Honor Flight 9/30/14

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What you are viewing are the images I captured when covering an Honor Flight that went out on 9/30.  In honor of it being Veteran’s Day I felt it appropriate to share this on this day.  If you are not familiar with Honor Flight they are committed to charting flights to Washington, DC with the goal of making sure that every living World War II vet has the opportunity to visit their memorial in our nations capital.  After they accomplish this goal they will move on to focusing on fulfilling the same task for Korean War and Vietnam vets.  It is a very awesome thing to experience if you never have, Honor Flight is also completely funded by corporate and public donations.  When the flight returns to Lambert there is a huge reception with family members and anyone else would like to honor these courageous vets who gave so much to protect the freedoms we enjoy every day as Americans.  The reception is very emotional and includes bag pipe players, trumpeters, a vocalist singing musical selections from the World War II era, as well as handing out commemorative awards presented to the vets by Marines.  This hit home for me as my Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, and Uncle have all served our country spanning across World War II and the Vietnam War.

Here’s to our service men and women, thank you for your sacrifices and dedication to our country.


Hoodie Allen at The Pageant – November 5th, 2014

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So last Wednesday I went to this show mainly because I was dying a little inside that it had been two weeks since I had photographed anything, also I thought Hoodie Allen was something completely different than what he turned out to be.  Below are some of the things that most stood out from the evening.

  • Hoodie Allen is not really what you’d classify as an Indie Rock act, I had heard the name before and have no idea who I got the band mixed up with.  They are what I would call a pop/dance influenced almost hip hop type act, I was very much not in their demographic.
  • Speaking of what the demographic for this band is, let’s just say I felt old, as the medium age and sex of the average Hoodie Allen fan is a 15-19 year old girl.  There was a lot of screaming and fanatically passionate fans in the crowd for this one.
  • In talking to the Pageant staff I found out that many people showed up in the morning that day for the show and two girls in fact had been there since 4pm the day before waiting for the doors to open.  Apparently the first person in line gets a picture taken with Hoodie (aka Steven Adam Markowitz) that he then Tweets out for the social media world to see.
  • There were countless bras thrown on stage, which Hoodie explained happened the last time he was in town and that the band was going to make a jump rope out of them.
  • Hoodie also crowd surfed in an inflatable raft and I’m so bummed I missed out on capturing.

This was a great show to shoot as it was unexpected and it was a live show that had a lot going on.  If you can stomach fighting for a place in the crowd amongst star crazed high school girls you will have a great time, although observing from the back of the room was fine by me.  His music, although not my cup of tea, was very catchy and I totally understand why he has such a devout following of fans.

The Pretty Reckless at The Pageant – October 23rd, 2014

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Last Thursday I had a fun night hanging with some of my fellow photog buddies as we were getting to cover The Pretty Reckless show.  Below are few things I have to say about the show.

  • First and foremost Taylor Momsen is sexy as hell, there is just no other way to put it.  She is a rocker chick and owns the stage with a confident in your face attitude that screams, “I know I’m hot and you’re staring at me inappropriately, go f**k yourself”.  Rock music is sex and it’s all about owning who you are and Taylor carries that as well as any other predecessor in her genre, not to mention her voice can literally shake the walls of a venue.
  • For what this band is, their music really does rock.  It has a great driving, loud, and powerful beat throughout most of their songs.
  • The two opening acts made me realize that heavy vibrato in a front man’s vocal stylings is the worst shit to ever happen in the rock world, period.

The Pageant was pretty full that evening and the crowd was filled with an interesting mix of over the top typical looking “party” girls and teens who dragged their poor Dad’s out to take them to the show.

Alter Bridge at The Pageant – October 16th, 2014

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This show was interesting because I had no idea that this band did so well for the remaining members of Creed.  I met people in the front row with lyrics tattooed on them and they had the balcony pretty full, which doesn’t happen for all acts that come into the venue.  They were playing for the camera like rock stars and having just an awesome time on stage.  It was a great example of how no one every stops to realize how much being in a band is like being in a relationship, it only takes one thing to throw the vibe off.  Changing things up in a band’s lineup can be the best or worst thing a musician that already has established a career can choose to do.  In this case, Mark Tremonti and Scott Phillips made a great choice in starting this faction back in 2004.  Not to mention the show also included opening act California Breed that featured Glenn Hughes, who is most known for having a short stint as the frontman in Black Sabbath for a brief time period in the ’80’s.  He was freaking awesome to photograph and totally is a showman in front of a crowd.

Enjoy the pics and raise your fists!!!  I just made that up and I can’t tell if I should never say it again or if I should print it on a t-shirt.

Pearl Jam in Memphis, TN at the FedEx Forum – October 14th, 2014

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So this was yet another milestone for me as a concert photographer.  This was the third time I have had the opportunity to photograph Pearl Jam, my favorite band on the planet, and it was also the last show I shot as an employee at Emmis Communications (KSHE95, KHITS96, 1057 The Point, and FM News Talk 97.1).  Ooh it was also within walking distance of one of my favorite streets in the country, of course I’m referring to Beale Street!  Below are what I remembered the most about my experience.

  • I attended the show with an on-air personality from KHITS 96 (www.k-hits.com), Mr. Rick Sanborn, who is a die hard fan just like me.  We stayed two blocks from the venue and walked everywhere, this is a benefit that is hard to come by and do affordably in most cities.  Thank you Memphis for being the city you are, it is a perfect destination to road trip to and catch a show if you live in the Midwest or Southern states.
  • The lines were massive taking an hour to get my tickets, and I didn’t even try to get any merch at this show because that line was taking at least two hours to work through.  I’m not complaining, it actually made me proud as a fan that “my band” was still causing such a fuss after being in the business for 23 years!
  • Ed let the crowd know he was coming down with something he caught after ACL but god bless the man, he still ripped through a full set that lasted at least 2 1/2 hours!
  • The band really seems to be enjoying playing together, not that they don’t generally exhibited that, but you see a lot of nods and smiles when either of them rip into solos which is really awesome to experience as a fan.
  • I wished the whole time the party could have been a blog party on Beale, someone should make that happen for PJ.  Sounds like a great idea to celebrate 25 Years, I’m just saying!

The War on Drugs and Peter Bauer at The Ready Room – October 12th, 2014

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This show was interesting because it was another situation where I came in feeling like I was jumping on the band wagon way too late.  Below are some of my observations from the show.

  • The Ready Room is climbing high up on my list of favorite venues in town to catch indie acts.  It’s new, it’s in an up and coming neighborhood of the city, it’s literally right next to a record shop, and the vibe of the room is just awesome.  The lighting is also always fantastic, which is a plus in my line of work!
  • Peter Bauer of The Walkmen opened the show and he has a solo project that is fabulous, apparently everyone in the room knew that besides me.  It was great to see an opener get such a positive reaction from the crowd.
  • I seriously was embarrassed talking about The War on Drugs with a fellow photog named Abby who was covering the show for KDHX.  She seemed completely appalled that I had only heard a handful of songs from this band, you could tell these guys were her indie band.  I totally need to set aside time before shows to get familiar with the catalog of the band I’m shooting.
  • If you see a show at The Ready Room don’t show up late, it is an intimate venue and fills up fast.  Needless to say I didn’t fight for my spot upfront for very long before I moved to the back and put the camera away.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers: 40 Years Strong Tour at The Pageant – October 8th, 2014

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There is something going on in the time period we are in now where many iconic artists are having milestone years.  The Used boasted celebrating 15 years, Robin Trower was celebrating 40 Years since the release of Bridge of Sighs, Pearl Jam celebrated 20 Years in 2011, The Stones celebrated 50 Years on their last tour, and The Who will do the same by celebrating their 50th Year Anniversary when they hit our city this coming May.  This tour happened to mark the 40th Anniversary for Mr. Thorogood and you would have thought this was his first year in the biz with the enthusiasm he gave the audience at The Pageant a couple weeks ago.  I will not be breaking this down into things that I remember the most about this show becasue the entire experience was amazing.  From the excitement in the crowd, to the active live performance George put on, and not to mention the catalog of hits that any rock fan should know that dominated his setlist was awesome to experience as a newbie to seeing Thorogood live.  It really made me see how much things have changed in the world and in the music industry in the last 40 Years, and it was comforting to know that good old rock n roll will never die.  We are American and music like George Thorogood, and countless other acts, have been recording records for the last 40 years.  They have contributed beautifully to the historical pieces of rock music that have played along side us as we grew up in this country.  I will always want to be “Bad to the Bone” and I’ll always go for “one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer” when I want to party like a true rock star.  Thanks George for being the true rock star that you are!

J Roddy Walston with Fly Golden Eagle at Plush – October 7th, 2014

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This evening brought me back to a place that will forever have a fond spot in my heart.  Plush is not only a great concert venue, with a ridiculously awesome tap selection, and a great menu they are also the club where I cut my teeth learning how to properly shoot concerts.  For anyone out there looking for a start, hit up the club scene.  You’ll learn lighting, how to shoot in crowds, and on a good night you walk away with some of the best shots you’ll ever add to your portofolio.  Below are some of the things that made the J Roddy show so awesome.

  • Fly Golden Eagle was such a great opener.  As they were playing I swore I had heard or seen them before, in which I had when they opened for Arctic Monkey’s at the Pageant earlier this year.  If you like that whole indie, 70’s fuzz, garage rock, and hipster scene you are missing out on something if you haven’t checked this band out.
  • The audience that evening was also surprising.  It was a lot of younger folks that were all very fanatical about J Roddy.  At first I was expecting to have a medium capacity filled room, with plenty of space to weed through the crowd.  That was in fact not the case, I actually had to get out of the front section after the first three songs because I could tell that I was killing the vibe for some of the people I was shooting around.  They were in front for their band damnit, and I can completely relate to having that kind of emotion at a show!
  • J Roddy was such an amazing frontman, with flinging hair and an intensity in the delivery of every lyric he sang it was no surprise why this band is gathering such a huge following.  I wish them luck!  I’ll be keeping an eye on this act and I’m excited to see what they do next in their career.

The Used and Taking Back Sunday at The Pageant – October 6th, 2014

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The Used and Taking Back Sunday was a great lineup and actually marks the second time I’ve photographed this band on the same day.  On Warped Tour 2012 both bands played the STL date and they are both stellar live acts to catch.  Below is what I dug about the show.

  • Taking Back Sunday causes such a frenzy and I can totally see why.  No matter what, all their songs have this open hook that makes you want to shout out right along with them.  The crowd was freaking out and it was awesome to see!
  • Both bands gave us the entire set to shoot and I got to observe Adam Lazzara enjoying being a frontman.  I had a lot of fun following him around from each side of the stage as he sang with the crowd and engaged with them to participate in the performance.
  • The Used let us know early on in the set that this show happened to be the last one of the tour and they were filming it for some kind of DVD.  The lighting was like Jesus and if I meet the lighting guy from this tour the least I can do is get him a high priced sandwich and a beer.  My job was so much more enjoyable that evening, thank you random lighting guy…wherever you are.  God Bless!
  • Bert McCracken from The Used is just a dying breed in the music biz, he is a crazy front man that is vulgar and in your face the entire set.  It’s called being a rock star, some new bands out there should take lessons.

Robin Trower at The Pageant – October 4th, 2014

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Robin Trower I had been looking forward to for some time.  With growing up on classic rock and KSHE Klassics, Trower was a guitar legend I had always heard people rave about.  Below is what I took away from this show.

  • So it was awesome to feel the tone of Trowers guitar rumble through my chest as I photographed.  I was enchanted by how great it sounded, it was similar to how blown away I was with Jeff Beck when I photographed him this past summer.
  • I really only have one Trower record, Caravan to Midnight, and it’s on vinyl.  Not being very familiar with the extensive amount in his catalog, it was great to hear more of his material for the first time in a live setting.
  • I was proud to see the balcony open at The Pageant and it was great to see the devout following Robin still has in our city, people in the age group of 45-55 filled the crowd completely giddy to hear this man shred!
  • It was also the 40th Anniversary of Trowers iconic second album, Bridges of Sighs, in which many cuts were played that evening and you could tell it pleased the crowd immensely as they shouted in excitement.
  • Wrath of Khan opened the show and completely rock it out as well, they were the perfect opener for this show!