We checked out the Adams Ave street fair early in the day on our way back from massages in PB (thanks Reader Steals!). Vendors were still getting set up, but music started on time. I wasn’t going to shoot at first, daytime shows don’t look so dramatic and it was hot. But I ran into fellow music photographer Dennis Andersen, and he talked me into shooting the band playing right in front of us, Kenny Eng.
Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.
The tarp kept the direct sunlight off their faces, so I came in closer for some individual portraits.
Kenny fronts a good band, it’s just not quite what I’d go to see in a club.
The bass player looked incredibly bored for the few songs I saw. I probably would be too, playing mid-tempo, straightahead rock, but if you’re on stage you should at least pretend to have fun. It makes for a better show.
For contrast, the funky bass player Doug Johns knows what an honor it is to perform music for people, and he let everyone know just how much he was enjoying himself.
Lestat’s isn’t usually a sweaty nightclub, but the 95 degree heat outside made it even funkier inside. Doug is a touring pro bass player who calls Cleveland his home, which is where I’m from! I introduced myself and he said I was the first Clevelander he met on tour.
Doug plays that wackita wackita-style slap bass through a looper and effects. If you like El Ten Eleven, you might enjoy this. His drummer also used some drum pads to trigger horn patches.
And they were laughing and joking with the audience the whole time.
Even if you can’t forge a connection through the music, at least you’re giving the audience a reason to watch you. I think that when you get on a stage for anything, you are telling the audience that you have something worth paying attention to. I see bands quite often that don’t take things seriously enough, or even worse, they take their “art” way too seriously. There is a reason that the expression is “paying attention”. Your audience is paying you even at a free show. Make sure you give them something that’s worth it.
Doug sat down at the kit and backed himelf for a while. It was his enthusiasm and spirit that kept me inside that stuffy room for his whole set. And that’s what I like to see and shoot.