I have been trying to get back to listening to whole albums, start to finish, and picked this one as a bit of throw back while I did some work on my laptop a few weeks back.
While this was a band that I immersed myself into during my teenage fandom years, it really struck me how this song is so fitting for the divisive, political climate we exist in today.
I talk of freedom You talk of the flag I talk of revolution You’d much rather brag And as the decibels of this disenchanting discourse Continue to dampen the day The coin flips again and again, and again, and again As our sanity walks away All this discussion though politically correct Is dead beyond destruction Though it leaves me quite erect And as the final sunset rolls behind the earth And the clock is finally dead I’ll look at you, you’ll look at me And we’ll cry a lot But this will be what we said This will be what we said Look where all this talking got us, baby
Songwriters: Chad Alan Gracey / Chad David Taylor / Edward Joel Kowalczyk / Patrick Dahlheimer White, Discussion
Say what you will about Billy Idol. He’s been doing this rock and roll thing for a long, long time and still being Billy Idol like it’s nobody’s business.
I was very fortunate to get some of the best shots I think I’ve ever had the opportunity to shoot when it comes to concert photography. This one would be my favorite during his performance at the Pemberton Music Festival in July of 2016.
This is a question I ask myself every time I hear their song on the radio or randomly coming up on my various playlists. Even at KRUI, you would have thought that I would have at least played Sloan[wiki] once.
It’s quite possible that I played them at one time and never knew it. That’s the beauty of free form, college radio. Although some would call it a curse.
Concert photography and perfect lighting is something like the sweet spot on the bat. If you can connect that moment with perfect timing and location, it’s out of the park.
Not only is it about your location in terms of proximity to stage, but you will never be in control of the lighting that is presented to you. Some times, you just have no option other than to turn a shot into black and white, and that’s very rock and roll in its own regard.
Every once in a while, I find that processing a photo in black and white presents a different feeling to a shot altogether. And while that’s an obvious statement, I don’t like to do it very often.
I liked the way you see Jay and Eon (Bedouin Soundclash) come together at the center of the stage to focus on just each other for a brief portion of the song, forgetting everyone and everything else around them.
Pulling the color out of this one gives me more of a feeling that should be replicated by concert photography. It’s easy to get the photo of the lead singer at the microphone while he or she sings to the people in front of them. What’s more important to me is to capture those moments on stage that represents the intimacy of what live performances really are.
After all, I’m more of a fan than I am a photographer because I’ve been going to rock shows longer than I’ve owned a camera.
I got a posting on my Facebook wall about a band that was from Iowa, The Autumn Project. The question was about if I knew about them because we’re both from the same state and the person really hoped they would come to Vancouver.
It seems like I’ve seen their name float by me at some point, but it’s tough to say that I know a whole lot about them. Reading up on them a little bit, I found out that they’re from Des Moines, Iowa. And actually, they’re right in the middle of one of those “indefinite hiatus” situations.
But the thing that struck me is when I found on that they were from the central portion of Iowa, my first thought was, “Of course I don’t know who they are, they’re from the central portion of the state.” And it’s completely true.
My hub for a music scene was Iowa City for a number of years. There were those two or three hour road trips for a show on occasion, and that was often for acts from other states or countries on their tour route.
I think that once you start to get into a local music scene, your efforts of venturing out of your home base doesn’t seem as important. It’s not about losing connection with it. You just have the ability to have close proximity to something you enjoy while having plenty of friends who are able to tag along (or drag along in some cases).
In the last six months before I moved to Vancouver, we took one of our popular WSUI radio shows on the road to a coffee shop in downtown Des Moines, and the neighborhood in the area of the downtown core that I discovered really surprised me.
There was a feeling of creativity in the area we were in, and the amount of concert flyers I saw for local bands and musicians performing in the downtown area alone was impressive. I recall thinking at the time that I had never given Des Moines much of a thought for a local music scene. That’s almost a regret… Almost.
And yes, Slipknot came from that city and is one of the only bands that many people know from Iowa. They were the only ones I could actually name around that time, but my knowledge was more populated with artists from the eastern part of the state. You never looked west.
I became friends with a lot of bands who called Iowa City home or claimed it to be one of them. I’d get other friends to come along or have great nights out with those passing through town, sometimes to catch a good show.
Being in Vancouver, that’s what’s fun about finding a new music scene, and I’m still learning. Even brief excursions to Victoria, cover band or not, goes to show that getting out of your comfort zone is healthy more often than none. Even if you’re let down, that’s just apart of the education of learning what finding a diamond in the rough is all about.
I’ve been a fan of The Appleseed Cast for a number of years now. Originally calling Lawrence, Kansas home, they passed through Iowa City a number of times during my days there.
So when they came through Vancouver and played the Biltmore Cabaret on March 9th, I took the opportunity to shoot some of their performance as they passed through town.
I processed all of these in black and white for a couple of reasons. First, the Biltmore, even though a great venue for music acts like this, is dark and has a low ceiling. On top of that, the lighting was low and green for the entire duration of the show. That pretty much makes every single photo make each person look green from head to toe.
The black and white seems to bring out the initmacy of the venue as well as the performance. This show is on their Low Level Owl Tour, playing the entirety of two early albums, Low Level Owl, Vol. 1 and Low Level Owl, Vol. 2.
In all honesty, these are two albums that I have the least amount of familiarity with, but I ran into a co-worker at the show who is an even bigger fan of the guys. He told me that this was a brilliantly spot on performance of two classic albums for The Appleseed Cast fans. Continue reading “The Appleseed Cast at the Biltmore Cabaret”
Unfortunately, traffic made us too late to catch Ra Ra Riot, but the New Pornographers put on a really great performance, in their hometown no less. My time inside ended as they kicked into “Use It”, but their set was pretty fantastic from what I got to hear.
The highlight of the night was certainly Death Cab For Cutie, a band that I’ve been following for a number of years, from their indie label days to their hefty deal with one of the big boys. This was certainly a treat, but shooting from the front of a stage that’s about five feet high and in low light wasn’t easy.
This was my first time seeing these guys in all the years I’ve been following their music. A funny story is when I was at SXSW in 2003, I was doing the typical bounce around the city one of the nights to see as much live music as I possibly could. If you’ve been to Austin, TX during the madness that is SXSW, you know how this goes.
Death Cab was a band that I had played a number of times and really liked during my days at KRUI, but I wasn’t completely familiar with their library of tunes nor really knew what they looked like. After seeing another one of my other favorite acts, Shiner, I was supposed to link up with our whole crew from the station at the Death Cab For Cutie performance a few blocks away. Of course, this is SXSW, so getting from one part of the city to another, in a town that you’ve never been to before, with all sorts of loudness and craziness coming from what seems like everywhere, I ended up in the wrong venue.
The odd thing is, the act on stage, who I thought for a brief moment was actually Death Cab For Cutie, was actually The Promise Ring. Those guys were amazing, and I’m really thankful I made this mistake because they ended up calling it quits not too long after (splitting up to another act worth checking out, Maritime, comprised of members from another favorite band but now also defunct, The Dismemberment Plan).
Death Cab For Cutie put on an amazing show that I got to finish watching from my seat. They played a lot of good stuff from their first few albums, which are probably my favorites in terms of their catalog. The sound was also excellent, something that is often not so great in large venues like this. Still, there is a large part of me that wishes I could see them perform in a small venue during those earlier days in Austin.
You can see all my photos from the show on Flickr.