2. Taking Back Sunday at First Avenue – This show, and this photo, hold much more sentimental value to me now than it did when I took it. I liked Taking Back Sunday a good amount when I saw them here at First Ave, but that’s only grown since. Plus the person I got to take with me makes it all the more special. Oh and the lighting? This show was a photographer’s dream.
3. Shinedown at Target Center – Going into this show I wasn’t expecting much. Shinedown, Papa Roach, and Asking Alexandria are all bands that I enjoy enough, but not favorites leading up to this night. I don’t know if I would have actively tried going to this show if I didn’t get my photo pass, but I definitely would now. This was easily my favorite show of the year after attending, with both Papa Roach and Shinedown put immense effort into their performances. This photo isn’t technically the best with the fire behind being blown out, but the feel of the show was captured, which is more important.
4. Atreyu at Skyway Theater – I had been waiting to see Atreyu live for years leading up to this show. They along with Trivium and Bullet for My Valentine were a group of bands very influential during my high school years. Seeing some of my favorite songs of theirs live was great, but what made the night awesome was the lighting job Meg (their lighting designer) did the whole night. Practically every photo I took was a keeper, and for someone who loves taking crowd photos most, it was a dream to work with.
5. Between the Buried and Me at Varsity Theater – This one of the more recent holy-crap-I’m-actually-here-doing-this moments for me. I spent so much time over the years trying to get into Between the Buried and Me shows to photograph only to get no responses. They’re one of my favorite bands, and a million thanks go out to Nick Johnston (their opener) for getting me in to this show on such short notice. The lighting for this show (and usually is for this band) was pretty tricky, mostly because they like to use solid colors often. I was able to take advantage of a few moments here and there of white light to break up the solid orange/red to take a photo that perfectly encapsulates BtBAM.
6. Cold Kingdom at Rock Fest in Cadott, WI – I really need to add up and start counting how many times I’ve seen these guys play. They’re the local band I’ve seen most, and leading up to Rock Fest I asked Jason (their bassist) what he’d think about me riding along with them to photograph their day. They were more than happy to accommodate me, and in return I took what are some of my now favorite photos of them. I was able to sneak backstage-ish and up on stage to try and take some photos of Chris, types of photos I’ve been wanting to try for a long time, but never gotten the opportunity. I’ll categorize this as a win for a second time at a festival ever.
7. Blink 182 at Riot Fest Day 1 in Chicago, IL – This was my first full festival experience and boy were there a lot of people. This was also the first time for me being in Chicago and I felt so at home there spending a weekend surrounding myself with good music. I bought a new camera for this festival (a Sony A6000) and left super impressed at how well that little camera ended up being for me. I got pretty overwhelmed by how many people there were for Blink 182, but one of my favorite memories I have is going through the crowd to leave the festival while “Darkside” playing with my girlfriend in front dancing along.
8. The Damned Things at Riot Fest Day 2 – I didn’t get a photo pass for Riot Fest, but I’m definitely okay with that. The Damned Things were one of the bands I really wanted to photograph. I’m a huge Keith Buckley fanboy, but the whole band is fantastic. There were like 20-30 photographers plus security in the photo pit for their set, so I ended up very happy to be front row, take some shots with my baby camera, and enjoy the chaos of the band.
9. Ghost at The Armory – This is the Ghost show I wanted to see. Their show a year or two ago at Palace Theater was quite disappointing for me, so once I heard that they were playing again but this time at Armory, I was excited. The Armory is a much better suited venue for Ghost. I always wanted to get a show of the band’s stage set up, especially with the stained glass backdrops. I wasn’t very prepared and was surprised for the pyro to happen, eventually got the shot.
10. Icon For Hire at Studio B in Skyway Theater – These guys have been a favorite of mine for a few years now. They’re a truly independent band that’s doing what they want, is incredibly relatable with their lyrics and music, is being supported greatly by their fans as a reward. They put on a great show with fantastic lighting, and I had yet to get a good wide shot of the band up close because of being unable to go through the crowd. I decided to get in the show early and that persistence paid off. I wasn’t expecting how interactive Ariel would be with me and my camera though.
A couple honorable mentions, that I just can’t bear to not include:
11. Shinedown at Mankato Civic Center – I was super excited for this show and knew I was going to enjoy the night immensely. I just didn’t expect to get blown away again by Shinedown. Mankato Civic Center felt a lot smaller than Target Center which made the show feel a bit more intimate. I loved how small the stage seemed to be, which led to getting taking much better shots of Shinedown this time around. Favorite moment of the night was when I took this shot the band were playing “Get Up” and asked everyone to get their phone’s lights out, so I went as fast I could, as far side stage as possible to take a photo of it and then the pyro went off in the back.
12. Periphery at Skyway Theater – Periphery have been a favorite of mine for many years now. I first shot them in 2016, the last time they played here, and I thought I did good, but looking back I had little idea of what I was doing. I feel like I nail this show as far as capturing the feel of the band and the type of look they’re going for on this album cycle. We only got one song to shoot, but that was okay as it was their 17 minute long magnum opus “Reptile.” That song was unreal seeing live, especially being up so close. I had goosebumps throughout and there definitely times where I just stood and watched in awe, instead of taking some other photos.