Every year we ask our photographer friends, who share the pit with us, to show us their favorite live music photos. And once again, they came through in spades, so enjoy.
- Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters at Moda Center in Portland, OR – This was the second of three shows I photographed on the Concrete & Gold tour. It was an epic show this night in Portland.
- Julien Baker at Surly Festival Field (opening for Courtney Barnett) – Holy crap Julien brings out the emotions.
- Mark Speer of Khruangbin at First Avenue – What an incredible show by a great band!
- Sylvan Esso at Surly Festival Field – An awesome dance party outside in Minneapolis on a beautiful summer night.
- Ty Segall at First Avenue – First Avenue was the perfect venue for this garage-rock genius. This was probably my favorite show of 2018.
Minneapolis based live music photographer, with wide ranging musical tastes. Most often seen at First Avenue connected venues wearing band merch t-shirts. Annual spring print show at Solid State Vinyl.
(social media is @fantailmedia on Instagram, with link to my Flickr in bio)
The Black Pumas at the Turf Club. I loved the intensity, the tiny bit of blur and the beads of sweat when it’s way past “first three”, at one of those up close moments in a smaller venue.
Robert Finley, with Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound Revue at the Palace Theatre. An amazing presence as as the “special guest artist”, and the best pit photo policy at a big show this year. The whole evening of music was exceptional, but he took it to another level.
Margo Price at First Avenue. An excellent show by her and her band, in the midst of the April blizzard that closed down much of Minneapolis. I just loved the light on her guitar and the intensity of the performance. A definite “show will go on” night, including getting there and back for the photographer.
Jharis Yokley, with My Brightest Diamond at First Avenue. Most of us who photograph live music are always trying for that great “drummer shot”; this was one of my favorite images of a drummer this year.
Steve Brantseg and Chan Poling of The Suburbs at First Avenue. A band that I’ve loved and seen play live much longer than I’ve been a serious photographer; their music has soundtracked parts of my life for decades. I loved the opportunity to capture the current incarnation of the band, and hear them play their newest music as well as the classics. A rare black and white edit; it just suited the moment, rather than being a crutch to deal with tough lighting.
1. Foo Fighters at Xcel Energy Center makes number 1 simply because I love Foo.
2. Smashing Pumpkins at Xcel Energy Center makes number 2. It was amazing to photograph a band from my younger days!
3. In This Moment at The Armory is my number 3 because I finally got close to the type of shot I wanted after shooting them so many times.
4. Justin Timberlake at Xcel Energy Center is my 4th choice because of the jump shot that I managed to get from almost a football field away.
5. Jonathan Davis at Myth finishes the list at number 5. It was a show that not many got approved for and was full of red lights the entire time, but I do like this shot.
John Carlson is a writer and photojournalist for WeHeartMusic.com
A longtime music fan, he needed another way to scratch that itch after several related freelance jobs and area street work for Capitol/EMI and ATO Records.
Concert photography is usually a welcome challenge that often pits you against the elements of the experiences– low lighting, fog and/or pyro, nature, security, and the crowd are just some the things to overcome, in capturing that decisive performance moment.
The Revolution at Superbowl Live (January 29) – The year started off with a flurry of musical activity centered around the big game. With record low temperatures, bands braved the sub-zero chill outside on Nicollet Mall to provide mini music sets to help warm the crowd, with part of The Revolution’s set shown live on ESPN.
David Byrne at Orpheum (May 17)– In the year’s best concert, Byrne re-asserted himself as a legendary front man, parading a barefoot walking band through forty years of classic tunes.
Slayer at Armory (May 24)- In a loud farewell show (that probably still has my ears ringing), the band showed why they are a major thrash influence to so many that would come after them.
Low Cut Connie at First Avenue (Nov 1)- After dazzling everyone with a thrilling opening set at Rock the Garden and a raucous in-store at Electric Fetus, the Philadelphia band returned to bring the house down with a proper sold-out show in the Mainroom.
I am a full time designer and CNC Machinist, but shoot freelance photography on the side when not working overtime. I make time to shoot a handful of shows each year for fun (Yes, shooting for TCM is work, but fun work). My favorite images are moments that remind me why I go out to make photos when sometimes I would rather be warm in bed with a beer.
- General B and the Wiz opened for 4onthefloor this fall and I could not get enough of their keyboard player. He was all over the place and having a great time, which brought a huge smile to my face. (BI7a8874)
- Sometimes it is the little things that make a set. I was excited to capture an image of JD McPherson’s sax player who was about to play one of two xylophone notes in the song during their Christmas show.
- I saw the back of this older gentleman’s jacket during JD McPherson’s Christmas show and couldn’t resist snapping a picture. It is always fun to have an excuse to wander around a crowd and see what types of people came out to see the show.
- The final photo included was taken during recording session for an 18-piece jazz band at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls.
Managing TCM staff who covered over 500 shows in 2018 took up much of my time last year so I “only” got to see 70 shows. Many of those were arranged last minute, filling in for some of our staff or simply taking a chance in an artist I had never heard of. But 2018 also brought some bucket list concerts, David Byrne, Erasure and Lisa Stansfield among them. Yet somehow the “big” shows did not make it onto my favorite list
- Uriah Heep at the Varsity – returning to my favorite venue for the first time since they re-opened Uriah Heep gave me so many great shots, I had a hard time picking just one.
- Jain at the Fine Line – I just loved that capture – even with the microphone in the picture.
- Janelle Monae at the State – again a show where I had a ton of great photos. This one just caught the right moment.
- L7 at First Avenue – The raw power and badass vibe of Jennifer Finch mad that one a winner
- Power Trip at the Fine Line – A stage diver at the Fine Line? ‘Nuff said
- Sir Sly at the Fine Line – Getting great lighting from a giant brain? That’s gotta be a winner 🙂