Posts Tagged ‘Cimmerian’

A night of local metal at Station 4

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

On Saturday night I ventured out to Station 4 in St. Paul despite the first snowstorm of the year (we reportedly got nine inches over the course of the day, although it didn’t seem like that much to me) to see five local metal bands. I haven’t figured out the local music scene at all, metal or otherwise, so it was a fun night. The headliners were Gabriel and the Apocalypse, a female-fronted hard rock/metal group playing their last show for a few months – they’re spending the winter working on a new album. Station 4’s lighting is challenging to say the least, but using either ISO 6400, fast primes, or both (or in the case of the headline shot above, some lucky catchflash), I got some good shots despite the fast action of the band’s performance. Both of the following shots were taken at f/1.4 and ISO 6400.

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

After their show, the band posed for a very quick portrait downstairs in Station 4’s horrible green room. My lighting setup wasn’t quite sufficient for a full five-member band, but with some adjustment layers I managed to salvage something I’m reasonably happy with given that this was done in less than five minutes:

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

The set that I didn’t really get to see was Cimmerian – I spent most of their set setting up and testing my lights for my portrait of GATA (more on the testing part later). From what I saw they were pretty competent tech-death, something that’s often right up my alley, so I’ll have to check them out further. Also, they had a guitarist who jumped around a lot, and after I figured that out I just camped out by his end of the stage, flash in hand, waiting for him to do it again. He only jumped once in the time I had, and it looked like this:


Before Cimmerian was Midria, a female-fronted melodic/gothic metal band with some nice growling vocals thrown in as well. This was a tough one because the lead singer often hung back on the stage out of the illumination of the main lights; the guitarist was on the side without any lighting, and there was a keyboardist whom I couldn’t get a single good angle on. Still, when the singer ventured to the front of the stage I got some reasonable shots.


And finally, the first band that I saw (I missed the actual first band, Bloodtrust) was a pretty awesome tech-death group by the name of Don’t Worry I’m a Doctor. To my ears it sounded like they’d fit in perfectly as an opening band for The Faceless or some band of that ilk. The vocalist had a crazed look in his eye for most of the show, which is always great for photos.

Don't Worry I'm a Doctor

I got to do an unexpected bonus portrait shoot, as well – when setting up my lights for GATA, I was wishing for a test subject so I could experiment with the lights. As luck would have it, the show organizer/promoter, Danny, was hanging out in the downstairs room with his partner Heather. They needed basically zero prodding before they were in front of the lights posing for me. I did a few shots with both of them and then a few shots with just Heather after Danny had to run off and do his organizer duties.

In retrospect, the lighting setup worked OK for the two of them but really wasn’t sufficient for a full band. The lighting scheme was: an SB-800 acting as commander and providing a touch of on-camera fill at 1/128 power. An SB-600 high camera right aimed at subject through a 1/4″ grid, 1/4 power, and an SB-600 far camera right aimed at background through a blue gel and a chair, 1/4 power. I intentionally didn’t use any diffusion, going for a real hard-light, shadowy look, but I think I might have overdone it, particularly with the blue gelled flash spilling over on to the subjects and over-accentuating the shadows.

Danny and Heather - light test

Heather - light test

Full set from the show is here.