The Pour at Delmar Hall

Artist, Concert, Music, Photography

A jaw dropping performance was given by The Pour at Delmar Hall in St. Louis to a packed venue. Previously selling out the Duckroom at Blueberry Hill, this band is notably a St. Louis crowd favorite. Compromised of several seasoned professionals and much talent, The Pour is a must see act.

 

From start to finish, the high energy of this band is nothing short of explosive. Jeff Lee is a powerhouse on vocals and is undeniably entertaining throughout his theatrical performance. The guitars of the group are perfectly played by Jack Weise, Addison Bracher and Brian Pookie Jones on Bass. Along with Chad LaRoy on drums.

 

Audience participation was encouraged, and members were pulled onto the stage to be serenaded. Lee, an amazing frontman, commanded his audience with his over expressive body language and made his way into the crowd to engage as many individual fans as possible.

 

This group has tremendous talent, hoping the right opportunity finds them because they are genuine stars!

Foo Fighters at Wrigley Field

Photography

The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series has taken my mind on a stroll down memory lane. I find myself reminiscing about a visit to Chicago last August. To be more specific, when Foo Fighters played to a sold out Wrigley Field.

It was a long ten month wait for this much anticipated concert. The show sold out in a matter of minutes. I was thrilled to have been lucky enough to obtain tickets even though they were nosebleeds.

Having watched the entire Sonic Highways series, I understood the importance that Chicago played in shaping Dave Grohl’s musical future. As he sat on his infamous throne, with a  broken leg, trying to absorb the magnitude of the moment; he couldn’t help but be overcome with emotion. Forever grateful to his loyal fans, his congregation, he graciously thanked those in attendance. Although Dave tried to maintain his composure, he was overtaken by the enormity of that emotional moment. He openly wiped away a few tears and tried to keep his voice from cracking. He claimed this to be the best fucking night of his life and I believe everyone could relate. A true self made American “Something from Nothing”. 

This was a special celebratory evening for additional reasons. It was Dave’s mother Virginia and cousin Tracy’s birthday. The same cousin that took him to a punk rock show at the Cubby Bear as a young teen. The pivitol night that transformed him into a aspiring musician. The entire stadium serenaded Happy Birthday as the ladies blew out their birthday candles on stage; Dave’s face was beaming with pure love for his cherished family members. It was truly a beautiful, unduplicateable moment. 

This was a incredibly special evening for many reasons and I will always cherish that night. It was truly an emotional experience. Not to mention a badass concert. Everybody loves Dave Grohl and maybe just a little more on that particular night. I believe a bit of Foo Fighter greatness was left behind that evening at Wrigley Field hence the Cubs finally winning a World Series. Thanks for breaking the curse, it was long overdue. Congratulations on your World Series win Chicago Cubs and Happy Birthday Sonic Highways!

Heart, Joan Jett & Cheap Trick Trifecta

Artist, Concert, Music, Photography

A trifecta of Rock N Roll Royalty reigned down on St Louis. Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, and Heart all on the same bill, what more could a girl ask for?

All rock legends that have earned their well-deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I feel so blessed to have seen all three of these legendary performers; the icing on the cake was that it was in one too short of an evening.

Cheap Trick was the first act to take the stage, and they did not disappoint. They played all of their well-known classics… Surrender, I Want You to Want Me, Dream Police, along with When I Wake Up Tomorrow from their recently released album, Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello. Robin Zander’s voice was as strong as ever which has the crowd amazed. Rick Neilson threw out handfuls of guitar picks to gracious fans. Neilson’s custom guitar choices are always showstoppers; the iconic black and white checkered Hamer Standard is my favorite. In addition to the high energy performance of the band, the sign language interpreters were putting on an entertaining show. Their enthusiasm was absolutely infectious.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts exploded the stage with Cherrybomb. Joan, clad in her all black leather ensemble, looked amazing with her contrasting white Gibson Melody Maker in hand! Joan gave a shout out to her close friend Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and co-collaborator on Any Weather. The audience was longing for more and Joan & Co. didn’t hesitate to deliver. They ripped through their catalog of hits to include, Bad Reputation, Do You Wanna Touch Me, and I Love Rock & Roll. Beautiful renditions of Everyday People and Crimson & Clover  were added to the setlist for good measure. Finishing with I Hate Myself for Loving You, had the crowd primed and ready to keep rocking the night away. It’s hard to believe Joan is 57; she rocked the stage with the spirit of a young teen performing with The Runaways. After Joan’s stage departure, I couldn’t decide if I had found my new idol or newest girl crush.

Up next, the ladies of Heart decided to blast us with Wildchild and it was quite evident we were in store for quite a show. The stage dynamic of Ann & Nancy Wilson together is truly magical. The voices of angels with the power to rock! Ann’s mystical vocals and stage presence had the audience spellbound. Nancy’s guitar solos were played with absolute precision, and I among others were in total awe of her ability. So many hits to perform in limited time. Included were, Straight On, Kick It Out, Crazy On You, Barracuda, and Jump, a track from the recent release of Beautiful Broken. Magic Man was the one to shut it down, and the ladies did exactly that. I have been a fan of this group for over three decades, and I feel so grateful to have been able to experience the insane talents of these beautifully gifted women.

I’m very thankful to have seen this Rock Hall Three For All! I can officially check this one off of the bucket list with complete satisfaction and would strongly encourage everyone else to do the same.

Breaking Benjamin

Artist, Concert, Music, Photography

Patiently waiting for the band to hit the stage, the unexpected booming sound of canons firing white streams of smoke into the air, was a pretty decent indicator that a kick ass rock show was officially underway! Talk about making a statement, it was full throttle from that point forward. The thunderous opener of “Breath” seriously took my breath away. The vocal ranges were dynamic and the band performed like a well-oiled machine. The audience was seriously amped as they played hit after hit and mixed in a few cover songs. Most notably, Nirvana’s, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Ben claimed Nirvana to be the most influential band of his time; his inspiration. 

Grateful for the massive amount of fans in attendance, Ben spoke of the band’s humble beginnings when they barely had an audience. It was nearly 15 years ago that Breaking Ben first performed in St. Louis; after viewing a line of people that seemed to stretch for what seemed to be an eternity, he questioned whether or not the band was at the correct venue. He claims that night will be forever etched into his memory. A cherished moment when you realize your long, faithful journey is in the process of transforming into something that you’ve only dreamt of. I’m proud that Ben will forever have such fond memories of my hometown St. Louis. 

In honor of the recent violence against police officers, Ben was wearing a blue ribbon as a symbol of remembrance. A maniacal performance of “I Will Not Bow” was dedicated to all that serve and protect our country. The lyrics are powerful and assertive and it was an excellent song choice for the dedication. I truly believe lyrical artists have a genuine gift to bring our world together, if only the masses would open their eyes and pay attention to the message. The ability to write a song that has the power to touch people’s lives is truly a God given talent. An art of self-expression gifted to society that allows us to grow together and has the ability to unite us as a human race. To make this world more loving and accepting instead of a divided society full of hatred for one another based on irrelevant factors.

“The Diary of Jane” shut this high energy show down with a vengeance. This was a killer, hard rocking show with excellent stage visuals. Thank you Breaking Benjamin for giving it all you had and using your voices to unite rather than divide. 

 


Black Mountain at The Ready Room

Photography

Black Mountain, a five piece band hailing from Vancouver, made a tour stop at the Ready Room in St. Louis, MO. Performing a sampling of their recently released album titled IV along with their more popular tracks to round out the expansive setlist; Black Mountain was entertaining and graciously received.

As the dimmed lights went even darker, the group took to the stage to open with Mothers of the Sun. The song, spanning just over eight minutes, begins with eerie synth beats to be followed by a precisely played heavy guitar riff which transcends into mesmerizing melodic vocals. The artists immediately have their audience under their mind control with their signature psychedelic rock sound. As I move through the crowd to document this concert, I begin to realize that the congregation of fans does not notice me as a working photojournalist. The audience is so entranced and moved by the music; they are completely unaware of my presence. It is like nothing I have ever experienced.

Stephan McBean, vocalist and lead guitarist, formed Black Mountain in 2004. Joined by Joshua Wells on drums, Amber Webber on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Jeremy Schmidt on keys and Brad Truax on bass guitar. This group has certainly proven their ability to stay relevant and gain a loyal following. The dynamic range of blended vocals of Webber and McBean lend for a pleasurable listening experience. Black Sabbath-inspired guitar riffs along with Pink Floyd inspired vintage synthesized vibes certainly make Black Mountain’s sound identifiable and unique.
This musical journey was a lyrical space odyssey with a message of awakening and a call for a deeper look into all things present and future. It was a very receptive, peaceful audience that was completely in tune with the message it was receiving. Black Mountain kept the crowd in a trance-like state from the 90-minute start to finish performance.


Let There Be Rock

Artist, Concert, Music, Photography

I had a serious choice to make, either way, I was in store for a face melting, ear drum ringing rock show! My options… AC DC in St. Louis with overpriced tickets that were mediocre at best or Chevy Metal in Chicago at the Metro for a minimal cost of $20 a ticket. A small, intimate venue with a approximate capacity of 1,000 people and the option of zigging and zagging my way to the front of the stage. I have had AC DC on my bucket list for numerous years, yet, I opted for option #2. Yes, it took a little more maneuvering than a hometown show but something about this band and smaller venue appealed to my every sense. I posted my AC DC tickets on Stub Hub and away they went, as this a sold out show.

Tickets sold, hotel booked, and all other responsibilities handled. The drive was a musical mixture of old school Motley Crue, Donna Summer and other various 70’s disco artists. I swear I was born in the wrong era! It was quite a uneventful drive as I didn’t see one police officer handing out speeding tickets to repeat offenders like myself. What is it about heavy metal music blaring that pushes your accelerator to the floor and before you realize it, you are traveling at a rate of 93 mph? I can’t be the only person that this happens to.

Arriving into the city was a total nightmare! There was major construction everywhere and it was the nicest day of the year and everyone was out enjoying the warmest temperatures to EVER hit Chicago in February. Jaywalkers galore and rude ass drivers everywhere. A recipe for a whole slew of not so nice words to spew from my mouth. I was graciously received by the valet at the hotel and I was more than thrilled to hand them the keys. So much for uneventful drive. I regained my composure and made the quick decision I will Uber around from here forward. I check in and refresh and before I know it, it’s showtime.

I arrived at Metro about 40 minutes before the doors opened the ensure I’ll have a chance to obtain a nice view of the stage and certain band members. While standing in line, I quickly made friends with a trio from MI in front of me and a pair of local ladies behind me. One lady proceeds to say that her friends arrived at 4:30 to meet the band and have been waiting in line since their brief photo op. I’m a committed individual when it comes to achieving a goal and I highly commend the dedication and stalking abilities of these fine women. I guess we all have a few things that can be learned. I’ve discovered how to amp up my stalking abilities, thanks for the tips ladies. I may use them at a later date and different location. I guess the early bird really does get the worm.

The opening act was the Reddie Freddie’s, a Queen cover band. It’s not surprising as Taylor Hawkins may be the biggest Queen fan EVER! I throughly enjoyed this all girl plus one guy band belt out the best of Queen. Yet, I’m still waiting for what I’ve decided to be the best option for the evening. I’ve managed to plant myself center stage with only 2 people in front of me. I accept this as my fate as the fan girls in the front row, with their signs in tow, are tightly packed shoulder to shoulder. There is no hope for a better position. Either way, front row or third row, I’m happy with my placement. I’m already closer than I would have been at AC DC.

Taylor1

 

On with the show, the moment we have all been waiting for. As Chevy Metal takes the stage, in their custom made, white satin suits, the crowd goes bonkers. A energy overtakes the crowd and we realize we are in store for a amazing show. The Hawk is perched behind his drum cage with his beautiful, long, flowing blond hair and perfect grin of a smile. I believe we were graced with the presence of the golden god Apollo whose chariot had been converted into a modernized drum kit and his horses transformed into mortal, multi-talented musicians. The evening was filled with, as promised, dirt rock cover songs and the setlist spanned for nearly 25 songs. Van Halen was the featured artist of the night and Taylor hit a killer drum solo as a prelude to Everybody Wants Some!! I found it to be quite comical as they transitioned into Yankee Rose and instead of staying true to the lyrics, Taylor professed his love for a Chicago hoe. Some scoffed, I quietly chuckled.

Taylor3

In recognizing all of the insanely talented musicians that have been recently lost, Taylor makes his way to the front of the stage to take on the role of frontman. A role I have anticipated seeing him in for quite some time. In tribute to David Bowie, glorious renditions of Ziggy Stardust and Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide were performed. Because he’s wonderful! It was a more than satisfying experience to view him in this role. And the pants, let’s just say they reminded me of Robert Plant back in the day. Absolutely priceless.

Taylor

Wiley Hodgden kept the ladies captivated as he carried out his duties on vocals and manning his oversized bass like a boss. Mick Murphy was on lead guitar and was a absolute beast with his precision guitar shredding. Eddie Van who? Andrew Watt was the new kid in town and commanded his role as frontman. It was a absolute pleasure to watch a young “old soul” have so much stage presence and personality.

Taylor4

The last song of the night, Let There Be Rock. Really? To be honest, I hadn’t once thought about the AC DC show the entire night. I had obviously made the right choice. The band exits and the crowd is cheering for a encore and after what seemed like a eternity, the band obliged and finished off the night with All The Young Dudes and Come Together. Taylor tossed his sticks into the crowd and the guy next to me was able to snag one. I thought I may be able to talk him out of it until he shoved it down his pants. I’ll pass, maybe next time. There will definitely be a next time, because I have since added it to the bucket list. Thank you Chevy Metal for a better show than I could have imagined. I will see you again!

 

 

The One and Only…

Artist, Concert, Music

This was the only worthwhile image I was able to capture at a Foo Fighters SummerFest concert in Milwaukee, WI from June 28th, 2012. I must admit, it ranks as my favorite concert photo I’ve ever taken. Amazing concert, but the Foo’s are always amazing! If you’ve not had a chance to see them yet, do yourself a favor and add it to your bucket list. You will not be disappointed!