Somewhere along the way I put aside my point-and-click camera and got serious about concert photography. The first event where I used a DSLR was the 2009 Mile High Music Festival because their photo policy prohibited any other kind of camera in the pits. From there on out I fell in love with the art of photography and tried to capture the experiences I had through photos. Looking back on the last couple of years, here are my favorite 10 shots.
The Fray – MHMF 2009: As someone who had very little experience with a more-professional camera, I was surprised at some of the great shots I got that hot weekend in July of 2009. The Fray closed out my experience at Mile High with a real spectacle: U2′s old stage rig, a big crowd, and a sense of completion.
Monotonix – Monolith 2009: While not a particularly great shot, I will always remember this set from the now-defunct Monolith Festival. It’s the kind of picture that would offend most anyone, therefore it has a certain charm and power that your average concert photo can’t achieve.
Paean – Hodi’s Half Note, December 27, 2009: Being from Fort Collins I found myself up there for the holidays without much to do. When I saw that Danielle Ate The Sandwich was playing a show with a few Act So Big Forest bands at Hodi’s (formerly The Starlight, as I knew it), I said, “Why not?” As it turns out Hodi’s has one of the best light rigs in Northern Colorado. This shot matches great lighting, ambient fog, and perspective in a way that I have seldom replicated.
The Knew – Pulperia release party at the Bluebird, March 6, 2010: At a time when people were just starting to figure out what Something Like Sound was, The Knew were preparing to get big. I ended up seeing the Knew 3 times at the Bluebird (and once at Hi-Dive), and they remain as one of my favorite Colorado acts. I recall seeing this particular shot floating around on their websites for quite some time.
Fellow Citizens – Skylark , October 8, 2010: I saw Fellow Citizens and Old Radio (now Amazing Twin) play two shows at the Skylark within one year. This photo of Fellow Citizens singer Eliza Boote was originally done in color and not cropped, however I edited it for print in the Oredigger newspaper. After looking at the two versions I decided that I liked the black-and-white more- it has a certain aesthetic that is reflective of that time and place.
Andrew W.K. – Warped Tour 2010 (Chicago): I had been to several years of Warped Tours before I decided to live in Chicago last summer, however none of that could prepare me for Andrew W.K. Perhaps one of the most energetic and bizzare performances I’ve ever seen, W.K. thrashed about the stage while putting himself into the most intriguing positions.
Safe Boating Is No Accident – Denver Does Denver 2010: The first show I saw after coming back from Chicago was Denver Does Denver (a fitting return, if I can say so myself). Safe Boating did a set of Pee Pee covers in the Flobots.org community space and something about the lighting in that room lent itself to some really dramatic shots.
Night of Joy – Denver Does Denver 2010: Sometime great photos are purely dumb luck. Another shot for DDD2010, I managed to catch the flash from a camera across the room at the often low-lit Meadowlark. The result: A photo that captures the face-melting nature of a Night of Joy set.
Sufjan Stevens – The Paramount, November 2, 2010: I bought my tickets for Sufjan nearly 4 months before he came to Denver. Fortunately I snagged some primo seats and was able to snap a few shots with my point-and-click. This photo was taken during a reworked rendition of “Seven Swans” which literally took my breath away.
FLASHLIGHTS – Split Cassette release at Larimer Lounge, February 23, 2011: FLASHLIGHTS usually like to party with the house lights down and their special Rande Kamolz-controlled rig in full operation. This, however, makes getting a decent shot of the group a challenge. I decided to experiment with long shutter speeds and zooming out while taking this photo.
I normally don’t do shows on Monday nights, this show at the Hi-Dive a couple weeks ago was a special circumstance. Reading Rainbow was in town from Philadelphia, M. Pyres came down from Fort Collins, and I finally had a chance to catch the newest BPG band SAUNA. Highlights from the evening included an energetic rendition of SAUNA’s “Croctopus,” Matt Sage’s baritone guitar, and the few songs I stuck around for from Reading Rainbow.
Red Fox Run and the Oak Creek Band teamed up with anti-human trafficking organization Love 146 for a night of art and music at Casselman’s. I was on hand to support their cause and to get some great photos. You can catch Red Fox Run on May 13th at the Meadowlark as a part of the Something Like Sound Farewell Showcase.
Red Fox Run
Oak Creek Band
In 2008 artists from the Athens, GA-based Elephant 6 Recording Company set out on a tour during the holiday season. The aptly titled “Holiday Surprise Tour” featured members from the collective’s groups went across the country, but did not visit Denver. Back in March, right before I went to SXSW, the Elephant 6 Orchestra made its Denver debut with an astonishing 3-set performance at the Larimer Lounge. Although I’m not really sure which holiday this Holiday Surprise Tour was celebrating, the evening was certainly an unforgettable night of great music. For more on understanding E6, check out the AV Club’s beginner’s guide to E6. To hear a recording of the show hop over to The Flat Response. In the meantime enjoy these photos.
Things at Something Like Sound have hit a feverish pace as we approach the final month of active existence. In the wild business that was the pre-SXSW weekend, I caught the send-off show for two Act So Big Forest acts going on a week-long spring break tour. Thrifty Astronaut and Galaxies (both of whom have a surprising lack of songs about outer space) played the modest Yellow Feather Coffee on Santa Fe. These are a few shots from that evening.
Catch both bands this weekend at the FoCoMX festival in Fort Collins.
I suppose it was a week ago that I headed down to the Larimer Lounge for a night of electric post-punk and synth-beat music. It was my first time seeing two up-and-coming local acts- Force Publique and FLASHLIGHTS- as they released their newest split (note: this is a shameless plug). The visuals were stunning as the lights strobed and moved while the dance floor filled with people. MillionYoung took the stage and performed a set that reminded me a bit of STRFKR, but with a more electronic edge and tribal beat.
Friday nights were invented for good live music. Two weeks ago Woodsman celebrated the release of their newest record Rare Forms with a great show at the Larimer Lounge. Experimental-visual musician/artist Milton Melvin Croissant III opened with an electronic set of synthesized music followed by LA-based Speculator. Vitamins brought their style of pop-infused psychedelia in what may have been one of the best sets I’ve ever seen them put on. Woodsman brought everything together by the end of the night by playing a number of new and old songs (with quite a few from Mystery Tape). I found it interesting that since I have started following them, Woodsman has transformed from free-form jams to recognizable song structures and melodies.
Red Fox Run packed out the Larimer Lounge a few weeks ago and I set the high score on the venue’s classic Pac-Man machine. I’ll be back at the Larimer tonight for Woodsman (and hopefully I’ll set the high score on Ms. Pac-Man). Red Fox Run has a couple shows coming up: March 4 and March 23 both at Hi-Dive.
Rob Drabkin’s annual birthday bash at Casselman’s was a night of jazz, funk, and flip-flop rock. Rob’s dad Harry kicked things off with his jazz quartet followed by the high-energy Bop Skizzum. On February 11th Bop Skizzum is releasing a 7″ and music video at the Rockstar Lounge. Child prodigy Jaden Carlson made an appearance (similar to last year’s birthday bash) and Rob’s mom served cake. It had been a year since I last saw Drabkin and I certainly enjoyed getting to hear his songs again.
Bonus: “I’m So Much Cooler” video from Bop Skizzum (after the jump)
It was a couple weeks ago that I spent the day with the guys from The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact. I helped with the last few details of production on their new record and got to sit in on their rehearsal. Later, I followed them to the Meadowlark for the first in a series of concerts curated by Speaker Snacks. Gem Trails and Thundercade also played… then the venue flooded and I went home.
The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact, rehearsal
The Kevin Costner Suicide Pact, performance