Posts Tagged ‘Rock & Roll Hotel’

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.

A pleasant evening with the Dillinger Escape Plan

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Dillinger Escape Plan 24

There is nothing quite like taking thousands of dollars of camera gear into the front row of a Dillinger Escape Plan show, at a venue with no photo pit. I did this a few months ago at the Ottobar in Baltimore; last week I did it again, at a much smaller venue, the Rock & Roll Hotel in DC. Even though the show was overall much tamer than the Ottobar, for me personally it was the opposite. The Ottobar has this weird niche carved out of the stage where I strategically placed myself and was largely sheltered from the madness in front of the stage. Rock & Roll Hotel has no such convenient niche and so I was definitely right in the middle of the madness this time around.

Dillinger Escape Plan 30

In February, Ben Weinman kicked me in the head once. Last week, I can’t remember how many times I got knocked around. The most potentially disastrous moment was at some point when vocalist Greg Puciato leapt over my head into the crowd (actually I think it was the moment at the 25 second mark in this video) and surfed back onto stage, tumbling head over heels and slamming my right arm, camera in hand, straight down into one of the stage monitors. Eh, no problem there. Towards the end of the set, somehow someone hit my flash really hard — I think it may have been guitarist Jeff Tuttle stage diving — and broke off a piece of the battery compartment door. The compartment door snapped off, the batteries went flying and the flash was out of commission for the rest of the show (which was really pretty much just half of one song, so no big deal).

But what was really amazing is how well my photos turned out despite my lens getting absolutely filthy. I was shooting with my 12-24/4 DX lens on my D700, which meant I couldn’t use a filter or lens hood or the vignetting would be much worse than it already is (as it is, the lens is usable at 18mm and up, but no wider). The front element of the lens definitely took some contact, mostly from water and sweaty shirts. I took a look at it after the show and it was all smudged to hell. Combined with the thick fog that hung in the air thanks to the band’s fog machine and the evaporating sweat that quickly turned the place into a sauna (Puciato apparently said afterwards that it was one of the top 10 hottest, temperature-wise, shows that he has ever played), I’m amazed that I was able to eke enough contrast out of any of my shots.

Dillinger Escape Plan 34

Anyway, flash was mandatory given not only the fast action but also the extensive backlighting that DEP set up, and the fact that much of the action was taking place offstage and in the crowd. Normally I like to get my flash off-camera, but I wanted to have one hand free so that I could brace myself against the crowd, so on-camera flash was the name of the game. I was surprised with how happy I was with the end results.

Anyway. DEP is probably the only band that I would try to shoot literally every single time they come around my neck of the woods. Every touring band has a formulaic live show to some extent, by necessity, but DEP is one of the few bands where you really, really don’t know what the fuck is going to happen on any given night. Case in point: their show at Bonnaroo yesterday, in which I was happy to hear they surprised the hell out of some innocents who had no idea what to expect. Good times!

Full set is here and full of awesome!