Posts Tagged ‘Enslaved’

Below the (dim) Lights: Enslaved at Station 4

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Enslaved

I’ve seen the Norwegian progressive black metal band Enslaved several times, but last night was my first time seeing them as a headliner. It was nice to see them dig a bit deeper into their discography as compared to their opening gigs; there was only one pre-Below the Lights track played (from Frost), but every album from there forward was represented. Hearing the new material compared to the older stuff really highlighted how much spacier the band has gotten over the years, with a certain psychedelic element replacing the overt black metal influence in their sound.

Station 4 is Station 4, which is to say, the lighting sucks, so I shot at ISO 6400 exclusively and used my 50/1.4 a lot. Unfortunately, only Grutle Kjellson and Ice Dale were reliably lit to any extent, so almost all of my photos are of the two of them. Here are some highlights; check Flickr for the full set.

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Enslaved

Enslaved

Enslaved

Enslaved

Enslaved

Enslaved

Two nights at the Cabooze

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Enslaved

This week I shot two consecutive nights of heavy music – Enslaved/Dimmu Borgir and Combichrist – at Minneapolis’ The Cabooze, a strange venue in my neighborhood that feels like a cross between a rock club and a dance club with the best attributes of neither. Nevertheless, the place has a reasonable if hard-to-navigate photo pit, and pretty decent sound, and an impressive lighting rig. But both those shows, being metal and industrial/electronic respectively, utilized a ton of colorful backlight and almost no frontlight, and as such were pretty challenging. Of all the bands I saw in these two days, Enslaved was who I was really excited about, and they delivered. Unfortunately, they delivered under basically no light, and I got very few good shots – the headline shot above is by far the best.

Below are a series of shots from Dimmu Borgir’s set, which illustrate pretty well the lighting situation. It was bright – so bright that I was at ISO 1600 as opposed to 6400 for Enslaved – but it was all colored backlight, and I had to overexpose and rely entirely on the backlight wrapping to get any detail in the performers. Kind of makes for fun, colorful, dramatic photos, but you can only look at so many silhouettes before you get sick of them. Nevertheless, their set was a blast to shoot and damn does this band make some catchy black metal. Not necessarily my thing, but pretty fun.

Dimmu Borgir

Dimmu Borgir

Dimmu Borgir

Combichrist the night before was the same situation but even more challenging. At this show the backlights were so bright that I essentially had to use flash to balance it out. There was also a pretty heavy reliance on strobes, which are always a challenge. The first shot below illustrates shooting conditions sans flash: too much backlight and too little contrast, although I do like this shot. The second shot shows what the situation looked like once I added a touch of flash.

Combichrist

Combichrist

One of Combichrist’s openers, iVardensphere, plays a kind of tribal-tinged heavy industrial electronic music which was definitely my favorite of the night. They employed a pair of Taiko drummers who were just awesome to watch and photograph (and I really enjoyed talking to one of them after their set – hi Greg). The other two dudes did what electronic musicians do: twiddle knobs. But they were still fun to shoot thanks to the lighting, which ironically might have been the best lighting I got out of both days.

iVardensphere

iVardensphere

Here are the full photo sets: Enslaved/Dimmu Borgir; and Combichrist/Aesthetic Perfection/iVardensphere.

Recent concert shenanigans

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Andrew Bird 16

Last night I banged out some quality shots at the Decemberists and Andrew Bird sets at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The lighting was glorious. Decent amounts of white frontlighting and a beautifully colorful backdrop, all bright enough to get shutter speeds well over 1/160 at f/2.8, ISO 1600. Big venue and big stage, so I did the dual-body thing, with my D300 and 17-55/2.8 alongside my D700 and 80-200/2.8. Interestingly, the nature of the two bands meant that I used these two cameras in opposite amounts for each set. For Andrew Bird’s expressive but relatively compact stage presence, I liked framing tight on Bird himself (above is an extreme example), and used my D700 about twice as much as the D300. For the Decemberists, the epic lighting and grandiose rock-star flailing compelled me to go wide (as below), using the D300 twice as much as the D700. I found it interesting that I shifted compositional styles to fit the performances without even consciously thinking about it.

The Decemberists 25

A Merriweather staff member told me I could shoot three songs of each band, and when I asked if I could continue shooting from outside the pit after three, he said yes, “just don’t get in people’s way.” That was sweet. Except the rest of the staff didn’t get the same memo. I was questioned repeatedly, and although invoking the staffer I’d originally spoken with held off the first three security team members from kicking me out, eventually (after I’d gotten a couple shots of Shara Worden doing her thing) I left on my own volition to join my friends on the lawn. It remains unclear to me what the actual “correct” policy was.

Here’s the full Decemberists/Andrew Bird set.

Opeth 4

On the other hand, when I shot Opeth (above) and Enslaved at the 9:30 Club a couple weeks ago, the “correct” policy was very clear – and was not followed. I was supposed to get two songs for each band, which was reasonable because both these bands play quite long songs (especially Opeth). Unfortunately, the length of Opeth’s songs got the 9:30 Club security confused, or at least one of them, who told me after the first song, “Heir Apparent,” that my two songs were up and I had to exit the pit. There wasn’t really anything I could do but insist he was wrong but leave anyway. Bummer. I got some decent stuff during that one song, but would really have loved another because I was getting a lot of silhouettes and the frontlight ramped up during the second song. At least Enslaved was fun to shoot and the show itself was solid. And I just can’t get enough of these metal show crowd shots:

Fans

Here’s the full set.