Been sitting on some older photos from Hopscotch Music Festival 2015. Hopscotch is one of my favorite music fests, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The close proximity of all the venues and the great staff and locals make it a super fun time, year after year… here are some photos of Prurient, one of the more famous noise artists. He played in the big opera house venue in downtown Raleigh, an odd setting for this performance, perhaps, but it was cool to see him there. I noticed the various ushers and staff of the venue shaking their heads in confusion – I assume they normally don’t host this kind of show there.
Right after this, at another venue, I got to check out Chelsea Wolfe, who I’d been waiting to see for quite awhile – great performance (with a guest appearance from Mike Sullivan from Russian Circles, pictured above). Her album Apokalypsis is one of my favorites, highly recommended!
Digging through the stacks on this Thanksgiving eve and finding lots of old gems I haven’t posted. Here are some photos of my pals PURE JUNK from last year, playing a show at the Ottobar. Perhaps opening for Fred & Toody of Dead Moon? This was a fun night. Look for more posts soon (I always say that, but for real this time).
Every year I try and post a “Best Of” the year. It’s a good exercise, looking through all your work for the previous year and can only help you going forward. When I started, I would get them done in late december or early January. The last few years… it’s been more like the middle of the next year. 2015’s list is no exception! I started with a big list of photos I liked, then narrowed it down to a smaller list of photos. Maybe next year these won’t show up until 2018. Here are my final picks for 2015, in no particular order:
I shot Integrity (featuring Dom Romeo from A389 Records/Pulling Teeth/etc on guitar) awhile back. Great show, as always. Integrity is one of the bands from my youth that have stuck with me. I wouldn’t have guessed in then, but I find myself listening to them just as much or more now as I did when I had first heard them. Dwid also is always a fun frontman, and obviously really gets his audience. Good show!
As I noted here, I’ve been shooting a LOT with my Fuji x100t lately, and have even started shooting shows with it. It’s a surprisingly robust camera, I’m liking the results. Here are some images from Housecore Horror Fest 2015 I pulled off of one my cards…
Watain never disappoints. Always a great show, always a terrible smelling show. I had heard they wouldn’t be as vigorous with the blood and animal carcasses on this tour, but that proved to be wrong. The next day at Thanksgiving Dinner, someone asked me if I had spilled food on my jeans and I had to admit that it was congealed pig’s blood.
Trying to catch up on posting photos after an autumnal lull due to life stuff and an ailing laptop – this is one of the more fun shows I’ve been to in awhile, it felt like a wild Baltimore rager that doesn’t seem to happen as much anymore. Dope Body shows in Baltimore are always fun as hell, but this one was an especially great night.
Constant audio innovators Matmos are releasing a new album, Ultimate Care II, that was completely sound-sourced from their washing machine. For the release, their label Thrill Jockey had me work with them to create a series of promotional portraits. I have worked with Drew and Martin before and they are (of course) extremely creative as well as easy to work with, so I was really excited about this shoot. We played with some of things and tried to create a mix of images that ranged from your normal “band photo” to ones that were a bit more oblique or playful. Pretty happy with how this came out, and can’t wait for the album to be out – it’s really good!
This weekend, I headed out to scenic Sparks, MD for a photoshoot with my friends in Baltimore metal band Putrisect. It was a great time, featuring classic suburban fun like sneaking into an abandoned building, drinking beer next to cars and being harassed by local teens. You can check out all the photos HERE and check out Putrisect’s tunes at their BANDCAMP PAGE. As always, get in touch if you need some band photos or portraits taken.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a show at American, this was a really odd place to have a show, seemed like a glorified cafeteria, but it was a fun night all the same. Always love seeing the Repulsion dudes, and of course Pig Destroyer and Noisem are always great.
Laibach is a pretty weird band, one I never really expected to see live nor expected to actually be good, but this was a great show. I first heard of them from watching this video years ago, as part of the Wax Trax box set. It blew me away with how unlike just about anything else it was… their more recent material is less esoteric than that era of the band, but was really stoked to see this show.
Last minute assignment, really fun. I love shooting legendary artists like this. You’re always nervous they might not live up to their reputations, but this was a pretty great show – huge band, she was full of energy and joking with the crowd. Good times.
Finally catching up on some photos from before Baltimore Uprising… the Buzzcocks have always been great, since the first time I saw them in 99 or so with the Lunachicks in New Orleans, they always put on a great show… fun seeing them in a big room again after the more intimate Ottobar show last time.
Consistently great metal shows at Baltimore Soundstage. I had never seen either of these bands before. Yob was a band I’ve heard alot and enjoy, thought they might have been a “relaxed” band life before I saw them, but the life show was good. Made me want to crank the albums up when I got home. Enslaved is a band I’d always heard a lot about, but wasn’t super familiar with – they were great! Amazing stage presence, with little to no ‘kult’ stuff that can sometimes be a little much with European bands. They loved the crowd and played to the crowd (and the photographers) perfectly, really great performance.
Government Issue, the legendary DC hardcore band fronted by John Stabb, played a surprise show at the Ottobar recently. Pretty cool getting to see them play just blocks from my house, on a icy Sunday evening.
Two of the most interesting people making experimental music today performed to a packed Metro Gallery last week. Pharmakon’s two full-lengths, Abandon and last year’s Bestial Burden, both made it to close the top of my best of lists in their respective years. She has a way of making challenging music that easily fits into the realm of noise but also is very listenable in a way that most music from that genre is not. “Listenable” is probably not the best way to describe the hellish soundscapes she creates, yet they are extremely captivating records that seems to be able to cross over to metal listeners as well as avant-garde/experimental. I’ve seen her perform three times now and each performance she seems to bring in new elements and work with the crowd aspect more and more – at Metro Gallery, she wound her way through the crowd, getting her microphone snagged on people and furniture, at one point the audience had to struggle and pull on the microphone cable en masse as she ascended back onto the stage – it was pretty interesting to watch.
Drew Daniel (of Matmos fame)’s the Soft Pink Truth project flew under my radar for many years, but when he announced that his most recent record would be a series of Black Metal interpretations entitled Why Do the Heathen Rage?, I took notice. It’s a really odd record, idiosyncratic electronic/dance versions of classic black metal tracks. And, lest you think Daniel is making fun of the genre… well, he is, sort of, but it’s the loving sort of jibe that comes from a true fan who has encyclopedic knowledge of his source material. The record won lots of accolades, including “Best Thing Ever” from the City Paper, and has led to several pretty amazing live performances, the latest of which is the one pictured above. Really unique artist that I recommend you go see if you have a chance.