Thursday, March 30, 2006

Street Drum Corps


Herd 'em in, herd 'em out... so it was all night long as 13 bands took one of two stages alternating one after the other during the Taste of Chaos show at Arco Arena last night, which I shot for
This trio of photos represents my favorite performance by far of the night-- The Street Drum Corps. It way too short but it stands out in my mind as the most memorable. They were on the 2005 Warp Tour and quickly became a crowd favorite and even the lead singer for The Used, Bert McCracken, joined in during the tour, which of course added to the draw.
Street Drum Corps were the second of two instrumental offerings last night, both on a poorly lit second stage. The Street Drum Corps came out in artfully ragged clothes, faces done up war-paint style and they all played drums on nearly anything BUT a traditional drum. Items included metal pipes, a fire extinguisher, pans and cans of all sizes. Their beats were fun and playful, melodic and sophisticated-- from a sweet tickling to a hard and edgy grinder on a metal barrell. They have something to say and they perform it with true theatrics. What was weird was there were all these photographers around all just watching mesmerized but the only ones shooting were K and I.
Check out the emusiconnect site when you get a chance-- the gallery is chock full of great shows and the site is an incredible resource for entertainment information including hundreds of local bands and venues.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

An evening at Junta

Junta is one of the new all ages clubs in town and last night was the first time I've been there. It's in a long basement kind of place below a tattoo parlor on K Street Mall, the walls covered in colorful graffitti, and two tiny stage lights on the ceiling for a stage that sits about four inches above floor level. It has personality. And last night Junta had five bands showing their personality in all their vibrant psychedelic colors.
Meet The Killing Moon. I think this photo really captures the spirit of the night and the energy all these guys brought to the club. This particular guy is totally hyper kinetic while alternating between playing saxophone and singing. Ever the social observer my mind started to go off on who these people are... I'm betting this guy was in high school band class playing saxophone, but instead of ditching the instrument for a guitar or drums like so many do he takes the sax to his pop punk buds adding another interesting dimension to their raucous music. (And there's a trombonist too!) Next thing you know he's kissing family goodbye as he takes off on a cross-country tour with the other guys in a van, praying for a hot shower. And each night they play they're hawking goods-- Tshirts and CD's so they can make enough money to eat and gas up to get to the next city. What a life, what an adventure.. the kind everyone should be lucky enough to embark on at some point in their lives.
Another band on the bill, These Green Eyes, come very close to rivaling Fall Out Boy in their ability to leap while playing. In fact, their particular set illuminated to me the idea that one of the prerequisites for being in a rock and roll band these days is a profound willingness to go absolutely crazy in front of people with wild physicality. Of course being the visual person that I am it gives me a Cheshire Cat grin and fuels my own excitement as I try to capture it with my camera. Do I hear the music? Honestly I fade in and out much of the time. But as I so like to say that the cream always rises to the top so if the music is good I'm immediately captured.
Which brings me to the third band in the set, Lydia. A much more thoughtful and quiet energy even if the music stayed loud like the others. But the first thing I noticed before they even begin playing is that all five members are barefoot. So of the roughly twelve photos I shot of them four were of feet surrounded by cords, or touching the foot pedals. Apparently that was what interested me most about them. Sorry guys, and girl. No offense meant. The bassist kept his head hanging down nearly the entire set and although the green light looked pretty on his light brown mass of hair it didn't inspire me to capture the Kodak moment. So I wandered. Probably a good thing because I listened more for a change and got a feel for the club overall.
The Higher was the headliner. I've been hearing chatter about them and they did not disappoint. As the guys were setting up someone leans over and whispers in my ear "Can you say scrawny?" and it was indeed the perfect word as you looked at this one young guy getting ready to start the headlining set. HOWEVER, Scrawny turned into Steamy because Woah! the guy had such charisma and confidence that he became utterly transformed once he took command, mike in hand. Woof! And they are a great band. Good songs, good melodies, darling frontman, well performed. The Higher can definitely go higher!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand, just say the words... fun isn't it? Well they headlined the show at the Memorial the other night along with Death Cab for Cutie and The Cribs. Very pop, very fun, very high energy, very eye candy! I originally thought the headliner was Death Cab for Cutie and so it appeared on the press badge too but it seems they are flip flopping show by show as to who will headline... and in some cases I'm told it has to do with who is selling more records that day, that week. I guess they are calling it co-headliners. Interesting.
Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos kicks his leg up during the performance, which is oddly reminiscent of David Bowie on an old album cover-- The Man who Sold the World. Kapranos has incredible stage presence and a glossy larger than life look that hooked me right in!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Yeah Baby!

A professional photographer on assignment goes out to events and looks for photos that will capture the flavor and heart of an event to make the client happy. In a perfect world the photographer makes themselves happy too and brings home a picture or two worthy of a coveted portfolio spot. It's rare. Truth is in an average shoot the typical editorial shooter can hope to get one to three decent photos from an assignment. One great one wins the day. In my world it seems like I need to get dozens. From a music event for example I aim to get 40 reasonably good pictures for a web gallery display. I'm looking for the overalls, the tight shots, the unexpected, the artsy ones, the expressive or wild ones. You can't bat 1000 but you try. I really try. I tend to overshoot too because even when I get one I like I think maybe the next one will be just a wee bit better... on and on it goes.
So it was this weekend as shot the Yeah Baby event at Cal Expo and my oh my was it a hoot. Enormous turnout and the most wonderful baby faces, adorable kids, parents, tough looking tatted dads getting all sweet and goopy with their adorable daughters, it was delightful. The faces in the crowd alone were a marvel.
I saw this teenager playing pinball and wondered how he got dragged to this event since most of the children there were toddler age or younger. Lucky for him one of the vendors had a manly man kind of area with pinball, hockey, a pool table, big screen tv's and big overstuffed furniture to kick back on.
Overall it was pretty phenomenal and there was something worthwhile going on in every corner of the place...

Friday, March 17, 2006


A new post, seems like forever... and it's not like I'm not out there doing stuff. I am! Maybe that's why, just too busy I guess. That said here's Ian, the son of my friend Lee who I've known for over 20 years. I hadn't seen Lee for the longest time then ran into him at a music event where he points out his very grown up drummer son. Woah! So here's the charming and talented Ian. We set this up in my tiny studio. I created a black cove, dragged out the smoke machine and put the ear plugs in for a drumming intensive shoot. A little something special for the grandmother at high school graduation time... Much fun had by all... except the cats who hightailed it outta there into the dark and hidden recesses only they know. :)

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