Archive for the ‘live music’ Category

Major Major Major at Beauty Bar – Free Week 2010

I have more Free Week photos to share from the Beauty Bar early last week.  I went to see Major Major Major, one of my favorite Austin bands, and I had a great time seeing GOBI play just before MajorX3 went on.

Major Major Major is just awesome, they put on a very entertaining show, but, more importantly, they make fantastic music.  The whole band has a lot of energy, and frontman Adrian Sebastian puts real passion into his vocals while guitarist Seth Whitsitt plays killer, sometimes hauntingly good riffs over perfect bass and drum lines.  Do not miss your next chance to see Major Major Major play a live show, they are worth going out of your way for!

Adrian Sebastian

Adrian Sebastian

Seth Whitsitt

Seth Whitsitt

Major Major Major

Major Major Major

As for the photos, the lighting at Beauty Bar was really fun, and I learned a lot from the shots I took that night.  I came away from this show with a better understanding of what various ISO settings will do on my camera, and my goal since this event is to shoot at the absolute lowest ISO I can manage.  I threw away a lot of images that were just far too noisy at high ISO values, and I think I will be (for the most part) better off having a little less light in my photos in exchange for a lot less noise.

GOBI at Beauty Bar – Free Week 2010

I went to the Beauty Bar the other night to check out one of my favorite local bands, Major Major Major, who I thought would be playing at 11:30 that night.  When I showed up around 11, another band was setting up on the stage.

GOBI is an electro dance group originally from San Marcos, Texas, who relocated to Austin in 2007 and have been playing the circuit around town, mostly in the Red River district but also at The Parish with some regularity.  I wasn’t prepared for how good these guys are.  To start with, I was incredibly impressed with the drummer, Matthew Kevin Dunn, for playing such destructive beats in between taking shots with his fans at the front of the stage.  All three of these guys have massive energy on stage, and they do not disappoint in any way.

Justin Dillon

Combined with the lasers and lighting at the Beauty Bar, this was a fantastic performance.  I will definitely be heading to The Parish tonight to see GOBI perform, especially since that is my absolute most favorite venue in Austin.

GOBI is currently finishing up their first EP, titled “Music Save Me”, which should be released late this spring.

Crooks – Austin Free Week at Emo’s

I want to share a photo with you from the Crooks show at Emo’s a few days ago.   These guys were fantastic, I greatly enjoyed their sound, especially the trumpet player (Sam Alberts) who also busts out a banjo when he doesn’t have a guitar strapped on.  Very entertaining, and excellent music.  Nice job guys!  I will definitely hope to make it to your next gig!

I wish I could have walked away from that show with more photos to share, but there was really only one that turned out, out of about 40 shots.  I found the lighting to be extremely difficult, but of course I’m still just a novice…

Josh Mazour

Josh Mazour of Crooks

Many Birthdays at Emo’s – Free Week 2010

Here’s a photo of Henna Chou of Many Birthdays playing at Emo’s on Jan 3, 2010.  They were really fun to watch and they have an amazing sound.  I was hoping that more photos would turn out, and I took quite a few, but I’m just not there yet.  I will definitely try to shoot this band again, and I recommend making it out to one of their shows as soon as possible.

Henna Chou

There is an excellent interview with the band at Destroy All Monsters, a fun Austin blog with lots of local film reviews and other goodies.

Western Ghost House – Free Week 2010

Free Week in Austin is great.  It’s almost too good to be true, actually.  I even a feel a little guilty for going to so many free shows and taking advantage of the opportunity to practice photography without paying for more than a couple of drinks.  And it’s a great time to discover new local bands, bulk style.

I have been going out all week taking pictures of bands at various Free Week venues and I am finally starting to feel a bit more comfortable with my camera and my ability to capture something worth looking at during poorly-lit live performances.  In case you don’t already know, I suck at live music photography, but I’m trying to get better, and I really enjoy doing it, so I’m going to keep trying until I figure out how to get nice shots at live events in dimly lit bars and venues.  And I am going to subject my readers to all my mistakes and practice runs.  Sorry!

Anyway, Sunday night I went to Emo’s to see a series of bands I had never heard of.  Western Ghost House was first on the stage, and they were great, really fun to watch and they have a great sound.  If you get a chance to see them play, I highly recommend it!

The photos.  I am not happy with these.  I kind of like the picture of the drummer, but I don’t like that I had to ditch all the color in order to make it acceptable.  The other two photos are very disappointing to me, and I am determined to learn from these mistakes and figure out how to better deal with that type of lighting in the future.  It was the inside stage at Emo’s.

I Suck At Live Music Photography

There, I said it.  I’m an amateur when it comes to photography, a true newb.  I can’t afford the best equipment and I just can’t seem to get the results I want out of the gear I do have.  But I don’t blame the gear, not at all.  It’s more of a pebkac-style problem, I just haven’t figured out how to get nice clean shots in the dimly lit rooms of Austin’s various staple venues.

Slowtrain

Slowtrain

I have done much reading on the topic, consuming a few dozen articles and blog posts from pros who have SEO’d their websites enough to make it into the top page or so of various Google search results.  I have read books, and I have done a lot of experimenting with my limited gear (though probably not enough).  There have been breakthroughs, sure, and I have a few photos I like, but nothing I’m truly happy with yet.

But I live in Austin, Texas, the Live Music Capital of the World, so I’m taking the “practice makes perfect” approach to this creative outlet and hitting up as many shows as I can, determined to learn how to use my camera to get the results I want.  Wannabe photographers like myself residing in and around Austin are at a distinct advantage in this field due to the endless opportunities to practice the art of live music photography, not only because there are dozens of shows around town every night of the year, but also because smaller Austin venues don’t mind us bringing in our DSLRs and camera bags and clicking away near the front of the stage.  This is something to be very thankful for.

Anyway, I was at Hole in the Wall a couple of weeks ago to see The Preservation play their first show ever, and I had a new lens to play with, a 50mm f/1.4 that I hoped would be much, much better than my old 50mm f/1.8.  This is the most expensive piece of glass I have ever purchased, and I will surely experience marked anguish and remorse with each interest-laden payment I make to my credit card.  And while the lens certainly does not make me a better photographer, it is easier to use and more adaptable in the painful low light conditions of Hole in the Wall’s front-room stage than my old 50mm f/1.8.

For all those hundreds of dollars, there were only two photos I was even close to happy with when I got home that night, and the colors and noise were so bad I ended up converting them to black and white in an attempt to spare myself some embarassment.

Tip Bucketthe-preservation-20091221-av-1

Perhaps more importantly, The Preservation, made up of Mario Matteoli (of Weary Boys fame) and his wife Cayce Marsh, Andy Bianculli, Ben Burdick, and Josh Weinholt (of Slowtrain), was a pleasure to hear.  They play some nice mellow rock, and it’s really fun to see Andy Bianculli’s guitar style meshed with Mario’s leads.  I’ll probably cover these guys in more depth later this year, as I am sure they will only get better as they play more gigs.

Anyway, I’m going to keep practicing live music photography because I enjoy it and I am determined to get those clean, crisp shots like the pros, and I will very likely continue to share the results with the readers of this blog.  Hopefully you will give me some feedback and possibly even throw some tips at me if you happen to be experienced with this medium.