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Shooting Rock

October 31, 2010

I’ve shot a lot of performances over the last five years, at both concerts and street performances. Some of the names of the performers have been lost to time, but I have shots of: Broken Social Scene, Jose Gonzalez, Ben Lee, Sloan, The Misfits, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Bob Wiseman, The Parachute Club, Carole Pope, Kid Koala, Hyena Dog Robbery, Trole, These Electric Lives, Shakerleg, and Mink.

I tend to gravitate towards pubs and street musicians. I’ve been to festivals and large concerts, but the crowds are a little much.

Shooting through crowds on the street is tough. Shooting in a pub without a press/photog pass is really hard. You can’t just elbow folk out of the way, and there’s no photo pit…even with a pass, there’s a limit to how much you can ask people to move. You have to respect that 99% of the crowd that’s there to get down.

The folks who do this for a living are really talented. It takes perfect timing, steady hands, and good people skills to navigate shooting in a pub. I salute you all.

Below is a small selection of my music shots, with some description. I hope you enjoy looking as much as I enjoyed shooting. I have all my published music shots up on Flickr, as well.

Rock on.

Almost all of these shots were taken with my Nikon D50. Date and settings accompany each shot.

We Would Like to Thank…

we would like to thank...

June 27, 2010, 50mm, f\8, 1\80, ISO 200

This was shot on the last day of the 2010 Toronto G20 Summit. Hundreds of cops in the downtown core, spontaneous demonstrations, windows boarded up, thousands arrested without cause and detained without due process. Many residents were shocked, angered, and saddened by the events over those three days.

This shot shows average people using art to reclaim their streets, from the protestors and the police. The title comes from Dan Ackroyd’s acerbic concert intro from the end of The Blues Brothers.

Rise Up, Rise Up

Rise up! Rise up!

June 7, 2008, 50mm, f\5.6, 1\125, ISO 200

The Parachute Club were an 80’s new wave TO band. They were awesome. They had few chart-toppers, but were an inspiration to many other bands. This was shot during a reunion concert held near the AGO.

Today the Word is Playlist

Today the word is playlist

December 22, 2007, 50mm, f\1.8, 1\20, ISO 1600

Every year, The Skydiggers do a Christmas concert at The Horseshoe, a legendary Queen West watering hole. It was so crowded I never made it past the soundboard. I somehow managed to step on Michael Ondaatje’s foot in this bar (not at this show), but that’s another story.

Jose Gonzalez

José González 1

December 7, 2007, 50mm, f\1.8, 1\350, ISO 1600

Famous for the Bravia commercial campaign that used his cover of Heartbeats, Jose is awesome in concert. If you’ve never heard him live, you should.

Ben Lee

Apple Candy

November 24, 2007, 50mm, f\1.8, 1\500, ISO 800

This makes him look like a young Dylan. Ben’s sense of humor and quirky songs make him a great live act. I almost always regret it when the only angle leaves the crowd in the shot, but the foreground silhouette of the woman’s head makes the shot.

I held the door open for him when he entered the club, one of the things that makes Toronto such a cool city. He finished the set by playing acoustic standing on the bar!


Misfits 2

October 25, 2007, 50mm, f\1.8, 1\180, ISO 1600

This isn’t the original lineup, but the current touring lineup. Still, hearing Teenagers From Mars live was cool.

Hyena Dog Robbery 2

Hyena Dog Robbery 4

September 11, 2007, 50mm, f\1.8, 1\250, ISO 800

Shot at The Bovine Sex Club. Yes, that’s its official name. How could I make that up?

HDR is a local band that’s making some noise. I know a band member, and try to support The Cause when I can.

Highland Melodies 2

Highland Melodies 2

August 30, 2007, 50mm, f\4, 1\90, ISO 200

A bongo drummer and a bagpipe player…only in Toronto. I love the shopper’s reaction to the searing bagpipe solo.

Mink 3

Mink 3

August 9, 2007, 50mm, f\1.8, 1\3000, ISO 1600

Mink came for a local music festival. They strutted through the Eaton Centre playing at the top of their lungs, drumming up business and support for their set later that evening. Of course, they were escorted out by security. They kept going outside. Cool folk.

Drove Downtown in the Rain 1

Drove downtown in the rain...

July 10, 2007, 50mm, f\4.8, 1\180, ISO 200

Just like video killed the radio star, the mp3 player has killed the record store. Sam the Record Man was a local landmark. I can’t even begin to list all the music I discovered in that store. The sign in the window is a whiteboard the employees (past and present) signed as their final farewell. It was one of the most touching things I’ve ever read.

Trole 1

Trole 1

March 21, 2007, 50mm, f\1.8, 1\20, ISO 200

I’m not even sure if this band is still going, but their stage performance involved slowly stripping off their zoot suits to they were down to their tats and CK’s. The metal skull on the stand-up bass? Nice touch.

I’m kinda surprised at the camera settings, here. This is pretty slow for a dark room.

Shooting Rock

Shooting Rock

March 9, 2007, 50mm, f\2, 1\15, ISO 800

This was taken at The Hard Rock TO, during a Carole Pope show. I keep wanting to apologize for liking this shot, as I seem to be the only one. But what keeps me coming back to it is the strong lines and shadows.

She was a pro photog capturing the event. When I saw the lighting making patterns on the floor, I went with it.

Dancing Queen

Dancing Queen

January 27, 2007, 50mm, f\2.4, 1\10, ISO 200

The expression on her face is what makes this one.

I Wanna Be a Dwummer, Too…

I wanna be a dwummer, too

August 6, 2006, Canon S3, f\4, 1\100

Shakerleg is a local New York performer. This was shot at the entrance to Central Park. The two kids, and the reaction of the crowd to their shy brashness, are what make this shot for me. This is the only non-DSLR shot in the bunch. The EXIF data didn’t supply me with ISO or focal length.

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