In a recent conversation with friend, fellow photographer and mentor Kevin. I was questioned about my use of watermarks. I explained that I had so many of my music related photos used without permission, notice or credit over the years and how using a watermark gave me a sense of assurance that such branding would cut down on, if not eliminate the practice of taking without asking. As ridiculous as it might seem, it pisses me off when I have to ask for a photo credit after it’s already been used without notification. In the days of film, this never seemed to be an issue, due to the fact that you, the photographer, owned the negative. In a time of social media’s immediacy and a digital age where a file / image replaces the negative. Problems certainly have more of a chance to arise.
Still, his question and critique really made me think. Is it really worth it? Does it reduce the emotion or intended message within the image. If so, does that tiny assurance relieve any of the anxiety or paranoia of having one of your shots appear uncredited on someone’s band page? Probably not. But still, it’s an idea I’m still not ready to completely embrace. So, what do you think? Bands, Photographers? I’d love to hear from you.
I’ve been taking pictures at shows and concerts since I was sixteen. Somewhere along that long road I managed to get pretty good at it. More than anything, I find that I’ve learned from others. The list of shooters who have inspired me in both the past and present is pretty long. I won’t name names here since the list would be long and arduous. One thing I never see enough of is pictures of drummers. “Why Not?” I ask. I mean their the back beat of the band. Nothing happens without them dictating the pace. Sure, it might be a bit of a trick making your way on stage or reaching in from the side. However, most of us shoot or smaller venues or at least have a photo pass for the bigger ones. All it takes is a little initiative and some brass balls to make your way to the stage and slip into the background for a few shots of the timekeeper. Knowing the bands songs always helps in knowing when to shoot. If not, just it tight and follow those rhythms. Within a minute or two you’ll see and hear the pattern. Be patient and be ready. When the time comes to take your shot you’ll know it. Don’t get in the way and don’t over stay your welcome. From my own experience, they’ve (drummers/percussionists) have always been grateful to see you included them in the bands set. So go ahead, slide in.
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.
Last night Maxwells hosted a rare and uncharacteristically ear punishing trio of bands. The Nolan Gate, WetNurse and Kylesa. About a month ago I got wind that my friends The Nolan Gate were going to be opening for Coheed & Cambria at the House of Blues in Atlantic City. Without a doubt their biggest show to date. I’ve known Tom, Paul and Dave for a really long time and i’ve missed more Nolan Gate shows than I can count. However, when I do manage to show up I’m reminded what amazing musicians they are. Both collectively and individually. Sure I was bummed I was going to miss their big show in Atlantic City. There was no chance I was going to miss them in my own neighborhood. I’ve always loved going to Maxwells. Through the years I’ve seen some of my favorite bands there. The small, intimate vibe and familiar faces always make you feel at home. The sound is great and it’s only a few steps from where I live. The Nolan Gate opened the show with their signature heavy, sludgy, thick apocalyptic sound. Despite being ear piercingly loud NG are really musical. With lots of breaks and grooves. Over the years I’ve become pretty familiar with the songs. Sometimes making it easier to know what’s coming around the corner. NG are a pretty stationary band but are quite menacing regardless. There is never a dull moment to be had with these guys. I’m really curious to see how they will handle the stage tonight at the House of Blues. They are definitely a band that deserves more recognition. NYC’s WetNurse followed and all I could think was “This is sick”. I’ve never been a big follower of Metal and haven’t been to many shows since my teens. But this was something to seriously take in. Gene is a maniac on stage. Full of energy and angst.Springing back and fourth while belting out bowel shaking growls and “check your nuts” screams. Definitely something to see and hear. I spoke to Gene briefly after their set. A real engaging guy with an infectious smile. He gave me their CD which I thought was a really nice gesture.
A few weeks ago I had mentioned the show to a friend of mine. She told me how psyched she was to see kylesa since they were one of her favorite metal bands. When it comes to people you’ve known most of your life there is a definite trust level. That goes for music just as much as anything, Before the show Darin told me that Kylesa had brought in a ton of gear including two drum sets. I immediately got the feeling this was going to be loud. Really fucking loud. I was not wrong in my prediction and was really glad I invested in those ear plugs earlier in the evening.
It took them quite a while to set up. So much so that I was contemplating calling it a night and just heading home. I’m really glad I didn’t because they left me stunned. Kylesa play a lot of styles of Metal but ted to swim in the sludgy, heavy side of the water. Having two drummers makes their sound deeper and a whole lot louder. Laura growls and screams while shredding on the guitar. While Phil and Corey fill the room with power and chaos. All taking turns with vocals. One of the best bands I’ve seen in a really long time. I was left drained but wanting more. Definitely a band I’d like to see a couple of dozen times again. Thanks to Gene for the CD and Chris for coming down for the show.