Shooting for my first time in L.A., I wanted to shoot one of the local bands that was opening for Polvo. Modern Memory had some good songs on their myspace, so they were the lucky winners.
Spaceland is an alright venue. I know San Diego bands play here quite a bit, but this was my first time seeing the place. They have a separate room in the back with pool tables that actually allows smoking. You can watch the stage show on a TV over the bar. I heard it was finally losing out to the law and was going non-smoking within a matter of days. I don’t understand how it could have lasted this long.
The singer has a very detached style of singing, which drags down their modern rock CD from being a true gem. The music itself is poppy and a bit melancholy at the same time. They blend keys and guitars well, with neither one taking precedence over the other.
The drummer even came out to play some guitar during a song.
I wasn’t feeling the music much when I was shooting, but the CD is worth a listen or two. It might have had something to do with the horrendous sound at Spaceland. The sound guy couldn’t even make the house music sound like anything other than a boomy mess. That and the expensive beer does not make me want to come back. But hopefully they come to San Diego sometime and I can hear them live again.
I haven’t posted in a while since we just moved into our new house, and I’m learning all the joys that come with being a first-time homeowner. I did manage to take a break from unpacking last Sunday to go see the Paul Ingram group.
Not many bands are led from the drum chair, but Paul Ingram has been quite successful at it, releasing an album last year and playing many private functions.
What’s even more impressive is how he manages to do it while holding down a full time job at Qualcomm. He’s even done some wedding photography too. I met him back in 2003 on my first jazz gig in San Diego, we were the rhythm section at a gig in Grossmont Center for a now-defunct tea shop.
I’ve seen Brian Pierini around town as well in several different groups. He’s expecting his first child in the next few months.
I’ve heard of the young Chase Morrin before, but this was the first time I had a chance to hear him play. He’s quite a piano player, and plays in lots of bands around town. I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots of good stuff from him in the future.
Of course, the most photogenic member of the band is the lovely Michela Dalla Pozza, singing in several languages besides English.
The group is based out of the South Bay, so it’s a treat when they venture up this way. Go catch them next time they play a public show!
After Rats Eyes, I went to the Casbah for shooting some Swim Party shots. Had great conversations with several people, including Sean McMullen who I’ve only met briefly in the past. After they finished their headlining show, I took Swim Party out to Kettner blvd. for some more practice shots.
Once again I started with some multi light mimicry.
I’m just beginning to be conscious of posing. Maybe get a little energy in the band, although it’s tough at 2 am when they’ve just finished their set, loading out, and packing the van.
This was also Alex’s birthday. I switched to my ultra-wide angle lens for the rest of the shoot so that I could get close.
And then some more normal on-camera flash.
I was now somewhat prepared for the next show I’d be shooting. Polvo. Live and Promos. Yow.
In preparation for a very important photo shoot, I borrowed a flash from Danny De La Cruz. I contacted a couple bands that were playing shows this night to see if I could practice some techniques. I wanted to make my beginner’s mistakes now, before I had to do it for real.
Rats Eyes was at the Tin Can Ale House, and I shot them just before they went on.
With any luck, this looks like a regular multi-light setup. In reality, it’s a long exposure with me running around the band and popping the flash as many times as I can before the shutter closes. I could get about three or four pops in the 15-30 second exposure periods.
Gabe is very good at standing still for such a long time, which is a bit surprising since he’s an absolute maniac on stage. He liked the underlighting look when I showed them what I was going for, so I tried to give him a good version of it. You can see a ghost image of the flash at the bottom.
Then some regular on camera flash just to cover my bases.
Take a guess which one was a class clown as a kid.
I hate to shoot and run, but I had one more stop to make to try this out on another band. I did do one color version for them, though I think this particular street corner looks better in B&W. And it matches the band better too.
Zoom blur, flash, hardcore band. Next time I’ll get those streetlamps behind all four of them and make them a truly iconic image. This isn’t bad for a first try though, in my opinion.
It doesn’t usually take me a week and a half to get a blog post up, but I’m not usually in the midst of buying a house either. Most of my free time has been taken up with packing and scheduling work to be done on the house, but I’ve still managed to get out and see some good shows. When I’m going to get a chance to work on those photos and share them remains to be seen. With that being said, now would be a great time for you to take look at the main galleries and consider purchasing a print. I think my night/long exposure photos would make a great addition to any decor!
Last Saturday night had Irradio headlining at the Radio Room. Last time I shot them, I mentioned that they had some inspirational themes in the music, and that must have hit home with the SDMA judges since their album won an award last month.
It was an uncharacteristically dim lighting scheme tonight so group shots weren’t happening.
I picked up the album to hear what all the fuss was about. I wasn’t really expecting much since the live show seemed a bit chaotic this night with some overly extended jamming in places. But damn, this CD is really good! Not only is it catchy, but it’s dense and uplifting too. I’ve had it in constant rotation for the past ten days, and it just seems to get better.
While it’s not exactly my favorite CD of the year, it’s still a great release and I can see why it won. Fever Sleeves, who opened up this show, should have at least gotten a nomination this year for Soft Pipes, Play On, but whatever. Judges aren’t perfect.
I forgot to post these shots from our weekend babysitting dogs and cats over labor day. Our friends got a new puppy named Casey that isn’t aware yet that I’m not a dog person. The beagle, Romey, now has a little sister.
Cute, unless you make direct eye contact with her. Then all you see is a big wet tongue launching itself at your face.
Ok, more with the cute.
It was fun shooting during daytime for a change.
I usually stay away from the Casbah shows that feature big bands, they’re crowded and teeming with other photographers. I don’t like feeling like a part of the paparazzi, but I was here to see the openers anyway.
Archons invited me to the show a couple months ago, and I almost couldn’t make it due to a potential reunion gig with a former band of mine. When that fell through at the last minute, I hurriedly made arrangements for a night of pounding metal.
Their CD is good, but it doesn’t come close to capturing the band live. If Kyuss wasn’t so burnt out from all that desert heat, this is what they’d sound like.
I stayed in my favorite spot during their set due to crowds and the fact that Doom had four photographers snapping away right in front of him. If he looks familiar, it’s because he works at the Casbah, although he’s usually wearing his trademark camouflage jacket. He’s a much nicer and thoughtful guy than his badass look might suggest.
Everything else about them is just as badass as it looks…
I’ll start off this next set by saying that I never heard of Om until Archons mentioned them to me, and didn’t even hear their music until the day of the show.
While I’m usually a fan of guitar-less bands, this was a bit different than the typical fast and heavy sound of the bass and drum combination.
These guys go for the slow burn, building up over many minutes to a frenzy of simultaneous bass distortion and drum soloing. Being unfamiliar with the music, every song sounded basically the same to me.
Not that it’s a bad thing- obviously this isn’t a group that goes for varied song structures. Everyone around me was in a blissed-out state, I guess I just wasn’t inebriated enough.
Last Wednesday was the debut of a new jazz group, the Cannon Kenyatta Project. An excellent night of music, as always.
The laid back grooves kept a nice easy pace for the whole set, without ever degenerating into that dreaded smooth jazz sound. This was jazz on a slow simmer, with original compositions as well as songs by Wayne Shorter and Andrew Hill.
I heard a remark that Kamau Kenyatta does not play a tenor sax very often, but he plays it as well as if it were his main instrument.
Derek Cannon was the only musician who I’ve seen before, and I came to this show specifically to hear him again. Not only is he a talented trumpeter but he’s a music scholar too, teaching classes in Rock music.
Rounding out the group was Andrew Michel on bass.
Tonga Ross-Ma’u on piano.
Richard Sellers on drums.
There was also some instrument switching going on.
The one hour set flew by, and I’m sure they’ll be even tighter at their second gig.