“He had all these things there… Sandman comics… things like that…” Tori Amos, coincidentally playing in San Diego during Comic Con week, reminiscing about her brother (who was in attendance) back in the day, and the inspiration for her song, “Flying Dutchman”, which was third up on her phenomenal setlist at Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay. This was my second show seeing the “Unrepentant Geraldines Tour” (having seen the show in Oakland on Monday night at the Paramount Theatre). As with that show, Tori is ever full of surprises, and the two shows were completely different on many levels. The most obvious being the venues, with the indoor, ornate, classy and historical Paramount Theatre having a certain sophistication, while the outdoor Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay is more relaxed, with the unmistakable coastal air and open feeling sitting out under the stars. With the setlists from the respective shows sharing only three songs (opening with “Parasol”, closing with “Cornflake Girl” and having “16 Shades of Blue” in their encores), it was two very different shows in terms of the music as well. The show in San Diego was at least to some degree a celebration of “Under the Pink”, as it was highly represented in the song choice. I loved both shows, but I’d have to say – for me – my love for Oakland’s was on more of an intellectual level, while San Diego’s was because she played more of the songs I truly love (and if I had to pick any one song for her to play, it would be “Bliss”, and she totally killed it on stage at Humprey’s. One of those rare artists that has the ability to completely change up her show night to night, this is definitely one of the best tours of 2014.
As I’ve published the periodic article with recommendations and discussions about cameras for fan photography at music concert events, which seem to be fairly popular, I know with changing technology it is long overdue for an update. With this feature, I thought I would provide a broader overview with my own observations and experiences shooting with a variety of cameras and formats, including full frame, APS-C, micro four thirds, and smaller sensor cameras, spanning full-featured DSLRs, mirrorless, and point and shoot cameras. With this article, I will also provide some advice on general settings and shooting tips and tricks. Overall, I discuss options for cameras from shooting up close right in front of the stage as well as at a distance, for both still photos and video. In short, I’m still a huge fan of the Sony RX100, a year later, and feel it is the best overall “go to” option for fans – great image quality and truly pocketable.
This is the second and last of my 2013 “Year In Review” articles. As with my article last year for 2012 in photos, I reviewed my concert photos from 2013 and compiled some of my favorites and stopped when I hit 100 photos in total. Please also check out my companion 2013 Year in Review article: The Rock Subculture Journal 2013 Year In Review (Top 10 Live Music Concerts, Top 10 Albums, Top 100 Songs, and more…) [Read more…]
As with last year’s 2012 Year In Review, reflecting on the many shows attended in 2013 and trying to make some sense of it all was a challenge. Having attended nearly 100 events, which usually includes at least one supporting act and a headliner, as well as one 10-day festival and many multi-artist shows, I saw literally hundreds of sets. Miraculously, I can probably count on one hand the number that were “bad”, and the majority were awesome in one or more ways. Still, I feel it is important to highlight the best of the best of the best, in an attempt to celebrate an amazing year of music. You can also check out my Top 100 Concert Photos of 2013 in that separate article.
Everyone knows all of the classic Christmas songs, but what about those that have emerged from the Pop and Rock music world and various subgenres (New Wave, Modern Rock, Punk, Indie, R&B, Hip Hop) from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today? Original songs and creative covers… I think many great songs are lost to time, in that the window in which they might be heard is too small, and then many fall off of the collective pop culture radar. So this is my attempt to put together a list of some of my favorites, though I’m sure there are many others out there that I’d love that I’m not even aware of, or have forgotten about myself. So if you have any recommendations, please post a reader comment below. [Read more…]
This feature is really born out of my own music playlists… I thought I would take my latest current playlist and break it down to music that was published in 2013 and limit it to 50 songs. Also, the songs have to be off of albums that came out in 2013 (not singles released in 2013 for albums that debuted in 2012). My only other restriction was limiting it to no more than one song per artist. Oh, and no covers… Included is a lot of music that I enjoy that likely include artists that some readers have never heard of, so hopefully this will result in some people finding new music and new artists. The songs are not ranked in an order of preference, but more in a flowing, playlist style. In any event, 2013 is a great year for new music… [Read more…]
One of the most fun things about Comic Con International in San Diego each year is checking out the costumes created and worn by many of the other attendees. Some dress up for cosplay and others hope to win the annual Masquerade Party, but in any event it seems to get more and more impressive each year. And then there are the funny costumes… as well as the “photobombs” that have been know to occur (some of which can be found in the following photos). [Read more…]
“What do you think? You’re scared… you want to know more, you want to see the whole thing”… Capping off “Metallica Day” at Comic Con International: San Diego (i.e. San Diego Comic Con) with a “secret” concert at Spreckels Theatre, the metal band’s front man James Hetfield makes a mid-gig reference to the IMAX 3D film, Metallica Through The Never. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band gave away tickets to the intimate 1,463 capacity concert venue during their Comic Con Hall H appearance earlier in the day (and funny enough, Hall H accommodates a much larger crowd of around 7,000. I know from picking up my own ticket at the special will call earlier in the day that many Fan Club members were also in attendance, so it was a pretty great energy from the crowd. Though the show was not too long (they came on an hour late at about 11 PM and finished up well before 12:30 AM), it was a fairly relentless onslaught of the metal music fans came to hear.
“This is a song for you young lovers out there. I was in love once. When I picked my guts up afterwards, I wrote this tiny little song, I hope you enjoy it; it’s called Wonderful.” A twisted sort of sentiment about his most mainstream song, New Wave icon and post-punk pioneer Adam Ant and The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse kicked on their 40-city North American tour in San Diego last night, at the classy Balboa Theatre. Adam Ant launched his first album in 18 years, Adam Ant is the Blueback Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter, earlier this year. Somehow last night’s show felt even more spectacular than the one I caught in San Francisco last year. Adam Ant was like a rock star possessed; perhaps more confident and somehow… joyful? At one point deep into the set, he tossed his mic stand, which landed on his bass player’s effects pedals, completely shorting them all out. One of the stage crew came out and messed with it briefly, then unplugged it and plugged him directly into his amp… the relentless onslaught of music could not be stopped, or even paused due to technical difficulties… and the near sold out crowd was perhaps treated to a more raw version of what was planned. A lot of music acts continually reinvent themselves, over and over, sometimes to the point where they become a series of completely different artists. Adam Ant is different. He is today what he was more than 30 years ago, in terms of his identity, style, and sound. He has evolved, of course, but stayed true to what he was and has always been – one of those rare artists who maybe got it perfect the first time.
This is an update to my previous two articles focused on the same subject (see Article #1, Article #2), so at least some of the information will be redundant. Technology is constantly changing, evolving, and improving, so I expect that this will require an update about twice a year. My hope is that some day there will be one camera that does it all, and does it all well, and is of a size/style/form factor that any music fan going to a concert can bring it into the venue with no problems. That day is not yet here, so my advice includes three different cameras, each of which have pros and cons, and none of which is the best for all circumstances. As of the time of this writing, my personal recommendations are the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V (or HX30V is you want WiFi), the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100, and the Fuji x100 (though the X100S is out in Japan and due elsewhere in the next 30 days or so).