Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hotel Lights at Mercury Lounge 09.20.15

It's me! Your favorite absentee blogger! My apologies on the four months of silence. A lot has been going on: two festivals, website redesign, a concert photography exhibit, weddings, general mayhem. You know how it is. What better way to welcome you back to the blog than with my newest photos? It's a small set as this wasn't an official shoot, but when Hotel Lights has a show, I kinda have to bring along a camera. (In this case, it was only the EOS M with the 85mm lens, so there isn't a whole lot of variety.)

Hotel Lights did a couple opening act sets in New York this month in preparation for their 2016 album release. The 40 minute set consisted of Darren Jessee on acoustic guitar and Alan Weatherhead on keyboards and electric guitar. They opened with a few new songs, which sounded great. There was a mention of Kodachrome in one of them and anytime anyone talks about nonexistent film, I get excited. (See the previous blog post with some film shots of Ektachrome.) Older songs were dispersed throughout the set. Going from memory: Blue Always Finds Me, Stumbling Home Winter Blues, You Come and I Go and Sky High. It was wonderful to hear Jessee's rendition of Sky High, which was released on Ben Folds Five's last album and sung by Folds.

The band looked relaxed and comfortable on stage; smiling and waving to those they recognized. After the set, I spoke to Darren briefly. His excitement for the upcoming album is apparent; he was all smiles as he spoke about the process. They also plan on doing a tour once the album is released next year.

There's something really special about watching a band grow and evolve over the years. Ben Folds Five was one of my favorite bands of my late teens. I saw them perform a few times before they went their separate ways. I've seen Darren perform solo, as Hotel Lights, back with Ben Folds Five and then as a drummer for Sharon Van Etten. I've also been really fortunate enough to photograph a lot of those shows, first for myself, but later on as a writer and photographer for Surviving the Golden Age. I'm really looking forward to the new album and hopefully, reviewing their next tour on StGA.