Monthly Archives: May 2009

Dredg at the Troubadour

Gavin of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Gavin of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Let’s get the bad out of the way. This show was yet another poorly lit, frustrating experience. The few moments that utilized the lights to create an interesting atmosphere in which to see the band was just barely bright enough to notice it happening.

It baffles me how lighting could go to the sidelines in terms of expressing one’s music. It is such an easy tool to utilize in order to increase the way and richness those in the audience can connect to the music.

I did what I could in a horrible situation for photography.

With that said, the show was amazing. Dredg is always a treat to see live. They do a great job with letting it all flow out naturally.

Gavin of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Gavin of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Gavin is a great front man. His stage presence is reminiscent of Jim Morrison to me. He has this fun swagger about him. His voice is unique and he has great technique with singing powerfully and in control.

Compared to the few outings I caught while they were still writing the new songs that require Gavin to play guitar, he looks a lot more natural up there with one in his hands.

He has never looked out of place playing on his slide guitar which rests on the table in front of him. It did at one point seem as though being strapped to a guitar was a whole new world to him. haha.

Not now. Now, he has that same swagger on guitar as he does the rest of the time without it. It’s quite fun to watch.

Dino of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Dino of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Dino is the most calculated person I think I have ever seen play. At times it is hard to not think of him as a robot. If you couldn’t happen to look into his eyes while he played I think you would believe he actually is a robot. The guy hits crazy hard and knows how to lead the rest of the band through dynamic build ups through out their set.

Mark of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Mark of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Mark’s guitar playing is probably the most easily recognized element in the music that notifies the listener they are hearing a dredg song. Until this show I was struggling with pinpointing just how far and away the batch of songs on their newest album have come from the last album.

Seeing them live and being able to fully focus on Mark made it apparent that distance is not far at all. His style has not changed although the influences for the music has.

Drew of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Drew of Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Drew is definitely the ambassador of dredg. He is the guy that is always a beacon of fun. No matter how serious he can look, there are always moments of charm as he finds someone to quickly interact with in the crowd.

It was interesting seeing the addition of a synth in front of Drew.

A lot of times when you see a band member abandon their analog (well, analog enough) instrument for a synth it gets a little nerve racking. I mean, “keyboards have no soul!” Or, at least that is what I have read on numerous bumper stickers. haha.

The way Drew writes and plays quickly disproves that. It is a welcome addition to the soundscape that dredg creates.

Judgement Day on stage with Dredg performing at the Troubadour

Judgement Day on stage with Dredg performing at the Troubadour

The show was amazing. A lot of energy. A lot of heart and/or soul (haha). A lot of great songs. A lot of surprises too. With dredg that means guest appearances by friends. This night it was Judgement Day joining the band on stage to provide strings to a good grip of songs.

Well. That about sums it up.

Check Dredg out!

Enjoy the photos. I hope. ^_-

p.s. Gonna add this video of them at Coachella last year playing “Saviour” off their new CD to help give you all an idea of how great these guys are.

Goodness. <3

Posted in concerts, LA Kings, personal, photography, portraiture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Ben Folds at the Palladium


Ben Folds performing at the Palladium in Hollywood in support of his new album, "Way to Normal."

Wow. What a fabulous concert!

Ben Folds knows how to organize a crisp and fun event. The opening band was this very pleasant and mellow group featuring two female singers, strings, and piano.

After the opening band, Ben held an a capella competition featuring groups from USC, UCLA, and a school from Northern California (anyone that knows the names of the groups please tell me and I’ll include them here).

It was very entertaining to watch a range of voices recreate Ben Folds songs. The groups were full of personality as well!

Then, as an extra surprise Josh Groban came out and announced the winner. This would not be the last we saw of Josh Groban either!

Ben Folds performing at the Palladium in Hollywood in support of his new album, "Way to Normal."

Finally, it was time for Ben to come out. The man is really great at performing live. He is one of those artists that gives me chills to watch. Ben is great at funneling his passion and heart into his music.

Ben Folds performing at the Palladium in Hollywood in support of his new album, "Way to Normal."

The first part of the set ran through songs from “Way To Normal.” Seeing this songs live gave me new appreciation for them. It always helps when the artist gives little anecdotes about the songs. Ben is known for this and it really adds a layer of intimacy to his shows.

After getting some of the new stuff off his chest, which you could tell he was excited to showcase to the audience, it was on to the older material.

Ben Folds performing at the Palladium in Hollywood in support of his new album, "Way to Normal."

Of course we heard “Bitches Ain’t Shit” and got some fun stories about Ben making good on his ancient publishing deal. We got the extra bonus of hearing about a jingle he wrote for a Japanese radio station. With each story you feel a little closer to the man and can respect him all the more for what he does.

IT MAKES ME WANNA SAY, FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

IT MAKES ME WANNA SAY, FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

Los Angeles finally got to participate in one of his famous conductor moments turning the entire audience into his personal back up singers during a run through of “Not the Same” and were again utilized for “Army.” Again, the man knows how to make the audience feel close to him and important.

Josh Groban performing with Ben Folds at the Palladium in Hollywood in support of his new album, "Way to Normal." He was a surprise guest at the concert and is a big fan of Ben Folds.

Then, during the encore Josh Groban reappeared on stage. This time it was to sing “Still Fighting.” His rendition of it was nothing short of amazing. I’m not even a Josh Groban fan. The guy can sing great and it really was a joy to see the two of them performing that song together.

Josh Groban performing with Ben Folds at the Palladium in Hollywood in support of his new album, "Way to Normal." He was a surprise guest at the concert and is a big fan of Ben Folds.

All in all, it was an excellent night. One I’m sad to say did not include any of my friends. Shit. They missed out and I could have used Myke, Jacob, or Andy’s help with keeping me from forgetting how the trumpet part of “Army” goes. haha.

Heaps more photos if you click “Continue reading »”
Continue reading »

Posted in concerts, photography | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Opeth at the Avalon

Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth

Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth



A friend of mine has been pushing the awesomeness of Opeth for some time now. I decided to go check them out as they passed through LA.

I only had a photo pass for the show. No ticket. In the few cases I have experienced only getting a photo pass it has given me access to entering the venue. But, not this time.

I was forced to sit outside the venue in between sets. Being escorted (very unorganized due to the media rep not showing up to the concert) to the photo pit for the first three songs of each band. As soon as the first three songs ended I was escorted back outside.

I did have the company of a few ushers. The one name I remember is Fred. That dude is solid. SHOUT OUT TO YA, FRED! haha.

You should understand that I was only present for the three songs before you read more because that is all of Opeth’s show I got to experience. My opinion is a bit biased at this point. I’m still going to share it.

The music Opeth creates is pretty amazing. It’s huge soundscapes built around metal. There is a lot going on and a lot of sound creating really rich atmospheres.

The downside of being so technically proficient is sometimes being a bit stationary on stage. Opeth was very stationary on stage. This isn’t always a problem and, like Rudy of Protest the Hero joked about, you can fake being energetic on stage with the help of lighting.

Opeth had no help though. The lighting was absolutely terrible. There was barely an edge light on Mikael in the center of the stage. The rest of the band was blanketed in darkness. And, there was only a few moments during the three songs where yellow flood lights would flash and light up everything from behind.

If the lighting matched the dynamics of what Opeth’s music is the show would have been a whole other experience. Instead, it was a pretty boring three songs that didn’t really require keeping my eyes open to enjoy the concert more than I would enjoy listening to their albums. They did sound great.

They sounded really, really, really great!

But, holy shit, I enjoy their albums. Hopefully, when they come back to the states from their home base in Sweden they have a new lighting technician.

Again, I was only able to get three songs to form an opinion. I caught some good energy being exchanged between the band and the audience. I wish I could have stayed longer to get a real taste of that.

Martin Mendez

Martin Mendez

The actual band’s crew was well organized and their tour manager and the band were really good people and helped me out with a favor before the show. If any of them find their way here, thank you.

Heaps more photos if you click “Continue reading »”
Continue reading »

Posted in concerts, photography | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment