Concert Photography

Festival Of Friends

Last weekend was the Festival Of Friends, a FREE festival that has been happening annually since 1976 in Hamilton Ontario. My decision to go was last minute as I wasn’t sure if I’d have the weekend off work and the drive to Hamilton, but I was approved and received my Media Accreditation the day of the festival and with nothing to do the day of, I said Sure, off to Hamilton!
It was my first time every going to this festival and I have to say… for a FREE festival it is MASSIVE.. heck.. it was massive regardless of having to pay or not. To have a stage set up that big, with that kind of lighting, full out carnival games and rides.. all the vendors and food trucks for FREE… just insane! Not only was all that great but a lot of great bands through out the day as well.

Later in the night I remember looking back from the stage and seeing people slowly start to set up chairs and blankets casually watching the bands but then around 7pm, I looked back again and there was a massive crowd. Looking back once more as the stage crew was setting up for The Spoons … my jaw dropped.. the amount of people that had gathered was one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen.. it was a sea of people as far as I could see… and if that wasn’t packed enough.. there were even more people once Loverboy hit the stage.. it took me 15 mins to travel through the sea of people to get to the other side of the park to get back to my car.

My focus of shooting was on the 4 bands leading up to Loverboy:

GOODNIGHT, SUNRISE

This band was incredible.. so much energy on stage! I mean.. there was a Keytar!! 2019 and there was a Keytar!! I was blown away. Their sound has this hint of 80’s but also a nice new, fresh upbeat alternative rock vibe that I fell in love with.

GOODNIGHT, SUNRISE

All the way from Los Angeles California, this retro power pop band came out in full force to put on a great set! Fire Tiger has really nailed that 80’s sound in today’s day and age and it’s fantastic. Their hit song ‘Energy’ is so catchy and full sounding.. reminds me of being a kid in the 80’s sitting down watching the Goonies after our riding around on my skateboard after a full morning of playing Nintendo.. it’s so good!

FIRE TIGER

After photographing The Spoons last year in my home town of Woodstock Ontario at Cowapolooza, I was pretty pumped to get to photograph them again this year. This band is so tight on stage and sound amazing every time. Throwing in all the old hits then mixing it up with some new tunes, it was the perfect old and new blend and it was well received by the crowd.

THE SPOONS

Who doesn’t know this Canadian staple? come on … we all know them because we are all just ‘Working for the weekend’ … we’re ‘Notorious’ for it. Once they hit the stage the crowd was “Lovin’ Every minute’ of it. After all these years, the guys still sound amazing.. couldn’t believe how good it was and enjoyed every single song.

LOVERBOY

APRIL WINE - COWAPOLOOZA 2018

With South Side Park in Woodstock Ontario packed with hundreds of people under the stars on a warm summer night, April Wine hit the stage for the second time in the Cowapolooza history. 
It's incredible to see a legendary piece of Canadian music history put on such an incredible show after all these years. April Wine sounded amazing playing all their hits, the crowd going nuts, dancing and singing the night away. Best part about this show was the mix of people.. old and young and everyone seemed to know the lyrics to most of the songs. April Wine ended their set with the amazing, and my personal fav song, ROLLER, shortly after they exited the stage, the crowd, without hesitation started chanting "encore" to which April Wine replied with coming back out and Blasting out their hit "Oowatanite" ... and Oowatanite it was! 
 

OUR LADY PEACE & MATTHEW GOOD

  Off to the stage with 4 other photographers, hearing the buzz of everyone in the building chatting, music playing in the background, house lights half on.. that anticipation building, going over camera settings in my mind, wondering what the lighting will be like. In that moment, the lights go out, complete darkness except for a few small, dim stage lights, the crowd roars, whistling, cheering, clapping and screaming while the band walks out on to the stage .. nothing but Silhouettes. 

  Our Lady Peace was a staple in my upbringing, yet, it's taken me 36 years to finally see them live. When photographing bands you only get a taste of the performance as most cases you can only photograph the first 3 songs of each band. Regardless, even the first 3 songs are usually a great time, there's always one good song that everyone knows.. for OLP, for me anyways that song was 'Superman's Dead' and it was done to perfection. OLP fired it up right out of the gate with high energy, some pretty unique lighting, which was a bit challenging as there were some strobe effects going on that made timing a bit tough, but it was incredible and I am complete thankful for the opportunity which was provided to me by Live Nation. 

  Matthew Good was another one of those 90's staples for me who I've always enjoyed listening to. I've only seen Matt one other time and it was maybe 2 years ago at Rock The Park in London ON and it was good... but last night's performance topped it 100%. Same deal, we only get to shoot the first 3 songs, but the first 3 were incredible and standing that close shooting made it even that much better. 
  After being escorted back into the photographer room, it sounded like the crowd was really enjoying the show as you could hear the screaming and clapping echo through the back halls of Budweiser Gardens. Overall, what a fantastic night. I'd like to thank Live Nation again for the opportunity to photograph this show and Budweiser Gardens for being so accommodating for the night. 

until the next time
-Shutter Click!  

OLP (Our Lady Peace)
London ON, Canada
Budweiser Gardens

MATTHEW GOOD

Matthew Good
London ON, Canada
Budweiser Gardens

WE WERE THAT SONG TOUR

Brett Kissel has blown up like crazy! If you don't know Brett Kissel and you like country music then you should definitely check him out, you won't be disappointed. Another great country music artist... Dan Davidson, again, if you do not know Dan Davidson check out his music. 
London Ontario, Canada these two played on February 10th, a sold out show at the London Music Hall, my favourite venue in London, and then because this show sold out so quick, they decided to add a second date to the tour.. February 18th. Great things were said about the 10th show so needless to say I was pumped to be photographing the show on the 18th. 

Sitting in my car in the parking lot waiting for 6:30pm to roll around and doors to open, everyone in the line up started yelling, right away I knew Brett had made an appearance outside to see the fans so I quickly grabbed my camera, jumped out of the car and started snapping shots of him from the parking lot.. he was only out there for maybe 2 mins. Fast forward; Standing in the media pit looking out to this massive crowd, the stage lit with some dark blue light, fans awaiting the start of the show, checking my cameras to make sure I have them set up properly... the worst part is not knowing what kind of light you're going to get once the show starts... all white, not so great, not enough light horrible.. all red or all blue.. horrible ... it's just a waiting game then rolling with the punches. A stage hand comes out from stage right and shines his flashlight to the soundboard, HERE WE GO! Out walk to radio hosts to announce the opening act, photographers out into the pit for the first 3 songs.. ok.. went well.. lighting was a bit dull but thats ok, expected.. give's me a good starting point. Out come two more radio hosts and BAM almost instantly Dan Davidson's band comes out on stage, they start playing and out run's Dan, first song kicks off, lighting is pretty good and I'm feeling great, happy to be there. Let me tell you Dan Davidson killed that performance, best I've ever seen him, so much energy and the fans were singing so loud.. such an amazing thing to experience and capture. 
Now, a quick little tidbit of info for you.... when photographing these shows the typical thing that happens is, photographers get to shoot the first 3 songs from each artists, after that we have to leave the pit until the next artists hits the stage. Now, some places, usually bigger venues like stadiums will have a separate room we have to go sit in so we miss a lot of the show, but typically smaller venues will just allow you to step out and off to the side and watch the show, you just can't shoot, then when the next band hits the stage you're back in the pit for their 3 songs. 

BRETT KISSEL!!!!!!! crowd goes insane, ear piercing screams everyone is going wild, the energy doubles, Brett comes out with high energy like always, jumps up on these wooden crates he has out on the stage and throws his arms out to everyone to say "HEY EVERYONE, I"M HERE AND I'M READY TO PARTY WITH YOU! ". From that moment on the party really grew with every song. Everyone singing back and with Brett was so loud it matched the volume of the band, it was crazy. Ok ok... no matter how I write this you just won't understand the vibe so I'm going to stop here and let the images do some talking.. hope you enjoy! 

HUGE thank you goes out to INVICTUS ENTERTAINMENT GROUP for providing me with access to photograph this show, much appreciated you guys and gals are doing great things!  

BRETT KISSEL WITH DAN DAVIDSON: Sold Out show #2 at the amazing London Music Hall.

BRETT KISSEL makes an appearance to his fans in line outside of London Music Hall before the show to say hi and welcome everyone. 

DAN DAVIDSON 

BRETT KISSEL