Saturday, December 27, 2014

And that was 2014: a musical roundup!

Author & Punisher live
Author & Punisher
Thinking back over 2014, and what a year it was. Early on: Author and Punisher, lionfight, Otep... then later, Bret Michaels and Blackjack Billy.... So much music! As a photographer, sometimes I listen as much with my eyes as with my ears at concerts. At the end of this post, you'll see why. But first, here's my summary of the year that's about to come to a close! (And if you want to scroll back through the year, use the archive link ---> over there on the right!)

Adam Granduciel, The War on Drugs, TBD Fest, 2014
Adam Granduciel, The War on Drugs, TBD Fest, 2014
MOST LISTENED-TO ALBUM, at least in the last quarter of the year:  The War On Drugs, Lost in the Dream. After seeing them for the first time at TBD Fest here in Sacramento, I was lost in the album. The subliminal notes from Dire Straits, Bob Dylan; the opening of Red Eyes so reminiscent of the opening of Dry Land... and the most sublime transitions in Suffering that just turn my heart inside-out, and the so-danceable and intense An Ocean Between The Waves. How could this fail to become one of my most-listened to albums? Then there's competition with Gemini Syndrome's LUX, which continues to be one of my most-listened-to albums of recent years... and Marillion's Sounds That Can't Be Made, But both of these were released prior to 2014, so what will 2015 bring?

Ivan Moody of FFDP (Five Finger Death Punch) and Alison Toon of Toon's Tunes
Ivan Moody of FFDP (Five Finger Death Punch) and Alison Toon of Toon's Tunes
BEST FESTIVAL, difficult choice, as each festival covered this year was unique and very, very memorable. From Cropredy in England with flags and rain and Marillion to TBD Fest in a dusty Sacramento construction site... all were wonderful experiences. But Aftershock always stands out, and this year was immensley memorable for the chat with Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch. (Photo credit Karli Hughes.)

Marillion, Cropredy festival, 2014
Steve Hogarth (H), Marillion, Cropredy festival, 2014
BIGGEST REGRET: Not seeing Gemini Syndrome live this year. However, I did get to spend some time chatting Brian Steele Medina... and will be there next year, somewhere, somehow! Also... not making it to Knotfest, as I had to be somewhere-else at the same time. Maybe we can fix that in 2015?

Fans waiting for Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2014
Fans waiting for Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2014
GREATEST CROWD: The People Of Aftershock, of course!

The Soft White Sixties at the Assembly, Sacramento
The Soft White Sixties at the Assembly, Sacramento
BEST DISCOVERIES: A whole list of music new-to-me, including The Last Internationale, The Red Paintings, The War On Drugs, and, way back in April, The Soft White Sixties. They are phenomenal and I really, really want to see them again in 2015. And don't forget Sacramento's own The Three Way!!!

Rob Zombie at Aftershock 2014, Sacramento
Rob Zombie at Aftershock 2014, Sacramento
MOST DIFFICULT TO "SHOOT": Other than the usual local low-light venues, which are always ridiculous, I have to rate Rob Zombie's show at Aftershock the most tricky to photograph. Not only was the lighting difficult, I was squished between two speaker stacks and two videographers who blocked the view of the stage. But... you just work with it!

BEST INDOORS LIVE PERFORMANCES: one of these might just have been at the very end of the year... those of you who wrote your lists before the end of December might have missed One-Eyed Doll!

The Three Way live March 2014
The Three Way, March 2014
MOST-ENJOYED LOCAL BANDS: Sacramento has a lot of talent, a lot of performers, and a lot of bands who are weekend-warrior-locals. Some of whom really stand out, probably because they constantly work at their music, learn and grow: (and for me, most important: they sing on-key!)  It will be interesting to see what happens in 2015, as some of my favourites have lineup changes, some are touring, some have albums out. Check out especially Zeroclient. The Three Way, Fair Struggle, A Mile Till Dawn, The Alpha Complex, FallRise,  Journal.

MOST-ANTICIPATED FOR NEXT YEAR: Marillion weekends!  Aftershock 2015!!! And--hopefully will make it there in 2015--Knotfest!!!

LEAST CHANGED IN FOREVER: Steve Hackett. He must have a portrait in the attic.

FAVOURITE PHOTO OF 2014: This one of Nic Astacio, lionfight. And it explains why I love photographing performers... of any kind of music, and often with the most inapropriate lenses for the lighting conditions. Because of moments like this.

Nick Astacio, Lionfight live Sacramento 2014
Nick Astacio, lionfight, Sacramento 2014

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