Archive for December, 2012

The Joy Formidable @ St. Stephen’s Church

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

The Joy Formidable

I try not to ever pass up an opportunity to shoot The Joy Formidable, whose band name is a pretty accurate description of how they approach their live show. This fall, they did a mini-tour of the US, playing only small nontraditional venues rather than the big clubs they’ve recently graduated to. In DC, that meant they played a fairly intimate benefit show at St. Stephen’s Church – fun to be a part of but very challenging to photograph.

There were basically no lights aside from what the band brought with them, so none of these shots can compare to what I got from the last time I saw them. At the end of the set, Ritzy Bryan jumped into the crowd right next to me, played for a second, tossed her guitar back onto the stage, gave a random fan a hug, and stalked off backstage to the close the show. I had the wrong lens on and no flash, so I didn’t capture any of that. Frustratingly, I might never get to shoot a whole set of this band again, since they’ll be playing clubs that enforce a 3-song rule – so that might have been my last chance to capture the inevitable end-of-show mayhem that has become their trademark. Oh well.

Here are just a couple highlights; for more, see the full set at Flickr. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with my work.

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

For more, see the full set at Flickr. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with my work.

Earth @ Rock & Roll Hotel

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Earth

A pretty stellar bill of Earth, Eagle Twin and Stebmo (a jazzy side project of Earth’s keyboardist/trombonist Steve Moore) rolled through DC in November. This was probably one of my favorite shows of the year from start to finish. Earth is a truly hypnotizing band to watch and listen to live. Their ultra-slow songs feel heavier than most grindcore bands, and drummer Adrienne Davies is truly mesmerizing in action, keeping the slow tempos with huge, sweepingly dramatic gestures.

I last saw Eagle Twin opening for Sunn O))), but I didn’t remember them being quite so fantastic. At this show they played for an hour straight, with no song breaks or even discernable songs at all – just nonstop loud, pummeling, mostly instrumental metal. And Stebmo was a real highlight as well; their record sounds like avant-jazz, but live they were stripped down to just Steve Moore and Earth’s bassist Don McGreevy, and the duo’s version of Stebmo’s songs felt heavy and doomy – just what you would want out of two members of Earth playing jazz.

For more, see the full set at Flickr. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with my work.

Earth

Earth

Earth

Earth

Earth

Eagle Twin:

Eagle Twin

Eagle Twin

For more, see the full set at Flickr. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with my work.

Epica @ Howard Theatre

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Epica

The fall concert season has been a slow one for me due to loads of work-related travel and other life factors. Still, I’ve done a few fun shows, and I’ll do a few retrospective posts about them here, since I’ve been neglecting the blog rather severely for much of the year. First up is a rare metal show at the Howard Theatre – gothic metal stalwarts Epica in late October. I really like this band, despite the damage that does to my metal cred, and haven’t seen them since 2010, when I did a fairly pedestrian band portrait with them in the parking lot of what was then Jaxx.

This time around, I did a portrait with just Simone Simons, the band’s frontwoman. This is of course easier than a full band shoot, but I was given 5 minutes with her in a terrible location with only about 10 minutes to set up. So I didn’t even try to get creative; instead, I did a simple two-light setup and avoided all backgrounds. I used my 85/1.4 stopped down a bit to f/2. As far as boring headshots go, I’m pretty happy with it:

Simone Simons

The show itself was fun to shoot, but I got stuck right in front of Simone’s mic stand, which was irritating because she didn’t even really need it – she was using a wireless mic. So I didn’t get the kind of wide-angle shots I tend to favor at metal shows, and in fact some of my better shots came from when I stepped away from the front of the stage and sniped from the back with a long lens. Lighting was par for the course for a metal show – pretty crappy and red, but good enough.

For more, check out the full set at Flickr, and follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

Epica

Epica

Epica

Epica

Epica

For more, check out the full set at Flickr, and follow me on Facebook or Twitter.