I keep not finishing any of the SXSW posts that I start writing because I am too lazy to upload the photos for the third time (they’re already on facebook & flickr) SO I am just going to post a bunch of highlights, starting with my most favorite moment.
During the BLURT Magazine/ Dogfish Head IPA party at The Ginger Man on Friday, March 16, 2012 at SXSW…
This is Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow playing/singing “Solar Sister” about five feet away from me. I am not able to post my own video of this event because someone (me) was screaming a bit too loudly. I get excited. I can’t help it, especially when I’m in an open space & may have consumed a few glasses of wine. You can see a great video of it here & be sure to listen up for a special name change in the middle. When I heard it live, I thought it was just my imagination. Actually, this whole night was nearly out of my imagination.
Earlier in the evening, Ken started his set with my most favorite of his songs, “Any Love (Cassandra et Lune)” & also played my second favorite, “One Morning” as well as a boatload of great new songs whose titles I don’t know.
Mmmmm… Gretsch. I love Gretsch.
I have continued my trend of being too close to get good shots. Luckily, I have great memories despite having a crappy memory. I shot this with my newly acquired Sony Mavica CD-400. When we stopped in Delaware on the way to Texas, my brother gave me it because he wasn’t using it anymore. I had previously had the 300, 400 & 500. As my dad upgraded, I would get the old one. I would then find a way to crack the LCD screen. One time it was because someone said they saw a snake & I fell while running away. Motherfuckin’ snakes. Unfortunately, we weren’t in any one place long enough to charge the batteries fully so I didn’t shoot too much with this.
This was also our first time seeing Jon Auer solo. His “Burn & Shine” medley was particularly exceptional. He didn’t break any strings though. This might be the first time we’ve seen him play & not break a string.
His open hand was begging for a glowing orb.
I know driving to Texas isn’t free, but did I mention this was a free show? It was AND there was more greatness to follow when Jody Stephens joined in for some rollicking Big Star songs.
Many special guests came out, including some of the great “Third” singers/players, John Doe, the guy from Blitzen Trapper, Ian Moore & Peter Buck from R.E.M. I kept thinking Peter Buck looked like Bill Murray so I couldn’t say hello because I kept laughing, expecting him to start reciting “Groundhog’s Day” lines (because I am sure that is what the real Bill Murray does when he isn’t loading Tia Carrere’s band van).
I should start taking notes of set lists or get a new battery for my video camera so I can at least have a poor recording to reference. Suffice it to say that this only fed my frenzy of adoration for these guys. Every time we see them together, I fear it will be the last time & I don’t ever want that to be the case. I do want the next show to be somewhere where it is ok to dance though. The sitters behind me weren’t too keen on my desire to dance to “September Gurls.” I hate sitting down almost as much as I hate being quiet.
These guys are the greatest. Induct them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame now please (& don’t forget John Fry).
I’m only 17 days late to the new year. Oops.
Best Albums of 2011 – “Virgins of Menace” – The Disciplines
& “Elsie” – The Horrible Crowes
Best 7″ – BIG STAR With John Davis: Live Tribute to Alex Chilton – “Don’t Lie to Me”/”In the Street”/”When My Baby’s Beside Me”
The above also represents my proudest photographic accomplishment thus far. To have one of my photos on the label of such sonic beauty makes me incredibly happy.
My VERY favorite photo of the year –
In a year that I lost count of all the shows I could not shoot (due to lack of money, credentials or both), being able to shoot Dave Matthews Caravan was an extraordinary experience. There are shots from the festival that are technically better than this shot of Boyd Tinsley but this one is my favorite. It was the third night of DMB & they were playing “Seek Up.” I just happened to be positioned right where Boyd stepped forward. Looking at this, I can still recall my shaking knees. I wanted to drop the camera & just dance along to the music and, at the same time, I wanted to make sure the settings accounted for the different lighting downstage. I wanted that moment to last forever & now it can & that is why I love shooting concerts.
Runners-up for favorite moments &/or photos include:
Watching Jody Stephens drum “September Gurls” at the Big Star Third show March 26, 2012. From the balcony, I could see just how the sticks hit the drums & cymbals. I was mesmerized. Where was my video camera?!
September 19 – Snowball 37 & Nick Clemons Band at Sullivan Hall – One of the most fun shows of the year. This marked the live debut of SB37 with sax & the energy of the show was really high. This is one of my favorite pictures because James looks like a cartoon eagle. I love the shadows & absolutely could have cropped it differently, but it is still one of my favorites. This show also rocked because Binky & Tony were there.
Snowball 37’s Family (Re)Union Show with five of the six Fagan siblings & one next generation Fagan. January 21, 2012 They played my favorite part of “Across the Sea” in a Weezer medley. Ahhhhh…
November 5 – Nick Clemons Band & Snowball 37 at Tiki Stadium. Nick has an incredible voice & a band full of talented musicians. This was another high energy show. I love both of these bands.
Shooting the Flaming Lips gave me chills even though it was 85 degrees outside.
November 14 – That is my skirt & Ken Stringfellow’s shoe. While I am sad to have not seen the Posies as a whole in over a year, it was more than pleasant to be sitting so close as he sang & played. I do regret not having a camera that can shoot noiselessly over ISO800. Too much flash was too rude so the actual photos of this show are not the best. Good thing Ken has a new album coming out.
September 8 – The Horrible Crowes – I couldn’t afford the Gaslight Anthem shows this year & I would have missed this were it not for the great people at The Aquarian Weekly.
Any time Jonathan Tiersten & David Fagan play together is great. This particular shot is of their “Under Pressure” duet on September 11. I chose this show because of JT’s performance of his song “Underbelly” that night. Just go to the video & let him take you to church (or as much church as you can be taken to when Ayn Rand inspired the song).
My favorite show of 2012
Twice this year, we found ourselves watching Bruce Springsteen play the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park (for $10 each). The second time, July 17, was a tribute to Clarence Clemons and featured The Sensational Soul Cruisers with J.T. Bowen (pictured above). Listening to J.T. Bowen, I was transported to the Memphis of my dreams, especially when he sang “Try A Little Tenderness.” I wanted to melt right into the floor. I can’t find video of that song but you can watch this instead. Forward about halfway through & you can hear “Shake.”* He absolutely, positively stole the show for me. His performance alone would have made this my favorite show. Other reasons this was my favorite – hearing them talk about Asbury in the old days reminded me of my dad, JT Bowen reminded me of my dad (looks, not voice), the music was so damn good, I had my honey with me AND, because of this show we now have another extremely talented, awesome friend.
*Please let me know why you would ever shake a bowl of soup though
When I took this picture a year ago, I tried to find out the name of the guitarist/guitar tech on stage. I eventually forgot to keep looking. I didn’t make the connection when I heard about The Horrible Crowes, read the liner notes or met Ian Perkins right before the show. It wasn’t until I was editing my less than stellar shots of the Horrible Crowes show that I realized, & I am about 90% sure, that this photo is my first photo of The Horrible Crowes.
If you want a review of the show, please pick up the September 28, 2011 issue of The Aquarian Weekly. Because I am horrible at being objective & putting into words why I like something if I really like it, it took me about seven hours to write. One hour of that was trying to find out the name of the last song that Brian McGee (the opener) sang. I left it as the unknown Plow United song. Then, I started trying to make a comparison between The Horrible Crowes & The Rat Pack but it just didn’t work out right so I cut it. I also had difficulty expressing just how much I loved Ian Perkins’ guitar. It is very similar (the same?) as Chris Bell’s that Jon Auer played “I Am The Cosmos” on at the Big Star Levitt Shell show.
The lighting at the show was very low which sets a great tone but make my cameras very noisy. It didn’t help that the Nikon is stuck at ISO200 (see previous blog) or that I left the better Canon battery (that holds a charge for more than 15 minutes) charging at home. Also, I had to respect the first three songs photo policy which meant I missed the really cool shots of Brian & Ian. Next time, I must remember to bring a point & shoot for such instances. The following are some of my favorites:
Alex Rosamilia playing the Nord. He also adopted a pitbull from Liberty Humane Society. This almost makes me happier than the music 🙂
Ian Perkins playing the aforementioned Gibson ES-335.
My first Dave Matthews concert was in 1998? with my bestest buddy in the whole wide world, Thindy. After that one, there were many more. I don’t think I ever appreciated the sound of the guitar until I saw Dave Matthews. Listening to DMB made me feel happy, sexy, one with the world yet totally detached from it. My Thindy moved away, my other friends don’t really like DMB & new worlds of music were opened up to me so I lost touch with my “playful beginnings” until this past weekend…
It was a tremendous honor & a re-birth of sorts that found me front & center in the photo pit for this past weekend’s Dave Matthews Band Caravan shows in Atlantic City. I still have a ton of pictures to edit but I am not sure any will be as cool as this one:
This was from the Sunday show. I believe the song was “Seek Up” but all I was trying to do was not let my knees cave in. Boyd Tinsley violining like a fiend, making beautiful music mere feet from my eager ears. I didn’t have time to double check the settings & prayed this would turn out so I could remember this moment forever. Selfishly enough, my primary reason for wanting to photograph musicians I love is so that I can relive the experience. If seeing the photos transports me back to the moment, I am satisfied. Of course, it is also great when they take other people to that place too. So, fan or foe, present at this show or not, here are a few other shots…
More photos will be added to my flickr.
Thank you Dave Matthews Band for a weekend of beautiful music & reminding me of why I fell in love with you in the first place 🙂
I grew up listening to “oldies” music & always loved this song, especially when my dad explained that it was about prostitutes. Who can resist a song about prostitutes, especially ones that save men from boring sex?!
Ah, so here I sit, a year after the passing of Alex Chilton, wondering what I would be listening to if we had not gone to that Big Star show November 18, 2009. My Big Star love affair began quite slowly. In the beginning, I only knew the “Theme from ‘That 70’s Show'” & the song my boyfriend would play me that I knew was either Big Star or Elliott Smith that had the word “going” in it. Soon, the “going” song was fully realized as “The Ballad of El Goodo” & it became my favorite. Then, I learned that Jody Stephens is a very nice person when he was the only one to write back when I sent SXSW photos to him even though they were the worst photos I took all week. So, that was Big Star prior to November 18, 2009. I liked it but I didn’t “get” it.
I prepped for the show by listening to Big Star all day. I decided that “Watch The Sunrise” would be my second favorite song until the show started… Everything changed. I really felt as though there could never be music any more wonderful than what I was hearing. My mind was in overdrive trying to hold on to every second of what I was experiencing. I imagined this must have been the way people felt when they first saw the Beatles. It isn’t anything I can describe. All I know is that it was special & important & a moment that I hope lives forever. A friend of ours traded his ticket stub to someone after the show & I had an odd sense that it would be a mistake but I never expected it to be a mistake because that would be the last formal Big Star show….
Everything I have experienced as a result of loving Big Star has only led to more amazing experiences. I never understood when musicians said that if it weren’t for _____________ band, they would never have started a band. I get it now. It isn’t something I can describe, but I really get it. Big Star makes me want to play, certainly not because it is easy (it isn’t) but because of the way the music makes me feel. I believe Jody, Jon & Ken can keep Big Star alive for as long as they want. I also really hope they get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (Please sign the petition ) I understand there is a lot of criticism surrounding the HoF. I have read where people have said “Alex wouldn’t have wanted it” & “the HoF is useless anyway.” Well, maybe a band like Kiss who will sell millions of albums with or without the nomination doesn’t need the HoF but for a band like Big Star, it would open up their music to new fans & secure a place for them in a history much larger than the current cult following. I am not very good at being selfish… I want the whole world to know & love their music.
So, as March 17 rapidly approaches, I will be spending my day listening to Big Star, The Box Tops & Alex Chilton, shedding tears for a man I never met, a man whose music & musical friends deserve nothing but the best. Big Star fans who may be reading this, I declare March 17 “Introduce a friend to Big Star” day 🙂
On September 1, 2010, I saw Weezer at The Great Allentown State Fair where another of my favorites, The Gaslight Anthem, opened for them.
I should forewarn you that these are perhaps the best photos I have taken since I first took the D70 to see Green Day. What a huge difference a giant spotlight makes on concert photos! It didn’t hurt that I could not take my eyes off of Rivers. He is quite the showman. Apologies to Brian, Pat, Scott, & Josh – you are all superb musicians but with the spotlight on Rivers most of the time, it was impossible to not keep my camera fixed on him. This made me even more pissed that I missed the Williamsburg Waterfront show that my brother in law sang “I Want You To” with Rivers 😦
The only problem I experienced was when Rivers came into the crowd & caused a bit of a push… It jarred the memory card in the Nikon & rendered some of those photos un-openable. This happened again when a crowd surfer landed their boot on my Nikon.* If most people in the audience are wearing flip flops or Converse, why is it that the ones who choose to crowd surf inevitably are wearing hiking boots? I know, I shouldn’t have a camera in the crowd but until some outlet decides that it is ok for a female who is under 65 & actually likes music to have a photo pass, I will have to stick to sneaking my cameras in & hoping for the best.
This photo above is my absolute favorite from the show. I will do (nearly) anything to be able to shoot the Blinkerton tour, even if it was just for “Across the Sea” & I was kicked out right after 🙂 I cannot wait to see Weezer again, especially in a venue with great lights, great sound & an ability for me to be so close.
By the way, if you have not already purchased “Hurley,” I encourage you to do so yesterday! My favorites so far are “Unspoken,” “Smart Girls” & “I Want To Be Something.” Oh, & “Where’s My Sex?” & “Represent” & “All My Friends are Insects.” Ok, so I like the whole darned thing!
All photos (C) Conn! Unless you are Weezer, please do not use them without permission.
*Anyone know a way to open Nikon RAW files that give an “end-of-file” error in PhotoShop? I can see the thumbnails in the preview so it makes it worse to know that they are there & they look good. I do not have the Nikon software to open these files. I tried adding them to the hard drive three different times.
For my birthday in June, I bought tickets to see The Gaslight Anthem at The Stone Pony on August 5, 2010 & tickets to see them play with Weezer at the Allentown State Fair (PA) on September 1. With all of the Ticketmaster fees, this nearly bankrupted me but seeing concerts is always more fun than having good credit & paying student loans, right?
So, the August show… was full of the Gaslight fans who really like to mosh & crowd surf. This makes taking pictures & having a good time difficult. Plus, during my favorite new song, “Bring It On,” the lady behind me decided to start a fight with the girls behind me – pushing, punching & homophobic words were all pleasantly shared. As with the Terminal 5 show, I had some moments of wanting to never see them again live, through no fault of their own. We started walking to the car during the first encore & realized that the sound was actually way better from there (it was an outdoor stage & the car was about 40 feet to the side of the stage) & I loved them again.
September 1 – Allentown
I thought for sure the crowd would be full of people to see both Weezer & The Gaslight Anthem. I like love them both, so why shouldn’t everyone? Oh, that’s right because people today need to be told who to like. The only thing that could have made this show better would be if some version of Big Star/The Posies were playing too. (Weezer pics will be in a separate post)…
The Gaslight Anthem played a whirlwind set comprised of almost 20 of my favorite songs. Since my last attempt at rocking out to “Bring It On” was a failure, this was the exact opposite. When they started it, I let out a whooping scream that made those around me laugh. Sorry for being excited. What a crime! It was SOOOO nice to be able to dance to these songs. SOOOOO nice. I even had the freedom to cry during “American Slang.” I didn’t cry a lot but sometimes when I really get into it, my emotions get the best of me when he sings “We called for our fathers but our fathers had died…” I love The Gaslight Anthem.
Compared to other shows of theirs I have seen, I would rank this pretty high up there just based on being able to really rock out & sing along. It was a bummer that more people around me didn’t seem very into it. How can you hear these songs & not at least tap your foot?! Not to mention that this incredible show was to be followed by Weezer!
The State Fair setting made it even cooler when they played “The Backseat” – “Come July, we’ll ride the ferris wheel, go round & round & round & if you never let me go, well I will never let you down…”
Technically speaking, my close proximity to the stage & the lack of flying feet into my head & camera (except for the last song) would have made this show pretty easy to shoot if I wasn’t so busy enjoying it. Brian, Alex, Alex & Benny are all enjoyable to watch & highly photographable. I did have some trouble making adjustments as the sun was setting, until they turned the big lights on. See how technical I am with terms like “big lights…?”