Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gorillaz @ Dodge Theatre

I have to admit, upon walking down to the stage of the Dodge, seeing the lights and set up, I wasn't sure if this was going to be a cool show or not. The little I know about the Gorillaz tells me it should be.

The Gorillaz have always been very 'theatrical' with their approach to the music world, sort of a BIG art band. The idea being that the Gorillaz are a 'virtual' band, and the performers are comic book characters. Lots of neat videos, I believe all of which are cartoons... starring animated caricatures of the band mates. When the curtain fell before the start of the show, I could tell they had something neat planned. Large glowing letters that spelt Gorillaz on the back of the stage, a giant projector screen, then maybe a 10-piece brass band, a string section, 3 back up singers, and a slathering of 'other' musicians took the stage. Then a really colorful video started the show. Neat, if indie/art-band style, miniature-based sweeping footage of a sort of island fortress in the ocean played out to an excited audience. (Check out the cover art to their new album "Plastic Beach") Then Snoop-Dogg showed up on the screen and performed (via prerecorded underwater video footage) with the live band. None of which I was allowed to photograph.

When lead singer Damon Albarn took the stage, the crowd went nuts. Let's not forget he's also the singer of the seriously influential British band Blur as well. Sadly, we photographers were locked to one side of the stage, in a very tight section. Which just meant, in lay terms, the photos would suffer. Albarn stayed on the 'other' side of the stage for the duration of my shooting time, save for a few times when he hopped on a piano in the middle of the stage with his back to me. Then, the one time when he came closer to me than just middle stage, this weirdo in the front row jumped out in front of me for the shot, and blocked all the photographers. I say ‘weirdo’ because he WAS a nut job. He was taking pictures of all sorts of things with his iPhone 4. Like, the floor. After he jumped in front of me, he turned around and took my picture. I bet he drives a BMW.

The lighting was cool, but none of the band mates were actually lit themselves. It was a case of watching the spot light on Albarn, and anticipating when some of that light will spill on to the other members. I got some neat silhouettes, but an entire show of that would get boring. If only I was allowed to move around with my camera!

All in all, it was neat. I actually wished I knew the band more than I do, and that I could have watched the show. I bet it was a lot of fun. And who doesn't love that Clint Eastwood song?? Hearing that live probably made the night for a lot of people. Next time...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jack Johnson @ Cricket Pavilion

I thought America was just "going through a phase" when Jack Johnson became a hit here. That sappy, folky, pseudo-Jamaican, island music style got really old to me, and really quick. Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, and lets not forget ... actually, I can only think of two. I suppose OF the two, I'd prefer to shoot (photograph with camera) the former. Still... Cricket Pavilion? For serious?

Yes, for serious. Cricket Pavilion. Serious like cancer. A cancer that an awareness walk downtown won't cure. When I pulled into the parking lot, to where they let press people park, I was shocked at how full it was. They were actually ushering people into the press lot. Madness. Inside, the place was jam-packed. The last time I saw Cricket this full was for Jimmy Buffett... hmm. I kind of GET the appeal of this sort of music... something simple, soothing, and easy to listen to while people smoke pot all day. I get it. But I can't believe that this many stoners can remember to purchase tickets for the show, or have enough spare cash to buy an album in between purchasing bags of drugs.

But in all seriousness, I don't like this sort of thing. I don't know if I'm being clear enough. Regardless, he is a viable photo-op, so I went for it. Luckily, the other photogs in attendance were wrong in thinking he wouldn't bring any lights with him. In fact, it was a relatively easy shoot, none of the band mates really moved from their predetermined allotments... and the stage was sufficiently lit as well... I didn't use the word 'lit' as a pun for everyone on stage being high and using the same flowery style cup to drink juice from in between songs, I meant there was a lot of light... surprising a bunch of stoners would have it THAT bright actually.

Jack Hody Johnson, America's greatest American hero.