Friday, April 13, 2012

Gotye and Kimbra at the Showbox in Seattle

It's been a wild run the past couple of weeks for music for me. I've got lots of images to post on the blog so check back soon.

I simply couldn't wait to post the shots from Tuesday though. I can't think of a musician in the industry today that has more people buzzing in general than Gotye. If you haven't seen the video of his hit song Somebody that I used to know then you must have been living under a rock. I just checked the stats while typing this and saw that it has been viewed over 156 million times! I'm pretty sure that's a lot. That is even more than the bacon dog video on Youtube!

I must admit that other than the catchy hit song played on the radio over and over again I knew next to nothing about Gotye and absolutely nothing about Kimbra. Turns out I am the one that must have been living under a rock because Kimbra had a massive fan base and for great reason.

I was invited to shoot an End Session for KNDD before the sold out show at Showbox Sodo. It turned out that they did not want photos taken during the End Session as it was ultimately a sound check with a limited number of invited guests allowed to watch. My job was to shoot the meet and greet afterwards so once we were let into the venue I got to work setting up a softbox for a quick and simple shoot. I learned something at that time. It's really hard to set up a softbox and studio strobe in pitch black! I got it set up but really wasn't sure if I had my settings right as I didn't want to pop a strobe off in a dark venue during his performance. Immediately after he played a few songs for the lucky winners he came over to where I was. I had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised when he walked up to me with his hand outstretched and introduced himself to me as Wally. How can you not like a guy named Wally? It's impossible, he was instantly charming very gracious to allow me to snap a couple pics of him before meeting his fans. Once all the fan photos were done I asked if I could jump in to get a shot with him as well. You can see below that I chose to not do a standard photo. He was a very good sport about it and I think found me a bit odd to be honest. I can live with that. It's true.

I spoke with his Management and was ecstatic to be approved to shoot his show. It was kind of a bummer to not be allowed to shoot the sound check End session so this really boosted my spirits as the show itself proved to be really incredible.

The photo pit was designed for very skinny people which sadly, I am not. I squeeeeezed my way in and found the fans in the front row to be giddy with anticipation. Some I recognized from the meet and greet earlier in the day. Others had been camped out for a couple of hours to ensure a good spot in the packed house.

The show started with Kimbra as the opening artist. I think my jaw literally hit the floor as she was nothing short of stunning. Her beautiful smile and the twinkle in her eye made me a fan before I even heard her larger than life vocals. As she started to get in the groove of the show I realized that not only was she an amazing singer, she had some serious sass and swagger! I'm not sure I could put my finger on why but I was reminded a little bit of June Carter. Bottom line, I became a fan. I bought the EP she was selling at the venue for just $5 and learned that she has a CD coming out May 20. You can count on me buying it that day!

Next came Gotye. As I mentioned I had seen him during soundcheck with about 40 or 50 people watching so I figured I knew what to expect. It was quite a bit different with the venue stuffed to the max with around 2,000 screaming fans. The energy was intense! He hit the stage while a dramatic sunrise scene unfolded on the giant screen behind him. He started to hit his booming drums and the crowd became frenzied! I was standing about 2 feet away from him and once he started really laying into the drums I couldn't even see his hands moving they were going so fast. You can see in an image below that I shot at a fairly low shutter speed to accomadate for the dark lights how quickly his hands were flying. What impressed me was that looking at the entire series of images from that drum sequence, his head, upper arms and body barely moved. It was absolute and complete control and I found myself forgetting to take pictures as I was mesmerized by the performance. Watch a Gotye show and you will know immediately you are watching a musical genius. A vast array of diverse instruments, crazy sound effects and dramatic visual effects left me shaking my head in disbelief.

Gotye is the real deal. I strongly believe we are going to be seeing him around for a very long time. I for one am very excited about that.


Anonymous said...

Great write up and awesome shots. It was a fantastic show. period.

Anonymous said...

I've been following blog posts of Wally's tour throughout the US since I saw him on his 2nd stop in Philadelphia, jsut to see if everyone else has been just as excited by the man/band as this city (and I) was.

I have to say that you have taken the best concert shots BY FAR. Truly. You put everyone else to shame, including every magazine and newpaper photog out there.