concert photos

Travelessness

Guess I should "say" something before the first month of the new year ends…
For the first time in my life I am not riddled with depression and continue to refine my "au naturale" starch-free vegan diet yet have been plagued with the fatigue. Not sure if it's the short daylight hours and the lack of sun or my thyroid (though I take vitamin D and eat seaweed) … or maybe I am suffering from travelessness! Otherwise, life is pretty kind to me.

Here are photos from my first concert of the year:
Niki & The Dove. I wasn't too familiar with their music but being Swedish already gets you a passing grade in my test. The music is darker than how their facade presents, and I love Malin's voice - kind of reminds me of Kate Bush. Here's a concert video:


And here's a video I did for HairapyPDX with help of my friend,
Veronica Rose, who did the production audio and as so often happens - a talent in the video. This was a bartering deal - I usually can't afford to go to a salon and nice that it's also organic and run by friendly Ernest.


Well, you can see what else I was up to via my social media sites (ugh - wish I could delete Facebook but need it while I am the "small guy"). I'm getting too tired to type anymore. Signing off 7:47pm/19:47

Fin Reflexion

I'm sure for many of you, it feels a lot like Christmas… but I keep forgetting Christmas has yet to pass.
I usually visit my mum and the family in Florida for Xmas, but this year we decided to do our once/year visit during Thanksgiving to save some $ on air tickets.
Maybe I'll wander around Portland like a ghost on Christmas Day and observe the further entanglement that is the mystery of life… since all volunteering positions have been filled. Or maybe I should keep working on the footage I videoed in Finland.
But here's one I finally finished (well, I could make it better but time, time, time…): it may not look like the most time consuming of my video interviews to date but sure was a challenge cutting down 1:20 min of footage to @15min and trying to balance the three different representatives.
This interview on
Soliti label was purely a labor of love and a pretty costly one at that.
Musicians may not make much money but many of us music journalists don't make any. I suppose the industry takes advantage on both sides… but I would gladly empty my bank account to do it again.
Watch it below and you can read my intro, stream and download tracks at
Prefix.



I don't anticipate taking anymore concert photos before year's end so here's a summary of
2012:


Been discovering a lot of music from this year too late but here are eight albums that had affected me each in their own way (click on image):


And I did some other stuff but with short daylight, I am lazy… and there's always Google and
Twitter if you really want to know.

So as this dimension keeps chasing the future, I hope we are a bit more wiser and kinder.

Sigur says animals are for petting, not for eating!

Comforting Cold

Past spring, I set a goal to make it to Iceland Airwaves this year. I had no idea I could actually afford the trip, but I had to stop letting dreams escape.
It was not all life of parties - at times, I was popping whatever to get me through the physical discomforts resulting from lack of sleep, over exertion, dehydration… it's a miracle that I didn't get sick and pass out!
Well, who really cares about that?
Just read my
Report Card and check out my photo galleries at Prefix:
Day1
Day2
Day3
Day4
Day5

So We Finnishly Meet

October, you have always been my favorite and this year, you have forever marked my heart.
Once again, the events unfolded seemed to be bound by fate.
Finland was calling me, and I found a way to be there.
Things didn't quite pan out the way I had first envisioned, but it all coalesced like some forgotten dream.
Because I had decided to catch
Delay Trees in concert though it meant I had to travel further from Helsinki.
And because I had found the courage to ask them if I can ride with them, I am now forever left with a memory of one magical night.
It's not easy for me to feel comfortable around most people, but I felt like a child with an untainted worldview around the lads of Delay Trees.
Do you know what I mean?
Do you recall once when you were young, when you believed in all possibilities and found wonder in the simplest things?
Well, I would never be able to translate the feeling in words verbatim but something like that.
That wonderful feeling when you don't feel like the need for a small talk.
When you feel you have known someone before you ever met them…

I found Finns generally to be one of the most likeable people.
And they produce loads of wonderful music that had escaped my ears until this year.
Think I'll stop here before it becomes what it is not…
But there is always the sadness - slowly, eventually, it fades - if you can't perpetually replicate the initial experience.
One day I'll build a perpetual replication machine…
For now, here's my piece on Delay Trees at Beats Per Minute
More from Finland later.

Delay Trees cover Everly Brothers "All I have To Do Is Dream" from Photosphere on Vimeo.


Before leaving for the Nordic countries, I caught an intimate acoustic show of Neil Halstead.
I was a big Slowdive fan back in the days, and it was difficult to buy into what he has done since then.
But checkout photos from the ever-challenging Doug Fir at
Prefix and concert videos on my YouTube.



I also checked out an instrumental act, Tycho.
Photos also at
Prefix and a video for "A Drift".

Conjure Juncture

You know how sometimes life unfolds and one thing leads to another?
Well, last week, I had emailed several magazines about covering
Musicfest NW. I did it for Brooklyn Vegan last year, but I like variety and expanding my horizon. (And I almost got squeezed to death at the Neurosis show they asked me to photograph.)
Stereogum was the first to get back to me so I'll be doing photos of Musicfest NW for them, but Prefix welcomed me to their team as a photographer.
I was bummed I couldn't get a photo pass for
Sigur Ros concert on Thursday - that was like the first time in I don't recall when. So to satiate the concert photographer in me, I thought I might catch Franz Ferdinand the following night. I had only seen them at a record store set about seven years ago. I had always liked their music enough but boy do I love them after their Friday's show… thanks to their PR who honored my request for pass and list requested on the day of the show! So this was my first assignment for Prefix.
You can check out 3 concert videos from the show on my
YouTube.
It is difficult to think of a Scottish band I dislike, and Glasgow has a special place in my memory/heart...


Tragic Milestone

This is a milestone - in a way.
Unfortunately, not in a good way…
I recently switched from Mac Pro desktop to iMac. One of the reasons why I switched was because I was having such a bad luck with internal drives in the desktop. Couple of years ago, all my business and photos were wiped out. Even sent the drive to the best recovery place in the nation and nothing.
Last year, another internal drive started to go. Before I could get everything off of the drive, it died so I no longer have files for lot of the video interviews. Just about a week ago, the external Lacie (the only brand I ever had trouble with for external drive) drive I had transferred all my music journalism related items for the past 3 years plus an experimental video done earlier this year which I was intending to enter into a festival went wacko, and now the file markers are 99% invalid. So there goes the hope of gallery shows and printing some of my fave shots… you ask, why didn't I backup? Well, that was the backup just before the backup process. I have so much data that it would be a full time job to keep things backed up and organized as they are updated. But yes, guess that's bit of a poor excuse.

So this
Xiu Xiu piece is the first since the death of my music journalism catalogue. There may be a hope yet, but this gal has been let down one too many times. Trying not to be attached. Still hurts though.


Memorial Day with Starfucker

I find it very strange that the lot of Americans celebrate Memorial Day by feasting on flesh and other detrimental foods, washing it down with a healthy dose of beer. (Ok - I am guilty for excess alcoholic consumption at times so maybe I shouldn't diss meat and processed food eaters…) How is gluttony and vacationing honoring the dead? But I suppose those who have passed away would want the living to be happy - hmm?
So I didn't attend any BBQ parties or consume dangerous amounts of alcohol.
Instead, I worked on the computer most of the day until it was time to catch
Starfucker at Burnside skate park.
I had previously attempted to grab an interview at one of their three home shows, but it never materialized. And I just kinda gave up as life sped up. Glad I finally had the chance to catch them live and not deal with press inquiries.
It was a perfect event to lift one's spirit (and I really needed one of those) - the outdoors with cool breezy dusk air enveloping you like a womb, smiles on people's faces, sweet music echoing through the chasms… sometimes utopia exists now and then.
I had stayed up that night to finish everything but the post got a publication delay.
But now it's finally online at
Beats Per Minute.

from Serenity to Spiritualized

Last week, I attended two shows and both of them for free!
On 22nd, I won tickets to see
We Are Serenades from Sweden.
I always feel bad when bands travel so far and the attendance is low but Portland is weird like that.
But I have been feeling certain emptiness as I walk through the streets of this "trendy" city.
It was also on the same night Roger Water's
The Wall came to town - not sure if that would have made too much difference.
I do have a nice indelible memory from that night - while I was sitting at the upstairs bar at
Doug Fir, waiting for my friend, I started a conversation with a businessman who was staying at the Jupiter Hotel (for those of you don't know - it's attached to the venue). He was not familiar with indie music world, but I persuaded him to checkout the show. He ended up loving WAS so much that he bought 2 copies of their CDs and thanked me. I always feel so happy introducing people to music they love but didn't know it until I came along.

here's a video of We Are serenades performing "Daydreaming" and "Fireworks" back to back:


Also check out their Christopher Cross cover
"Ride Like the Wind" and the beautiful "christmas" song - "Come Home"
And the
Photo Gallery

I had been trying desperately to get a photo pass for
Spiritualized show but with no luck.
And as someone who is addicted to concert photography, I felt no use going to the show without my camera.
But then at the last minute a friend offered a ticket, and I couldn't refuse.
I had a 50 mm lens with my camera that day. I don't usually use that lens because it is fixed and can't really move around too much in a place like Wonder Ballroom to get different shots but when one doesn't have a photo pass, probably good to have such a small lens. Turns out, they didn't seem to care whether you had one or not so I won both ways!
I was still cautious though, and felt I could have done better job if I was "official".
I'm not a huge fan and it's not typical of my style, but I was absolutely mesmerized by their set.
Well, here's the
result.

">

Lotus of Fun

I am continuing to breeze through time - great when you realize you have so many things to do and ideas pop off like fireworks, not so great when you realize there's only one of you or only 24hrs/day…

The highlight of this past week -
Lotus Plaza at Doug Fir.
I had so much fun doing a photo shoot with the band after the show - you can check out photos and videos at
Brooklyn Vegan, but they only published 2 portrait shots, and this one I believe is Lockett's fave - how does he jump so high? He did say he wanted do ninja moves, and he became one!


you can check out more portraits on my
Flickr page

And I love this drawing Lockett did on my copy of CD - he has so much talent!


Here's one of the concert vids:


A week prior, I volunteered to take photos for
The Dill Pickle Club - concert photography takes some practice and with all my experience, I found shooting lectures at a theater was pretty challenging, especially when I like to be as invisible as possible.



Shine On Me April

This April has been like a one fantastic voyage (ooh - one of my have Bowie song).
I have been finally busy enough with paid gigs to not complain for the first time (thanks largely due to
Galaxy Sailor) but also have been hosting a virus that suspended me in a sleep of half-wake state for the most of the time, sleeping only 4-5/hrs a day yet able to work twice as much - it really is a mind over matter!
And I must confess, I've also partied almost as hard as I worked.
Hey, it's all about the yin and yang.
Must move onto another task so I leave you with:
The Naked and Famous photos



And finally caught Neon Indian - that was a blast!
Too bad Alan's vocals were too low:

Missed and Found

After some dry spell, I'm getting excited about music journalism again.
So much good music coming out from everywhere, hard to keep up!
And I'm sure so much more I'm missing.
Just like a friend you always knew but never met.

Last Sunday, I went to see
Porcelain Raft (moniker of Mauro Remiddi), and turned out to be a very surreal night. Mauro was still living in Rome while I was spending my sophomore year for my fine art degree. Perhaps we were walking down the same street… but how surreal to meet him in Portland after all these years and felt like I met a friend I always knew.
You can read review, see photos, and concert videos at
QRO

Here's my fave song:


And my first
album review of the year - it was a tough one - some people have to be so damn clever ;)
Suffice to say, don't think I'll be doing another album review for awhile - feels like I'm back in my demanding art history classes at Notre Dame - though I do love the challenge and the academic reward…
Another new love - Choir of Young Believers from Denmark:


Photos from my second James show - unfortunately I was running on empty and strict first three song rule - the first song was pretty much in darkness :(

Swedes in San Francisco

Finally - Fredrik concert review and interview published online now.
To read the live review and see photos from both San Francisco shows go to
QRO magazine.
It was really dark so photography and vidography was pretty challenging.
Nice surprise when the band dedicated a song to me at the Hemlock Tavern show for coming down from Portland.



How lucky am I to interview one of my favorite bands twice in less than a year - one in their hometown of
Malmö, Sweden and this one in my neck of the woods (well, close enough when you consider how big US is).
For the video interview, go to
Beats Per Minute or watch below. But you can read my little blurb at the magazine.


Loney Treasure

Back from a week long trip to the NE. I had a video job in Boston and decided to drive to Montreal - because almost 6 hr drive didn't seem so bad and I wanted to visit a place that seemed to be most European... well, the 6 hr drive in the tiny Fiat would have not been so bad if I had enough time to enjoy the sights along the way except for the New Hampshire state liquor store. At least it was a nice, sunny fall weather-mostly.
Montreal didn't seem so European after all but foreign enough for the purpose. And of course these days, it's hard for me to take a trip and not mix my music jornalism so caught
Loney Dear since his 6 date N. American tour didn't stop in NW. Review, photos, and vdeos from the show are up on QRO.



Then while I was in my nice cozy B&B (
Le Cartier) in The Gay Village district of Montreal, noticed that Brooklyn Vegan finally published Day 1 (not sure when they'll get to Day2) photos from Treasure Island. Aubrey took most of the atmosphere photos but she didn't get her name in the credit :(


Cut Copy

I have been a fan of Cut Copy ever since the release of Neon Like Bright Love,. Unfortunately, I missed them during their previous tours. This year, I am making up for the lost time!
In March, Christina and I drove to Seattle to see them, and the show was certainly worth every penny, even the $170 stolen by some ill spirit. Just this past Sunday, I was lucky to get on the press list, thanks to
Sub Pop and Washed Out, who opened for Cut Copy. I had the best seat in the house - in front of incredible Tim Hoey -absolutely mesmerizing performance. I believe he gave me some of the best photos in my concert photography "career".
Tomorrow, I'll be catching The Cutters again in San Francisco.
I have to get up before sunrise to catch my flight so I'll just let my
review and photos speak for themselves.





One Hot Musicfest NW

It seems weeks since I had a chance to breathe long enough to make sense out of things.
The frenzy started the first weekend of September when I finally booked another wedding photo gig - with friendly New Zealanders from bride side in the beautiful Columbia Gorge.
By the time
Musicfest NW kicked off on the 7th, I had only just begun editing the wedding photos.
As luck would have it, the event coincided with the hottest week of the year - just few degrees reaching triple digit, and Portland is full of establishments with no air conditioning. Not sure if it would have been better the following week when the temperature dipped 30F and rained…
It did help that this year I decided to cut back on my involvement and forego writing which meant I had to diverge from my loyalty to
QRO (but soon found out still was not enough of a reduced work - was getting 3-4 hours of sleep during the festival).
As someone who developed dislike for taking the same route to the school everyday as a kid, I needed a change. So this year I shot for
Brooklyn Vegan, as well as Willamette Week.
Well, guess I'm already bored writing about this (and that probably means that you are too) so here are the links to all things I shot for Musicfest NW 2011.
But before that, few impressions:
- The band I most wanted to see at Musicfest NW:
The Horrors - they were great when I saw them 2 years ago and love their looks and style - guess that says a lot about me
- The best lighting:
The Antlers at Pioneer Square - so great to be outdoors instead of crammed in a suffocating enclosure - back to lighting - The Antlers at Sasquatch gave me some of the best photos and somehow, they were also scheduled for best photo scenario for Musicfest NW as well. Also didn't realize how good they were live before.
- The most boring set -
Eluvium and Cass McCombs Band - for the final closing night, just before Band of Horses, Cass and Co. delivered prosaic songwriter set fit for lowly lit intimate venue, not for Portland's living room!
- The scariest moment -
Neurosis - Brooklyn Vegan asked me to shoot this doom metal (not sure if that's what it is since I am not familiar with this type of music) band, and I was almost squeezed to death by the frenzy crowd.
- The show I missed - Handsome Furs - by the time I got the hell outta Neurosis show to catch them, Branx was stuffed to the brim - no room for a late coming photographer - it also felt like concentration camp sauna.
- The nicest venues to escape from heat - Holocene and Doug Fir has A/C and nice lounge areas - and no photo restrictions.
- The best place to recoup from heat - Nordstrom is right by Pioneer Square and has nice cool A/C, a clean restroom with sofa, and no one bothers you.

Ok guess that's more than few things and I've come to a dead end in my memory…

Summary of my Musicfest NW 2011 in photo album with every show I attend represented and links to more photos in the description

Not sure why my concert vid for The Antlers failed - pity… but here are the 3 I did get:
Band of Horses

The Horrors - very dark lighting
"Sea Within a Sea"
"Mirror's Image"


A Yuck in the Dark

Moonlighting as a music journalist means I can't always keep up with the latest in the industry so didn't learn about the British indie rockers, Yuck until about a quarter year after their excellent self-titled debut released to critical acclaim. Luckily, I had the chance to catch them in time.
Doug Fir's lighting is always frustrating but when the opener, Unknown Mortal Orchestra played in near total darkness, I threw up my hand. Focusing on barely visible item on stage, I had to fire up the annoying flash and soon my neighbor asked me to stop while another photographer for the other side of the venue kept blinding us with flash - this is when it sucks to be a press photographer.
I hoped that Yuck would not also employ the same light design as UMO. They did't play in darkness, but the light was bad enough that I had to heavily rely on my 1.4f 50 mm lens and lean against a post to steady myself using shutter speed less than 1/50. Did not resort to flash. I think it didn't turned out better than I had feared.

Read Jesse's review for the show with embedded videos - forgot to switch to the camera with manual audio control for the 2out of 3 videos...

To see more photos, click on the photo.

Dark Wave Heaven

There is something dark and gothic about Friday, compared to all other days of the week. So how appropriate that on a Friday the (no not 13th) 22nd, Doug Fir hosted a dark wave dream lineup with Austra and Cold Cave. We could only get one press spot through Cold Cave so I had to also write the dreaded review but I think it turned out not too shabby. 2 more videos from this show on Vimeo.




Click on the photo for more Austra pics:


And to watch videos from this show, go to my Youtube channel

Sasquatch!?

Here's my adventure that is Sasquatch! Music Festival in few words:
39 bands, over 2,000 shutters released, 0 proper meal, 1 night camping, 2 nights in a hotel, 5 interviews, and one giant mosquito bite on my neck.
You can read a more detailed chronicle at
QRO magazine - some days written better than others...
Click to checkout my prodigious
photo gallery.
And finally the video interview idea I decided to impose on myself - because I like to overload tasks and complain about it later.

While it was a worthy voyage, I'd really like to get paid or work for free half as much next year - if anyone is looking for a festival correspondent...



Scottish Ghosts

Guess Mogwai shows are one of the most in demand list to get on so I should feel lucky that I did. But what can I say? I get lonely by myself. But I didn't resort to alcohol and didn't even have a drop of water from the time before the opening band, Errors took stage to the final song of the night by Mogwai - which was probably about 2.5 hour. And that's a long time for me to stay in any one place! You can see the fruits of my labor - how attentive I was (shh - the video recordings are big help in writing reviews)... the lighting was tricky so don't feel these are my best photos.
Click here for more.

some fruit but no stars

After a streak of successfully lining up all the interviews in Europe, things have turned upside down since returning to the States - and since the irking stolen cash incident at Cut Copy in Seattle.
It seemed we were all set to interview Pomegranates but never found out why it didn't happen. The drummer was the contact, and he never bothered to get back with meeting time or explanation. Oh well - I do these music press stuff to promote bands I think worthy of attention out of my free time so if they don't care then I can't care either. But we did check them out at Doug Fir -
review with photos and videos here.



Then we were told originally getting us in for one of three Starfucker Portland date wouldn't be a problem. Come closer to date and no show and no interview. Not too sore about it since I was a bit busy.

But really took my self-esteem down when we got denied to interview Crystal Stilts - strike three.
Was going to have Jesse do it anyhow but guess they didn't like my examples... guess that's a sign to take a break or hike!

Almost Nothing

Just remembered that I didn't post about our Wild Nothing concert coverage. Forgot what triggered that - was just doing trivial tasks around the house... anyway, it happened couple of weeks before I left for Europe in March. I wanted to interview Jack Tatum (aka Wild Nothing), but unlike the usual meet at the venue before the show interview, the PR wanted it done before he came to Portland. Well, since I'm not good on the phone, I sent questions through email. But unfortunately, never found out why he never responded. But here's Katherine's review, with my photos. Though some may label hype, "Chinatown" will probably be one of my favorite songs for a long time. Sorry for my crappy in camera audio, coupled with crappy acoustics at Holocene. And the lighting was pretty annoying as well.

Apparatjik Berlin

I almost forgot the event that sowed the seed for my recent trip to northern Europe and overload myself with music press coverage. My final press duty was in Berlin for The Apparatjik Light Space Modulator - a one-of-kind art/music display/performance at the very cool glass hall of Neue Nationalgalerie. Though I was disappointed that I didn't get to meet Magne who answered my email interview nor Jonas, finally fulfilled my dream of experiencing Apparatjik - for two consecutive nights.
You can read, checkout photos, and watch the videos of my 2 day coverage at
QRO

Brits vs Aussies

Just days after I returned from Europe, I went to a concert for the first time off the press list. Still, I couldn't help myself and brought my camera.
I first discovered
British Sea Power when they were opening for Interpol in Europe. Ever since then, I fell in love with their power pop post punk rock anthems, stage antics, foresty sets, and the general quirkiness that embodies BSP. It had been few ears since I paid attention to BSP and their show at Doug Fir on April 4th, reminded me why they are easily one of my favorite bands.
Checkout my
photos at QRO and videos on my YouTube channel, including their encore below:



From English band in Portland, we traveled to Seattle (no PDX date) to catch one of our fave Aussies:
Cut Copy. This was our first ever Cutters show, and we've been waiting sooooo long. Much to our delight, the energetic electro pop outfit did not disappoint. Couldn't have asked for a better concert road trip except that the next day, I discovered that my wallet was found without the big chunk of cash - when will humans learn this is not the answer... back to the positive side, Cut Copy - tied for best concert so far this year. Oh and thanks for turning down the offer to open for Lady Gaga ga goo or whatever her name is.
Cut Copy Photos and Review
Was honored when Cut Copy management asked to use my photos on band's
Facebook and Myspace :)
And some photos of the opener, Holy Ghost.

Denmark

Though I could complain about a few things about my recent trip to northern Europe, it would be very minuscule. Contrary to my fears, the weather was very tolerable and every appointment was met. The biggest complaints are how expensive it is for an American, especially in Stockholm, and my suitcase met its end five days prior to my return - it's now rotting away somewhere in Berlin.
Had a bit of rough start before the weather loosened its grip of winter and trying to cope with unfamiliarities - likely the trip started in Denmark, where everyone speaks English (I do try to learn a few common phrases when I go to a foreign country, but Scandinavian languages are not as immerse-able as the romantic ones) and helpful - they are usually knowledgeable and honest, not like in Costa Rica, where it seems everyone has a different opinion about which is north and south.
After 8 days, I'm still about 35% from finishing all the pieces I have gathered during my trip. I didn't get to do much sightseeing, working on them as much as I can during the trip and have been at it ever since my return - guess when you also have video to deal with, it doubles the workload if not more.
My acupuncturist,
Shannon was sweet to connect me with her Danish friends, sisters Helle & Mette, who gave me an authentic Danish experience in their hometown of Sorø.

So far, Denmark pieces are done.
Spent 5 days in Denmark, based in Copenhagen to catch
Efterklang's final Magic Chairs concert and interview Casper with one day in Aarhus to see The Radio Dept. on their first date of European tour.
Click on the appropriate words to read the articles please.


Australian Invasion/ Swedish Love

I must confess, traditionally, February has always been the worst month for me. Halfway through this month, I can say so far, the myth is being de-mystified.
First of all, the glorious return of my favorite band, The Church with a monumental tour, performing three albums in one night! And they gave up Australian summer for the bitter winter of US for this! Well, at least up here in NW, things are pretty tame. Since they couldn't find a suitable venue in Portland, Christina and I drove up to Seattle to catch the on their second night.
Here's the review, where you can also find a link to photos.



And during that same week, I also reviewed fellow Aussies, Cut Copy's latest album,
Zonoscope. I put this one on when I need some energy boost.



And in less than one week from The Church concert, one of my other favorite bands - the elusive Swedes - The Radio Dept. came to town and left me with a big smile on my face. I had been emailing back and forth with their PR, trying to get a green-light for an interview with them. When I finally got my wish, I was so elated. But hours before the interview, I became extremely nervous. I mean, who wants to sound like an idiot in front of their object of affection? But it went down so much better than I had anticipated, and I'm still fondling in the memory of that night.
Thanks to Johan and Martin for being so cool. Can't wait to see you guys again.

Click for the Interview, which ends with my fave interview quote of all time.
And the Review.



All the while, I have been working on music video, business video, etc... which I hope to wrap up soon.
February - stay kind.

Stornoway

I always worry about bands touring during the winter due to the risk of paralyzing weather. Especially past the Midwest, where the cities are further and terrain more mountainous... but looks like Europe got the nasty bite with halted airports. Sure hope when two of my fave bands, The Church and The Radio Dept. (this is not band approved official site - they can't be bothered to have an official site) come in February, the weather will be kind.
In the meantime, couldn't let myself go for a whole month without going to least one concert. Likely, I discovered
Stornoway couple of months ago. Their debut album is one of those that gets better with each listen. How fortunate that I had the pleasure of interviewing the lads from Oxford....
You can checkout
my photos from poorly lit Doug Fir.
The full
interview in text and the edited video interview below:

November Reign

Since it takes me log time to write anything coherent, let alone a whole review, I usually try to find someone else to take care of that, while I focus on the photos. But sometimes, things don’t always work out so for Clinic, show, I did double duty:
click on image



Just when I thought I had to do a double double-duty, Catherine from Beggars Group came through and got my writer, Alexandra on the press list for Blonde Redhead concert.
The elfish Icelandic songstress, Ólöf Arnalds, opened with just her charm and guitar and the lighting was one of the best in all my concert photo experience:



Unfortunately, though the setup was lovely, the lighting for photography proved to be much more of a challenge for the headliner:



You can read Alex’s review
here.

After some break, thought it was time to sharpen my writing with some album reviews - click on the titles to read the reviews:

Owen Pallett - A Swedish Love Story EP

Badly Drawn Boy
It's What I'm Thinking, Pt. 1 - Photographing Snowflakes

The Radio Dept. - Never Follow Suit EP

Octoberfest

October = ace of shows of bands I’ve never seen before.

My first show in October started with the reunited English band, James. From Tim Booth’s unearthly presence to the soulful performance, my only complaint of the concert was aging fans who showered me with their sweat.
Checkout the
photos I could get, trapped in by the crowd.




Finally, after eight years, since I first fell in love with their album,
You Forgot It in People, I finally got to see Broken Social Scene. Well, memory is a bit hazy and who has the time to read my detailed account when you can read it in magazines so my short version: it was absolutely dream come true, fantastic.
Photos from the show




The Foals released one of my fave albums this year, Total Life Forever. Their Mercury Prize nominated second album matured with sophistication since their raw punk pop debut, Antibodies. But I expected the Foals to be still rocking out in concerts with their first album mentality. And they delivered. Getting bored of writing again so you can just read my friend, Katherine’s review, and checkout my photos to get the picture:)



When I first requested for press pass fro Sufjan Stevens show, it was more out of curiosity rather than adoration. I also had never shot at the beautiful Arlene Schnitzer Hall since got denied for Belle & Sebastian. And of course, who wouldn’t want to add Sufjan to their portfolio? Well, QRO and I tried several times unsuccessfully to get on the list and finally, on the day of, I got a confirmation to the sold out show!
Schinitzer is one of the few venues that have assigned seating and being press, you got a spot just 4 rows away from the stage. So after the first three song photo shoot out, got to relax and enjoy the otherworldly world Sufjan created for his audience. I was sold! I even dressed up as him for Halloween, inspired by his crazy cosmic age attire.
Photo Gallery
the Review

And a glimpse of the 25min song performance:

Efterklang

So much music, so many bands - it’s a pity that you may never get to know your fave bands.
Though wish I had pricked up my ears earlier, but at least I found
Efterklang before I missed their second tour of this year.
I’ll admit, it took some time to warm up to their latest album,
Magic Chairs, and had to dig into their vault in order to fully realize what I had been missing.
When I saw Efterklang perform
“Cutting Ice to Snow” with the Danish National Orchestra on YouTube, it sent shivers all over my body, and brought me to tears. This is the power of music - it can get you high, get you to think, and take you to a new place. They are definitely one of the best live acts around.
What makes me love Efterklang even more is the band members themselves. They seem to have found their own little utopia where music is the king, and everyone is happy under its rule. They make me smile.
I was lucky enough to interview the lead singer and composer, Casper Clausen. This guy seem too perfect to be true. Anyway, won’t go on and on about how much I love these guys.
Funny how Denmark keeps giving me reasons to love... wonder if it’s a sign...

You can read the text interview, and checkout the
video version, which is edited with concert footage, as well as the photos I was able to get in that crappy lighting condition of Doug Fir at QRO.

Musicfest NW

This year, I was doing a double duty for Musicfest NW.
Last year, I only handled the photos, but since Christina was too busy this year to write the reviews, thought I could handle the challenge. It turned out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated!
But the event closed out with an excellent set in a perfect weather, at an outdoor venue. In the end, it seemed all worth it.
I’ll always take photos, but don’t think I’ll be writing again next year.
You can
READ about it and SEE the photos and videos.

Crowded House

Sometimes, you never know what you’re missing.
Most people know Crowded House for “Don’t Dream It’s Over”.
I liked them, but never enough to collect all their albums or even see them live.
Thanks to Frank Donnelly, I realized what I had been missing.
Crowded House is an amazing live band, not to mention all the little entertainments in between the songs.
Check out the race they held with kids at the
Edgefield.
Check out the
photos at QRO.

MGMT/Tame Impala, Matt Pond PA & Wild Nothing

I finally saw a band I had been wanting to see since their debut album, Oracular Spectacular, caught my attention, as well as millions of others. Though I didn’t feel my time was wasted by MGMT, the show felt a bit lacking. I mean I was expecting colorful attire and high energy and they just kinda stood their as if it was all a routine.
The lighting was the craziest part of the show.
Here’s the review and link to photos.
And opening band,
Tame Impala





Another act that I had been wanting to see (for like 11 years) is Matt Pond PA. Though Mr. Pond finds comfort in familiarity, in his songwriting, at least you can rely on him to deliver consistently. Though the writers at Pitchfork will yawn at this... My only disappointment was that he did not bring a cello player along for this tour and didn’t have time for an interview.
Review and Photos




Album review : Wild Nothing

What Come May: Owen Pallett & a-ha

This past May, I was only able to attend two concerts but it was definitely a case of quality over quantity.

On the 11th, my favorite violin player,
Owen Pallett, came to town with his magical keyboard and angelic voice.
His latest epic high concept album,
Heartland, is my favorite album of the year so far.
Nice setting for experimental chamber pop, but I always feel like I have to behave, and not get in people’s way at the
Aladdin while taking photos.
The only time people stood up was when
The Church played there.
Well, I guess better to just read
my review.




The second show was a fulfillment of our life-long dream. Christina and I flew to L.A. to see a-ha.
I never got to see David Bowie live and was not about to let anything stop me from catching my first favorite band.
It was everything we had hoped for. Our only regret was that we didn’t also come on the previous night.
Well, one can’t be too greedy I suppose.
Thanks to Kabeer for setting us up.
Links to
review and photos.




Album review on one of my favorite bands: The Radio Dept., and of course, they are from Sweden

April Showers

This April has showered me with some of the most memorable concerts.
I’ve already expressed my elation in the previous entry about The Church.
Jonsi, the lead singer of
Sigur Ros, put on an enchanting show (as expected). The voice, the visuals - good thing, his tour didn’t get affected by his country’s volcano temper. Not so fortunate that the long waited concert of the Swedish quartet, The Mary Onettes was cancelled.

Unfortunately, Jonsi played at the Roseland, and they have the tightest photo rules and I mean for press. So was really disappointed that I couldn’t get the photos I dreamed of.
But
here they are anyhow and they’re also on jonsi.com




I was asked to photograph Charlotte Gainsbourg - yes the French waif actress and daughter of Serge. Ok - I guess this one’s memorable because Charlotte was so shy and all I could think was - this is the same woman who played “she” in Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist”.




At the last minute, I requested to see PiL. I’m not really a fan but how could I pass on the opportunity to checkout such an icon as Johnny Rotten!
Very impressed for someone nearing his 6th decade still exuding the punk.




Then there was another concert I went for a friend: Aqualung. While Christina got Matt Hales chatting, I did my best with handheld camera.
You can see the video interview I just mucked up:
HERE
And the full
text version of the interview
Photos with my 50mm 1.4 prime since the lighting sucked at Doug Fir - as usual.






Album Reviews:
One of my longtime chamber folk pop, Matt pond PA -
The Dark Leaves
Then those young lad from Scotland: We Were promised Jetpack’s new EP:
The Last Place You’ll Look

The Church

Once I was at a summer camp at St. Mary’s College, the future institution for my first bachelors degree. I’m no catholic but it was to make mum happy.
Anyhow, it was at the summer camp in Notre Dame, Indiana in 1988, that I first fell in love with The Church and they changed my life forever. I had heard “Under The Milky Way” and liked the dark evocative sound of it. I was a music junkie and was on a hunt for the perfect band. Up to the summer of ’88, my fave band was a-ha, but they were maybe not complex enough? Besides, they were pretty well-known at the time and I liked the underdogs.
My roomie from Chicago had a cassette of Starfish. I put it into my walkman the first night I was getting ready to fall asleep. Within first minute of “Destination”, I knew I had found my band. The atmosphere their music created - and that melancholy, comforting voice and those lyrics!
Well, I could go on but I’ll end up with a novel.
So fast forward to present day. The Church is now 30 years old! Cant help feeling old, myself. So many implications... but anyhow, somehow I ended up interviewing Steve Kilbey. For a shy, clumsy, social idiot like me - what a disaster! And then we thought the whole bloody interview didn’t get recorded. I carried that weight as I witnessed another incredible live set by The Church.
Don’t want to bore you anymore, so here are the links to the review, the interview and the photo link in the review...

Concert Review

Interview



March Rock

Just when I was enjoying spring-like winter weather, spring snuck in to spoil the unusualness of the season.

With warmer weather comes more and more choice-y concerts.
Started the month off with long-waited return of the young quartet from Scotland:
We Were Promised JetpacKs at Doug Fir. While they still rocked the “basement", somehow the magic of their first show felt dissipated. You can read Christina’s review.



Next up, those black leather clad-trio from Cali: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at The Wonder Ballroom. Their popularity has steadily grown since I first saw them about 6 years ago. Though I had to escape the claustrophobic sauna, we should be so lucky to have got on the list. Eddie’s review



Then a dismal turnout for Canada’s
We Say Party! You Say Die! at Doug Fir but that didn’t stop from turning the place into a party. I also wrote up a review on their latest album. And here’s what Rob had to say about the show.



It was a second time in less than a year
A Place to Bury Strangers came to town, opening up for The Big Pink.
Somehow at a conversation one night, Ameena and I decided that we should try to
interview APTBS. I just fumbled with my brand new zoom h4n audio recorder and let Ameena ask all the hard questions.



Finally to close off the rockin’ month, went across the river to downtown at Berbati’s to catch Norwegian shoe-gazers: Serena-Maneesh. A young band from NY, The Depreciation Guild opened up for them as well as a local band who used to be called Church until The Church gave them ultimatum. All three bands were worth my time, even if I didn’t get too excited.
Serena-Maneesh were very gracious in front only about 50 people and did not give a second rate show. Even if their new album’s not good as their first and I felt something was lacking, can’t help to like people who are humble. Rob is still working on the review.


The Cribs/ The Magnetic Fields

Those 28 days of February seem to fly by...
A bit of slow month, not much work and lot of relaxing.
Got sick at the last minute to cover Wilco but I think it was meant to be.
Trying to catch up on their 8 album catalogue was a bit of work.

Though the weather has been extremely mild here, still barren for choice-y concerts.
But managed to catch couple of shows so far in 2010.
The Cribs - just because I was curious to see Johnny Marr in person and he looked like he was having jolly good old time jangling away on his guitar.
Overall, it was a satisfying show.
Checkout my photos at
QRO Gallery





We tried to get press pass for The Magnetic Fields but they’re just too damn popular - I guess.
But I wanted to see them once before I die so I paid for the entry and manage to get a photo pass.
The audience and the band were both seated.
Looked as if I was the only one with a photo pass and felt like I had be ever-so inconspicuous.
I was pretty bored before the intermission.
The sound was not full like on the album and with everyone seated, it was about to put me to sleep.
So I left at half time.
But you can check out the pics from the first half at the
Concert Gallery



Mew/Friendly Fires

I’m flying out on Monday to the sunshine state to observe tradition and thought I shouldn’t let the year end without rambling.
Finally shot my 8th music video the weekend before Thanksgiving. It’s only like 3 months behind the schedule but hey - I could blame someone but in the end I can only blame myself for having faith in certain people... negativity aside, it was a lot fun to be on set, working with some of my best friends at the Waterheater where we froze but had much freedom. I flew in Chris Covel, who was working on Adult Swim for Comedy Central down in L.A. to realize my sci-fi fantasy. In the end, the time got the best of us and now I’m struggling to find talents to help me in post production. But in my heart, I know I have to do all the drawings and post effects - God help me!
You can check out the photos from the shoot on my facebook .
The identity of the music video is confidential until its premiere date at the end of January.

In other news... I had to write my first music journal piece, in addition to taking photos. Really wanted to see Final Fantasy who was opening for The Mountain Goats but only TMG people were accepting guest list - and only one spot. Well, damn - TMG never caught my ear but the show was fantastic - both acts were ace. You can read my mumble jumble.
The review took so many hours and days out of me that I said I’d never do it again but fell into the same predicament for the very show. The xx were opening for The Friendly Fires who rocked Doug Fir - fun, fun, fun!
The most recent concert experience happened last Saturday. The Danish prog rockers, Mew, made me their permanent fan. Felt like discovering the second version of The Church (my fave band since 15). The more I listen and learn about Mew, I realize how much they reflect me and The Church was the only band that ever made me feel that way.
Mew’s latest album with the longest title ever made #3 on my top 2009 list but now I’m considering maybe even 1 or 2. Jonas’ voice at its high notes, can be less than desirable (though lovely when it’s not) at times but their musical compositions are pure genius. And they have the best projection show, created by the singer himself.
I LOVE Scandinavia.
I wish I had tried harder to get better photos...