Monday, February 11, 2013

The Lighthouse and the Whaler & Matt Pond PA at Arch Street Tavern

I've been slamming into plenty of walls lately. I've been struggling with concert photography. It's fairly frustrating when you make an effort to achieve a goal and are constantly turned down or even worse, completely ignored. I haven't been posting a lot because I've been a little down. Not to worry, I picked myself up and came up with a new game plan. I need to think smaller. I need to be shooting whatever I can, where ever I can. Essentially, that's what lead me to stop looking at all the big venues in New York and focus on what I have in my own back yard.

The Arch Street Tavern is located right off 91 in Hartford, CT. It's a nice little venue with great sound, no sound ordinances and is less than an hour away from where I live. What's great is that they are getting the same bands that are playing in New York and at a fraction of the cost. The bonus for me: access with my DSLR. On the recommendations of a few friends that have excellent taste in music, I came out to see Jukebox the Ghost. I decided to get there plenty early to check out the other bands: The Lighthouse and the Whaler and Matt Pond PA. If I'm allowed to shoot, I'm going to take pictures of everything.

Now normally, I do my research ahead of time, but I'm going to be honest with you. I didn't go into this concert knowing any of the bands. I'd listened to a couple of Jukebox songs to know that I would like the music, but that was it. It was a very different experience taking pictures of bands that you don't know, and in it's own way, exciting. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know ahead of time what I was going to shoot. It's a bit more on the fly shooting, more like covering a sports game, and it's something that I haven't done in far too long.

On to business. The Lighthouse and the Whaler are an indie-folk band originally from Cleveland, Ohio. The band members jumped around on instruments during their set, but the main configuration consists of Michael LoPresti on guitar and lead vocals, Mark Poro(stosky) on mandolin, keys, glockenspiel and backing vocals, Steve Diaz on bass and other percussion, and Matt LoPresti on drums. Apologies in advance to their violin player, whose name I didn't catch during the show. TLATW started off with a great energy that continued throughout their set. They were jumping around, dancing and engaging the crowd to sing along with them. It's never easy for the first band of a triple billing to get the audience's attention, but I think they did a great job. Their sound reminded me of Explosions in the Sky with a little more edge.

Mark Poro on mandolin

Matt LoPresti on drums brought a lot of intensity

What's great about shooting for myself is that I have the opportunity to play around with lenses. I brought along my fish eye to see how it would perform in a concert setting. I wasn't all that thrilled with the sharpness and speed of it, but fun to play around with.

The venue is rather tight around the stage, so I was fighting with all the microphones to get clear shots.

Michael LoPresti teaching the crowd the chorus to a song

I'm not kidding about that intensity

A good shot of the guys jumping around on instruments

I caught this quick little interaction between Mark and bassist Steve Diaz

Steve also had a lot of fun energy

An almost clear shot of Michael in between songs

I love the contrast between their emotions in this shot

Matt Pond PA is an indie rock singer songwriter with a hefty discography. His band is in a constant shift of members, sounds a bit like the Eels, with guitarist Chris Hansen the only other core member besides Pond. Matt Pond had a completely different vibe to his performance. The venue was starting to fill up a bit more during his set, with the fans pushing to get closer to the stage. Maybe it was because his songs were more subtle than TLATW, but it felt like there was a lot more talking going on amongst the crowd. He seemed to sing the line, "Please pay attention," from his song New Hampshire bitterly as people chatted away. Matt had also traveled in from New York that day after filming an episode with Jimmy Fallon, so his energy was a little bit lower.

Matt Pond

I got a little bit of passion coming out of Matt eventually

Another fish eye shot with guitarist Chris Hansen closest to the camera. You can really see that the crowd is right there against the stage.

I think the drummer saw me taking pictures...

There were a few fans that had come out just to see Matt perform and moved to the back after his set. I took this shot of one of them working some iPhone magic.

I really loved the idea of this shot, with the mirror set up on the back of the stage. I just needed to be a few feet over to make it work better. 
Next time...

All in all, I was really happy with the way the pictures came out. The venue was a little on the dark side, definitely more light on the left of the stage, but none of the horrible stage light I've gotten so used to fighting with in post processing. I'm holding my Jukebox the Ghost pictures for a separate post, which I hope to finish up tomorrow or the day after.

Until then, I'd like to direct you to another website: Surviving the Golden Age. I struck up a conversation with Adam, a blogger that was there to review the show. There are a couple of sneak peeks of my Jukebox the Ghost pictures up with his review.

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