Jukebox the Ghost were the headliners last Thursday at the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford, Connecticut. I've said before that friends are a great source for discovering new music, which is what brought me out to this concert. Recommendations from my Ben Folds Five friends prompted me to check out this guitar, drums and keyboard trio. They're touring in support of their third album, Safe Travels, an album documenting growth and change. Vocals are split between guitarist Tommy Siegel and keyboardist Ben Thornewill. I immediately recognized the similarities to Ben Folds/Five with their darker lyrics set to upbeat music, but the guitar definitely adds an edge that even the great Robert Sledge and his fuzz bass can't equal.
The band weaved their way through the now densely packed crowd to make it to the stage. They opened with a purposefully off key fanfare on recorders and hit the ground running. For me, concerts are about the energy from the performers. JTG were charismatic, the crowd was clapping and singing along the entire night, the solos were impressive. They were infinitely more interesting for me to shoot than Matt Pond because of that. It was a long set, as Connecticut has no limit on when a band has to be off stage. The band joked that since we were all going to be home bound for the next several days, thanks Nemo, we might as well stay out and enjoy ourselves. I couldn't agree more!
Guitarist Tommy Siegel
Drummer Jesse Kristin, who was more than happy to talk to the fans as we waited outside for a solid 45 minutes in the freezing cold
Keyboardist Ben Thornewill
Ben is one of the most animated musicians I've ever seen
I was closest to Tommy and he had the best light, making pictures like this one easy
Again, this shows just how close the fans get to the stage
Tommy was bouncing all over the stage during his guitar solos
My favorite shot of the night. I love the intensity.
I shot the fourth, fifth and sixth songs of their set, as I was trading places with Adam from Surviving the Golden Age. The crowd had pushed forward so far that I was actually up on the stage with the band, all the way to the side of course. It was pretty bizarre being that close and I decided to move to the back after three songs and enjoy the rest of the show. The crowd at the back of the Tavern was a welcome change. While those up front were mostly teenagers and college age kids, there were just as many 30 somethings and older in the back. I watched a group of middle aged women dance and sing just as much as the kids up front. Even more entertaining was seeing the opening acts enjoying the music. Matt Pond was dancing up a storm, seemingly in a much better mood. Several members of The Lighthouse and the Whaler were gathered around a table nodding and clapping along. JTG brought the house down with their cover of Queens 'Somebody to Love'; it was like a horrific karaoke bar gone right.
All in all, it was a great night for me. Being able to shoot again really helped me out of my funk. This was my first concert shooting since December, not counting the Concert for Newtown assignment for the paper. I came out this night without a lot of knowledge on any of the bands, and walked away a fan. I found a new venue where I'm able to shoot and I even made a contact that is already starting to pan out. Not bad for a night where I was questioning whether or not to even go on account of the impending storm.
As always, I'll close out with the shoes.