Crimson ProjeKct Warehouse Live July 8, 2012

I almost missed this show entirely. Horribly under-promoted and under-attended. Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto representing King Crimson rounded out with Tobias Ralph, Julie Slick and Markus Reuter.

The “project” has been touring as the opener for Dream Theater but since Dream Theater didn’t get booked in Houston we were treated to three hours of fantastic music, including an all King Crimson encore.

The first band was Stickmen featuring Tony Levin, Tobias Ralph and Markus Reuter. The second band was Adrian Belew with Pat Mastelotto and Julie Slick. The encore was all 6 of them.

Stickmen + Belew Trio

Tony Levin

Adrian Belew

Take A Bow

Tony Levin

More photos here
Houston Press review here

Garland Jeffreys

Garland Jeffreys - 4

My good friend Nick Gaitan of Nick Gaitain and The Umbrella Man called me Friday afternoon to ask me if I was planning to go see Garland Jeffreys at The Houston Continental Club that evening. I told him I had not planned on it and he proceeded to tell me a little bit about Garland Jeffreys and how he thought I might be interested in this show based on what he knows about my taste in music as well as my desire to photograph truly unique musical events when they happen in town.

Without going in to too many details, I will just direct you to the Wiki article on Garland. Suffice to say, I became VERY interested in seeing this show and told Nick I would see him there.

It is worth noting that Nick’s band was opening for Garland Jeffreys, but in all the years I have known Nick he has never been one to call me out to a show just because he’s playing it.

Umbrella Man - 3

Of course The Umbrella Man put on a great show, but that night was all about Garland Jeffreys. The show was not well attended. But it was one of the best concerts I have ever attended. I am a music photographer, not a music reviewer, so I will just point you to the Houston Press review of the show for details. I should also note, the review does NOT feature my photographs as The Houston Press had Jason Wotler on call for this one. But I am glad I went and took my camera because ultimately, I shoot for my own archives and this is one I am glad to have captured.

Garland Jeffreys - 1

Garland Jeffreys - 2

All shot with the Sony A77 using the Carl Zeiss 85 f/1.4 and the Sigma 10mm Fisheye.

Play It Again, Cynthia

Cynthia has been wanting to learn the piano for quite some time now. We finally decided to make the dream a reality and went shopping for a piano for the house. Initially we went in search of a real piano but as we were doing our shopping we found a Yamaha digital piano. Cynthia was dead set against a digital piano until she sat down with the Yamaha. She fell instantly in love. No tuning needed, it has a rich full sound and best of all, it has a volume control and you can even plug in headphones.

Cynthia can already read music and after just two lessons is playing pretty well.

Rediscovering An Old Friend

When I first got into shooting with a digital camera, I picked up the Sony A100 and the 50mm f/1.4 lens. Due to the crop sensor on the A100, the 50mm translated to a 75mm focal length making it just a little too tight for the kind of photography I was doing so it really didn’t get all that much use. A shame, really. This lens is fast and sharp and the images were outstanding. Even so, I found myself leaning on my Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for that added wide focal range (equivalent 45mm on the cropped sensor) that allowed me to capture more of the scene I was shooting.

Now that I have upgraded to the full frame Sony A850 the Sony 50mm f/1.4 is finding its way back into rotation and I am reminded of how great this lens is.

KISS Alive 35

There is no band I know of more iconic in terms of sound AND appearance than KISS. Love ’em or hate ’em, you know ’em when you see ’em and you won’t confuse KISS with any other band in existence. In the mid 70’s I went to every single show they toured, starting in 1975 and ending in the 1983 when they showed up with Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics as an opener.

When I heard they were coming to Houston for their 35th anniversary show I really, REALLY wanted to photograph the event. It took some wrangling, but I eventually scored press credentials to provide photos for Craig Hlavaty’s review in The Houston Press.

I’ve shot a lot of small and mid-sized concerts, but this was my first big rock show. I was really appreciative of Technology Bytes co-host Groovehouse’s presence at the show. He had an extra photo release form which I needed to fill out plus an extra set of ear plugs which really made the difference.

The opening act was a band called Buckcherry and we got to shoot their first three songs. I wasn’t all that interested in their performance, but it was an opportunity to get a feel for the layout and I treated it as a warm up. We were only allowed to shoot the first three songs by KISS and I was sweating it a little. The typical scenario is three songs and even it’s not a lot of time to settle in and get your shots.

For this show I carried both my new Sony A850 and my Sony A700. The former mounted with my Zeiss 24-70 and the latter with my Tamron 70-200. Both lenses served their purpose and I was glad to have them. Overall, though, the A850 with the Zeiss wide angle was the most useful rig for this show.

I gotta hand it to KISS, they really put on a show. For the first two songs they played it up for the photographers and gave us plenty of opportunities to get some fantastic photos. I’ve never had a band do that before and it was a real treat. Be sure and read Craig’s review of the whole show at The Houston Press for the set-list and other observations.

Here are a few of my favorites from the evening. Click any image to see a larger version.

Additional photos in my Flickr gallery.

Fab 40

The Fab 40 pay tribute to the original Fab 4 with a free, live performance of “Abbey Road” on Saturday, September 12 at Discovery Green.

40+ (probably closer to 50) local musicians – handpicked by Beatles enthusiasts David Blassingame and Steve Candelari – performed the Beatles’ album “Abbey Road” from beginning to end.

It was an ambitious project. Nearly felled by illness, loss of critical instruments and the weather, it went very well despite all this.

You can see a slideshow of all the photos I took that night by clicking here.