes lead vocalist in the Steve Miller Band, has maintained quite the devout following over the years. I knew of him as a solo artist, being exposed to some of his material on Hip 96.3 HD3 and checking out his latest release. If you are a fan of great guitarist who can run scales down the neck board just as well as any axe man schooled in the art of playing the blues can, then you really need to check out hit entire catalog. Also if you haven’t caught a show at River City Casino yet do yourself a favor and plan to see a show in the near future. It’s comfortable, the sound it superb, and it offers some great choices to grab dinner before a show.
So last night was another bucket list show for me. In my time of doing concert photography I have had the opportunity to photograph almost every artist that I listened to throughout my youth. If you are a 90’s kid you really can’t talk musical history without mentioning Beck. From his first single “Loser” to his latest single “Blue Moon” you can pretty much hear the talent and growth he has had as an artist, which makes him fun to be a fan of. Last night I think he surprised the sold out crowd at The Pageant as he ripped right into well known hits from the get go. His set started with “Devil’s Haircut” and ended with “Where It’s At” tagged with a Rolling Stones cover on “Miss You”. I had to leave the theatre with my camera gear but I sat outside the doors watching through the glass window until I heard my favorite track “Lost Cause”, which was 10 songs into his 24 song setlist. It was freaking awesome and I was very proud of his stage performance that only rang true the opinion I’ve had for a long time, which is that they just don’t make rock stars like they did in the 90’s. No over the top lighting spectacle was used, no gimmicks, and no over the top rock star attitude was displayed for the crowd. It was just a man on stage performing songs he loves for a crowd that was connecting with the emotions he put into every track when he originally wrote them. The purity of a good rock show is like seeing God…that may be a bit dramatic but you get what I’m trying to say if you love a good rock concert! Speaking of which, rock royalty Sean Lennon opened the show with his band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger and let me tell you it’s probably the best version of a rock band I’ve heard Sean put out. I think people view him harshly because they expect the genius of John Lennon, but the chromosomes are still there and the guy can write a well constructed song. If you need to bag on somebody blame Yoko, all the die hard Beatles fans do anyway. If you can’t tell already I was a big fan of the show and you should catch Beck as he tours through the states, he is playing Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend in Chicago which is not too far from Missouri and many other neighboring Midwest cities. Do a road trip to see a rock show, you’ll never forget the experience!
Let me first start off by saying that I had no idea what to expect when I showed up at last nights show. I kind of expected to feel old and see tons of young-ins, which was the case but not the norm for the medium age of the crowd. Forgetting that both Fall Out Boy and Paramore have been around individually for at least 10 years, their fan base was a little more diverse than I expected. What completely took me by surprise was Paramore’s live act.
Already knowing that Hayley Williams is known for her exuberant and high energy live performances, I have to say what surprised me was the bands stage presence and set up. Us photographers oddly enough got to photograph their last three songs as opposed to the first three, which is usually he standard and man it was great to shoot a band at the end of their set. The lights were in full effect and we were purposely sent out there at that time to catch the confetti and balloon ball extravaganza that ended the bands set. As you can tell I went a little crazy taking photos of them and I actually felt bad that Fall Out Boy had to follow them. Anytime an opening act gets a standing ovation and takes a bow, you know the main act is going to have to follow the first bands performance with something even more amazing. Unfortunately when Fall Out Boy took stage it was kind of like the crowd got tossed a wet blanket.
The bands sound was amazing and they were on point with their stage performance, but after seeing them portrayed in the media for many years I could have only hoped that the eccentric Pete Wentz would have been working the crowd a little more than he did. To be honest, I had trouble finding a photo I captured of him where he looked enthused. Vocalist Patrick Stump hit his vocals flawlessly, and as I stated before, but it just felt like something was missing and that the fire the band once had was extinguished long ago. Regardless, I still had a blast and I hope you can tell I did from viewing my slideshow from last night.
This past Thursday night marked many firsts for me, on the top of that list was that for the first time I was able to attend a comedy night at the Funny Bone in Valley Park presented by the fine folks at Indio Radio…AKA The John and Kane Show! One other thing that was a new experience for me was being able to see a show at the new Funny Bone location located right off 141 in Meramec Valley Plaza, prior to this I had only been to the location in West Port. It’s actually in the same plaza as a popular bar called Bobby’s Place in honor of St. Louis Blues player Bobby Plager. The headliner, Emily Galati, hails from Chicago and has a very unique style that is a perfect mix between awkward and dry humor, which personally I love. Her first joke of the night was about Midwest driving and the lack of acknowledgment you get when trying to use your “blinker”. If you live in St. Louis you understand this and it was the perfect joke to get the crowd going. As Emily continued her style became more prevalent and lead into great life experience bits about how it really is like to be a single 29 year old female in today’s society. One situation she spoke of was about how she got high for the first time at age 29 and how awkward it was, and another story was about walking up on a dude getting a blow job in an alley. Both stories were hilarious and her delivery was awesome, the crowd appeared to be entertained as well. Not alone was Emily great to see, her two supporting acts killed it as well.
Nathan Horton opened the show and his routine focused a lot on how douchey typical guys could be and how prevalent that is in situations where you have to interact with the “brosef’s” of the world. Andrew Frank followed Nathan perfectly with a set that was riddled with raunchy observations about religion, sex, cumming, and farm animals which are all about the most un-P.C. things a comic could possibly throw into their act. The interesting thing was that Andrew’s delivery of the material, which some would consider obscene, was some of the funniest shit I’ve heard in a long time. He often got tickled by his own jokes and was almost apologetic in his delivery which made it hilarious.
If you are looking for a great night out stop by the Funny Bone in Valley Park, Emily Galati is wrapping up her last night of a three day headlining stint tonight. Have some good drinks and good laughs, and come by any Thursday to catch another Indio Radio Presents Comdey Night at the Funny Bone!