Any bands want a good gig?

A friend of mine is helping to put on a show for an arts opening on Saturday, 8/15. She needs a band that can fill 2-3 hours with music that has a bit of mass appeal, since it’s going to be for a few hundred art lovers. There will be food, drinks, and cash for the band. If anyone thinks their band would be interested, let me know and I’ll pass your info on.

from the website:

The California Center for the Arts, Escondido presents

Art & Intrigue


© Ryan McGuiness, Ab Ovo, 2007.
Collection of Michael Krichman and Carmen Cuenca.
Photo courtesy of Quint Contemporary Art

Saturday, August 15, 2009 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Center Museum

Celebrate the opening of Quint: Three Decades of Contemporary Art at
this festive reception while enjoying heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails
and artful entertainment.

Tickets: $17.50 – $12.50
Call (800) 988-4253 to purchase tickets

 

Hostile Combover, Boyscout, HFICLSI at the Beauty Bar, 7/11/09

I decided not to drive to L.A. to see Tortoise this night, choosing to go the Beauty Bar instead. If their most recent album was as good as the previous one, I would have gone, but it’s not, so I’m not driving to go see them.

The first band up was a new one for me, HFICLSI. The name sounds a lot better than it looks.

HFICLSI at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-001

And the band sounds better than the cuffed jean shorts would lead you to believe. Although they do raise the singer’s voice by an octave. It’s herky-jerky hardcore style.

HFICLSI at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-002

The lighting at the Beauty Bar sucks, so I tried three different approaches to post processing, one for each band.

HFICLSI at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-004

—————————

Boyscout is the ever-improving supergroup of Hialeah, Transfer, and Marasol members. After just a few gigs, they managed to fill up the Beauty Bar dance floor pretty well.

Boyscout at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-003

Boyscout at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-006

The interplay between Justin and Mario on drums has become a bit more jazzy, in that they’ll bounce ideas off each other and trade eights occasionally.

Boyscout at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-017

Boyscout at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-013

The funny thing is that it doesn’t sound like a joke anymore. I’m sure this just started as way to jam among friends that happened to land a couple gigs, but they are onto something now. They’re playing the North Park Music Thing in a few weeks,  go see them.

Boyscout at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-007

Since these are some colorful characters, I kept the color in their set, for the most part.

Boyscout at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-016

————————–

And now, one of the last times I’ll get to see my favorite San Diego band, Hostile Combover. They’re calling it quits next month.

Hostile Combover at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-001

Hostile Combover at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-003

I desaturated everything and kept just the reds for them. Which is kind of how the show felt- like something’s been sucked out. I do hope Ben finds another band to drum for. Even though he doesn’t hold a mic in this band, he’s still pretty much the frontman.

Hostile Combover at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-005

Hostile Combover at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-011

I didn’t bother going to the right side of the stage since there was no light there. Luckily, John and Cole switch instruments for a few songs.

Hostile Combover at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-017

Hostile Combover at the Beauty Bar 71109 © Michael Klayman-015

They are playing one last show on 8/11 and having a fire sale on all their merch. If you like Amphetamine Records-style music, you need to see them play! You won’t get another chance.

Gilbert Castellanos Group at the Onyx Room, 7/7/09

Our downtown adventure finished off with a couple sets at the Onyx Room with Gilbert Castellanos. Yes, I’m taking band photos while out with my wife on our night-before-our-anniversary celebration.

Hey, she knows what she married.

I’m not very happy with what I shot since the Onyx Room has this lava lamp lighting scheme, and I was a couple drinks past the point of being able to shoot well anyway. Most of the show was spent shooting at ISO 200. D’oh!

Gilbert Castellanos at the Onyx Room 70709 © Michael Klayman-008

Ramon Banda is sitting in on drums with Gilbert for a least a little while.

Gilbert Castellanos at the Onyx Room 70709 © Michael Klayman-004

Dylan Savage left the next day for Japan, where he’ll be spending the next two years with his wife. He sat in for a couple songs with the band, and he never sounded better.

Gilbert Castellanos at the Onyx Room 70709 © Michael Klayman-010

Gilbert Castellanos at the Onyx Room 70709 © Michael Klayman-014

I never mentioned it on here, but I was honored when Dylan asked me to shoot his wedding a few months ago. This was the first wedding gig I ever accepted, I usually turn them down. Hopefully he won’t mind if I post my favorite shot from his wedding.

Good luck in Okinawa, Dylan and Sang-hee! We’re going to miss you. I hope you make each other as happy in your marriage as Heather’s made me these past two years!

Anniversary Day 7/8/09

Our two year wedding anniversary was last week, so the night before we went downtown to stay at the quaint St. James Hotel downtown.

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-015

We got a suite on the top floor thanks to an unofficial anniversary special. Hehe….

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-003

It’s got the original elevators with the original iron gate doors, and travels at the original speed. Two full minutes to go up ten floors. Good thing we had drinks with us.

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-007

We had dinner at the Marble Room in the Gaslamp, a block from the hotel. It’s a tapas restaurant, although the food is mostly Italian.

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-017

Like Caprese Salad:

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-021

And Chicken Marsala:

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-023

The plates were small and shareable. My favorite dish was my entree- pork tenderloin:

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-024

And more drinks!

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-019

By the time we got to the Onyx Room to see the Gilbert Castellanos group, we were quite cheery.

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-025

Good thing we only had to stumble one block to get back to the room. My shots from the show will be their own post, but they’re not very good. Partly due to the two-drink minimum and the one we had while waiting for the doors to open.

Late the next morning, we went back to the roof for one last look.

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-026

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-028

Then brunch at Richard Walkers Pancake House.

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-029

We went to Coronado for an afternoon stroll and decided to tour the Silver Strand since we’ve never seen it. We made it all the way down before heading back and sunning ourselves.

Anniversary 70809 © Michael Klayman-031

Fun fun fun!

Archons, Mt. Vicious, The Long and Short of It at the Radio Room 7/2/09

No better way to start the long weekend than with some hardcore music. It gets you pumped for a hot and heavy holiday weekend.

Archons were just getting started on their tour, and were getting a warm sendoff.

Archons at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-001

Heavy, technical metal- nothing fancy. I called them old school last time.

Archons at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-005

Archons at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-006

You might recognize Doom as a Casbah doorman. He had lots of his friends from the club at the show cheering him on.

Archons at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-007

———————

I was about to pull out my camera to start shooting Mount Vicious, and then the bass player spit beer all over the stage.

Mt. Viscious at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-001

 I decided to keep my distance, so I shot from one spot for a couple songs and that was it.

Mt. Viscious at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-003

The singer was playing to the back of the room, making huge gestures and dropping to his knees every other minute. If Scott Weiland and Elvis had a love child, this would be him.

Mt. Viscious at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-005

Mt. Viscious at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-006

Mt. Viscious at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-010

Fun to watch, but it’s a bit too glam for me to get into. The lights were really dim here tonight and neutral instead of the usual orange, so I had to process these differently.

————————-

The same light was on for The Long and Short of It, so I decided to convert all of their shots into B&W.

The Long and Short of It at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-003

Ugh, I need a wider lens.

The Long and Short of It at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-005

If any photographer wants a challenge, try shooting a frantic Ben Johnson on stage.

The Long and Short of It at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-007

In dim light, no less. And in a packed room. While banging to hardcore metal. And you never know when he might launch himself over you.

The Long and Short of It at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-008

It’s easier to shoot the other guys.

The Long and Short of It at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-018

Or it would be if Ben wasn’t all over the stage all the time.

The Long and Short of It at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-006

I got enough guitar shots last time, anyway.

The Long and Short of It at the Radio Room 70209 © Michael Klayman-002

There’s several more shots if you click on a photo and go to the gallery. These guys are worth seeing there, and more so live! They’ll give you your money’s worth of fun.

Rob Thorsen CD Release Show at Anthology 7/1/09

Rob Thorsen invited me down for his CD release show last week. Anthology is a beautiful space for jazz, if a bit cavernous.

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-003

Left to right, Josh Nelson, Rob Thorsen, Gilbert Castellanos, Brian Levy, Duncan Moore.

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-010

Everyone sounded great, as usual. I’m pretty familiar with the CD so it was fun to hear the songs live.

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-012

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-049

I didn’t know Brian Levy was playing until the start of the show. He and Gilbert can really lock in with each other during the ensemble sections.

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-053

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-019

This is a tough stage to shoot since I’m constantly dodging waiters, trying to grab what shots I can from the spaces between the monitors, and trying to stay out of the way of the seated diners right in front of the stage. The video screen acts as another member of the band, only one who’s ten feet tall, gets into every shot, and is constantly changing.

It is fun to go for the screen shots.

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-024

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-026

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-034

Everyone was having a good time on stage, it did have the feel of a party, and not just a gig..

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-048

Rob Thorsen CD Release show at Anthology 70109 © Michael Klayman-007

Great CD and great show!

La Jolla Children’s Pool at Night, 7/3/09

After last weekend’s trip to the Children’s Pool during the Day, I made a note to come back at night. It has everything interesting- rocky coast with little islands, a dramatic sea wall, seals, and a small beach. Natalie came met up with me around 10 pm  for some moonlight photography.

After almost 4 hours and many 4-10 minute exposures, the only image I’m truly happy with is this one:

La Jolla Children's Pool at Night 70309 © Michael Klayman-009

That couple stayed in one place for the full ten minute exposure. I wish I knew who they were so that I could show it to them.

La Jolla Children's Pool at Night 70309 © Michael Klayman-007

Most of my exposures were around 4-6 minutes at f/11 or f/16. I don’t have a good feel yet for how a properly exposed night shot looks on the back of the LCD, so I thought I had enough information to work with in post. I turned out that I had to push process a lot more than I should have, resulting in noisy and very contrasty images. If I held back on the processing, they were just a bit dim.

La Jolla Children's Pool at Night 70309 © Michael Klayman-002

With some more patience to add a couple more minutes to each shot, I think they would have turned out better. There’s always next time, which will be sooner rather than later! There is something very exciting about standing in the darkness and imagining how it’s going to reveal itself to you. Anybody know of any other interesting locations?

What I Do, Part Two

Seeing my shots from last year’s Bass Summit and comparing them to this year’s, I see a number of differences. So I think it’s time I mentioned some areas where I think I’ve grown. No photographic examples this time, hopefully they’re pretty easy to see in the other posts.

If I had to contrast my current shooting style against what it was a year ago, there’s a few things that are obvious to me:

1. I’m much more comfortable getting close which is where the best
images are. By getting close, it’s easier to fill the frame and add
dimension to the shots. In essence, where you put your lens is where
you’re putting the viewer’s eye, no matter what focal length you use.
If you want the viewer to feel like he’s in the front row, you have to
be in the front row. If you shoot with a telephoto lens from the back of the room. You might still fill the frame, but it will still have a detached, voyeuristic quality.

2.  I’m not shooting so much at a purely horizontal or vertical
orientation. The eye is pretty forgiving, and can see which way is up,
even if the vertical lines are tilted 45 degrees. A strong composition
consists of diagonal lines and placing points of interest in the proper
place in the frame according to the rule of thirds, some pretty basic
Photo 101 stuff. By trying to highlight this and being flexible with
the angle, I can maximize the strength of the composition and the
diagonal lines just fall in place. A straight shot consists of a lot of
horizontal/vertical lines, by tilting the camera slightly to one side,
those lines suddenly become diagonals, ideally pointed at one of the
points of interest.

Since the diagonal of the frame is longer than the sides, it can
effectively function as a hidden wider angle lens, letting me fit more
of the action in. At the wide end, this gives me an effective 14.1mm
lens when using my zoom at it’s widest 17mm focal length. It might not
sound like a lot, but it’s 20% wider.

Just like in music, you don’t have to follow the rules of composition
every time. But you get better results if by sacrificing one rule, you
follow two others more closely. That can define a style all on its own.

3. I’m relying much less on post-processing to save a shot. I used to
add more split toning and other effects to add interest to a shot, but
I’m more brutal in the editing process now. If a shot doesn’t work for
a certain reason, I just delete it instead of trying to fix it in post.
This requires getting it right in camera a lot more and then using the
processing to highlight that shot’s strengths, not mask its weaknesses.
When I do add some color to a B&W shot, I use a much lighter touch
now. It should suggest a mood, not state it explicitly. 

4. While music stands continue to be the bane of my existence, I like
adding foreground elements into a shot. They provide some depth to a
scene, just like keeping the background from going to pure black can do
the same. Any good landscape  photo has layers- something happening in
the fore-, mid-, and background. Ideally, these different layers give
the eye places to rest and paths to follow though the photo. At rock
shows, I try to make the singer’s mic stand into a compositional
element, taking something close and making it point at the singer
further back. If I can get the background to work with the subject
instead of against it, so much the better.

5. A live show is not a portrait session. I’m not trying to achieve a
perfectly lit and posed image. I’m trying to capture how a performance
looks and sounds. I love capturing the expressions the performers make,
since they’re not going to make those same faces anywhere else. Well,
at least not in public…

I strive for a tonally balanced image every time, with information in
the highlights, midtones, and shadows, but it’s not always possible.
Some lighting setups are just too contrasty to be able to balance
without using flash, which I refuse to do at this point. In that case,
I’ll try to properly expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall
into total darkness. It’s better than trying to use too slow a shutter
speed for a better exposure, only to comprimise the sharpness of the
shot. Post processing can help with this too, as long as it’s used
sparingly.

6. Finally, I’m having a lot more fun shooting now than I was a year
ago. When I started, I was more self consious about being seen as the
dork
with the camera. I don’t care so much how I’m seen now, since the
musicians themselves have given me a lot of positive encouragement. I
feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, and so there’s nothing to be
embarassed about. Another part of this is being more comfortable with
the camera. I can now adjust settings and change lenses without having
to look at what I’m doing, letting me simply enjoy myself while I’m
shooting.  This is actually the most important point, I need to be able
to do the previous five points as automatically as possible so that I
don’t have to think about all this while I’m shooting. Just like in
music, you practice hard so that your hands know what to do by
themselves, then you can just concentrate on being creative.

Bass Summit at Dizzy’s, 6/28/09

After I woke up the next day after shooting at the Casbah, my neck was sizzling from my sunburn and rubbed raw from the camera strap. I also had a pretty good headache going, three beers and staying up till 3 am. does that to me now.

My buddy John dragged me to O’Brien’s so that he could cheer on his Brazilian soccer team. O’Briens has great beer, but a hop bomb before noon was the last thing I needed. We drank the lightest beer on the menu, Alaskan Summer Ale, while he cheered very quietly for his team in the midst of some die-hard USA team fans. Any hangover relief that comes from a couple beers in the early afternoon is very temporary, and only exacerbates the problem later on.

I was toying with the idea of staying home and taking a night off, but how can you miss the chance to see seven bassists performing a once a year concert? Luckily, I don’t feel pain while shooting great music.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-001

I shot last year’s show too and it was the same group of bassists, only San Diego Symphony principal bassist traded places for last year’s Kristin Korb. Last year was a bit more crowded so I could only manage to shoot from the back of the room with my telephoto, but I’m much less shy these days.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-004

After some ensemble pieces, each bassist got a chance to shine. First was Mark Dresser, displaying some avant-garde chops and specially installed pickups in the fingerboard that amplify overtones that are usually almost silent.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-006

Bob Magnusson challenged the notion of what can be done with a “stand-up” bass.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-010

I wonder how many times he’s heard that joke.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-013

 Danny Weller, the youngest bassist of the evening, played with a clarinetist friend who flew in just for this gig.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-018

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-016

Danny’s getting married next weekend in the same place I got married almost exactly two years earlier- the walled garden at the Quail Botanical Gardens. Congratulations Danny!

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-021

Jeremy Kurtz is another young guy who has climbed to the top bass chair at the San Diego Symphony and Opera.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-031

Heather had me buy his CD, she likes his focus. He has a different bass sound than the jazz guys, with incredibly articulate arco work. He played in some small groups with the other guys, and even though it’s easy to hear the differences in their approaches to the instrument, the common ground is musicianship.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-034

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-035

Rob Thorsen played a couple cuts off his new CD, including a time-shifting version of “Giant Steps”.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-038

His CD release show at Anthology was a couple days later, those shots will be coming soon.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-039

Marshall Hawkins’ bass is unusual because it is blond.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-029

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-030

In fact, you can’t fully appreciate the variety in basses until you hear and see them in this context, where they’re up front.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-041

Bert Turetzky is the most recorded solo bassist in the world. He’s got more than 300 solo bass recordings, not including all the other work he’s done. He’s also been a teacher to most of the other bassists on stage at some point in their careers.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-042

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-047

He told a story about being intimidated by Mingus back in the day, then played a jazz poem in honor of him.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-048

There is an untold amount of wisdom and experience in this man, as well as a sly sense of humor. He told a story about his family leaving Poland to escape the Cossacks. My grandfather fled Poland to escape the Nazis.

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-049

Finally, some detail shots that didn’t quite fit anywhere else in this post:

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-050

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-037

Bass Summit at Dizzy's 62809 © Michael Klayman-036

It’s like seeing a herd of elephants.

Swim Party, Two Sheds at the Casbah 6/27/09

After taking a long look at the La Jolla Children’s Pool, I came home to find that I had sunburned the back of my neck, right where I hang my camera strap. I knew it was only a matter of time before it would start to hurt, but it still felt fine by the time I got to the Casbah, so I figured I was OK for shooting. It was a full nigth with four bands, but two of them just didn’t do it for me, so I didn’t take photos.

Two Sheds was playing filler sets in the Atari Lounge, and they were a pleasant surprise.

Two Sheds at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-001

They rocked a bit harder than the average countrified rock band, which I liked.

Two Sheds at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-024

Although she might look demure at first glance, she had some spirit in her singing and some chatty stage banter.

Two Sheds at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-019

Another pleasant surprise is the lighting in here. It’s fairly bright along the “stage” area, so it makes it a breeze to shoot a number of ways. Desaturated colors and B&W seem to work best in here. The colors are a bit garish, except for the stained glass curtain in the very corner.

Two Sheds at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-002

I usually never even walk into this part of the Casbah and never gave any thought to shooting a band in here, but wow, I should explore this area more.

Two Sheds at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-022

Two Sheds, meet two drinks.

Two Sheds at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-006

Two Sheds at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-012

Desaturated colors and B&W seem to work best in here. The colors are a bit garish, except for the stained glass thing in the very corner.

—————-

This was Swim Party’s first headlining gig at the Casbah, and it occurred to me during their set that I’ve never seen them play here.

Swim Party at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-001

They’re also a joy to shoot since they bring their own lights. The music’s not bad either. One of only several local bands that Heather and I both really like.

Swim Party at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-003

And they’ve got some very smiley members.

Swim Party at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-004

Swim Party at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-012

Swim Party at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-018

They had a really good turnout, and they were obviously happy to be playing for so many friends.

Swim Party at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-023

Swim Party at the Casbah 62709 © Michael Klayman-024

By the end of the night, my neck was starting to burn, and I knew that the next day would be rough after such a fun and late night. But I had a lot more shooting to do.