Monster Energy Outbreak Tour 2016: Indianapolis, Indiana

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Stay tuned for my review of the show at The Front Row Report later this week!

After shooting them nearly a year ago with Yellowcard, ONE OK ROCK was definitely on my short list of bands I wanted to shoot again as soon as possible. For some reason I can’t remember plans to shoot them when they were here in the fall with Sleeping With Sirens fell through, so I was determined to shoot them when they came back to Deluxe on the Outbreak tour.

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First up was Night Verses. I wasn’t familiar with this group but they made for a solid shoot. Their lead singer had a massive amount of energy and flailed about the stage throughout their set. The lighting was surprisingly decent for an opening act, too, which made it even more enjoyable.

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ONE OK ROCK came out next and I was anxious to shoot them again now that I had some idea of what to expect.

One of the most enjoyable parts of their set was a 20-30 second run I had with bassist Ryota Kohama. We just kind of locked in and I kept shooting as he played and ended up with a nice set of images…made it difficult to narrow it down, because they were all slightly different and each had an interesting aspect another was lacking. That’s a good problem to have, though!

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Tyler Carter of headlining band Issues came out to perform “Decision.” The chemistry between Carter and the guys in ONE OK ROCK was obvious and really made for an enjoyable shoot. At times it was difficult because the pit was just a little too narrow to get everyone in the frame unless they were standing far back on the stage, but I managed to get a few shots where everything kind of came together. I’m actually really happy with how this main photo turned out. I didn’t do much to the color (aside from basic color correction- but I didn’t add anything)- I just got really lucky and happened to grab one of my favorite shots during one of the absolute best lighting moments of their set.

I really love how each person on stage is kind of draped in their own color and how Taka and (to a lesser extent) Tyler Carter are ‘haloed’ by lights directly behind them.

This was another moment where I grabbed 15-20 frames, and it’s a bit frustrating because I kind of like each band member in different frames, but this was definitely the one where most of the elements came together. There are versions of this photo where Ryota and Toru had better stances and it was a bit disappointing to pass those over and accept that they’ll never see the light of day, but I know that editing (in terms of deciding what to show/not show) is one of my weak points…so that’s just part of the learning/growing process, I guess.

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I was pretty excited when I heard Crown The Empire was also on this lineup. I saw them back in 2012 or 2013 with The Used on the Take Action tour and I remembered they put on a decent show. Unfortunately I never really felt like anything clicked when I shot them. The lighting was less than ideal- very little clean lighting…lots of muddy greens and blues.

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The energy on stage was difficult to capture- I probably got a bit too preoccupied with the weird lighting, but they put on a good show, and had a ridiculous response from the crowd. When I heard Crown The Empire was coming I just assumed they were headlining, and the fan response seemed to suggest that they could easily pull off a headlining show at Deluxe.

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Issues went on last and just built of the chaos and energy that Crown The Empire brought. At this point the pit was full of security guards, waiting to catch kids as they came across the barricade. It felt a bit over-done…there were a fair number of crowd surfers, but the security presence still felt a bit heavy and made it difficult to maneuver, but it worked out ok even though I spent probably 3/4 of a song stuck in the same spot!

Yet again, fan response was massive. Lots of interaction between the band/fans, which is always fun to try to capture.

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Good show. Definite improvement from my previous two Deluxe shows- with the 16 photographers at Killswitch Engage, and the ultra-narrow pit for Mutemath- this show definitely felt a bit more “normal” (although there truly is no “normal” when it comes to music photography)

I feel like I’m starting work out some of the minor issues I had as I transitioned to my D750, but my lens options are still a bit limiting. For Deluxe I’ve opted to just shoot with the D750 full time. I took my D7000 into the pit to try to grab a few shots of the drummers at this show (as the 30mm on my D750 just wasn’t cutting it), but it mostly just kind of got in the way.

People weren’t kidding when they said that I’d want a second D750 as soon as I bought my first. I’d love to be able to keep a 70-200 on a second D750. For arena shows/outdoor stuff I think I’ll be happy with the D750 (Tamron 15-30mm) /D7000 (Sigma 70-300mm) set up, but for these smaller club shows it’s a bit harder to hit the sweet spot in terms of coverage vs. weight/clunkiness.

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mutemath: Indianapolis, Indiana

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Stay tuned to The Front Row Report for my review later in the week.

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As soon as mutemath’s show at Deluxe was announced I immediately put it down as a show I wanted to shoot. I’ve loosely followed the band since their inception (and have been familiar with vocalist Paul Meany since his days in Earthsuit back in 2000) and although I’m not sure I’d classify myself as a fan, I’ve always really enjoyed many aspects of their music and live performance.

About a week before the show I found out a longtime friend from out of state would be attending the show. We talked about it a bit and he mentioned Paper Route was also on the bill. Since I put the show down on our spreadsheet as soon as it was announced I had kind of shut it out of my mind and didn’t follow the updates, so I had absolutely no clue Paper Route had been added to the bill. This suddenly became a show that I absolutely could not miss.

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It ended up being an extremely difficult shoot, mostly due to limited space. At the time the lighting felt like a bit of a challenge, but looking through the photos in retrospect it wasn’t bad. Paper Route’s vocalist JT Daly had his keyboard set up on a road case that was actually wheeled in to the already narrow pit, essentially cutting off 1/3 of the pit.

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There were three of us shooting the show, and even that felt pretty crammed, so for the most part we all just stayed in the spot we ended up in as we entered at the beginning of the set- didn’t allow for much variety, but it was what it was.

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After scoping out some videos of mutemath’s current production I was super excited to shoot their set. Unfortunately it didn’t transfer into the smaller-scale Deluxe quite as well as I was hoping. Visually everything was stunning, but photographically speaking the stage was quite cluttered, making it difficult to get clear shots, and there was still the issue of the road case in the pit (which I eventually decided to squeeze around when I realized I truly had no chance of getting the shots I wanted)

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The decision to hop the road case ended up giving me my two favorite photos of mutemath’s set. Meany was hidden by his keyboard when I was shooting from the other side, but shooting from this new angle allowed me to capture a decent moment when he spun around.

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One aspect of their show I was hoping to shoot was Meany crowd surfing on a giant inflatable mattress during their closing song, Typical. Normally we’re told we can only shoot the first three songs, but for the past couple of shows at Deluxe we’ve been told first 3 in the pit, rest of the set from around the room. Not totally convinced that’s 100% legit, but there was no way I was going to pass up shooting that finale if I was given even the slightest impression it might be allowed.

In the end I walked away with a couple photos I’m really happy with, but I think I’m starting to get into a bit of a Deluxe rut since my last 4-5 shows were here- definitely looking forward to shooting shows with a little more room on stage and in the pit. The D750 continues to be a life-changer- it really eliminates 95% of the lighting problems I faced with Deluxe when shooting with my D7000.

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