Sweetlife Fest @ MPP w/ Kid Cudi, Zola Jesus, the Shins, more…

Kid Cudi @ Sweetlife Fest
Zola Jesus @ Sweetlife Fest
The Shins @ Sweetlife Fest
Kid Cudi @ Sweetlife Fest   @ Sweet Life Fest

Last weekend, checked out the Sweetlife Fest at Merriweather Post Pavilion for the Baltimore Sun… a rainy, dreary day but the kids in attendance could not be deterred… lots of smiling youths who were partying HARD. Also, some pretty great food courtesy of local vendors (I had a Toki Underground pho dog, myself… yum!) Weird to see Kid Cudi rocking a huge stage at an arena, last time I saw him was a little more intimate

Check all my photos from Sweetlife! (there are alot more than above, including other bands like Delta Spirit & Explosions In The Sky).

TV On The Radio @ Virgin FreeFest 2011

TV On The Radio @ FreeFest 2011
TV On The Radio @ FreeFest 2011   TV On The Radio @ FreeFest 2011
TV On The Radio @ FreeFest 2011

I’ve seen them a couple of times this year already, but TVOTR are always good live, and they were one of the highlights of this year’s Virgin FreeFest at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Two Door Cinema Club, Bombay Bicycle Club @ Virgin FreeFest 2011

Two Door Cinema Club @ FreeFest 2011
@ FreeFest 2011
Bombay Bicycle Club @ FreeFest 2011

Two bands with club in their names that played at virtually the same time at the FreeFest 2011! It took some wrangling, but I managed to get to shoot both bands and even got a aerial view:

@ FreeFest 2011

The Black Keys @ Virgin FreeFest 2011

Black Keys @ FreeFest 2011
Black Keys @ FreeFest 2011   Black Keys @ FreeFest 2011
@ FreeFest 2011

Closing out the main stage, and the last rock band of the night, the Black Keys (who I’d never seen before) had the crowd anticipation stoked high before they came on stage… and they didn’t seem to disappoint, though I was way too burnt out to really appreciate their set. I’d like to see them again someday without having to work for 11 hours before they played!

Deadmau5, Teddybears @ Virgin FreeFest 2011

Deadmau5 @ FreeFest 2011
Deadmau5 @ FreeFest 2011
Teddybears @ FreeFest 2011   Teddybears @ FreeFest 2011
@ FreeFest 2011

Raver culture was there in full effect at Virgin Fest this year… perhaps fitting, since we are apparently in the midst of a full-fledged rave/dubstep takeover… Deadmau5 brought out a huge throng of kids, who stayed til the very end of FreeFest, the west stage area by the ferris wheel reaching the biggest capacity it had all festival.

There were also a lot of dudes doing Deadmau5 cosplay:

Deadmau5 fan @ FreeFest 2011

Okkervil River, Grace Potter & the Nocturals @ Virgin FreeFest 2011

Okkervil River @ FreeFest 2011
Okkervil River @ FreeFest 2011
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals @ FreeFest 2011

Two groups I had never seen before, both put on good live shows, though Okkervil River surprised me more, I didn’t expect them to have as much energy live… they put on a pretty rockin’ performance.

Animal Collective @ Merriweather Post Pavilion

Animal Collective @ MPP
Animal Collective @ MPP   Animal Collective @ MPP
Animal Collective @ MPP   Animal Collective @ MPP
Animal Collective @ MPP

Way late on posting these pictures! In July, Animal Collective finally played Merriweather Post Pavilion, the venue for which they named their breakthrough album. I covered it for the Baltimore Sun and SPIN. It was a great show, with some amazing stage decoration and lighting. They played mostly new material, but the crowd seemed mostly into it.

Virgin Fest 2010.

MIA @ Virgin Fest 2010
LCD Soundsystem @ VirginFest 2010

Ludacris @ VirginFest 2010   Pavement @ VirginFest 2010   Joan Jett @ VirginFest 2010

I covered this years’ Virgin Fest for the Baltimore Sun and it was a doozy (and a lot of work). Performances by: MIA, LCD Soundsystem, Pavement, Ludacris, Sleigh Bells, Chromeo, Matt & Kim, Joan Jett, Modeselector, Thievery Corporation, Edward Sharpe, and MANY MANY more. By the end of the day I was delirious, dehydrated and had a blister on my shutter finger! But I also saw some great shows… Pavement was a big highlight, and LCD was great. MIA invited the crowd to join her on stage (a move which I could tell stressed the security guys out to no end, but they handled it well)… Ludacris was also awesome. All in all it was a great time, and much of (maybe all?) the proceeds went to charity, which is great. I think the mood in general was lifted by the fact that most tickets were free or for a good cause.

Afterwards I went to the Ottobar to catch the Death Set/Po Po/Waaves show, but I was too wiped out to shoot it. Then I somehow ended up at a punk cover band show and my car got towed… but that’s a story for another time…

To see all the photos from VirginFest 2010 (a lot), click here.

HFStival 2010 (Billy Idol and friends).

billy idol @ HFStival 2010
billy idol @ HFStival 2010   billy idol @ HFStival 2010

Last weekend, I shot HFStival, which used to be a big deal music festival in Maryland but disappeared for half a decade or so… they are trying to bring it back. It was mostly 90s bands, with one exception… BILLY IDOL, who ruled the main stage (even though he wasn’t officially the headliner). It was awesome seeing him, he is still in great shape… eerily so, actually. Between this and seeing Joan Jett this past weekend, I am in the midst of an early 80s revival.

view the whole HFStival photo set

Vampire Weekend, Beach House, Dum Dum Girls.

Vampire Weekend @ MPP
Beach House @ MPP
Dum Dum Girls @ MPP

After seeing Double Dagger & Sick Weapons at Hampden Fest, we high-tailed it over to Merriweather Post because I got a last minute assignment to shoot the Vampire Weekend show with Beach House and the Dum Dum Girls. I’d seen all them before, but never at Merriweather, which is one of my favorite places to shoot. We had to race in due to some issues with my friends’ passes, so I only got to shoot one song of Dum Dum Girls, but I got a few good shots. It was really surreal seeing Beach House, who I first saw play on the street in front of the old talking head, playing on that stage to 10,000s of people… but they did good, and had a nice stage setup and a few new touring members to fill out their sound. Vampire Weekend… was Vampire Weekend.

view the VW/BH/DDG photo set here.

Paramore & Tegan and Sara @ Merriweather.

Paramore @ Merriweather
Paramore @ Merriweather   Paramore @ Merriweather
Tegan & Sara @ Merriweather
Tegan & Sara @ Merriweather   Tegan & Sara @ Merriweather

A couple of weeks ago, I shot Paramore & Tegan and Sara for the Baltimore Sun. You can see the gallery here on the Sun site.

I am not a huge Paramore fan, but man… they were totally in control of their crowd. Especially Hayley Williams, the lead singer – she had the whole arena in the palm of her hand. As big as Paramore are now, I would be really suprised if she/they wasn’t a much bigger star in a few years…

Tegan and Sara are a band I used to like a bit, but hadn’t listen to them in a few years… they had a much calmer, but also more friendly and affable relationship with the crowd, and their set was way more pro/rock and less indie/intimate than I would have expected. Good set though.

Check out all my Paramore & Tegan and Sara photos on flickr here.