Pax (funcrunch) wrote,

Noisepop festival photo shoot

On Thursday and Saturday nights I went with Mike to review Noisepop Festival concerts for West Coast Performer Magazine. Mike's been writing album reviews for Performer for awhile and just started doing live concert reviews as well, so asked me along to take photos.

Thursday night's sets were at the Great American Music Hall. The headline act was Stellastarr*, one of boyziggy's favorite bands, so Ziggy came along as well. (Mike and I performed a Stellastarr* song, "Somewhere Across Forever", last year with our Blue Bear contemporary rock band Lost the Plot.) Ironically, Stellastarr* was the one band we didn't need to cover, as the magazine wanted to focus only on the West Coast bands, which for this show were The Hundred Days, Throw Me The Statue, and Birdmonster.

When we arrived at will call, we got our tickets but they didn't have the photo pass yet. We checked again a bit later and a Noisepop organizer said that no photographers were allowed at the event other than their own. Anticipating that there might be such a mixup, we gave the name of the person who had reserved our tickets. The Noisepop rep said she'd call to check but she was almost positive that I wouldn't be allowed to shoot. Some twenty minutes later she finally re-emerged with my photo pass, without explanation or apology.

We entered the club and got seats on the balcony. I started with my 50/1.4 but couldn't get a good wide shot of the stage with that lens. I decided there was enough light that I could use my 17-55/2.8 as well, and I switched between them throughout the show, leaving my 50-150/2.8 with Ziggy as I realized I had no use for it. I had little problem getting shots from the sides of the stage; the house staff was very accommodating. Some other photographers were there also and sometimes got in my way, but we were pretty good about taking turns. Musically, the night was a bit of a blur, so I don't remember details about the bands; check out Mike's review when it's posted.

Saturday night's concert was at Bimbo's 365, with The Gutter Twins headlining and supported by Apache, Monotonix, and Great Northern. The club was very dark so I left my 50/1.4 on the whole time. Apache was fun to watch. Monotonix set up in front of the stage and acted very weird. After getting beer splashed on me and nearly getting tripped up by the singer's mic cable I went back to my seat; as they were the one non-West Coast band that evening I didn't need to get more photos. Great Northern was trippy and ethereal.

Mike had been gushing about The Gutter Twins, and I could see they had quite a following. By the time they finally took the stage, I was glad I had stayed near the front because I was completely surrounded by an immovable wall of people many layers deep. I wasn't directly in front of the stage though, so the only way I could get photos without people's heads in the way was to use the "Live View" (common on consumer cams but relatively new to dSLRs) and hold the camera above my head. Unfortunately after doing this a few times a woman behind me complained I was blocking her view. So I tried taking photos normally (looking through the viewfinder) but she still complained, so I eventually pushed my way to the side of the stage, and was able to get some more decent shots from there.

I took over 1000 photos over the two nights. I narrowed down the selection to 10-20 photos per band and put them in a password-protected area for Mike to choose shots to accompany his review. I plan to put a selection up for public viewing later, but I want to watermark them first, and decide what I'm going to do with them before and after publication (assuming Performer finds my submissions acceptable). Happy to have accomplished my first official credentialed concert shoot.
Tags: concert, photography

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