Foxygen concert photo

Austin Event Photographer | SXSW

Every March for the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to head down to my hometown Austin, TX to work for SXSW.  I started off as a Volunteer Photographer and today, work for the SXSW Sales Team.  Just last month, I returned to be an Austin event photographer for a 2nd time this year for their amazing environmentally focused event SXSW Eco.

 After a few years of working at SXSW, my photos are finally starting to show up on their website.  I’m not sure if the excitement of seeing one of my photos in use will ever wear off and frankly, I hope it never does!  I was particularly thrilled to see this one up from SXSW Bites.  I actually can’t take all the credit for it though – although I snapped the shutter, Erik Moore was sitting across from me while we were eating lunch, saw the opportunity and pointed it out.

SXSW runs the show with more than 3,000 volunteers a year in all sorts of capacities.  If you have any inkling of attending but can’t afford it, volunteering is an amazing way to visit this event.  SXSW Volunteer Registration for 2015 just opened and out-of-town volunteers are accepted.   If you are a beginning photographer, joining the photography team is a great way to hone your skills in a variety of very tough lighting situations: from low lit convention centers to red-lit concert stages, there is nothing that progressed my early skills faster than they consistent daily shooting for two weeks at SXSW.

That being said, photography volunteers are only a fraction of the volunteers SXSW needs.  They need folks to run registration, work at the gaming expo, check badges, the list is endless!  If you are only interested in music, head down and volunteer for interactive or gaming and trade your time for a music badge.  If you’re interested in interactive, work the music portion so that your schedule is free.

This shot of Foxygen in use on the website was one I took my first year, as a volunteer, while not on assignment.  Foxygen recently released a new album (it’s great) and some of the shots from that night at the Hype Hotel are still some of my most favorite concert shots ever.

Anne and I are already looking forward to returning to Austin in March for another great year at SXSW.  It’s quickly become my favorite music festival to discover new bands, great films and meet really cool people like Lindsey Loon, a super rad actress at the helm of an Australian film festival, that I still keep in touch with.

Tahoe Concert photographer

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Journey

So Journey was awesome to shoot.

What a wild show!  Colorful bright lights, huge production value, and a larger than life frontman are all elements that equal a concert photographers dream.  Journey had all of this and more, including great moments from the band members, which is not always the case in every show.  I try to make sure I photograph everyone in the band, but sometimes the photos from other band members fall flat with zero to no emotion.  This was not the case for Journey.

Reno Concert Photographer, Tahoe Concert Photographer, Sarah McLachlan Concert Photography, Harvey's Summer Concert Series, Tahoe Commercial Photographer, Tahoe Event Photographer

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Sarah McLachlan Sneak Peek

I haven’t photographed a concert since I returned home from SXSW.  Even worse, other than the photos I had to turn in for work for SXSW, I haven’t even looked at all the amazing images I captured.  It’s on my list, I promise!

That being said, I’ve been jonesing for both an amazing concert photography gig and live music.  Thankfully, summer is here and the Harvey’s Summer Concert Series has arrived.  I feel so fortunate that I get to photograph the shows for Tahoe South.  The Summer Concert Series kicked off with the amazing and ethereal Sarah McLachlan.  There are more Sarah McLachlan photos to come, but in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek from Tuesday night’s unbelievable show at the Harvey’s Outdoor Amphitheater.  While you’re waiting, you should also watch Sarah on Portlandia.

Janelle Monae

SXSW Photographer | SXSW Sneak Peek

Remember that time that I went to see Alt-J and Phoenix and Joan Jett surprised the crowd by showing up and playing a set and I said it was the best night of my life?  I think this one may have topped it.

Janelle Monae is a verified Bad Ass with capital letters.  Story and more photos to come when I get home!

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Gary Clark JR

I’ve been a huge fan of Gary Clark JR every since we stumbled upon him at Voodoo Music Festival a few years ago in New Orleans.   Clark’s blend of bluesy fuzzy guitar mixed with smooth vocals is simply amazing.  I’m surprised I hadn’t ever come across him while living in Austin, as he was born and raised there, honing his musical chops in iconic locations like Antone’s.  His recent album Black and Blu is an absolute delight and I highly recommend it.

Clark came through Tahoe South a few months (okay 6) ago while on tour opening for Dave Matthews Band.   It was nice to have a bit of my hometown in my [new] hometown.

SXSW 2014 Preview

I’m back in Texas to photograph for SXSW for the 2nd year in a row.  I know what’s coming for me: loads of amazing new music, beer, and very little sleep.  It’s an awesome time and it all starts this Saturday.

I’ve been attempting to prepare myself by drinking a lot and pre-listening to the SXSW “Four on the Floor” Preview Lists.  Here are a couple of acts I discovered on there that I’m super excited to see:

  • I became super obsessed with Juliette Ashby’s voice the moment I heard the first song.  Her blend of R&B, Reggae and Neo-Soul isn’t something I would have ever pegged myself for being attracted to, but I’m hooked.

  • The Mighty Oaks may be confused since they are playing Americana-Folk but hail from Berlin, Germany but I’m not confused about how awesome their music is.

  • Ski Lodge: pop fun for a bluebird powder day.  Right up my alley.

  • Pompeya is a pop blend of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

  • Shakey Graves has been making headlines outside of his hometown of Austin, TX: headlines loud enough that his reputation precedes him and he’s now on my must-see list for the week.

  • Elle King mades waves last year at SXSW but I unfortunately missed catching one of her shows.  I will not make the same mistake again this year!

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Dave Matthews Band

When I was in high school, my good friend James bequeathed to me a copy of Dave Matthews Band‘s first studio album.   Under the Table and Dreaming completely changed the way I listened to music.  I was a typical music listener for a teen: radio obsessed and repetitive.  With my introduction to this album, I was ushered into a world of complexities and layers like I hadn’t heard before.  It was my start of musical appreciation.   Under the Table and Dreaming remains, to this day, one of my favorite albums of all time, book-ended by Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Ryan Adam’s Gold, and LCD Soundsystem’s self-titled debut.

After that, I spent a good portion of my high school summers touring DMB shows, from city to city, where every night they would play completely different sets and completely different songs, all the while managing to sound like an orchestra was on stage.  I can say with 100% confidence that I have seen more DMB concerts than any other band in the short history of my life.

I loved their shows and while I hadn’t seen one in over ten years, the moment Dave started playing and tapping his toes, I was transported back in time.  I had briefly doubted if the DMB I heralded in my head after all this time would live up to the musical memories of my nostalgic mind and instantaneously this idea was proved totally baseless.

Dave Matthews Band was an impeccable gorgeous spirited show when I was young and he is the same today.  While no album of his may live up to the aggressive complicated ambitiousness of Under the Table and Dreaming, his catalog of music remains impressive, varied and filled with everything crowd pleasing jingles to southern rock ballads.

After this experience, I’m not sure if any band I photograph for the rest of my life will live up to Dave Matthews Band.  The unparalleled excitement I felt in that photo pit was fueled by awe and devotion.

Dave Matthews was and clearly still remains the King of my Satellite Castle.  I may not purchase all his music anymore, but he proved his place on a pedestal in my musical library.

Thank you Tahoe South for the opportunity to photograph my musical legend.

Tahoe Concert Photographer | The Devil Makes Three

I have always loved The Devil Makes Three.  I was thrilled to see them on the list at SXSW in 2013 but didn’t get a chance to catch any of their shows; I’m sure they impressed the Austin crowds.  Despite being an acoustic trio of three, their sound is rich and dynamic.  Their music at live shows rolls over the theater like a thunder and offers my favorite breed of bluegrass: mandolin-less.

The trio is made up of  frontman Pete Bernhard, upright bassist Lucia Turino, who returned for their encoure with a really awesome trucker hat and a smirk, and guitarist Cooper McBean.