Friday, September 21, 2012

Eytan and the Embassy and the Pyyramids at the Knitting Factory 09.15.12

Eytan and the Embassy are a Brooklyn based band, with Eytan Oren on lead vocals, keys and even cowbell, Caitlin Gray on bass, Geoff Countryman on baritone sax, drummer Attis Clopton and guitarist Anthony Rubbo. I stumbled across their video for the song Everything Changes one sleepless night and was intrigued. When I listened to their album on Spotify, I became hooked. Admittedly, I am really, really bad at classifying music. I tend to break it down into two categories: Music I like and Music I don't like. Eytan and the Embassy, in case you can't tell, falls into the Music I like category. It's a mixture of pop with more than a healthy dash of brass, and being a former band geek, I can't get enough of brass. I can hear lots of musical influences. The piano break down at the end of No Reason To Cry recalls Lady Madonna by the Beatles, Good Morning Marilyn sounds like something the Zombies could have written. Eytan's voice at times reminds me of Elvis Costello. Through it all there is strong song writing.

Clearly, I'm a supporter of this band and urge you all to listen. I've thrown a handful of their songs into the playlist over on the right to get you started. I want you to have a look at the pictures without too much from me. If you're interested in hearing how this all came about, hit up the end of the blog post.

The Pyyramids started the night and got the crowd moving early. They are a collaboration between OK Go's Tim Nordwind and singer Drea Smith. Check out their website for more information here. I was really focused on checking my levels and working around the lovely magenta light pouring onto the stage to give you a fair review on the music, but I was into it.

Drea Smith on lead vocals.

Tim Nordwind on guitar and backing vocals.

The Embassy filled out the rest of the band for The Pyyramids.

Fans Tom and Geri enjoying the show. Turns out Tom and I are from the same town and even went to the same high school, 16 years apart. Pretty surreal to bump into someone in Brooklyn that grew up in the same neighborhood as I did.

Eytan and Geoff checking out the opening act. What I really liked about the Knitting Factory was how laid back it was. Band members were out in the audience the entire night and you could strike up a conversation with them at any point.

Another rocking shot of The Pyyramids and of course, shoes.

Eytan and the Embassy played a solid set which covered all but two of the tracks off their 2011 album, The Perfect Break Up, mixing in a few slower songs with the majority of up tempo tunes. I'll be honest with you, when I'm shooting, I'm a horrible concert reviewer. I'm paying attention to so much visually and trying to capture that energy. I'll save you from too much interjection and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Eytan had an undeniably strong stage presence. This show was the last of an East Coast tour, and the entire band felt confident and comfortable.

The Knitting Factory filled up with fans quite nicely. I really liked the intimacy of the venue, yet it never felt crowded. I was able to move freely around the crowd to change up angles.

Bassist Caitlin Gray.

Attis Clopton is the happiest drummer in the entire world. I thought I was being all subtle as I ducked around the crowd to get a clear shot of him, but he was on to me the whole time. I always look out for the drummers; they're the heartbeat of the band and never get enough pictures.

I'd like to take a minute and point out that Geoff Countryman is rocking a bass clarinet. If I wasn't already a fan of the band, that moment would've sold me.

Although I liked the right side of the stage for close ups, I moved to the front in order to get some nice signage and full band shots.

Guitarist Anthony Rubbo, Geoff and Eytan.

From Now On

I shot video on the DSLR for the first time at a concert. I'd like to point out right away that I am by no means a videographer, as you can tell from my shaky pan to the audience. It's so hard for me to stop taking pictures for an entire song, especially when I have my full gear at a venue. I waited until the second to last song of the night because the last song always results in the best pictures.

They closed the night with Everything Changes. This song, along with having a video that is on the brink of going viral, is full of energy and it was easy to capture.

I chose this picture as my photo of the week because I absolutely love the interaction with the fans. It's one thing to photograph a band having fun, but I also want to show how others are enjoying it. I couldn't ask for a better reaction. Everyone in the Knitting Factory was dancing and singing along with the band at this point. As much as I love the fan shot, the next picture is my favorite. That's the kind of intensity the band had the entire night and that's what I you to take away from these pictures.

Set List:
• No Reason To Cry
• The Good Life
• The Perfect Break-Up
• Waiting
• Good Morning Marilyn
• Almost Free
• Do It For Me
• Queen Bee
• From Now On
• Everything Changes

Words cannot describe how incredible the entire experience was for me. My regular readers know that I'm a photographer and graphic designer for a local weekly newspaper company in Connecticut. It's always been my dream to be a concert photographer and in the past year I've worked really hard to make that dream a reality. I've been able to shoot concerts that are in our coverage area, but it's not really something that this company focuses on. Like many of the artists I take pictures of, I'm struggling to find my way, and more often than not, it's discouraging. It's pretty frustrating to be good at what you do, yet have no way to move forward. But every now and then, I reach out to the right people and have the opportunity to do something I truly love.

A month ago, I was turned down to shoot this concert in an official capacity and I fully expected to just attend as a fan. I was driving to work with my iPod on shuffle when Everything Changes came on and I really listened to the lyrics. The song is about reinventing yourself and taking chances, which pretty much fits in perfectly with the path I'm on. "Are you ready to quit? Are you out? Is this it? Well we all take a hit, but we keep on fighting." And as I shouted along to the lyrics, which I often do in the car, I swear I must look mad to the other drivers on the road, I thought, No, I'm not giving up. So what if one person says no? What have I got to lose? I reached out to the band, and you know what? The band responded.

I am eternally grateful for any opportunity to do what I love, especially for a band that I am a fan of. I probably thanked Eytan a dozen times when I spoke to him after the show. I get horribly tongue tied and wanted to make sure he knew just appreciative I was; to the point it might have been all I actually said. I don't exactly remember. The best I can do in return for anyone that generous to me is to spread the word. Expect a lot more updates on this band and check them out. I promise you will find something that you like.
As always, I'll close out the set with shoes.

1 comment:

  1. Great Photos!  Great Concert!  Eytan & The Embassy and Pyyramids rock!