Thursday Night Jazz Jam at South Park Bar and Grill, 5/28/09

I’m putting these photos up quickly that I shot last night since I have a full weekend of shooting and need a clean slate. The jazz jam was a bit less crowded this time, but some great talent was on display.

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-001

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-003

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-018

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-010

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-027

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-012

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-014

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-021

Hearing David Hurley in a straightahead context was cool. His unorthodox approach to drumming comes through loud and clear, but it is still appropriate to the style. He mentioned how he was a bit nervous the first time he jammed here, but forced himself to do it anyway. It’s when we venture out of our comfort zone that we find out what we’re capable of.

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-024

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-025

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-029

Jason Robinson blew me away, especially the twin tenor sound produced when he paired up with Gabriel Sundy, who is an iconoclast in his own right.

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-033

South Park Bar and Grill Jazz Jam 52809© Michael Klayman-031

I’ll be seeing Jason again next weekend at Dizzy’s.

Fever Sleeves, Marasol, This is Not My Life, Lands on Fire at the Casbah, 5/20/09

I wasn’t feeling well on Wednesday, trying to get over a lingering cold that had me coughing every 10 seconds and leaving me froggy voiced every night. But after shooting Marasol in the Port of San Diego parking lot, I had a shooter’s high that lasted long enough to get to the Casbah and shoot more.

Lands on Fire started the night, and they had a rock/reggae sound.

Lands on Fire at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-001

I wasn’t feeling well enough to shoot as much as I normally do, so I only shot a couple songs per band and relaxed the rest of the time.

Lands on Fire at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-003

Chris was introduced as the whitest Hawaiian on Earth. I don’t know about that, but they do have some cute band merch made for babies, guaranteed to make them the indie-est kid in day care.

Lands on Fire at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-007

The drummer looks very familiar, but I’m not sure where I know him from.

Lands on Fire at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-008

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This was one of the debut shows for This is Not My Life.

This is Not My Life at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-001

This is Not My Life at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-002

This is Not My Life at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-009

This is Not My Life at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-011

I’ve seen Matt sing with his old band, Goodbye Blue Monday, a couple times, and to me they sound pretty similar.

This is Not My Life at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-014

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Having shot the next two bands quite a few times, I thought I’d try something new and only use my 28 and 50mm prime lenses for Marasol. Maybe the fixed focal lengths would make me see things in a different way.

Marasol at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-002

I was starting to feel pretty sick by this point, so I didn’t put as much energy into shooting as I should have. Thus, no group shots, just portraits. Sarah is a fantastic subject. At the right angle, I could make her hair look like it was being blown by the wind.

Marasol at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-003

Marasol at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-005

I processed some of the photos with a heavy blue-green cast, trying to make them look like they were underwater.

Marasol at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-012

Marasol at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-014

Marasol at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-016

I found out during their set that they had referred a band to me that wanted some gig photos. Thanks Marasol!! Looks like I picked the right band to give a freebie promo shoot.

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I continued the prime lens experiment with Fever Sleeves. I tend to neglect these lenses when there’s enough light to use my main zoom lens, and that’s a shame.

Fever Sleeves at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-002

Fever Sleeves at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-004

There’s something about the look of a prime lens that you just can’t get in a zoom. The fast 1.8 aperture allows for a faster shutter speed, reducing motion blur, and the shallow depth of field snaps the eye to the area of interest.   

Fever Sleeves at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-005

The 50mm lens forces me to pick the most important features in an image and throw the rest away. That’s a fun challenge. It gave me some intimate portraits of Nick, which I wouldn’t have thought to shoot unless forced to by the lens.

Fever Sleeves at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-008

Fever Sleeves at the Casbah 52009© Michael Klayman-010

Marasol Promo Shoot, 5/20/09

I’m trying to branch out a bit with my photography into areas that I’m not quite so experienced at yet. I mostly just shoot musicians when they’re on stage, but I’ve got some ideas for group shoots that I’ve wanted to try out. Luckily, Marasol gave me some time before their show at the Casbah on Wednesday to be my guinea pigs.

These are just test shots at this point and I didn’t achieve 100% of what I set out to do, but it’s a good starting point. 

Marasol Bridge Promo Shoot 52009© Michael Klayman-002

Marasol Bridge Promo Shoot 52009© Michael Klayman-005

I brought a flashlight to try and fill in some shadows, but since we were illuminated by street lights, that turned out to be pointless. My main goal was to figure out how long an exposure time I can get away with before they started to blur due to movement. The above shot was a three second exposure. The below shot was ten seconds.

Marasol Bridge Promo Shoot 52009© Michael Klayman-006

Six seconds is about the limit, I think. Good to know.

Marasol Bridge Promo Shoot 52009© Michael Klayman-007

I’m going to be doing a more adventurous shoot with them sooner or later, and that’s going to incorporate environmental motion blur, while hopefully keeping their faces sharp. Now I have an idea about how to make that happen and what I can get away with.

If there are any other bands that are interested in getting some unique group shots done, let me know. With some more practice, I’m going to get better at this.

Tapes n Tapes, Get Back Loretta, Stranger, Delta Spirit at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery 5/9/09

I left the Sleeping People show feeling wide awake, but I knew I had to get up early-ish the next day to get to the Karl Strauss Headquarters so I didn’t stay too long and chat. This would be only my second time shooting with a photo pass (thanks Sezio.org!), so I wanted to get there nice and early to beat any possible crowds. I ended up having a full hour to kill before the music started. At least there was good beer!

Delta Spirit was up first.

Delta Spirit at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-008

Delta Spirit at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-010

Not bad, but not really my thing.

Delta Spirit at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-025

Delta Spirit at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-018

Delta Spirit at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-016

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Local reggae heavyweights Stranger took the stage next, and they had the bass cranking.

Stranger at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-001

Standing right in front of the subwoofers was fun, they almost took over my breathing.

Stranger at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-014

Stranger at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-021

The horn section was a great addition. They added color to the already energetic jams, as well as some on-stage fun.

Stranger at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-027

By this time, my five shot-glass-size tasters had run out, and I had a very slight buzz on. Luckily, my all-access pass got me up on stage, and right by a VIP-only cooler with Tower 10 IPA and Amber Lager on tap. Self serve, all you can drink. Aww yeah…. too bad I had to drive.

Stranger at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-022

I met the bass player, Tilly, later on. I didn’t ask him why, but I think he wears gloves to get a bit less top end and a more rounded tone. Tilly, if you’re reading this, try using La Bella Nylon wound strings. They’re what I use for a deep tone with a less brittle high-end and no string noise. And they last for years.

Stranger at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-005

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So by this point, I’d had a couple beers and was feeling fine, if not totally in tune with the music. I had some fish tacos, checked out some of the booths, shot some photos of cute girls with ugly tattoos, and wasn’t really expecting much more in general. But then I saw Get Back Loretta’s set.
 
Get Back Loretta at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-002

This band is seriously good. Very Beatles-esque, which comes up in every review, but that’s just because it really is that catchy.

Get Back Loretta at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-009

Stephen’s got a great voice, and it’s all very upbeat, danceable music. I would go see these guys again, even Heather would like them.

Get Back Loretta at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-031

They’re all comfortable on stage and with each other, especially since the guitarist and drummer are brothers.

Get Back Loretta at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-016

Get Back Loretta at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-010

Yeah, I don’t see the resemblance.

Get Back Loretta at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-003

And then, my favorite shot of the day:

Get Back Loretta at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-019

I think that captures their performance right there.

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Tapes n Tapes was the national act headlining, but I don’t think they fully lived up to their predecessor’s show.

Tapes n Tapes at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-023

The crowd liked them just fine, they’re were just a bit more mainstream than my taste.

Tapes n Tapes at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-013

Tapes n Tapes at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-027

Tapes n Tapes at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-005

Tapes n Tapes at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-011

Tapes n Tapes at the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery Fest 50909© Michael Klayman-016

All in all, it was a fun afternoon. I was happy to shoot this show for Zack Nielsen at Sezio since I like what they’re doing over there, and Heather and I had our wedding reception at the Karl Strauss in Sorrento Valley a couple years ago. That was the last time I had an open bar at Karl Strauss and couldn’t fully enjoy it, just like this time. Who wants to be my DD next year?

Hialeah, Rob Crow, Sleeping People at the Soda Bar, 5/8/09

I made sure to get to this show nice and early, since I knew it was going to be a packed house. Luckily, there were quite a few other early birds to chat with so time flew by until Hialeah took the stage.

Hialeah at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-001

Their set started a bit ominously since Mario’s guitar dropped headstock-first to the ground  right before the first song. It put a huge crack in the back of the neck, but he soldiered on anyway. This might have been the cause for the crappy sound for the first few songs, until the sound guy got things under control.

Hialeah at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-007

I heard a few newer songs that should be coming out on a new CD within the year.

Hialeah at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-018

I gave Mike a print as a belated birthday present. It’s from their show at the Radio Room, taken a couple months ago. I asked him to put it up somewhere, so hopefully it will be on display at Black Box at some point.

Hialeah at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-020

Those Chinese knock-offs never get the spelling right..

Hialeah at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-024

Justin asked me if there was anything he could do make the photos look better. I told him yes, don’t move.

Hialeah at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-013

I can’t give him any fashion advice though, he’s always a colorful character.

Hialeah at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-019

They’re a great band and great guys to boot. Go see them this Sunday at the Casbah!

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I’ve said before how an acoustic singer/songwriter is a snoozefest for me, but it’s not the case when the musician is Rob Crow. He even said it was OK to talk over his music, but there were still plenty of people shushing the loud talkers.

Rob Crow at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-001

I have just a couple Pinback albums so I wasn’t familiar with most of the music, but Rob has a well-deserved reputation for writing songs that are instantly catchy. It would have been better if the guitar was turned up in the P.A., even Rob was complaining how he couldn’t hear his playing.

Rob Crow at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-002

He had a few false starts, but this was more of a low-key set of music than anything else, so it just made it seem a bit more intimate. What came next would be totally different.

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I don’t know why Sleeping People hasn’t played a show in San Diego in over a year, but it’s been way too long. They are the finest instrumental post-rock band we have in this city, and if you missed this show, you missed a great one.

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-014

They put the drummer up front which is perfect since Brandon is the heart of the group. He doesn’t need to see the other members to navigate the staggering number of twists and turns that they pack into every song. I guess they’ve still been practicing regularly this whole time.

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-023

This was one of the few shows where I considered just shooting a few songs and then putting the camera away and just rock out. But that feeling passed quickly.

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-013

Since it was packed, I was stuck in one spot the whole time so I couldn’t get all the angles I wanted to, but at least I was up front.

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-039

I’ve seen Kenseth play numerous times in a couple bands, and he’s always used the same silver P-Bass Deluxe. This time it was the same model, but a sunburst color. This is interesting to me since I play the same bass, only a blonde one with red tortoiseshell pickguard. Probably not interesting to anyone else though.

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-003

Joileah is the only stoic member of the group, concentrating on her fretwork the whole time. The other guys have plenty of enthusiasm to spare, though.

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-007

Rob Crow came up to sing on their one song with vocals, the ironically titled “People Staying Awake”.

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-017

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-020

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-004

Go see them at the Casbah on June 4th. I’m sure it’ll be another great line-up.

Sleeping People at the Soda Bar 50809© Michael Klayman-037

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There were quite a few other photographers and videographers at the show, so it’s pretty well documented on the internet by now. You can see some great video done by the guys standing right next to me, who captured video of them playing my favorite song as the closer.

I met Cari Veach at the show too, who does good work of mostly hardcore acts on bigger stages. When I mentioned how I stick to local shows, she said how that’s where you start out. I know this is how most photographers feel, like these local shows are just a stepping stone to bigger and more prestigous shooting gigs. But not for me.

I go to shows as a music lover first and foremost. This is why I shoot a lot of the same bands and why a hardcore punk band will show up in the next post after a jazz band, because that’s what I choose to go and see. I would much rather shoot a good local band who might not get a lot of photogs coming to their shows than hustle for the chance to get a photo pass for some national act that I’m barely familiar with who I won’t get to meet, and only get to shoot the first couple songs anyway. Even though a photo pit would have been nice for this show so I could move around while shooting, I’ll take this over shooting a band I have no interest in seeing or hearing.

With that said, guess what I shot the next day. Yup, the Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery festival, standing in a photo pit with an all-access photo pass. But that’s another post.

Gilbert Castellanos New Latin Quintet at Dizzy’s 5/2/09

I was all set to go to the Black Box BBQ this night, but when Heather heard Gilbert Castellanos at the Tango Del Rey a couple weeks ago, she insisted we see a full set of his ASAP. So, we found ourselves at Dizzy’s sitting down with a bottle of wine and some artichoke dip.

Gilbert Castellanos Quintet at Dizzy's 50209© Michael Klayman-001

Does Pinot Noir go with artichoke dip? I have no idea…

Gilbert Castellanos Quintet at Dizzy's 50209© Michael Klayman-010

Gilbert had a friend of his sitting in tonight, saxophonist Brian Levy.
You can see a song from this set on Dylan Savage’s (the drummer) YouTube page. My full gallery of images can be found on the gallery tab on my home page  now that I linked it to my Flickr page, or by clicking here.

Gilbert Castellanos Quintet at Dizzy's 50209© Michael Klayman-029

Brian’s another fantastic player who is also playing at Dizzy’s this Saturday, 5/9.

Gilbert Castellanos Quintet at Dizzy's 50209© Michael Klayman-012

They all are, of course. They have the chance to really stretch out on the tunes, but since they’re so well-rehearsed, they play lots of intricate ensemble pieces too.

Gilbert Castellanos Quintet at Dizzy's 50209© Michael Klayman-013

Gilbert Castellanos Quintet at Dizzy's 50209© Michael Klayman-037

This being the right before Cinco De Mayo, the New Latin Quintet played a good assortment of tunes to get in the spirit of things. Even when I was across the room shooting, I could see Heather dancing in her chair.

Gilbert Castellanos Quintet at Dizzy's 50209© Michael Klayman-034

Gilbert Castellanos Quintet at Dizzy's 50209© Michael Klayman-024

Gilbert Castellanos Quintet at Dizzy's 50209© Michael Klayman-040

Since the shows start at 8pm, they end early enough to continue the night at another club. This is a great place for a date, especially on a beautiful downtown evening  with the mood set by this beautiful music. Or, you can take your date home and see where that mood takes you.

Birdies in the Backyard

I stayed home form work today with the sniffles and after reaching the end of the internet, I decided to go out to the back patio and water some plants that desperately needed it. That’s when I found a bird sitting in one of the planters in a corner. When it didn’t fly away as I watered the plants, I knew that it must be sitting on something. It also reminded me that the last time I watered back here, a bird flew at me and startled me, so it must have been there for a while. It finally flew away to get some food, so I snapped some photos of the ‘lil birdies that it’s been caring for.

Birdies 50609© Michael Klayman-001

I used my telephoto so that I could stay as far away as possible, and stood on a stepstool to get a decent angle.

Birdies 50609© Michael Klayman-002

Right now, the mom is back, but perched on the fence, just checking things out. If I’m luckiy, I’ll be able to snap some shots of feeding time through the window.

The Amalgamated, Kingston A Go-Go at the Radio Room 5/2/09

My buddy Nick lives in L.A. now, but we used to share an office a few years ago back when we sold digital printing in Mira Mesa. This was just a few months after moving to San Diego, so he was one of the first guitar players I ever met. In fact, it was through answering a Reader ad for a bass player that we met and I found out about that print shop, which would come in handy since I found myself in need of a job not long after. For the past 8 years, I never saw him play an actual music gig until tonight.

But first, the Amalgamated were up.

Amalgamated at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-013

This is what I get for posting the photos of my last visit here unprocessed, thinking I finally figured out how to shoot here. Now I have to do justice to 19 total band members in two bands. Sheesh.

Amalgamated at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-005

The percussionist Chris does all those cool fliers for several venues like the Radio Room and the Royal Dive. Here’s the one he made for this show.

Amalgamated at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-017

I can appreciate ska music live, but it’s just not my thing for listening to in the car. These guys play it well, but the songs all kind of sound the same. Peppy, bouncy, happy music, but not incredibly diverse. Good for dancing though, which quite a few people did.

Amalgamated at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-012

I’m not sure if he was going for the “upright bass” look, or if he was just trying to stay out of the way for the rest of the crowd of musicians on stage.

Amalgamated at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-011

Amalgamated at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-018

Chris and this trombone player are engaged. Awww, ska is for lovers….

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Nick has always been into Reggae and other forms of Jamaican music, so it was no surprise to me that he joined a ska band a couple months ago.

Kingston A Go Go at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-007

What did surprise me was how good Kingston A Go-Go is.

Kingston A Go Go at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-047

Nick played the same skanky(?) guitar rhythms as the other band, but the overall sound was much deeper. The basslines were dubby-er, and the whole band was tighter. The musicians all seemed a few years older, and thus more experienced. Their lead singer had a much more commanding stage presence as well.
 

Kingston A Go Go at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-051

Both of them, actually.

Kingston A Go Go at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-049

And she plays a mean ‘bone too.

Kingston A Go Go at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-029

Kingston A Go Go at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-015

Lots of horns make for a nice big sound. They even had me dancing for a few seconds.

Kingston A Go Go at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-019

Kingston A Go Go at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-005

What made this an even better night out is having plenty of friends to chat with, including a couple people who Nick and I used to work with who I haven’t seen in a while. It was fun catching up and this music made a perfect backdrop for that.

Oh, and nice boots by the way.

Kingston A Go Go at the Radio Room 50109© Michael Klayman-056