Band Of Skulls | The Observatory
Santa Ana, California | May 20, 2014
I must admit I was late to the party with this band. They are touring on their third studio album and I only have my friend Chuck to thank for recently giving me the heads up about them. So I was very happy when I got the call to photograph this show. These guys (and gal) really exceeded my expectations. They are a great live act that really connects with their audience. Main man Russell Marsden stalks the stage and would often venture to the very edge to amp up the energy level of the crowd. And amp them up he did with excellent guitar work and soulful vocals. Not to be forgotten was the rhythm section of bassist Emma Richardson, and drummer Matt Hayward who nailed down a solid groove. What really surprised me about this band is what a good ROCK band they are. Extended musical passages featuring great guitar solos are sadly somewhat rare these days, but Band Of Skulls seems to have found a way to make this formula sound fresh and exciting. Shooting the concert was great. Thankfully Band Of Skulls haven't fallen into the "use only back lighting" that so many bands seem to favor these days. They had a good looking stage set with sympathetic lighting that really seemed in sync with the music . All in all a great night out.
A Place To Bury Strangers
Constellation Room, Santa Ana, California
May 10, 2014
Ok I gotta say it. I love these guys. There it is I'm biased, but if you've ever seen APTBS, then I know you're right there with me. APTBS live is an assault to the senses, like a punch to the solar plexus. These guys are not taking prisoners. First they play in the dark........And I don't mean kind of dark, we're talking pitch black. It's really a photographers WORST nightmare kind of dark. So I had to use every trick in the book and a few I made up along the way to get these captures. Oh and then they are LOUD and I don't mean sorta loud but so freaking LOUD it feels like you just got hit by a mack truck. Using ear protection (which the band very kindly provide for a nominal $2.00 fee) is MANDATORY. If you're going to see them do not mess around. Bring, or buy, ear plugs . So there is the set up now here is the pay off. When APTBS hits the stage it's at 100 mph... and then they amp it up from there. Guitarist and singer Oliver Ackermann is a man possessed on stage. He writhes and jumps and stalks about the stage only pausing his constant motion to sing into the microphone. The rest of the band pummel their instruments into submission and the whole thing ultimately ends with a guitar getting beaten to death onstage. It's rock n roll at a primal level, and I for one like it that way.
El Rey Theater, Los Angeles, California
April 17, 2014
I've been a big fan of Mogwai since my friend Andy turned me on to their moody instrumental sound-scapes several years ago. Having seen them many times it was a nice to finally get a chance to photograph them. If you've never seen Mogwai it's ALL about atmospherics with this band. They usually favor a very dark stage and the band mostly stand in the shadows and weave their sonic magic. There was no photographers pit for this concert so all the shots were taken from the audience.
I Shoot Concerts