My wife has put it in my head that I should get to work on publishing a book. After numerous conversations and shared ideas. We decided it to play it safe by starting with what I know and do best, that being music photography. Noting my special gift in lacking focus and working on numerous projects at the same time. She gave me the simplified task of choosing twenty images from the last four years of shooting live music and occasionally having them in the studio. Simple enough right? Well, in the two weeks that have followed I’ve set two images aside. Slow? Yes, very. However, I’m going on a number of factors when deciding. One factor being the subjects reaction and appreciation of the image.
The image below was taken of The Brixton Riot’s Jerry Lardieri at Maxwell’s during a particularly rewarding benefit show. Since that show I’ve become a big fan of the band as well as a friend of Jerry’s. I hope to finish this “Twenty Bands” project before long. As I continue picking the next nineteen. I hope to share my choices as well as the stories behind them. Feel free to share your feelings on my choices as well as the bands and artists featured. Here we go.
Considering how much concert photography has dominated my life as of late. I thought I’d take a moment to post some recent images I shot at what has become my home away from homes, Maxwell’s. While I’m here I might as well plug the blog and website I’ve been spending so much free and not so free time working on.
In the last year or so I’ve seen a lot of evolution in regards to my concert photography. Part of that can be traced to my purchase of the Canon 15mm wide angle lens. The shots I’ve taken with it have been my best by far. Though it requires me to get a lot closer and in the grill of some of the musicians it has helped to really feel the music on an entirely different level. I no longer a bystander. I’m right in the cage with the lions. Whether or not I get eaten up is up for grabs. I do however feel I’ve carved out my corner there. I feel that I’m getting more and more positive feedback lately ad it feels good.
I started United By Rocket Science with my friend Dave back in May and have enjoyed every minute of it. Both Dave and Me have seperate blogs/sites that, at the time, weren’t giving us a lot of inspiration to work on. Combining forces really gave us the kick in the ass we needed. Since we started we’ve been focused on doing reviews, interviews and covering local music to our best ability. It’s been a blast exploring the vastness of the music coming out of the basements and beer halls of the tri-state and beyond. Check us out and help spread the word.
The older I get the more I find myself playing catch up. I work harder, sleep less and seem to be having more fun than any other time in my life. This creates an unforeseen problem. There just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day or days in the week to accomplish the tasks I hope to accomplish. You’d think that with all the modern technology at our fingertips, things would be made easier. Maybe it’s just me, but it only seems to make things more difficult. My neglect towards this blog only serves as a reminder. One of the things I decided to do is start a new installment to the blog titled “Flashback Friday”. This will allow me to free myself from any time
constraints and show work that from the recent or somewhat recent past.
This weeks install doesn’t go that far back. The second week of August to be exact. I was still recovering from surgery when I was contacted by Dromedary Records head Al Crisafulli and Jim Testa of Jersey Beat asking if i
would cover a two day, three show music fest at Maxwells. The festival, strangely named “Camelfest: would benefit the Roots and Wings Foundation. A group that serves to help those that are aging out of the Foster Care System. It sounded like a great cause. Definitely worthy of attention. The thing was I was just out of the hospital recovering from surgery. I still had my stitches/staples in (Eleven if anyone’s counting) and was told to rest and stay out of crowds or situations where you might be bumping into people. “Fuck it” I said. You only live once and Maxwell’s is only a few blocks from me. It wasn’t as if I’d be getting caught in a mosh or have people stage diving on my head. So I went, covered all three shows and had a great time. The few times when I really felt the pain of my surgery was when I bumped myself with my own camera. By the end of it all I was exhausted and needed an entire day to sleep it off. Regardless
, I’m glad I got to be a part of something special. I finally got to meet Al from Dromedary. He’s an all around awesome dude. It was really special getting to see him really enjoy himself on the final night. Enjoy the pics.
I couldn’t live with myself if I left you with nothing but band pics when it comes to remembering what was Camelfest. Here are some pics of The Dromedary kids having the best time ever. Thanks Al, you proved that music and community go hand in hand. We can all play a part in making a difference.
Here’s the second set from the Rye Coalition show. Considering how sick I was that day. The moment the music started I was healed. This one’s pretty heavy on the guitar. Great seeing everyone from Tom & Ticia to Zee & Testa. Enjoy.
When I think about all the great music I’ve been privileged to see and document lately it makes me feel as if I’ve been spoiled. During an interview last night I was reminded of the drier times. Nights when there was no show to look forward to. Days when a trip to the record store seemed pointless because the same act was being recycled over and over again. Right now there is an abundance of great shows happening at venues of all sizes. Bands that played in our salad days are doing reunions and even making new music. My eyes and ears are constantly be treated to amazing sounds. Bands I worshiped back in the day and ones I missed. The term “Best show ever.” keeps repeating itself over and over. Saturday night was one of those “Best Show Ever” moments as Rye Coalition poured every drop of energy, sweat and testosterone into their reunion show. Like many of the best bands from their era they were underrated and under appreciated. It wasn’t until they were gone that a lot of people realized what they missed out on. I was lucky to be there front center to take shots for Jersey Beat and of course, myself. Thanks to Jim Testa for getting me the ticket. This will be the first of two sets of the shots I love most.
When Jim Testa of Jersey Beat asked me to cover The Cropduster reunion show at Maxwells my reaction was “Sure”. I had no preconceived notions or overblown expectations due to the fact that I had never heard the band before. I did a little snooping and upon seeing the them described as “Insurgent Country”. Well, I was curious. Just not any more excited. I got there just as Jim Testa set up to open the show. I had never seen Jim perform but had somewhat of an idea what to expect. Jim’s stripped down folky punk was just enough to melt the freezing temperatures that circled Maxwells that night. Jim sings about what he knows, music. His lyrics are intelligent, quirky and ironic. A nice little side note to what was to come. As Cropduster took the stage the back room filled with smiling faces who seemed to be well aware of what they were in for. As the band began to play I freed myself of any labels or lame musical alliances and just soaked in the incredible sounds. There are times when I go to see a band and can’t help but be mad at myself and think “How the hell did I miss out on this the first time around?”. This was one of those times. Hope you enjoy the shots. Some of which made it to NJ Beat and NJ Underground. Now if you’ll excuse me. I need to run out and get a copy of “Drunk Uncle”. Cheers!!!