Kenny Eng and Doug Johns at Adams Ave Street Fair, 9/25/10

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.

Kenny Eng at Adams Ave Street Fair 92510 © Michael Klayman-001

The tarp kept the direct sunlight off their faces, so I came in closer for some individual portraits.

Kenny Eng at Adams Ave Street Fair 92510 © Michael Klayman-004

Kenny Eng at Adams Ave Street Fair 92510 © Michael Klayman-003

Kenny fronts a good band, it’s just not quite what I’d go to see in a club.

Kenny Eng at Adams Ave Street Fair 92510 © Michael Klayman-006

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.

Kenny Eng at Adams Ave Street Fair 92510 © Michael Klayman-005

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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.

Doug Johns at Lestats 92510 © Michael Klayman-006

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 Johns at Lestats 92510 © Michael Klayman-002

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.

Doug Johns at Lestats 92510 © Michael Klayman-003

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.

Doug Johns at Lestats 92510 © Michael Klayman-012

Doug Johns at Lestats 92510 © Michael Klayman-007

Harvest Moon at Shelter Island, 9/23/10

Harvest Moon at Shelter Island 92310 © Michael Klayman-001

Downtown sunsets are often stunning this time of year in San Diego. This one was made more special because it marked the end of summer, and the full moon was rising at the same time on the other side of the sky.

Harvest Moon at Shelter Island 92310 © Michael Klayman-003

The convergence of these three phenomena created a “Super” harvest moon, astronomically speaking.

Harvest Moon at Shelter Island 92310 © Michael Klayman-006

Whatever you call it, it was pretty.

Menomena, Suckers, Tu Fawning at the Casbah, 9/17/10

I got to the Casbah just after doors opened, this was going to be a packed show and I needed to be up front early. I was still hobbling on my swollen foot, but a Cranhammer and a Stone IPA took care of that.

Click on any photo to go to the full gallery.

Tu Fawning at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-006

Tu Fawning opened up with a fun set of heartfelt dance pop. The unpredictable percussion and breaks made them a good fit for the bill.

Tu Fawning at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-009

The ladies were high energy and cute, which never hurts.

Tu Fawning at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-019

The blonde started out the set on drums before coming up front and pulling all eyes to her as she sang.

Tu Fawning at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-001

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Suckers at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-002

Brooklyn’s Suckers lived up to their name. The guy in the middle drunkenly climbed on stage later, trying to sing with Menomena. Security pulled him off, but not before he stumbled and broke a bunch of empty glasses on the stage and then fell on top of me and my camera bag. Thank to Tashena, who got my camera bag out of harm’s way as this dude tried to crowd surf on me.

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Last time I saw Menomena, I stood in my favorite spot but couldn’t move around the packed floor. This time would be no different, so I stood on the right side to get a better view of Danny.

Menomena at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-012

Menomena at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-001

The guitarist from Tu Fawning joined them to help fill out the songs drawn from the past two excellent albums.

Menomena at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-014

Yep, those are baby heads on Danny’s drums. I get the feeling he’s a bit off, judging by his stage persona. It makes him fun to watch, though.

Menomena at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-030

Menomena at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-017

I bought Brent’s CD of his side project, Ramons Falls. It sheds a lot of light onto what he contributes to Menomena, mainly the vulnerablesongwriting, lyrics and keyboard work. He made it with many collaborators, but it’s cohesive and a bit more accessible than the lurching structures of Menomena music.

Menomena at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-007

My best view was of Justin, who puts the low end into the music, using hands, feet, and breath.

Menomena at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-028

Menomena at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-010

To be honest, last year’s show was better, but I think it was just a bad night for them. They left without playing an encore despite the crowd screaming for one. That’s a sure sign that something wasn’t quite right.

Menomena at Casbah 91710 © Michael Klayman-019

Brawley at Bar Pink, 9/16/10

My foot began hurting the day before and I had to take this day off as it got progressively worse- to the point where I could barely walk. After being stuck on the couch for the whole day, I had to get out of the house and see some music. My first stop was the Riviera Supper Club for the jazz jam and an Art Snob, the only way I’ll drink Knob Creek. Then it was on to Bar Pink, where I limped in just before Brawley hit the stage.

Brawley at Bar Pink 91610 © Michael Klayman-013

Last time I saw them, I showed up late and only had time to shoot their last song. This time I got to hear the honky-tonk the way it’s meant to be heard- in a dark bar with free flowing drinks and friends.

Brawley at Bar Pink 91610 © Michael Klayman-009

Sitting in tonight was an astounding pedal steel player. Two-step is not my favorite dance, I’d much rather swing, but it’s always a joy to listen to a virtuoso, no matter the style.

Brawley at Bar Pink 91610 © Michael Klayman-004

Nena Anderson sings country, jazz, and folk regularly, shifting between styles effortlessly.

Brawley at Bar Pink 91610 © Michael Klayman-012

Adrian Demain is a great player too.

Brawley at Bar Pink 91610 © Michael Klayman-011

Brawley at Bar Pink 91610 © Michael Klayman-007

Rafter at Public, 9/12/10

I found out about an open house happening last weekend in University Heights though Nathan Hubbard. He said it would be free food and beer, and that he’d be playing a set with Rafter. I’m a big fan of Animal Feelings, so Heather and I came down to check it out. It was being put on by Public, an urban architecture firm. While standing in line for the tacos, one of the owners regaled me with stories about how certain prominent San Diego musicians used to practice next door. Standing in front of me was Scott Mercado, who remembered me from his Soda Bar show that I shot.

After a couple tacos and beers, Rafter started a short, extremely well lit outdoor set.

Rafter at Public 91210 © Michael Klayman-003

The duo plays to what sounds like a backing track of some sort. It’s the only way to recreate all the sounds on the record. So, of course I made it a point to hit them up for a bass audition. Heather pointed out that this is probably the first band I’ve seen that consisted of 100% redheads.

Rafter at Public 91210 © Michael Klayman-002

Once again, a shoeless Nathan is bathed in light.

Later that evening, Rafter won a San Diego Music Award for his album, Animal Feelings. He had a couple extra tickets for the Awards and asked us if we wanted to go and help him accept his award in the unlikely event that Stightly Stoopid wouldn’t win. It’s a good thing he took his family instead.

In The Red, Terremoto, Rats Eyes, The Long and Short of It at the Casbah, 9/4/10

As always, click on a photo to go to the full gallery of images.

In The Red at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-001

In The Red kicked things off in the Atari Lounge on Saturday night.

In The Red at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-004

My buddy Lorenzo turned me on to them. I liked them right away.

In The Red at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-007

Back at the main stage, Terremoto shook the ground with brutal riffs, way heavier than any of their previous bands.

Terremoto at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-006

The Muppets had it spot on when they created the model for the barbaric drummer- Animal. Often mono-syllabic yet highly excitable, drummers have lowered inhibitions and a high tolerance for pain. Put a microphone in their hand and they might not make sense, but they will make you pay attention. Aha, the theme for the night!

Terremoto at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-007

Brian G. has a good set of pipes for yelling and screaming. But he can’t help to hide his smile, on or off stage.

Terremoto at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-005

Terremoto at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-011

The lighting for their set was even more uneven than normal, so I wasn’t able to get many shots of the rest of the band. By the time Rats Eyes came on, the whole front row was full of photograhpers flashing away. Bad lighting and volatile frontmen are not a good combination, so I slapped on the flash and joined the throng, something I never do, ordinarily.

Rats Eyes at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-006

Gabe Serbian opens his eyes on stage and something else comes out. In this case, the Animal has been released from his drum cage and he’s on a rampage instantly.

Rats Eyes at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-004

I don’t remmeber one note music from Rats Eyes, even though I’ve seen them a few times.What they actually play is beside the point, catharsis makes its own soundtrack.

Rats Eyes at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-009

Rats Eyes at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-010

Finally, the third drummer to speak his mind came up, Ben Johnson. Not much older but a lot wiser, he broke it down to The Long And Short Of It.

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-002

Some animals grow up under very conflicting circumstances. They’re voracious readers of the most free thinkers in literature, while also devoting themselves to the study of strict religious dogma. Years later, they might find themselves in another strange situation- slinging drinks a while never partaking themselves.

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-010

And preaching to those same people about it all. The Church of Ben is very hands on.

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-007

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-023

Hmm, looks familiar. Lety’s a rad chick, by the way.

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-034

Ben and Tim’s mom was rocking out on her birthday with us. Happy Birthday, Ellen!

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-028

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-015

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-024

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-033>

This is Burl. Now you know.

The Long and Short of It at Casbah 90410 © Michael Klayman-029

Red Fox Tails group shots, 9/2/10

Before the show, I took the Red Fox Tails outside to University Ave. for a quick group shoot.

Red Fox Tails Group Shoot 90210 © Michael Klayman-001

Besides being a fellow bass player, Jay Reilly is a very accomplished lifestyle photographer . We joked about mutual admiration as well as intimidation of each other. You can tell he knows posing better than I do, since he made sure to stand sideways in order to slim himself. Consider that trick stolen, especially for people towards the edges of the 11-16mm frame.

Red Fox Tails Group Shoot 90210 © Michael Klayman-003

I tried to do my 3 flash lighting dance for them, but my secondhand 420EX flash takes a good 20 seconds to recharge. That’s not so good when you’re using 15 second exposures. Anything over that and people can’t hold still enough. This flash has no exposure compensation, so it only fires at full blast when it’s not attached to the camera, thus the overly long recycle time.

Red Fox Tails Group Shoot 90210 © Michael Klayman-004

I still like them as environmental portraits (which is just a fancy word for loose framing and putting something interesting in the background).

OK Jay, rip me on my technique. I need to learn.

Red Fox Tails at West Coast Tavern, 9/2/10

Red Fox Tails at West Coast Tavern 90210 © Michael Klayman-021

I’ve shot at the North Park Theatre a few times, but I’ve never seen a show at the West Coast Tavern that shares the building. This night, I had the chance to see my old bandmates, now called the Red Fox Tails, play for Rosey’s Thursday night shows.

Red Fox Tails at West Coast Tavern 90210 © Michael Klayman-002

Once I realized that the main room was under the big marquee, the layout of the room made sense. They did a great job of making an inviting spot for all kinds of North Park locals. If you’re a whiskey fan, this place has a whole range of new flavors for you. And I hear the brunch is pretty good too, according to Jeff.

The bright red and blue spotlight wasn’t doing very much for me, so I tried out some new processing ideas to see if I could find a look that matched the swaggering surf jazz sound. It was the perfect music for the room- a little loungy, a little jazzy, 100% fun.

Red Fox Tails at West Coast Tavern 90210 © Michael Klayman-009

They snuck in a rendition of some Sesame Street song, “Lulu’s Back in Town”. I’ll bet they thought I wouldn’t notice.

Red Fox Tails at West Coast Tavern 90210 © Michael Klayman-012

I think Jay’s gone to upright bass exclusively. Last time I saw them he used an electric for most of the tunes.
 
Red Fox Tails at West Coast Tavern 90210 © Michael Klayman-010

Red Fox Tails at West Coast Tavern 90210 © Michael Klayman-005

The drinks are strong here, and after a couple Mules I was nice and loose. After shooting, grooving, and generally having a blast with old friends, I swung my lady out to the floor and we shared a dance together to a song called “Peking at Sunset”. Yet another great night in San Diego!

Red Fox Tails at West Coast Tavern 90210 © Michael Klayman-022

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzy’s, 8/26/10

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzys 82610 © Michael Klayman-016

Wow, Dizzy’s, you’ve changed. I thought that I would be having a relaxing time shooting the Joshua White Quartet, but the room is rotated by 90 degrees now, so I had to figure out my angles and sight lines all over again.

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzys 82610 © Michael Klayman-002

I decided to leave all my shots from this set natural. There has been no exposure, color, contrast, or sharpening done to these images. I did crop a couple and perform some spot removal, but these are pretty much as I see them in the viewfinder. The brighter lighting on this side of the room made it possible.

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzys 82610 © Michael Klayman-008

That’s not to say that these images couldn’t have benefited from some enhancement, but I wanted a record of what it looks like naturally before I start finding ways to make the images better.

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzys 82610 © Michael Klayman-010

One of these days, Duncan, we’re going on a photo walk together.

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzys 82610 © Michael Klayman-014 

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzys 82610 © Michael Klayman-017

This was Jason Robinson’s last San Diego gig before headed back to the East coast for a few months. He whipped out the curved soprano sax and alto flute as well as his main instrument, the tenor sax.

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzys 82610 © Michael Klayman-020

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzys 82610 © Michael Klayman-018

Ian Tordella joined in as the special guest too.

Joshua White Quartet at Dizzys 82610 © Michael Klayman-006

All in all, another night of great music makes the otherwise strange night worth it.