When I first started planning out my first solo show, it seemed so simple. Hang a few prints on a wall, serve some beer, and have some bands play. How tough could it be? It turns out that it takes A LOT of effort that has nothing to do with clicking and printing. By the time opening night came around though, it was all worth it.
My photos wil be hanging at Queen Bee Art Center in North Park for the rest of the month, so if you weren’t able to make it to the opening you can still stop in to see them. If you walk from Bar Pink to U-31, you pass within 100 feet of this gallery’s front door. These snapshots are a poor substitute for seeing actual prints in person.
The first time I walked into this space and saw the big stage, I had the idea to bring in some bands to play while their photos hung on the wall. It always takes me a few days to work on photos and get them posted and as a photographer, it’s just the nature of the beast to be that annoying guy in front shooting photos and to not be there when the bands get to see them for the first time. This show was my effort to close that gap and let the music and images happen simultaneously. I wanted an eclectic mix of bands that I like, and I’m really happy that they actually agreed to do it!
I tried to just relax and have fun this night, and even considered not bringing my camera so that I wouldn’t be tempted to shoot. Luckily, that insane notion passed quickly.
First up was was Seesaw Ensemble.
No horn player this time, just tasty grooves. Lots of people came up to me to tell me that they really liked these guys, and I’m happy that I was able to expose them to something that they wouldn’t normally hear.
I mention it every time I shoot them, but free jazz is a very broad term for music, not all of which is good. Some of it can be downright painful to sit through.These guys do it right, making improvised music that relies on members that listen and react to each other.
They all have multiple projects they play in, and those experiences inform their playing in a very interesting synergy. There isn’t a permanent lineup, just a core of players that bring in other players when the time is right.
It’s always fun to see some of my best friends play, and I’ve known most of the guys in the Tracotrmen for almost as long as I’ve lived in San Diego. I kept it secret until now, but their full set of group shots that I did for this show can be found here.
They improved a lot in the past couple years, and I think Jim is now getting comfortable being a bandleader instead of just a guy making basement tapes with his acoustic guitar.
Maybe some bands down here can get them on an opening slot and lure them down from North County more often.
This was actually my first time seeing Irradio since picking up their excellent album, I am the Horn. I really wish I had bought it sooner, because it stays in constant rotation in the car. Once again, I kept it secret until now, but their full set of group shots that I
did for this show can be found here.
Dan Dasher is one of the more dynamic frontmen in San Diego.
It was at this point that I learned an important lesson in event production.- buy more beer than you think you need, or you’re liable to run out before the last band goes on. Now I know for next time.
A Scribe Amidst the Lions rounded out the night, playing some songs off their brand new EP.
Kristofer is another guy who gives his all on stage, and that makes for a great show.
When I saw this girl spinning to the music, I took this shot and then came over to let her know that I had a shot of her dancing on stage at the Casbah. She told me that she saw it before and didn’t remember doing it. That’s why I’m here- to capture memories so you don’t have to.
When I asked Seesaw Ensemble and ASATL to be part of this show, I had no idea that Mike Hams played in both bands, and is Kristofer’s brother. My buddy Mike Brown, drummer from Tractormen, really dug his playing in particular.
Thank you to all the bands and everyone who came out and supported me for my first ever solo photo show. It was a bit surreal to have so many people complimenting me on my work- I don’t do this for the “glory”, I do this as a sort of compliment to the musicians. Since a few people have asked, I’ll say that I’m not sure if I’ll put another one of these events on or not. Right now, I’m just trying to relax and just have fun shooting again without the pressure of an upcoming show or slideshow presentation. This was a tremendously rewarding experience, though, and I’m happy I went through with it! I pushed myself to make it happen, and it was a success. Life is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and you can accomplish a lot if you just believe in yourself.