Archive for January, 2010

Photo: Milk Thistle at Red 7 – Free Week 2010

I stopped by Red 7 last week to see another one of my favorite Austin bands, Frantic Clam, who is set to release their brand new EP titled Lolita: Singles next week, which includes the hit song Sasha Grey.  I brought my camera along to try and get some photos of these guys playing, but unfortunately they played on the inside stage under a pathetic single light bulb because, for unknown reasons, the show lights weren’t turned on.  The lighting was so dismal that I didn’t even take my camera out for their set.

However, outside before Frantic Clam played I caught the tail end of Milk Thistle’s set, and they were very good!  I really enjoyed seeing them play, and I hope to catch then live again soon.

I snapped this photo of Milk Thistle’s lead singer (who’s name I am unsure of), and while I think the photo looks fairly good from a photography standpoint, I wish it could be a bit sharper, maybe more in focus.   This is a good example of a live music photo that, in my opinion, is almost there, but not quite professional quality.  The image manages to capture some of the singer’s passion and intensity during this song, but it falls just short of having the focus quality and overall sharpness that I am striving to deliver with my camera work.

Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle

So, what went wrong?  Any pros out there who can give me an idea of how to get this kind of shot in perfect focus?  The image was shot with my 50mm f/1.4 lens, ISO set to 800, aperture at 1.4, shutter speed at 1/125.  I think I managed to get a good amount of light through the lens at that speed, but perhaps my aim was a bit off on the focus?

Country Music is for White People

Where do things that never happened get sung by someone who never experienced them, to people who never experience anything?


The answer to this riddle is: a Kenny Chesney concert.

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.

The Chronicle’s review of my album is total bullshit

Can you believe this shit?

I mean really, can you believe this?

They had the nerve to write that about me?  About my band?!

They just couldn’t handle the fact that we’re really good and people like us, so they have to try to sabotage our shit!

I mean the reviewers at that paper are a bunch of failed musicians… so, just because their bands sucked and nobody liked their music back in the ’80s, now they get to get their big pens out and shove them up real artists’ asses?  To think I gave those swine the pearl of a year’s work.   I don’t even think they know what a real fucking band is anymore at the Austin Chronicle!  I don’t think they would know a real fuckin’ band if it punched ’em in their big fat mouths!  Those Pretentious Fucks!!!

And I don’t even think they fucking listened to it!

Look!  Shelley King got three stars!  You mean to tell me my album gets two stars and Shelley King gets THREE?!  YOU’VE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME!!!!!

Two fucking stars.  Two motherfucking stars!!  Thats what I get after all I’ve done for this town?  It just doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t add up…  I mean my band totally kicks ass… unless… hold on… I know whats going on here… I know exactly whats going on here!  This is all just one big FUCKING CONSPIRACY!  Thats what it fucking is!!  It’s crystal clear to me now!!!  This is one huge fucking conspiracy against me by the fucking Illuminati!!!

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.

I’m just a Texan who was born in California

Texas Waffle

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of Texas as a physical place that occupies a space in a certain time that no other object can occupy at the same time.  I think of Texas as a state of mind.

First let me just get this off my chest, I’m from California… and I love it here. I mean the live music, for one thing.  Seriously? …love it.

Another thing I really love about Texas is the pride all we Texans can have in it. From the lush swamplands of the east, to the desolate beauty of Big Bend Park, this state has it all. Where else do they make waffles in the shape of the state?  And I claim it all in the name of California.

I mean when my friends in California found out how cheap the property is out here, it was like over!  We just started buying it up…. seriously, like all of it!!

Look, I’ve lived here for nine years, don’t you tell me about Texas, I know Texas.

I moved to the Lonestar State in my mid-20s and theres just something about that old Red River hoss… that just gets in your blood.

God this state is so Awesome.

So on behalf of all Californians, thank you Texas, for your awesome state!

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 Used to Be in a Band

i used to be in a band

I used to be in a band

Did I used to be in a band? Yeah, don’t worry about it, I get it all the time.  Sometimes its hard to beleive it really happened, kinda seems like a dream y’know, but we were pretty popular back then… good times for sure… oh yeah, we got the rockstar treatment for sure, thought we’d be rich and famous.  Huh?  What happened?  I don’t know, people just get older, move on, just decided it was time to get while the getting was good.

Hey, you wanted this on wheat right?

No way!  You were there that time our bass player threw up on stage at Antone’s?  Boy oh boy those were the days.   You said light on the Veganaise right?

Nowadays?  Not much.  Just working here, y’know my old lady is the manager…  Just kinda getting back to my roots…  You want chips and a drink with that?  No?  Alright then, that’ll be $6.49.

Hey you should really come check out my new band, it’s me and alot of the guys from our old band… Oh yeah if you like that old shit you’ll love it, Hole in the Wall on Monday.  Yeah seriously man if you come I’ll put you on the guest list…