Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Florence and the Machine

Florence and the Machine played before a sold out crowd at WaMu Theater on Thursday night with Head and the Heart and Mat Kearney.

Let me start with a story...I told my wife Lea that I was shooting Florence and the Machine and she said "Who?" I said "Oh never mind, Head and the Heart is playing too." She said "Who?" "Oh forget it" I said. Then I said "Matt Kearney is playing too." She freaked out! "Oh my gosh I love Mat Kearney!" She screamed like my 12 year old niece talking about Justin Bieber. I had never seen her get excited about a musician I was shooting before.

That being said I felt added pressure to get some good shots of him :) Mat opened the show and was super entertaining. Charming, funny and a great repertoire of songs. Not only that but he spells his name with just one T like yours truly and he is from my home town of Eugene, OR. How can you not just love this guy?

Head and the Heart came out next for their last show of the year. It's been several months since I last photographed them and I can tell you with pure honesty that I was blown away by their evolution as a group. They were so much more well-rounded and polished with their stage presence. Before they seemed to be almost in disbelief that they had become so popular. They now seem to me to feel very comfortable in the spotlight but in a very humble way. I was very impressed with their performance and look forward to seeing them again.

Last but certainly not least was Florence and the Machine. I had shot Monday night, Tuesday night, all day Wednesday, while working my day job all week including Thursday and I am not too proud to admit I was tired! Florence came out and that was immediately forgotten. Halfway through her first song I almost dropped my camera in disbelief. My body was covered head to toe in goosebumps and I couldn't help but say "Wow!" over and over again. She has this ethereal presence about her and seemed to almost float across the stage. Her voice was powerful and strong yet beautiful and delicate simultaneously. I was awe-struck and continue to be. It was such a privilege to shoot that concert. I hope you like the photos.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Deck the Hall Ball 2011!

Link to all the photos from Deck HERE!

WOW! The Show of the Year! 107.7 The End put together an unbelievable line up with Mumford and Sons, Death Cab for Cutie, Cage the Elephant, Foster the People, Young the Giant, Two Door Cinema Club and Group Love!

Every band was amazing to say the least! I had full access to the venue and was fortunate to get set up in the KNDD blogger room right smack in the middle of all the artists dressing rooms. It was a surreal experience the entire day. Members of Mumford and Sons warming up in the hallway before their show, Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant was checking out pics on my computer right after his incredibly intense performance, Seattle Sounders star Kasey Keller was hanging out back there, GroupLove was loving every minute of it, singing songs and playing guitar.

Nothing short of an incredible experience!

To see all the photos from the day and to purchase prints please click the link below. I'll be adding pics as I edit them so check back often!

Online Gallery for Deck the Hall Ball 2011

Death Cab for Cutie

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Motley Crue, Poison and the New York Dolls in Tacoma, WA 2011

Exciting, Frustrating and Humiliating. If I had to describe in a nutshell my experience photographing Motley Crue those would be the words I would use.

EXCITING: Not long after I turned 11 years old Motley Crue released the album Shout at the Devil. Against my Mom's better wishes she let me buy the cassette and my life was never the same. I played that tape until the ribbon snapped then I bought another. I was rarely seen without my Motley Crue hat on until I was around 14. It was a borderline unhealthy obsession with a seriously bad ass band. Fast forward to 2011 and I'm presented with the opportunity to photograph their show at the Tacoma Dome on August 12. For the better part of the night I was backstage at a Motley Crue show walking amongst an army of busses. It appeared that each band member had his own bus in addition to a fleet of trucks for the massive stage they had set up. Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx were strolling around. Vince with the swagger and smirk that told a story of confidence after a lifetime of living the life that says all the chicks want to do me and all the dudes want to be me.

The bass player for the New York Dolls Kenny Aaronson was came by and grabbed my massive 400mm f/2.8L IS lens to check out the weight. He said it was heavier than his bass :) Myself and the other 4 photographers with credentials for the night were placed in a holding area where the EMT's were staged in preparation of the inevitable waterfall of vomit which we also got to witness. All in all it was very, very exciting to be there.

The New York Dolls opened the show to a shockingly empty Tacoma Dome. They have been playing for 40 years and pioneered the punk era. An iconic band to say the least but the crowd didn't seem to give a shit as they were milling about outside...what a wasted opportunity for them. Up next was Poison . What can be said about Poison that hasn't already been said. I was a fan of theirs as well back in the 80s so shooting them was a great bonus to the night. The two songs I saw were a bit on the cheesy side but lets be honest, it hasn't always been about the music with this band. The show itself is a big draw for many and they didn't disappoint. At the end of the 2nd song Brett Michaels took the microphone and in a scratchy voice apologized for being off-key. "Hey guys..sorry about my voice tonight..I tell ya, I've got one heck of a flu goin on here but I wouldn't have missed this show for the world!" I was reminded of his shamelessly honest and candid approach to playing Celebrity Apprentice and I must admit I really like the guy. My wife has her own Brett Michaels story from the 80s that I won't repeat here but I still like him :)

Up next was Motley Crue...They shuffled us photographers back in the dome at the last minute. While we were setting up the curtain dropped to a massive explosion of huge fireworks and the show had begun! Holy shit did I have to react and fast. The stage was enormous. Tommy Lee's drum kit was like nothing I have ever seen before. I only saw it on the ground and I was blown away...look at this video he has on his site to see what I missed! http://tommylee.com/tommy-lee-roller-coaster-drum-solo-video/. Nikki Sixx came out looking like a mad man with crazed makeup and fierce intensity. He is as good a photographer as he is a bass player...check out his art here...http://nsixxfoto.tumblr.com/. Mick Mars was a freaky dude in the 80s...he has taken it to a new level in my opinion. I grabbed a couple shots of him during the show that when I saw them I wasn't entirely convince I wasn't looking at a ghost. Vince Neil is Vince Neil. That's all that really needs to be said. As I wrote before, he has a certain swagger about him and a contagious smile that I would imagine comes from being adored by millions of fans for over 3 decades. I remember knowing girls that were so in love with Vince Neil back in the big hair days that all I had to do was play a Crue tape and they were start taking their clothes off for me. Hey Vince if you are reading this...Thanks! :)

When I received my credentials it was confirmed that I would only be allowed to shoot from the sound board and would only get to shoot 2 songs. Typically when I shoot a show I'm given a minimum of 3 songs and am allowed to get right up next to the stage. They had an escort walk us to the sound board just before the show began. We found ourselves standing on the floor about 125 yards back from the stage and directly behind every fan with floor seating. Of course nobody was going to be sitting down so to even catch a glimpse of a band member was based on pure luck. It was as if they didn't want us to get any photos. Fortunately, I had a very long lens with me as I heard stories from photographers that had shot previous shows. For the New York Dolls it was no problem because as I mentioned, the venue was not very full. For Poison it was the worst. After the two songs they wouldn't allow us to stay and watch the show so myself and the other photogs went to a nearby restaurant for a quick beer and a bite. I borrowed a milk crate from them to stand on during Motley Crue's performance and that saved my ass big time. After the show we were required to remove our photo passes and return them. They had the date of the show and the magazine I was shooting for written in sharpie so clearly they were going to the garbage. I'm not sure why we couldn't keep them and was pretty bummed as those are great souvenirs from shows. In addition, we were given very strict orders to not even think about taking a photo backstage. If we did we would be banned from shooting the Tacoma Dome for life. I was told that was Brittney Spears fault but whatever. It sucked because there were some great photo ops back there. So our two songs came and went very fast. When I got back I asked to leave my camera gear in the security room so I could watch the rest of the show...can't watch the show they said...I said I would buy a ticket...nope. Can't do that either. Don't go away mad, just go away was the message I was hearing loud and clear.

HUMILIATING: This will fall under the category of too much information. I had to work all day in a suit. I didn't want to shoot Motley Crue in a suit so I meant to bring a shirt. Forgot it. I went to Macys in the morning and bought one. Didn't try it on. I put it on after work and realized it looked ridiculous. No problem I thought. I had my under armor spandex looking t-shirt under it. I'll just wear that in the venue and buy a Motley Crue T-shirt while I'm in the show. Worst case scenario, I'll be in the dark concert hall..not a big deal. If you don't know me, I haven't been to the gym in...well, I've never been to the gym. It ain't pretty if you know what I'm saying. Well, no venue access...no t-shirts buyin...no dark venue for any length of time...bright lit, backstage hanging out with a million people who had to have been wondering what kind of delusional person I must be to think I could get away with wearing that thing. Oh man, I cringe just thinking about it.

Now for the pics :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Goodness!

Want to know what the buzz is about in Seattle for new music? My Goodness featuring Joel Schneider on Guitar and Vocals and Ethan Jacobsen on the Drums.

A couple months ago the day before their CD was releases I met them at Sedro Wooley for a portrait session. Both Ethan and Joel are very nice, very down to Earth guys and it was a pleasure to spend the afternoon taking their photographs.

Not long after that I saw them perform at the Tractor Tavern and I saw a whole new side of them. These guys are intense performers with a diverse mix of songs ranging from hard rock to bluesy/moody tunes. The entire CD is great and I highly recommend you click the above link and buy it. I'm telling you, these guys are going to explode on the scene and you had better remember you read it here first! :)

They opened the Main Stage at the Capitol Hill Block Party on Sunday and they were natural on the big stage. See the post below this one for more on that day. All said and done they played four different shows on Sunday including an End Session for 107.7 The End.