1057 The Point’s Big Summer Show at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater- July 26th, 2014

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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.

  1. Magic Man – I unfortunately missed their set.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!!


Gary Clark Jr. at The Pageant – July 23rd, 2014

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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!

Boz Scaggs at River City Casino – July 22nd, 2014

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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.

Enjoy the pics!

“Bottles and Cans, Just Clap Your Hands”…

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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!

Fall Out Boy and Paramore at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater – July 6th, 2014

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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.

Emily Galati at The Funny Bone – June 19th, 2014

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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!

Experiencing Minneapolis

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After a week off on vacation coming back to the grind was not at the top of my list of things I had to do this week, but it is necessary to be able to afford to have experiences like I had while staying in Minneapolis.  Coming from a mid-west city I think I generally expect every metropolis to be booming and an urban jungle of activity, Minneapolis was none of these.

In my time visiting the city it was interesting to observe how the weather and landscape really affects the lifestyle and culture of a given area.  Minnesota being known more for it’s outdoor scenery and activities, it was amazing to see how that affected city life.  Everyone road their bikes or walked to most places and the city was sprinkled with tons of smaller parks that were often built around a water source of some sort.  Below is a list of some of the sites I visited while exploring the area.

  1. Gold Medal Flour Mill and Mississippi Riverfront - This again was awesome to experience because I come from a “river town” that turned into a city built alongside the Mississippi River.  The fantastic quality of this city is that they built a pedestrian bridge that spans for miles and crosses over the river.  As you can see it is more rough than the St. Louis riverfront, making the Mississippi look like white water rapids.
  2. Minneapolis Sculpture Park featuring Walker’sArtist Designed Mini-Golf - As I stated the city has many little parks scattered all over the place.  This park in particular was fascinating because it is home to an 18 hole artist designed mini-golf course.  The holes span from ping-pong tables with fixed paddles sticking out to bump you ball off of, to a hole that turns into a foosball game where you use yard gnome figures to putt your ball into the hole.  There is also a giant cherry on a spoon…so…
  3.  Lake Harriet and the Como-Harriet Street Car Line - This area was beautiful and would be where I would spend all of my time if I lived in this city.  Lake Harriet is part of an area referred to as the Chain of Lakes and it connects to three other lakes.  There is a walking trail that will take your around each lake, a fantastic walk up eatery stand, a Japanese garden, a special local hidden gem known as the tree gnome, and the historical Como-Harriet Street Car Line.  I walked miles this day and it was completely worth it!
  4. Duluth, MN and Lake Superior – So me and my wife have many things we do, one of them is to try and see all the Great Lakes within our lifetime.  This goal lead us to take a day trip two hours outside of Minneapolis to Duluth, MN.  Needless to say Lake Superior lived up to it’s name and seemed like the ocean spanning so far out that you couldn’t see the other side.  This sounds like a ridiculous statement to make but I have never experienced that at a lake in Missouri.  Aside from this natural wonder Duluth also has a few great micro-brew pubs, an array of great shops, and is home to one of the only two Ariel Lift Bridges ever built in the US.
  5. Minnehaha Park and Lock and Dam No. 1 - This was another park that is built around a very impressive waterfall called Minnehaha Falls which is a tributary of the Mississippi River and connects with the river not far from Lock and Dam No. 1.  Minnehaha Park not only has the falls that has a natural wading pool to cool off in, it also houses a band stand located right next to a local walk up seafood eatery called Sea Salt.  The Lock and Dam No. 1 is not far from the falls and is accessible to a self guided tour throughout the year.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about the neat places I found to experience in Minneapolis and I encourage you to visit this area if you’re looking for a truly relaxing getaway.  I also suggest bringing a camera because their in no lack of picturesque landscapes to capture.


Broken Bells at Pageant – June 16th, 2014

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So let me first start by explaining that over the last three years I’ve photographed hundreds of bands at all levels of success and at venues of all sizes.  In all my experiences one thing remains true, that as a music photographer when the band first sets foot on stage you are officially on the clock for the next three songs, and I personally take those 15 or so minutes very seriously.  Sometimes though you get a moment where you are photographing a band and the music just over comes you like you were in the crowd, you start jiving as you move through the pit and you are defiantly having the time of your life.  Gigs that evoke that emotion in me is what I love about concert photography and one of the times I enjoyed myself the most was during The Shins set at Lollapalooza 2012.  That being said I’m totally just as huge of a fan of Broken Bells because James Mercer is phenomenal, and with the addition of the musical genius of Brain Burton (aka Danger Mouse) what is not to love about this band?  Monday nights show at the Pageant did not disappoint and below are my top five favorite moments of the night:

  1. Hearing the craziness from the devout Broken Bells fans from the first few rows of the floor was great to experience as they screamed like metal fans waiting for Lemmy to melt their faces off, it was refreshing to witness.
  2. Observing the multiple instrument changes throughout the set that Mercer and Burton accomplished between keyboards, guitars, and bass was awesome.  Not to mention their bass/guitar player that hid in the back and also handled multiple supporting instruments throughout the set.
  3. The lighting set up was also unique as they used a projection screen to display cosmic scenes throughout the set and rotating stage lights that shot rays of light from behind the drum riser sending starred patterns of light across the entire stage.
  4. Having the opportunity to see Mercer let loose a bit on stage as he had the luxury of putting down his guitar from time to time on certain songs.
  5. Catching this band on their tour for their second release was awesome as well because you got to hear a good mix of both albums.

I highly suggest checking this tour out if it passes through your town.


Chvrches at The Pageant – June 2nd, 2014

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This past Monday I covered the Chvrches show at the Pageant which is yet another band to add to the list of acts that make me feel old.  Maybe I’m just stuck in the ’90’s or maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I’m really having a hard time getting into the slew of electronic based indie rock bands that are currently dominating this genre.  Chvrches has a very layered and textured sound that really is made interesting by the crystal clear vocal stylings of Lauren Mayberry.  As a live act they use their lighting and stage set up to make a very visually stimulating show for the crowd to enjoy.  I can not say anything negative about this band specifically, but I’m just not into the new style of indie rock that this band and others like them are currently releasing.  Not saying it’s bad, it’s just not my bag.

Tribute To St. Louis Trumpeters at Touhill Performing Arts Center – May 30th, 2014

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I hope everyone out there had a fun and relaxing weekend, mine was chopped full of events and family engagements.  To kick things off, this past Friday I photographed a great jazz show at Touhill that was billed as a Tribute to St. Louis Trumpeters.  It was presented by the Jazz Edge Band and featured other big name talents such as Russell Gun, Keyon Harrold, Danny Mixon, and Denise Thimes.  Jazz is an interesting type of music with an artistic flare that no other genre has.  It’s amazing to observe a larger than normal band of musicians playing an array of different wind instruments and noticing how all of them blend together to produce a sound that moves through a concert hall like it is it’s own being.   Vocalist Denise Thimes offered a rare treat for the crowd as Keyon Harrold and Russell Gun performed classics originally arranged by famous trumpeters spanning across the vast history of jazz music.  If you didn’t already know St. Louis is just as known for the role they have played in history of jazz music as they are known for Anheuser Busch.  Our city has always and continues to honor the mark it has made in this genre of music and I highly suggest seeking out any upcoming jazz events in town to experience an elegant evening listening to fine music.  If you are a fan or just want to check something new out, get yourself an HD Radio and tune into Hip 96.3 HD3.  Like them on Facebook at this URL to stay up to date on upcoming jazz shows, as well as to receive the latest information on what’s new in the world of HD Radio: https://www.facebook.com/Hip963.