It needs to be done, so let's get this over with. My "best of" for this year - music photography only. The gigs have been chosen and put in order purely to reflect how much I enjoyed them for whatever reasons I may have which I may or may not explain below. Whatever. In any case it is NOT a roundup of the best pictures I have taken this year.
10. Nova Rock Festival @ Nickelsdorf, 14-16.06.2013
A bunch of good bands and quite a few mediocre ones (in my opinion that is, of course), as well as split accreditation for some bands who decided they would not allow all the photographers in. The festival made it to the top ten only because of some local bands I shot on the Red Bull stage: Loxodrome, Kitty in a Casket, Leon's Massacre and Devastating Enemy, as well as some bands I really enjoyed: The Sword and the wonderful Testament.
9. Baroness @ Arena Vienna, 13.10.2013
I joined Baroness' fanbase relatively recently and am annoyed with myself that I hadn't done so before. Having listened to their newest effort Yellow & Green about 100 times in the weeks leading up to the gig, I was blown away by how good they were when playing live. Full set here.
8. Dog Eat Dog @ ((szene)) Vienna, 05.07.2013
Old school, 90's style for the win! A great evening with a really laid-back and friendly bunch of guys - started off with some promo, one shot of which has been widely used including for flyers and the header for the Dog Eat Dog website. A great time was had by all! Full set here.
7. Black Inhale @ Gasometer Vienna, 31.03.2013
Austria's premier thrash metal band, Black Inhale is a pleasure to watch and this time when they played as the main attraction at a band contest in the Gasometer was no different. I was part of the jury at the contest but was shooting Black Inhale as a favour and came up with some good shots, the one below being the pick of the bunch.
6. Tracer @ ((szene)) Vienna, 12.11.2013
I was first introduced to Tracer by my friend Benon who is a great music photographer (check out his work at www.bjwok.com). Having travelled to Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Munich over the last 2 years just to see them, I was stoked that they would finally be playing in Vienna. Their show has developed so much since I first saw them and all of Tracer's albums are starters in the car collection as they have become a favourite of my son's as well. If you haven't heard their album El Pistolero yet, you have definitely missed something! Full set of their Vienna gig here.
5. Discure @ Rhiz Vienna, 08.11.2013
Not knowing what to expect can be fun sometimes - I realized that the Rhiz was not going to be big, but I would have thought that there might be a stage at least. But then I was treated to what hardcore music should be. Raw, close-quartered power coming played right in front and in the midst of the audience. I needed to push around a bit to get everywhere, and it was fisheye and flash all the way, but it was great fun!
4. Loxodrome @ Bauhof Pettenbach, 20.09.2013
Loxodrome invited me to come over to their album release show in their hometown (or thereabouts, at least for some of them) of Pettenbach. I love Loxodrome's music and have seen them live a few times (for example, they played at the Nova Rock festival) so I really wanted to make sure I wouldn't miss them. I spent the day with them, shooting some promo in the afternoon and then the show in the evening.
3. Anthrax @ Kulturfabrik Kufstein, 07.08.2013
One of my favourite bands, this was my second time shooting Anthrax (and I have seen them live a bunch of times over the 25 years or so that I have been a fan) and it all came about again due to Jon Dette touring with them again. Last time was in Brno in November of last year and I got some killer shots there but I knew the Kulturfabrik in Kufstein would not be as big a venue. Anthrax was playing festivals all summer so the club atmosphere was certainly something different for them. I went down by train with my friend Tom and had a good chat with him while traveling. The gig itself was great with a fantastic setlist but the venue heated up to about 45 degrees and it got to a point where some locals went and got a hose and sprayed the crowd with cold water - not sure if that was a great idea around all the amps, monitors, lights and other electric equipment... anyway - the lighting was nothing to write home about but I did get up close and personal... full set here.
2. Iced Earth @ Stadthalle Vienna, 17.11.2013
Iced Earth is another one of my absolute favourite bands of all time. They're right down my alley: pure heavy metal the way it's supposed to be. I went to see (and shoot) them in December of last year and developed a bit of a relationship with them as a bunch of my pictures was used for their "Live in Ancient Kourion" boxed set. When I saw that they would be coming back in 2014 I was stoked but even more so when it was announced that they would be opening for Volbeat on their huge tour. When on top of everything I realized that Jon Dette would be on drums for them it was like the trifecta of concert photography! So, a couple of promo shots backstage and then pictures of the gig with all access, oh yeah!
1. Black Light Burns @ ((szene)) Vienna, 06.02.2013
What a gig this was. About 6 months before it I actually listened to BLB's "Cruel Melody" for the first time and was blown away. I really wanted to see them live but had no idea what to expect. We did some promo before the show (pics in the promo gallery) and I discovered that they are a very nice bunch of guys and that Wes Borland is really articulate, interesting and amiable. The gig itself was just amazing: it started with Jayce Lewis performing as support - quite a find for me and definitely something I really liked. Black Light Burns themselves just come on stage and start playing - and then rip it up. It was nonstop energy and madness and I was allowed to take pics on stage, which led to some unique views and shots of what to me is still the best concert I have ever been to. Full set here.
Discure @ Rhiz Vienna
Discure. Wow. Like being hit over the head. With a truck. That is loaded with freight trains. That are full of steel weights. You get the picture. The Rhiz is a small place which probably takes about 60 people in the gig area and the stage is just big enough to house a drum kit so the band needs to perform on the floor and the audience just has to give the band a few centimetres to move in. The set itself was powerful - loads of energy and aggression and heaps and heaps of fun! This is the way music should be performed. Full picture set here.
I was asked to take a few behind the scenes shots and then to create dirty and different shots of the show. For the stuff before the gig I used the little EOS M again, no editing, providing them just a few hours later. It's a pre-defined picture style and I love the 16:9 format and the 35mm focal length.
For the show itself I used my 5DIII and the Sigma 15mm fisheye. I am also using an external battery pack now for the flash since I really really really want to reduce my consumption of AA batteries significantly. I have found rechargeable AAs to be very weak overall and the 600EX flashes eat through their power so quickly that they are effectively unusable. Anyway, dragged the shutter to get plenty of ambient light in (not that there was much!!!) and then processed in Nik Color Efex Pro.
Just a place to log my photographic activities and share some thoughts.