Thursday, February 23, 2012

Las Vegas Concert Photography: The Darkness

I have a love/hate relationship with The House of Blues here in Las Vegas.  I love it because it's an awesome venue to catch you're favorite artist if they happen to be performing there.  It's size ensures you a good spot, no matter where you may be standing (or seated—if the upstairs section is open).  But I hate it because it's probably one of the most difficult venues in Vegas for photography.  The stage is about 6.5' high, which means I'm having to shoot up at the artist.  It also makes capturing some wider angle shots extremely difficult.  The lighting is generally poor, but there are some rare moments during the show where the lighting is exceptional.  Those moments usually come after the first three songs when professional photography is no longer allowed.

It is what it is.  You take the good with the bad.  I'd rather have the opportunity to shoot a show there than not so I take what I can get.  And last weekend I got The Darkness!

What do you get when you mix the flamboyance and insane vocals of Queen/Freddie Mercury, the crazy guitar sounds of AC/DC,  throw in a few 80's hair bands, such as Cinderella and Firehouse,  and add a dash of Russell Brand?  "Give me a 'D'.  Give me an 'arkness'," said lead-singer, Justin Hawkins, dressed in an American Flag suit and looking sightly like Captain Jack Sparrow, after The Darkness belted out their first song last Friday night at The House of Blues.  Best known for their mega-hit, "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," the original band hasn't played together since 2005, with the reunion occurring in 2011.

Musically, I don't know which was hitting the higher notes—Hawkins' vocals or his guitar.  His soaring falsetto is just simply amazing.  Just look them up on iTunes and listen to any of their other songs—you'll see what I mean.  I was blown away by the notes Hawkins is able to hit.  The Darkness proves that Glam Rock is still alive and well, but when it sounds as good as these guys do, who really cares?  It's still rock n' roll and it's still freakin' awesome!

Pics from the show below.  Click on any picture to be taken to the full gallery.


The Darkness performs at The House of Blues in Las Vegas


The Darkness performs at The House of Blues in Las Vegas


The Darkness performs at The House of Blues in Las Vegas


The Darkness performs at The House of Blues in Las Vegas

I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see these and additional photos from all the shows.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Las Vegas Concert Photography: The Bloody Villains

I was reading somewhere on the internet a few days ago and came across a rather interesting quote:  "Without local bands, there would never be any national bands."  How true!  Every band or solo singer had to start somewhere, whether it was in the church choir or in the local dive bar.

With that being said, last weekend I was down at the Double Down Saloon (home to the world famous "Ass Juice" and appropriately available for consumption in a miniature toilet shaped glass) to photograph The Bloody Villains.  They're a loud, high-energy rock band with some serious in-your-face guitar.   They're planning on heading into the studio pretty soon to record their first album, so here's to hoping The Bloody Villains can steal a little fame and maybe get a little national attention!

Pics from the show are below.  Click on any picture to be taken to the full gallery.


The Bloody Villains


The Bloody Villains


The Bloody Villains perform at the Double Down Saloon




I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see these and additional photos from all the shows.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Las Vegas Concert Photography: George Strait and Martina McBride

Concert photography is hard work.  Sometimes you get a photo pit and sometimes you don't; you're left having to fight through crowds to get the shots.  Sometimes you get a nicely lit venue and sometimes you're forced to pull out a flash just to grab a few shots.  On the flip side of the last statement, sometimes you get a venue that has a lot of light, but uses it to backlight the performer, which turns all the photos into a silhouette—a cool effect for some photos, but not for all.  Sometimes you're limited from the normal three songs to just one or two.  Sometimes you have to deal with a stage setup that's far from ideal, leaving you with photos of the performer's back or, even worse, no photos at all.  There are a lot of variables that can affect whether the outcome of a concert photo shoot is a success.

Saturday night was my first time photographing a concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.  I've been to quite a few shows there as a paying customer so I thought I knew what to expect in terms of shooting the show.  I was wrong!  The stage, a huge octagon, was set up in the center of the arena, which according to my PR escorts, was a first.  Additionally, there was no designated photo pit, I was limited to the first two songs, and I'd be shooting Martina McBride from a completely different location than I'd be shooting George Strait.   Let the fun begin!

For Martina McBride, I was about 40 feet back.  She took the stage and immediately got the crowd roaring with one of her upbeat catchy songs.  I don't remember what it was because I was too busy trying to photograph my moving target.  She started off facing me, (fortunately) very well lit, but then quickly made her way around the stage stopping at various points so that people on opposite sides of the stage could see her without having to watch the overhead monitors.  She eventually came back around to my side of the stage, but the routine was quickly repeated, leaving me with maybe a total of 45 seconds between the two songs to capture my photos.

For George Strait, things were quite a bit different.  I was right at the foot of one of the sides of the stage along with one other photographer.  I guess he had been instructed to stay on our side for the first two songs.  He was beautifully lit and played right to us.  I was limited to two songs, but it didn't matter.  Everything else was perfect!

With some pop/rock artists, it seems like a game—make it as difficult as possible for the photographer to do the job, and once we leave they crank up the lights and the energy.  With most country artists this is definitely not the case!  Whether or not they appreciate the fact that a photographer is there to take their picture, or they're simply doing what someone told them to do, they make it very easy for a photographer to do their job.  Almost everything is always ideal—from great eye-contact, to amazing similes, to good lighting, to their position on stage relative to the lens.  So while I may not go running out to buy the latest George Strait album (he did sound quite good, though), or the albums of any other country artists, I will hold them in high respect, as they have made it very easy for me to do my job.

Pics from the show.  Click on any photo to be taken to the full gallery.











I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see these and additional photos from all the shows.

Las Vegas Concert Photography: Kid Rock

A couple of weeks ago, I had to opportunity to photograph Kid Rock during one of his two sold-out concerts at the House Of Blues here in Las Vegas.   There's not a whole lot to say about Kid Rock, with the exception that he really does "ROCK!"  I've listened to Kid Rock ever since his first album, Devil Without a Cause, put him in the music spotlight.  With each album, I was surprised how the sound changed and the lyrics matured.  He has managed to leave the hard metal rap of Bawitdaba behind and move on to a masterful blend of Southern Rock, country blues, and even some gospel.   He's one of few artists who can successfully and creatively combine multiple genres of music, which makes for some fantastic listening—even if you may not like or agree with some of the lyrics.

But Kid Rock knows how to put on a show!  With a band of nine musicians, he played hit after hit to a packed venue.  Whether he was dancing around on stage or strumming his guitar, he was intensely fun!   Which probably explains why both nights were sold out…

Pics from the show below.  As always, click on any picture to be taken to the full gallery.


Kid Rock
Kid Rock performs at the House of Blues in Las Vegas on Jan 27, 2012


Kid Rock


Kid Rock

I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see these and additional photos from all the shows.