The end of May into June has presented itself to be one of the busiest schedules I’ve had as a concert photography. There was a time I was shooting club show 3-4 nights out of the week with breaks in between shows but in the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of three night stints which makes it hard to keep up with when trying to run a blog. In this slide show it includes three sets of images from three different shows. Below is a brief list with what I took away from each experience.
- May 25th, 2013 – Korn at Peabody. There are only four images I felt comfortable releasing from this shoot. As a live event photographer you are at times at the whim of your surroundings you’re in as many times you have no control over the lighting conditions and the vantage point you are able to shoot from. Korn was a prefect example of a combination of challenging conditions and really being off my game. It happens, but I was still thankful that I had the opportunity to photograph a band that I listened to through most of High School. Seeing a band like Korn brings back good memories from my youth.
- June 2nd, 2013 – Alkaline Trio at Pops. This was a very relaxed show for me with the club being sold out at a comfortable capacity, I photographed the night before for Limp Bizkit and it was elbow to elbow. I was not familiar with Alkaline Trio before the show and I have to say they were not bad. It was awesome they moved the stage monitors from the front of the stage which provided some really nice opportunities to capture full body portrait shots of the band members who really seemed to love jamming their tunes. The crowd, filled heavily with women, responded with singing along and yelling in between songs. It was a solid show at a mid-size rock club, to sum it up in one statement.
- June 9th, 2013 – Decibel Magazine Tour featuring Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death at Pops. This is a show I had been looking forward to for months as I don’t get much of a chance to shoot metal shows and I just knew that this one was going to be awesome. Seeing these heavy acts, clearly aged in their appearance, rocking out and head banging their long locks made for a very fun show to sit back and watch. The crowd filled the room to about 1/2 capacity and they had a constant circle pit going on during each bands set that spanned the entire back of the floor. It was so metal that at one point I was standing at the back of the crowd trying to get a good shot of the circle pit when a man tapped my shoulder to let me know I should watch my step. To my surprise I was standing in a puddle of some random dudes blood, so much in fact that when I walked off I left a foot print. Needless to say I left my shoes outside my car in the parking lot, it was too much DNA for me for one night. You know what they say, “It’s not metal as fuck until there is blood”…or maybe that’s just me that says that.
Tonight the Pageant hosted a sold out Story of the Year show which was thinly toted as the 10 Year Anniversary of the release of their debut album Park Ave. Regardless of the reason for the show one thing was for sure, St. Louis was ready to see them preform live again. The sold out crowd was chanting along and throwing their arms in the air throughout the entire show as Dan Marsala often climbed onto the barriers to get closer to the audience. If you’re not familiar with this bands history, they played the local scene for many years as Big Blue Monkey and had such a strong fan base in their hometown that it helped them gain national success obtaining two gold records under their belts. The show was packed with energy, I stayed for about the first six songs, and from what I here the entire show was like a moving train that kept a consistent speed until they left the stage.
Enjoy the images and as always please share your thoughts on the band and the show if you attended.
I just got finished editing this handful of images of the Foals who played at the Pageant in St. Louis just this evening. I don’t have much to say other than I will most likely be looking into more of their music. The crowd was an interesting mix of couples, young girls, and young adults in the age group of 19-25. As the band took the stage I soon figured out why.
The Foals have this kind of airy sound that is sprinkled with funk like guitar strumming played in clean higher octaves, much like many modern “indie” bands that hipster chicks who are addicted to the HBO show Girls listen to. I’m not saying this to nock the band at all, I in fact like similar acts as Grouplove but this was my first exposure to them so I can’t really give an accurate opinion on how I feel.
This is kind of a quick blog post as I have many shows this weekend and I’m just happy I got the edits done before Story of the Year tomorrow night, which is actually only 16 or so hours away. Stay tuned for more and let me know your thoughts on the Foals and what I should actually know about them.
Plush hosted the first headlining show the Cold War Kids have played in St. Louis, and I was very proud of our city last night. It was a mix of young college hipsters and people in their early thirties that filled the room. When the band took stage it was interesting to see the pockets of fans who obviously been waiting for their chance to see this band for some time, as they exploded with excitement. Original formed in Long Beach, California in 2004 the Cold War Kids released their debut in 2006, which was received well by the indie rock community. You could tell this was the case at the show because towards the end of the set, when the band whipped out a stretch of tunes from Robbers & Cowards, the crowd joined in by singing along and clapping their hands to songs like “Rubidoux”. It was truly a great night and I am always impressed when a band plays a new single early in the set which in my opinion shows that a group is established in their genere. Hearing “Miracle Mile” early on really kept the set list moving into their old favorites. This was one of those nights you walk away from a show happy you attended and thankful you got to see such a talented group of musicians in an inmate setting. I have a feeling the next time this band comes to town they will play a room twice the size of Plush. Do yourself a favor and get this bands entire catalog, you will not be disappointed.
Last night I got to photograph yet another band that I listened to constantly through my Junior and Senior years of high school. I remember in the summer before my Junior year picking up Three Dollar Bill, Y’all in a small used record store called CD Reunion, the vocal stylings of rap and screaming mixed with Wes Borlands innovative guitar playing made this album a staple for anyone who listened to the heavy rock/metal generes. I believe many people my age found the same connection with this album and that was evident from the reaction from the crowd at last nights show.
When the band took the stage the crowd exploded as Fred Durst bounced from one side to side, sporting an Adidas jump suit, he worked the crowd from the get go opening with “Rollin’”, followed by “Nookie”, and then “Hot Dog”. This excited the crowd to the extend that security were pulling crowd surfers over the barricades like they were working a conveyor belt in a factory line. Wes Borland also entertained the audience with his stage attire, which he changes from night to night, painted black from head to toe, shirtless in leather paints, with a LED face mask making him look like a hellish creature from a Mexican Day of the Dead parade.
I didn’t stay for the entire show but from what I saw and from what everyone reported on Facebook, it appears Limp Bizkit still has some validity and some devout fans in St. Louis. Did I mention they sold out Pop’s, which I don’t think is bad for a band that hasn’t been valid in the music scene for the past 10 years or so.
Friday I had the great opportunity to photograph Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) at the Vic Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. There had been times in the past that I missed the chance to see a show at the Vic because of one reason or another and it’s always bothered me because I’ve heard nothing but good things about this venue. When Black Rebel released tour dates and I saw Chicago was the closest they were coming to St. Louis I knew I had to go.
As you walk into the Vic you get this feeling that is comparable to what it felt like when you entered the American Theatre, now the remodeled Roberts Orpheum, in St. Louis. Marble staircases and balconies with gold inlaid scrolling makes it almost feel like a religious experience to see a rock concert at this venue. Black Rebel were perfect to experience in this type of space with their darkly grooving over-driven guitar riffs and low lighting with intense moments of bright flashes from rows of strobe lighting, it was just how rock shows were meant to be. As the band opened with their latest single “Let The Day Begin” and then led right into “Rival”, another track from the new record, it was evident that they were ready to rock the crowd with their most recent material. It also pointed out to me how well their body of work flowed together. Five songs in they ripped into another great single “Beat The Devils Tattoo” which ended with an awesome crowd chanting closing to the song with drums and vocals. The set kept moving like a train sprinkled with gems from throughout the bands catalog which includes 7 full length releases.
If you are a rock music fan you owe it to yourself to do two things, see a show at the Vic and see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club live.
Photographing a festival is a lot of fun but also a lot of work, as well as a fantastic learning experience. Every time I walk away from a day full of photography I learn things that I take with me to the next job, it is a constant circle and I don’t believe anyone who does this for a living ever gets to a point where they’ve learned everything about this craft. Here are some of the most important things I took away from the day.
- Be Selective When Shooting - At times you get carried away at a festival wanting to make sure you capture everything and get the best photos of the bands as possible, but keep in mind your turn around time and how much edit time you’re setting yourself up for as you take more and more photos.
- Have A Proper File Management System – Make sure when you transfer images, thousands at a time, you are separating them into concise folders that are specific to each memory card and camera you are transferring.
- Bring A Laptop With You – I saw a few of my peers dumping cards and even editing while at the festival, this was a huge time saver and allows a photographer to turn around event photos while the event is going on or immediately after it ends.
The three points I have made are all things that could be done better to decrease edit time and turn around time making sure as a event/concert photographer that you are releasing images when they are still valid to the attendes of the event. In my case I’m going on day 5 after the event and I’m still releasing images, which in this digital age is a little too late to hit people when they are most engaged. Still I had to post these as I really feel they were some of the best I took all day.
Sunday was the 31st annual Pointfest and the fourth one I’ve worked on as a staff member. For those of you not from St. Louis, Pointfest is a yearly festival that the local Alternative Rock station in town (1057 The Point) puts on and it generally features many of their core artists played in regular rotation. The Point has been around since 1993 and are celebrating their 20 year anniversary of being the #1 Alternative rock station in our local market, in fact I grew up listening to 1057 along with KSHE 95 (Real Rock since 1967) and like myself many people in St. Louis have been loyal listeners for just as long. This year the festival brought in the likes of Alice In Chains, Papa Roach, Three Days Grace, Bullet For My Valentine, Volbeat, Hollywood Undead, Sick Puppies, POD, and Halestorm. I was tied up at a client tent doing promotional photography for most of the day and I was only able to catch about six of the bands this time around. Below are my Top 5 Favorite Moments of the day.
- First and foremost getting to hang out with all my other photographer buddies was the biggest highlight of the day, in St. Louis we have a great group of professional shooters that are always a pleasure to share the pit with!
- Photographing Papa Roach was great, a band with so much energy that they almost jump out of the photo.
- Getting booted out of the pit early during Hollywood Undead because the crowd was too crazy. Todd Morgan, of Backbeat Photography, noticed a wheelchair crowd surfed over the barricade which was followed by the owner of said chair. No one got a photo of this and I completely missed it, if you don’t already know crowd surfing your way out of a mass group of people is the quickest way to get out of the crowd. (by the way you can view more Pointfest photos on Todd’s site at this URL: http://www.backbeat-photography.com/)
- Seeing Lzzy from Halestorm backstage looking as fantastic as she always does, God Bless rocker chicks!
- Seeing Alice In Chains live was still amazing even with the new front man, who does a stellar job. Although you must give props, RIP Layne Staley we still miss you buddy!
Enjoy the images, it was a beautiful day and I suggest going to a Pointfest if you’ve never been. This festival has defiantly formed it’s own cult following since the first one took place in September of 1993, and just experiencing that little wonder can be more amazing than the musical acts on the lineup.
Last night I got to photograph one of my favorite bands, The Black Angels, who played at Firebird which is becoming the go to club for indie music in St. Louis. This band hails from Austin, Texas and formed in 2004 so they are defiantly not new to the scene. I was pleased to see the club fill up to what I would imagine was close to capacity for these guys. In fact it was so packed that I had some issues getting to the other side of the club to photograph two of the five members of the band. If you are a fan of ’60′s psychedelic rock then you have to check them out, with three of the members switching between instruments it really presents them fantastically in a live setting and leads the band to open up into some body swaying grooves. Basically all you need to know are these few things regarding this band:
- Every song has a driving beat
- The singer uses many affects on his voice at times, making the music float through your body
- The use of a 12 string electric guitar in some of their songs gives a droning tone that you can picture a hippie chick from the 60′s grooving to as she rides the wave of her acid trip
To make this short and straight to the point, I bought a t-shirt for my wife at the show with wording on it that pretty much sums it up, “Listen To The Black Angels”. Pick up the new CD, Indigo Meadow, and take a drive to soak it in because this band is not a rehashed version of a classic rock band, they have learned from their rock elders and expanded to make their own sound. Enjoy the pics!
Last night I got to photograph a live event that I don’t regularly get an opportunity to shoot, a comedy show. I had photographed some local comedians earlier this year at Voce and Brian Reagan a couple weekends ago at the Fox Theatre, so I’ve had a little experience in this realm and the one thing that I’ve learned about these types of live shows if that you have to photograph a lot of shots in sequence in hopes you capture that prefect expression that almost freezes the performer in the middle of telling a joke. Tracy Morgan proved to be just as interesting as I expected him to be.
The Pageant hosted as the venue for the performance which actually is perfect for comedy shows. I had seen my first comedy show there about 12 years ago when Dave Chappelle was touring right before his show started airing on Comedy Central. I will have to say that Mr. Morgan came out swinging and during the 5 minutes I was able to photograph him I couldn’t hear my shutter going off over the laughter that radiated from the seats. The topic of discussion that Tracy touched on ranged from making fun of St. Louis’ crazy weather, to making an observation as to how Oscar Pistorius’ “spatula like” prosthetics made him almost bionic, and finally dead ending his topic matter to a string of graphic sexual jokes. It was a comedy show so a certain level of over the top descriptive analogies revolving around obscene acts was only inevitable, and in fact was funny when the comments were focused while leading the audience to the punch line. I really enjoyed the opportunity to photograph a live performance that was out of my normal tool shed of covering rock concerts. Enjoy the images and try catching Tracy if he makes a stop through your town!