As I began to plan my route back home last night I ran into more than several dead ends and locked fences. Feeling a bit worn and self aware that I wasn’t exactly walking through territory that saw much heavy foot traffic. The rocky, uneven and muddy ground below me had already began to take it’s tole on my new pair of Nike’s and a slight sense of paranoia had start to set in. Weary of being sighted by any construction foreman’s or pulled over by the authorities. My pace quickened as my eyes widened searching for an opening in one of the fences. As the night grew dark and my path became more like an obstacle course. I kept my eyes close to the ground. That’s when I found buried treasure just below the muddy terrain. Without wasted breath I leaned forward, scooped up a couple and headed towards home. The experience quickly reminded me of my elementary school days when my friends and me would explore the train yards of Sunnyside Queens looking for buried treasure. While I may not be hoping any fences or climbing up on roofs these days. The explorer in me is still alive and well.
After running into an old friend while strolling down Journal Square’s Newark Ave. I was advised to journey further to the landmark cemetery known as Harsimus. Since my days as an adventurous 8 year old. I was always intrigued by cemeteries. If my fading memory can recall. My first excursions from my home base of Jackson Heights into the fabled town of Astoria were through a cemetery know as St. Michaels. Though fear and the anticipation of being wrangled by grave robbers or a satanic cult have since diminished. The feeling that the hills have eyes has not totally diminished. So when I heard about the goats of Harsimus Cemetery. I was happy knowing my suspicions were indeed true.
After a long walk in 84 degree temperatures, I finally came upon Harsimus. And though I did my share of searching. It wasn’t until I asked one of the groundskeepers that I was able to find what I was looking for. As I stood at the top of the hill, all I could see was more cemetery. “A hoax” I thought. One of Big Foot proportions. Finally, a head poked out from one of the monuments. Staring at me with an innocent curiosity. I gathered myself and readied my best possible goat calling skills. Before you knew it, and despite the fact I sounded more like a sheep in goats clothing. I was suddenly welcomed by a community of adorable goats. After a short goat talk I was able to gain their trust and even got them to pose for pictures. I’ve included a few favorites in hopes of getting more people to visit and experience some of the unique treasures that are right at our doorstep.
This week I took it upon myself to start a new photo project. Take the bands and musicians that inspire me and invite them over for a session and do my best to take the band photo out of the box. Take the band out of it’s normal comfort zone (the stage, the studio) and do something more creative than lining them up against a wall as if they were about to face a firing squad. To start my project on the best note possible, I got in touch with Brooklyn’s experimental noise rockers Cinema Cinema.
I first met Ev (Guitar/Vocals) and Paul (Drums) during a local music festival in 2011. To be cuttingly honest, their performance that night scared the freaking Bajeezus out of me. It was intense. I mean, like a roller coaster ride through the seventh layer of hell intense. Since then Ev and Paul have been featured on my music blog numerous times in record and show reviews, an interview and even as contributors. Needless to say, we’ve become good friends. The guys arrived on time and though it was a short set. I never felt as if we were rushing through the shots. I had specific ideas not only were they were they on board. They helped me steer the ship. We drank dirty water, listened to Fugazi and got some memorable images that will serve as the groundwork for what I hope will be an ongoing series. I really can’t say enough about Ev or Paul. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
After months of toiling and tweaking I’ve launched a new WIX site that focuses on my music photography. It features live and studio work with numerous bands and musicians. Be sure to stop by and visit. Thanks
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.
All the Concert Photography you could possibly stand. http://www.damionphoto.com/Music/About.html
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.
One more Music Blog can save the world. http://unitedbyrocketscience.blogspot.com/
When I got to the Lit Lounge Exemption was already a few songs into their set. As their sounds filled my head I noticed the lack of balance I was feeling earlier coming back strong. I slowly dipped in to my camera bag as if not to upset some sacred ritual that had been practiced for years by the locals. Though it turned out this was not the case. Something spiritual was definitely being cooked up. The great thing about going out to shows is that no matter what band you’re there to see. (On this night it was Thinning the Herd) Someone or something is going to surprise you and maybe take you out of your element. Exemption did that for me. The band hails from Long Island and Brooklyn and has some serioius kick. I found myself not only wanting to capture that sound in my pictures but take advantage of their invite to “Come say hello. Talk to us after the set.” I always feel a little apprehensive approaching bands after their set. There’s a sense of me wanting to talk to someone in the band while the spirit of their music is still boiling in my blood but it’s best to hang back. Let the guys get their shit packed away, cool off and have a chance to chill with their buddies. I got to talking to their guitarist Nick a bit later. Found out he was my step fathers hometown of Massapequa. (Home of All American Burger) He gave me a copy of their disc ‘Public Cemetery Party’ which I’ve been nodding to all week. Be sure to check them out.
Fall of the Albatross proved to me once again to never judge a book by it’s cover. I was about to head out when the band began to set up their equiptment on stage. Their singer immediately caught my attention. Not exactly the type of guy your used to seeing at a Metal show. Something about his look and personality reminded me of Keenan Thompson from SNL. There was definitely a charm about him. As the band started to play I was immediately reminded of Living Color (That is in a good way) Tight musianship and damn did this kid have some major singing chops. His range matched with the bands precision and ability to put their unique stamp on any style or genre were amazing.The band hails from Jamaica Queens which is a short distance from where I grew up so it immediately felt like I was supporting the home team. Basically, I was blown away. This was a great example of why you should always get to the show early and leave late. Make sure you give every band a chance and don’t be afraid to say hello after. Tell them you enjoyed their set.
What better way to start off the week than with friends, drinks and a heavy dose of Metal. Such was the case this week when old friends The Nolan Gate invaded New York City to shake the foundation of the Lit Lounge. Paul, Tom and Darin (No pictures due to witness protection status) have been making heads explode due to their heavy, thick and sometimes sludgy sounds for years, playing everywhere with everyone. From intimate bars where you can find people slinking past to get to the bathroom or past the front door. To the enormous stage of The House of Blues. Legend has it that that the song “OceanLord” once killed a goat while being played from two towns away. I’ve been friends with these guys for more than half my life now. Having known them for that long sometimes makes me overlook what amazingly talented musicians they are both as a unit and individually. Though I’ve missed many of their shows in the past. I seem to be making up for it lately. I’m looking forward to a lot more shows and who knows, maybe a new record? There were two other great acts that went on before and after Nolan Gate. I’ll post some of those pictures later. As for the Lit Lounge. I can’t say enough about the place. It has a nice look and vibe and it’s located in the heart of the East Village. Besides being a great bar that puts on shows. It also houses a separate gallery in the back. It seems like the kinda place I’ve been looking for to do a solo show. It was really great seeing everyone and I was more than happy to coax Dave out of the house for a bit.
I was on the way to Beacon New York when my phone lit up with a text reading “Citizens Arrest tickets are almost Sold Out. Get ’em fast or miss out!” I thought “Oh, I’ll order them as soon as I get home tonight.” As soon as I walked in the door I walked over to the computer to place my order. This was something I would not procrastinate on. To my dismay and dispare they were “Sold the fuck Out.” Damn, I was pissed. I’d been hearing about this reunion long before it was even book and it was not to be missed. I posted a “If anyone out there……” and thanks to Freddy Alva and the band I was covered.
About ten of us (including Freddy New Breed, Charles from Rorschach and Amy Edge) me up for a pre-show dinner before heading over to Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory. I think I missed a couple of bands, including Mind Eraser but was lucky enough to catch Asshole Parade. I’d never heard them prior to the show but really liked their sound and overall vibe. Citizens Arrest followed and the place went ape shit. Between the moshing and the stage divers I wasn’t sure I’d make it out alive. I was front center and between being thrown into the stage and about five different stage divers delivers blows to my head with boots and body fat I was dazed and at one point almost went down. All of it was totally worth because CXA kicked some serious ass. The original lineup was all there including Janis Cackers and Ted Leo. Playing so many favorites from their good old days and even throwing in covers from SSD and Youth of Today. After the set Daryl Kahan pulled my lifeless body up on stage to take a picture of the band and Fab Five Freddy Alva. It was so good seeing so many familiar faces including Rich Trash, Justine Demetrik, Javier and so many others. Thanks to Janis for the ticket and to everyone that made it such an amazing night.
This weekend I had planned to see Legion of the Sonne perform live at Outburn Magazines “Battle of the Bands”. Due to the death of a childhood friend I will be attending a wake instead. I know I promised David I’d be in attendance but I’m sure he understands the weight of my reason. A few months back I had the opportunity to work with the band on some promotional photos and had a great time. I had stepped away from working with bands for some time but these guys made me love getting back into it. As the session came to a close I stepped away from the band shots to photograph them individually. If you guys ever decide to do solo albums. You know where to come.