Tortoise, Das Boton at the Casbah, 6/13/10

I saw Tortoise for the first time about five years ago in a packed show at Canes. I had just gotten my first couple CDs of theirs the month before the show, so I wasn’t as big a Tortoise-freak as I would later become. I’ve collected numerous recordings these past five years, and I was hoping they’d play something from their entire span.

I happened to grab the last stage front spot when I got to the Casbah around 9pm. Some people have been waiting a long time to see this show,and they don’t mind standing in one spot for three hours to be therewhen it happens. Mostly other photographers. We’re strange like that.

But first, Das Boton opened up. Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

Das Boton at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-001

I heard that one of the members used to be in 5ive Style, which was a great, funky proto-Tortoise group that made a couple records. It only took a few seconds into the first song to realize that it was Billy Dolan on the quirky funk guitar that sounded really familiar.

Das Boton at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-004

Das Boton at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-015

Das Boton at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-005

Good stuff, especially since I spent their set drinking my first Cranhammer. Ben Johnson likes to make a good stiff drink. I highly recommend ordering one.

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It was cool that Tortoise chose to book their tour in smaller venues like the Casbah. They could have probably sold out the Belly Up, but it’s not the same thing as being so close to each other and to the crowd.

Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-001

To see this band right in front of me like this was surreal. These are real Rock Stars, and they’re close enough to sweat on me!

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-007

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-010

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-031

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-040

They played all their hits. There’s just not much to say, other than it was an intense show.

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-014

Chris Woo got off a couple flashes before John Herndon shut him down. I happened to catch his very last flash for my favorite catchflash shot yet.

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-016

These are total luck shots, but the more shots you take, the luckier youget.

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-043

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-011

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-030

Tortoise at Casbah 61310 © Michael Klayman-041

I also have their set list, but it’s no help when it comes to which songs they played. Just like everything else they do, it has its own logic to how it references the titles. All three-letter names.

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Steps Spiral Downward at Soda Bar, 6/12/10

I left Lord Howler midway through their set so that I could get over to the Soda Bar to see Nathan Hubbard’s latest Doom-Metal project, Steps Spiral Downward.

Steps Spiral Downward at Soda Bar 61210 © Michael Klayman-011

In keeping with the June Gloom music series vibe, the stage lights were turned way down so I had to use my fast prime lenses, and even then I couldn’t keep my shutter speed high enough to prevent blurring. I think it emulates the dark, sludgy sound of the music.

Steps Spiral Downward at Soda Bar 61210 © Michael Klayman-003

There was supposed to be an operatic singer on stage too, but she never made it to the show. Lyrics would have certainly helped keep the songs from bleeding into each other the way they did.

Steps Spiral Downward at Soda Bar 61210 © Michael Klayman-004

Nathan and Rafter have collaborated for years, and rafter was helping out with guitar duties. This sure sounded different than his new album, the excellent Animal Feelings, a seriously fun record to put on during a lazy summer afternoon by the pool.

Steps Spiral Downward at Soda Bar 61210 © Michael Klayman-007

Although a bit empty sounding, the songs were tight due to these guys being accomplished musicians in multiple genres who actually know how to read. That skill served them well since they only had time to practice once.

Steps Spiral Downward at Soda Bar 61210 © Michael Klayman-008

Lord Howler, Black Hondo, Ghetto Blaster at Radio Room, 6/12/10

The Radio Room is a great place to see heavy music- it’s like a dark basement where you can scream and yell and just get loud. Ghetto Blaster did just that this weekend with a blistering opening set.

Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

Ghettoblaster at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-004 

The room was really dark tonight, so I pushed these images higher and higher until I got a gritty look that matched the manic screams and kick-jumps on stage.

Ghettoblaster at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-003

I stayed off to the side to keep clear of the little tornado of chaos.One drunk guy in the audience, I’m guessing his friend, came up and got the mic stand pushed into his chest. I couldn’t tell if that’s how rough they usually play, but I’ll keep my lenses over here, all the same.

Ghettoblaster at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-012

Ghettoblaster at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-005

Ghettoblaster at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-010

The Hostile Combover sound runs all through their 4 song EP, but these songs are a bit more frenetic.

After their set, I took a couple shots of friends before Black Hondo came on. They’re all just as camera crazy as I am, so I didn’t feel as weird doing it.

Ghettoblaster at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-001

Ghettoblaster at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-002

One thing I’ve always been proud of is that I somehow manage to avoid getting beer spilled on me when I’m shooting in bars. I would think that after almost three years of doing this as much as I do, some drunken idiot would drop a beer on me. Two minutes after this photo, I was the idiot who spilled his beer all over myself and a couple more people, and I didn’t even have the excuse of being drunk. My camera bag smells a little yeasty now. That’s probably not good.

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I’ve seen Black Hondo’s show listings and came close to seeing them before, but something else always happened.

Black Hondo at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-001

It’s not really my style of rock, but it’s decent enough to listen to. I pretty much just stayed focused on shooting during their set.

Black Hondo at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-004

Black Hondo at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-012

I wish I had some more light to work with. So dim, so unusual here.

Black Hondo at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-014

Black Hondo at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-013

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Lord Howler brought back the heavy.

Lord Howler at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-003

They were fun to hear for the first time, I would have liked to stick around for their whole set, but I had to go next door for another show.

Lord Howler at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-001

Jake Najor plays with a bunch of groups, and he was having a great time backing up these rockers.

Lord Howler at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-004

Lord Howler at Radio Room 61210 © Michael Klayman-009

Although I still miss the Zombie Room vibe of this venue, I did see some great shows here while it was the Radio Room. Let’s hope that the new owners can keep this room a cool place to go to see good music.

Backyard Garden, 6/10/10

It was drizzling when I got home from the June Gloom clouds and I had some time to kill, so I shot some of our new veggie plants.

Backyard Garden 61010 © Michael Klayman-002

This is the first tomato I’ve seen on my Topsy Turvey planter! And my first zucchini is almost ready to pick!

Backyard Garden 61010 © Michael Klayman-004

Our Plumeria is getting ready to explode, hopefully in a couple weeks.

Backyard Garden 61010 © Michael Klayman-003

Pizza night, 6/7/10

Last night was pizza night at Casa Klayman. I made a big pie with a whole wheat crust (which I rolled out myself), chopped onion, a little bit of Prego, mozzarela, and fresh basil from my garden. At the last minute I decided to microgreate a couple cloves of garlic, and a few seconds later I realized that there’s no easy way to apply garlic goop evenly onto a layer of cheese.

Twelve minutes in a 450 degree oven, and it looked nice and pretty. It filled the house with an intense garlic aroma.

Pizza 60710 © Michael Klayman-001

With the garlic distributed in several clumps across the top, some bites had a surprise garlic bomb.

Pizza 60710 © Michael Klayman-002

I’m the kind of guy who is always looking for ways to improve something. Some might think I’m incredibly critical, but it’s really just trying to be a little better than I was yesterday. This was my second attempt at this kind of pizza, and I added more cheese and basil this time, as well as rolling ther dough a bit thinner, all the way to the edge. Next time, I’ll put the basil under the cheese so it doesn’t wilt so much. For the other toppings, I think I’ll sweat the onions  and garlic with a bit of  red wine before putting it on the pizza.

Pizza 60710 © Michael Klayman-004

The crust could have used another minute or so, but the toppings were perfectly cooked. This tells me that I could go even thinner on the dough and add just a bit more sauce.

Pizza 60710 © Michael Klayman-003

Paired with the leftover contents of the previous night’s Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon it made a delicious dinner for two and lunch for me today. The pizza ingredients and bottle of wine cost around $10 total, not bad at all!

Ian Tordella Group at Dizzy’s, 5/29/10

Last Saturday night was Ian Tordella’s CD release party for his new album, “Magnolia“. Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

Ian Tordella Group at Dizzy's 52910 © Michael Klayman-001

Ian Tordella Group at Dizzy's 52910 © Michael Klayman-008

Instead of a piano player, the chordal duties were handled by guitarist Jeff Miles, who played on four tunes on the album.

Ian Tordella Group at Dizzy's 52910 © Michael Klayman-010

Obviously, I tried something new with the color. Just for fun, I tried to give this set as many different split toning looks as I could, trying to emulate the famous Blue Note cover style. I think it works better for individuals than groups.

Ian Tordella Group at Dizzy's 52910 © Michael Klayman-021

There’s a very good reason for this. Those covers were shot in a small studio with simple bare bulb lights in the days before ultra wide angle lenses came about. You could only get one person in the shot.

Ian Tordella Group at Dizzy's 52910 © Michael Klayman-009

The spotlights at Dizzy’s make a good approximation of that hard studio lighting. I got the color effect by converting to grayscale and adding a highly saturated hue to the highlights.

Ian Tordella Group at Dizzy's 52910 © Michael Klayman-016

Ian gave me a digital copy of the CD to give away to the first person to ask for it. Just let me know if you want it.

Dirty Sweet, Transfer, The Silent Comedy, Apes of Wrath at Birch North Park Theatre, 5/28/10

I have a new favorite stage to shoot- the Birch North Park Theatre! I’ve shot a couple sound checks for jazz bands recently, but this was the first time where the splendid lights were shining in their full glory. The bands were great too. Grab a drink, this is going to be a long one.

As always, click on a photo to go to the full gallery for that band.

Apes of Wrath kicked off the night right on time at 7:30pm, much to the surprise of the crowd that was still filling in during their set.  It did give complete access to the photo pit, which was a short-lived luxury, unfortunately.

Apes of Wrath at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-001

They just came off their west coast tour with Hotel St. George, so their songs were tight. After playing so many shows at dive bars, they looked a bit overwhelmed by the size of the stage for the first couple songs.

Apes of Wrath at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-004

Apes of Wrath at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-012

I thought Dustin would keep his shirt on for the whole set since this was a “respectable” venue. I was wrong.

Apes of Wrath at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-017

Apes of Wrath at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-018

They played a great warm-up set for the night. From then on, it would be a crazy show.

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The last time I saw The Silent Comedy, they played an intimate show at Luce Loft. I’ve heard that their stage shows can get pretty raucous, and it looked like they bumped up the energy even more on this big stage. By now, the photo pit filled up with fans, so I was stuck in one spot for most of the rest of the show, front and center.

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-028

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-045

I think it was Natalie who told me that Joshua Zimmerman’s knees are shot, probably from moves like that.

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-011

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-032

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-031

I do believe this guitarist is new, since I don’t remember seeing him last time.

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-030

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-026

I ended up with more keepers from this set, just because of the three ring circus of wonders that they put on. Such fantastic performers!

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-008

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-036

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-047

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-043

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-053

You might think their bran of Prohibition-era songs would sound old-timey and dated, but it’s not at all. The songs grab you like that fourth shot of bathtub gin until you’ve lost control. No wonder they sell out most of their shows.

Silent Comedy at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-055

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My favorite shots came from my favorite band of the night, Transfer . Funny how that happens.

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-001

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-029

Matt Molarius isn’t an incredibly distinctive singer, but his lyrics are simply and evocative, something that can only come from a talented songwriter.

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-005

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-011

Shaun Cornell alternated bass and keyboard duties.

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-022

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-010

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-014

I got into Transfer completely backwards from everyone else. I was a Boyscout fan first and shot Card numerous times with them, and then I started paying attention to Transfer. I only got my first CD from him after this show, and wow, I can’t believe I wasted all this time not listening to them. Future Selves is some really great stuff! I need to get the rest soon.

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-016

Their new drummer, Andy Ridley, didn’t miss a beat.

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-006

Besides the horn section, they had the same violinist, MartaZaludova, as Silent Comedy did for their set. She is a photographer as well as a multi-instrumentalist.

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-021

She made a great subject. Chops, confidence, and great legs make a very nice combination.

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-019

I could have ended the show here and been happy.

Transfer at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-031

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Dirty Sweet closed out the night.

Dirty Sweet at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-001

I’m not a huge fan of their style of ’70s rock, but the girls sure do like them. They crowded the front, and when I left my front of stage spot, a couple cougars muscled their way through me to my spot. I think that the free love movement is alive and well in these guys’ trailer on tour.

Dirty Sweet at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-019

Dirty Sweet at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-010

Dirty Sweet at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-014

Dirty Sweet at Birch North Park Theatre 52810 © Michael Klayman-015

I really hope to see more rock shows here- it’s an incredible experience! Thanks to Tim Mays and Rosey Bystrak for getting me in and making this shoot possible.