Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So I was going to post more from KT Tunstall's show last Friday, but I've been insanely side-tracked this past week. There are priorities and then there are priorities and it doesn't take a network of NASA engineers to figure it out.

Needless to say, I will give KT some props. For such a tiny chica, she can really belt a tune. The most important props, however, go out to my lovely, wonderful Melissa at WYEP who hooked me up with 2 tickets to take my little sister and my brother. I'll write a whole story about Miss Franko when I get the right picture, because this chick and her stories are worth a novel.

Also, I think that's a first for a sibling outing... and on the job, no less. I don't think I've ever taken anyone with me, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Since KT Tunstall has a three-song shooting policy and I can't sit still at auditorium shows to save my life, I decided to step out to the lobby for a few songs. Not surprisingly, Melissa had already beaten me to it and a few moments later, we ran into KT's opener, Dublin-born singer-songwriter, Paddy Casey.

I don't really remember this conversation aside from Paddy randomly beginning the following:

"Are you French?"
"Hm, nope."
"Really? Anyone in your family?"
"You look very French... French-Canadian, maybe?"
"Ehhhh, nope."

I've been called a lot of things in my day, but that was a first.

That was a stupid story. Sorry. The Pens are getting creamed by Detroit, so I'm having a very difficult time focusing and/or writing anything worth reading.

Off-topic, but worth mentioning, Paddy did try a Primanti's sandwich later that night and was a little confused/borderline disgusted.

Now THIS is what I call photography and actually, the only reason I'm posting it is because this is the first time I've wanted to frame anything since I got a comp copy of the 1,000th issue of Rolling Stone in 2006.

Not that anyone cares, but two of my closest friends were in the Burgh this weekend (the goon in green and the lady in the upper left corner in white) and I haven't been more excited since I came home from Asia. Jim is from Pittsburgh too, so it's always nice if we can cross paths in our hometown. The surrounding gaggle of awesomeness is a collection of Hyland cousins plus the kid Jeff's pointing to. We don't know who that is.

Question of the day: Have you ever been approached by a less-than-sober kid and proceeded to take on an absurd identity to a) get rid of her/him b) see how far you can run with it?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hey kids, the email/website listed on my lil business card is having some server issues, so please use the address linked in my blog profile: I appreciate the heads-up from those of you whom I haven't responded to due to my general ignorance about the internet.

Much love, many thanks and my sincerest apologies!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

There's a big difference between moments when you know you've got a shot and moments where you know that this could be your money shot. The above photo is one of a series that could have been that shot. I love the rock grit of the picture, but more importantly, I loved the moment and how it happened.

Mr. Small's (my favorite venue since forever) has a tiny, wonderfully dirty little pit which separates the audience from the stage. It generally holds extra equipment, some trash, unknown sticky substances and occasionally an ambitious, young photographer.

So, I'm sitting in this pit, on Luther's side of the stage, just waiting for a mid-song rock out when he comes to the edge of the stage, directly above me, to play to the crowd.

And my general rule of thumb? photog contortion+great subject = magic

Lying on my back, my hair against the filth, one leg out-stretched, the other bent under my butt, I'm determined to get that shot. Luther eventually looks down at me and just starts cracking up at the ridiculousness he sees below. Consequently, I start cracking up too and um, stop shooting?

Stupid girl... That big smile of his looking down was the money shot!

A big booo to me.

Later Luther says, "You know, I was trying to ignore you, but I just couldn't anymore and had to laugh."

Well, I guess I just had to laugh too which is sometimes more important than the shot.

Photo: Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars

Oh Mr. Small's, how I adore thee...

Ryan, NMA's tour manager, also works wonders with lighting, so I can't take all the credit for this shot. Actually, I didn't even bother re-balancing, because I really liked the golden glow. Fitting for a renovated church, I think.

Plus, the lighting balcony is always the best seat in the house, aside from the foot of the stage, of course.

Not only does Cody rock out on drums, but he's the sickest electric washboard player I have ever seen. The fact that he's the ONLY electric washboard player I've ever seen doesn't take away from his skill, but just makes him even cooler.

I mean, this boy can totally shred a washboard.

NMA bass player, Chris Chew.

Unfortunately, Chris and I didn't get much of a chance to chat, which is actually quite regrettable. He sings one of my favorite songs called "I'd Love to be a Hippy" from the boys' newest album, Hernando.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Luther Dickinson, (stellar) guitar and vocals for the North Mississippi Allstars.

This boy's hands remind me of Clapton's... they sound fast, but look slow, which is nothing short of awesome.

I've been crazy busy with my balancing acts as of late, so there certainly will be more text and images to come from this glorious day of music. If I could prioritize the way I wanted to, there probably would have been a novel from these shows (May 20th).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Even though the Damnwells aren't currently touring the great US of A, the guys need some blog love. Alex (above) has posted some new(er) tunes on their myspace page, so go have a lil listen and catch them the next time they're in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

If LA did one thing for me, it certainly kicked my butt back into the 3-4 (5-6 if money, time and solid artists permit) times/week show regimen. I guess, you could say that I had a big "you idiot" epiphany with all the shows I went to out there and as Shakespeare wrote in the first lines of "Twelfth Night": If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it.

Bob Schneider (for the myspace junkies) was first on my "to do" list and I happen to have a wonderful friend who works for his label, so this was a great way to welcome my long-lost lifestyle back.

Now, Bob has many talents, but it's never quite clear to whom he's trying to appeal. His heavy fan base is crazy about both the soft melodies filled with incendiary lyrics about life as well as the frequently inappropriate hits such as "Ass Knockin," "Fist City," and my personal favorite, "Fuck All You Mother-fuckers"... and for whatever reason, it works! His self-described "Steven Seagall" portion of the show oddly works as the yin to the "Tony Bennett" portion's yang. Hooray for paradoxical unity!

As Ayappa said, "Bob's relationship with an audience always surprises me. There are songs he writes that move me, inspire me, and make me tingle. And then he can have a roomful of women singing the most ribald words imaginable." Annnd you know what I have to say?

That. Rocks.

However I would like to raise a final point. I misquoted Bob the other day in a line from "Captain Kirk" as "wanna be like Mr. Spock, I wanna kick out the jams and rock the block"... which I thought was awesome until I realized he said, "don't wanna"... and I was annoyed. I get it, Spock can be an overly-logical, emotion-purging stick-in-the-mud, but I mean he's a Vulcan, that's what they do! BUT ... you get him off the Enterprise and he is one crazy humanoid when he skips meditation. I guess I can't fault Bob for not being in the know, but Spock was by far the most rockin' dude until Worf in "The Next Generation," so I think he deserves a little respect.

P.S. - Star Trek (the original series) is now remastered and available in HD.

I really like how the stage lights hit the off-white canvas of Bob's Converse sneakers.

Just for the record, I'll explain my obsession with photographing limbs. I've always held that one can judge (honest, not critical) a person based on how they move their hands, but the imagery side of this really began when I first photographed professional ballroom dancers. The amount of energy flowing through their appendages was so utterly visual that my eyes couldn't help but focus on single parts of motion. If you, as the subject, have the ability to convey your persona, or performing persona, through a few fingers and the photographer has the eye to capture that with one flick of your wrist, I'd say you're both in good company.

Feet don't interest me as much as hands, but I'm easily distracted by bright colors.

The "ARRGGH" sing-along portion of the show, as mentioned below.

This is another one of those photos that I post from time to time, where it's not so much about photography, but just about pure content. It's also yet another example of a "to post or not to post," for lack of picture perfection/professionalism, but when you've got a dude from the opening band wearing a bear hat and mimicking the munchkin dance (with intermittent arabesques... on both sides, no less) after a leaping bound onto a 4-foot elevated stage to round out the headliner's show while the front man leads the crowd in pirate noises (mainly, "ARRRGGH"), you can't help but want to share that precious moment with friends and peers. A more appropriate forum would have been to whip out my cellphone, snap a shot, write a quick "Wish you were here," pix message and send it on its merry way to all my concert-going friends who would share equal, single-teared moments of appreciation, but 1) the pix gig isn't my thing and 2) I felt the moment was deserving of a larger audience.

I do understand, however, that this type of "theatric"(??), is certainly not for every band and would appreciate it if most bands didn't follow suit. I mean, do I want to see this at a Deathcab show? Probably not, or wait, yes I do and actually it might BE the thing that sells me on that band, but the point being is that it just fits with a Bob Schneider show... in fact, I'd say it's pretty darned expected. Distractions and oddities are quite welcome as we found out when Hippie McDrunk, an alleged super-fan, climbed the stairs behind the stage to hang all over Mr. Schneider and take over the mic, mid-set. Quite classic too, but she wasn't wearing a Bernstein Bear on her noggin, so it was only half the photo opp.

Good times, good times.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I believe Mick Jagger was quoted as saying that "Wild Horses," was written about this burrito.

Forgetting the laughable, light-hearted entry below about life decisions; let's get down to the serious stuff. This Los Angeles burrito is in an epic battle, perhaps even war, with the falafel of New York City for my heart.

Priorities, people, priorities.

I have been extraordinarily occupied the past week and a half, so I'm just now wrapping up my most recent venture to the infamous Los Angeles, California. We have a love/hate relationship in the worst way, but it's ok, because in a strange "is that all you've got?" sense, I can really enjoy it. In fact, as I once told Bilec, the decision to go to LA over New York, for me at least, is like sleeping with someone not quite up to par, just because you are afraid you may truly, deeply love someone else. You know you love that other person, but you don't want him/her to eventually disappoint you, or vice versa... so what do you do? Find the hooker that is LA and get at it, baby!

All kidding aside, I will say this: denial is a dangerous thing. However, in denying truth, you strangely learn a lot quicker about an infinite number of things than you may have otherwise. I know that seems backwards, but it has to do with totally stepping outside the bounds of your comfort zone and hmm... ummm no, LA at the time was not even remotely close to being on the radar of something mimicking comfort. That city beat me in the worst way and I will not let it win again. Actually, even better! I'm gonna befriend the son of a bitch!

The irony in all of this is that I really did gain a completely new world by getting the crap beat out of me. I paid a pretty penny for it, but what I lost, I found could not amount to that which I gained, simply because it wanted to lose me. I'm not shy to admit that I've had foolish moments where I wished I had never been there at all or that I made attempts many times, in desperate frustration, to prove that I was still me. Then... I realized how heart-breaking it was that I even had to think those thoughts... and that, my friends, was a piggy bank of pretty pennies shattered on a polished Calacatta floor - and boy do those suckers roll.

You don't actually have to tell me, but how many of you would trade the world for the price of those pennies?

Shot: lead vocalist of a SoCal metal band in rehearsal, whom I actually took an honest liking to. For whatever reason, I really felt this shot lent itself to a Rolling-Stone-circa-1971-reader-submission vibe, so I ran with it.