I’m in the process of making my 2010 wall calendar, so if anyone is interested in buying a copy, let me know. It’s going to be full of my favorite shots from 2009, all non-music related. Mostly nature and landscapes, day and night. They’ll be $20, which is basically what I’m paying to print them up. If you’d like one, please let me know soon. I wanted to have these ready by now so that they’d be presents for people, but the whole computer switch delayed me. But you’ll still have it in time to hang for January.
I tried making it in time to shoot the Moons again, but got to the Soda Bar too late and missed them. To my surprise, half of A Scribe Amidst the Lions and a quarter of Seesaw Ensemble were on stage as Knockout Bell.
I only caught the last two songs so I can’t say exactly what I thought of the music, but it seemed to be a more jammy version of ASATL with spoken word interludes. Still packed with frenetics, which I really like.
Since this was my first time seeing Mike Hams away from the percussion, I focused on him.
Love those glowing blue hands. I much prefer this color scheme to the standard red and green one.
Incidentally, both of their “other” bands will be playing at my first solo show in February. Before that, I’m going to be giving a talk on my jazz photography at a very high profile gig, and I’ll let you know more about that early next year.
The Belly Up is one of my favorite places to see a band- great sound, a big stage, and color-changing lights. This is also what makes it hard to shoot. I just want to listen to the music. Boyscout doesn’t have a myspace page or any recordings yet, so this is the only way to hear the music.
They almost go out of their way to not be like other bands. For example, the hats change wearers several times during the set.
Beyond that, the music itself is unconventional in that it sounds like it’s being played just for the sheer fun of it. This is a chance to play things that don’t fit in any of their other bands, and it actually sounds good too!
It looks like they’re having too much fun to just call it a side-band.
Apes of Wrath played too.
This was my first time seeing Death Eaters, although I’ve heard their red dress song on a compliation.
Good blues rock with some strong singing.
The lights were wreaking havoc on my autofocus, and I can tell that my manual focus skills need some practice. The backline here is just far away enough that I want to switch to telephoto, but I don’t want the loss in lens speed.
Since he was closest, I focused on the singer.
After the show, I took a few group shots for Boyscout behind the Belly Up after getting kicked out of the dressing room. I left my tripod at work so I couldn’t do my standard long exposure shots. Which was fine, because none of us were in the mood to stand still.
Last weekend we witnessed the end of a great hard rock band, Modern Rifles. After opening sets by Lands on Fire and Swim Party, they took the “stage” and gave us one last chance to sing along to their quintessentially San Diego sound. See the full gallery by clicking on a photo.
By the time I got my camera and a beer, there was no place to stand in front, so I had to squeeze in on the side. I was sure that Jonny’s headstock was going to ram into either my camera or my crotch at any moment.
Brian is now in Boyscout, photos of their Belly Up show should be up soon.
It was great to see such a turnout of fans, everyone was singing and having a great time. I’ve shot this band several times over the past year, and they’re all super nice guys- no egos in the bunch. They even let friends take over some vocals.
If you don’t have their CD yet, you should pick it up. For one thing, it’s the best sounding CD to come out of Black Box Studios, in my opinion. And now it’s also the only way you’ll hear this music.
I’ll miss you guys.
After shooting the Moons, I hurried to the Casbah to catch Brawley’s last song. I didn’t have much time, so I didn’t end up with many usable photos.
I’ve got a lot of catching up to do so I’m going to keep this short. Click a photo for the full gallery, or just click here.
Nena Anderson is a multi-talented singer and creative artist in her own right. I hope to shoot one of her jazz gigs soon, since I’m a bit more into that music than country.
Wirepony played in the Atari Lounge between sets, and I remember the lighting being better last time I shot a band here.
Patrick from Truckee Brothers and O from fluf know how to make good ol rock and roll.
Patrick’s son played guitar too, talent runs in the family.
I got Blackout Party’s CD a while back and only listened to it a few times, so I was a bit surprised by how many songs I knew.
They’re surprisingly good, considering they’re jangly and countrified.
I woke up after Thanksgiving to find my computer constantly restarting itself and unable to boot up. I braved the Black Friday crowd and bought an HP Pavilion with a 23 inch monitor, but didn’t have access to any of my old data. To occupy my mind, I went out that night to catch Danny De La Cruz’s new band, the Moons. I had a chance to shoot the duo outside the Tin Can Ale House before their set.
I borrowed Danny’s flash a couple months ago in order to shoot Polvo’s group shots, and this was my last session with it before giving it back to him. Thanks Danny! Next time I’ll shoot your show. I had to run to the Casbah during this show, so sorry about not shooting your show this time.
It isn’t very often that I get to see a musical hero play a solo set and talk about music. It’s even more rare to see him for free, in a bass shop, and only have to drive 5 minutes to get there.
Bass San Diego is new music shop devoted to the discerning bass player. As part of their grand opening festivities they brought in Joe Zon of Zon Guitars and his longtime customer who happens to be one of the most phenomenal electric bassists of all time- Michael Manring.
I first heard his music about fifteen years ago, on his metal album, Thonk. I was a Primus junkie at the time, and here was an album that had Primus’s drummer playing with a bunch of people I had never heard of before. At the time, I had an affinity for Les Claypool, he was fast, weird, and we had somewhat similar last names. I didn’t think it was possible for a bass player to have more chops, until midway through the first song on Thonk, when I heard Michael do things on his bass that I had never heard before. Not only could he slap and tap, he could pull off a distorted fretless bass solo that would put most guitar shredders to shame. By the end of the song, my idea of a bass king had changed completely.
Michael travels the world and astounds crowds with ridiculous skills that always manage to serve the music. That’s what I respect the most about him- he doesn’t play these things just because he can, he plays them because that’s what does justice to his compositions. I get pretty bored watching someone wank away meaninglessly, but I could watch Michael make music all day. Judging by the bass community that came out to see him and give him a standing ovation at the end, I wasn’t the only one.
Some of my favorite band work of his is with Yo Miles!, an all-star jam band that focused on Miles Davis’s 70’s music. He doesn’t do much except hold it down for everyone else, but he’s still endlessly inventive in his supporting role.
He took the time to answer questions and take requests too. I was struck by his humility and his work ethic that keeps pushing him to work on his weaknesses, even though he’s already surpassed 99% of his peers.
After the clinic, I had a strange feeling inside. On one hand, I might as well give up playing. Why bother plunking around on the bass when there’s players like this in the world? But at the same time, I felt inspired to take my own music to the next level.
See the full gallery of photos here.