Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

Back in ApriI caught Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks at Lucky Bar here in Victoria, BC with some friends. I wasn't shooting that night, but I did have my Fuji x100s with me. Luckily I snapped a handful of pictures of the show including the opener Speedy Ortiz and for some reason I forgot to share them here on rocktographer.ca. Also check out my pal David's review of the Vancouver show on Concert Addicts. 

Hope you enjoy these shots and please check out the rest of the Stephen Malkmus and Speedy Ortiz photographs on my flickr. 

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

Certainly one of the most anticipated concerts of 2014 had to be Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings and we certainly not disappointed.

It's been a long time since Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings has graced our fair city with her presence, but it was certainly not without reason. Back in summer of 2013 Sharon Jones had been diagnosed with cancer. This forced her to delay shows and the release of her fifth studio album, "Give the People What They Want."

It's not often the a sold-out crowd at Alix Goolden Hall is on their feet dancing within thirty seconds of the performance. Spilling out into the aisles and crowding the stage. 

Having beaten her cancer now Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings are back and are clearly a force to be reckoned with. Often mentioning that she believes that "The Dap Kings are the best band in the world!" It's hard to not agree with her when during the encore the band performed their rendition of Funky Broadway while over half of the audience joined them on stage to dance. 

Sharon Jones makes musicians half her age look like hobbyists when it comes to her larger than life voice and performance. With the energy and a stage presence that would give a Mick Jagger a run for his money in his heyday. You'd never guess that this woman had recently had a health crisis with the way she moved about the stage. At one point she even pulled a twenty-something onto the stage to dance with her until he split his pants trying to impress her with his white boy dance moves. 

Easily one of the best performance we will see in all of 2014 here in Victoria. Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings will certainly be hard to top for any touring band coming our way in the near future. 

Rich Aucoin

Personally one of my absolute favourite live performers is Halifax's Rich Aucoin. He's always a lot of fun to watch interact with the crowd. Confetti, parachutes, and the occasional boogie board happen. It's a shame his set was so short here in Victoria this time around when he opened for Mounties. Maybe one day we will see him put on a headlining show here as he is quite the draw.  Also sometimes accidents happen.

More photo of Rich Aucoin can be found on my flickr.

Vinyl Supernova

It has probably been about eight years since the last time I set foot in Big Fernwood or the Fernwood Community Centre as it is better known these days. It's where I got my start in the concert photography game. Armed with a point and shoot digital camera I took pictures of friends bands between sets and sold merch for those bands. There are a lot of memories in that gymnasium and all of them are great. 

It's been a while since I've had a chance to catch up with my friend, Nick. Like myself Nick has recently immersed himself in the never ending life of a record collecting. Obviously we decided to hit up the 2nd annual Vinyl Supernova record fair at the Fernwood Community Centre, but only after getting a grilled cheese eggs benedict at Cabin 12. 

There is a certain smell that comes off old used records. It's almost like a dusty library with some grease stains. It's one of those few smells I find exceedingly comfortable and at home in. That's why I love hanging out older record stores like Fascinating Rhythm in Nanaimo, Turntable here in Victoria, or digging through the records at my local thrift shops. 

At Vinyl Supernova I seemed to spend more time wrestling my way through the crowds of record enthusiasts than actually digging through the thousands of records. Eventually I did score an almost mint copy of Kiss's "Alive!" A record I listened far too much as a misunderstood youth with access to his dad's record collection. I also came home with some New Order, Tears For Fears, and The Jam 12" singles.

Despite my ever expanding record collection I do kick myself for not picking up the N'Sync single for "Bye Bye Bye" from Mike Devlin's table. He did mention I'd gain some respect points if I got it, but I just couldn't commit. I was always more of a Backstreet Boys fan anyways. 

Vinyl Supernova was a great way to spend my Saturday morning. I got to catch up with a friend, bump into countless other friends, and talk music with people who genuinely care about music. 

I know I'll be back for the third instalment of Vinyl Supernova. 

Hope For Hannah

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On the opening night of YYJ Rocktographers I was asked by Dave and Rebecca if I could help put together a photographer team for a benefit concert they were putting on for Hannah Day. I can honestly say it has been one of the most fulfilling and moving experiences of my photography career to date. 

If you don't know about Hannah Day I highly recommend you read her story, donate, and see if you can donate your stem cells to someone in need. 

The wonderful thing about the Hope For Hannah benefit concert was seeing musicians, artists, businesses, photographers, and a community to support this little girl in her fight against the odds. We live in a beautiful place and sometimes we loose track of real struggles. So far 2014 has really shown me that this is a community that cares for each other. Supporting each other not just during tough times but also in times of celebration. 

We shot sound checks, volunteers, setup, backstage, in the green room, princesses, marmots, bands, friends, and family. It was a stellar day that I can't say enough good things about. The bands were amazing. 

It was a good day to support something bigger than us. 

All of my photos from Hope For Hannah are on my flickr. 

The Cave Singers

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'No Witch' has certainly become one of my favourite Sunday morning records. I usually put it on while I make myself a cup of coffee, putter around the house, and catch up on work from the night before. Unsurprisingly before heading off to Zambri's for some breakfast with friends this morning I fired up the record. Sounding as good as it ever has. 

Vancouver based band, Hunting kicked off the early show at Victoria's Sugar Nightclub to lacklustre enthusiasm from a crowd too busy worrying about getting their next beer than checking out something new. Hunting was tight. The band worked as a unit more than a group of individuals and it showed that they were a well oiled machine. Ending off their set with a blue grass inspired jam it set the tone well for The Cave Singers. 

Seattle's The Cave Singers returned to the island for the first time since their performance at the Otalith Music Festival in Ucluelet last summer to a packed Sugar Nightclub. Victorian's were ready for a solid rock and roll show and weren't disappointed. 

Despite an apparent three hour sound check, lead-singer Pete Quirk's vocals were lost to the dull roar of the crowd. While the bass, drums, and guitar overpowered what little we could hear of Pete singing. I eventually had to take out my earplugs just to make sure that his microphone was in fact on. 

This was the first time in the six or seven times that I've seen the Seattle band play that this was an issue, but it could have easily been the crowd. The more I go to Victoria concerts the more I notice that the crowd is more interested in talking than actually enjoying and absorbing the amazing music that's being performed right in front of them. 

Beyond technical difficulties Pete Quirk's unique voice and elaborate dance moves shone through eventually. It was almost like as if he was channelling a young Gord Downie or Buck 65. His almost choreographed moves paired well with his lyrics and performance of the rest of the band. 

I'm already anxious to see The Cave Singers return to Victoria for another show. Maybe we will see them this summer during festival season at the likes of a Rifflandia headlining a night venue or side stage. 

More photos of Hunting and The Cave Singers on my flickr.

Gracepoint

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It feels like I've been trapped in my place for a month, but unfortunately it's only been three days. I was recently struck down with a bit of an illness that seems to be retreating now. I can honestly tell you I don't deal with being sick well. I get unbelievably restless but can't muster the strength and energy do anything around the house. 

Before getting sick last was pretty awesome part of it was getting almost 100,000 hits on my flickr in just a couple days. That's more hits than my Green River photos. It's been a quite exciting ride. 

Gracepoint is a an American remake of a British television series called, Broadchurch. They are are currently shooting in and around the Victoria area using it as the setting of the fictional northern California town. Some of the filming has been here in Sidney, and on a couple occasions I snuck down on my lunch break to have coffee with a friend from out of town and maybe get a chance to see David Tennant. 

I lucked out both times I was down there to see The Doctor shoot a scene or two. All those crazy Whovian fans have certainly made my photos popular. 

Check out more photos here. 

YYJ Rocktographers

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I've had just under a week to come to terms with how the YYJ Rocktographers event went. Personally I'm still a little awe struck by the turn out and response from everyone who came out on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. 

Having 300 people walk through the door on Friday night was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I know established bands in this town that don't even get a third of that at their concerts sometimes. When there were already people heading to the show before we had the pictures hung I knew we were in for a good night. Even if that meant not eating my phad thai until the next morning. 

On Friday night there wasn't a single moment when the studio was empty. There was constantly 40+ people in there milling about, talking, drinking, and having a good time. Saturday was also pretty busy, but quiet enough to give people more of an opportunity to really check out the photos. Overall I think the event probably had close to 500ish people through the door. 

Were there things I'd change about the event? Of course, but they are small and trivial in the grand scheme of things. What I'd most certainly like to change is the amount of stress I had in the week leading up to the event. Somehow that last week not the months of planning beforehand got to me. Certainly next time things will be more automated. 

What's in the future for YYJ Rocktographers? Well, that's a good question. I'm already starting to toy with the idea of "what's next" for us. Without a doubt another show is on the horizon. It's just a matter or when. Do we keep the event annual? Do we make it semi-annual? Do we start doing installations elsewhere too? There are lots of questions popping up right now, but I think that's part of a successful event. 

Personally I'm still floored by the good folks in this town for coming out. It was mind blowing seeing people coming through that door for two days straight. Old friends, new friends, bands, promoters, other photographers, and everyone else. We have a crazy supportive community here in Victoria, and it's certainly worth not taking for granted.

I can't thank everyone enough. Espeicially Al, Teresa, Hawk & Steel, Carlines, the photographers, and everyone else who helped out over the last few months 
 
The future has big things in store for YYJ Rocktographers and I can't wait. 
 
Check out some of the photos on our Facebook Event Page. 

YYJ Rocktographers

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It's been a lot of hard work, but today is finally the day. Today is the opening of YYJ Rocktographers at Al Smith's Studio here in Victoria, BC.

I've been wrangling photographers, the studio, and musicians for tonight's event for a few months now. More recently I've been doing radio interviews, newspaper interviews, and various other media outlets to do press for this event. A big thank you to my friends over at The Zone and The Q for all the support this month. You guys rock!

If you don't know what YYJ Rocktographers is you clearly haven't been following me on social media lately, but I'll talk about it again. YYJ Rocktographers is an event celebrating over twenty local concert photographers. Each photographer selected one of their best concert photographs to display in the gallery event. The photographs range from local bands like Acres of Lions and Towers and Trees to huge international recording artists like The Flaming Lips, Kiss, Bruce Springsteen, and Marilyn Manson.

Tonight will also feature the amazing talent of local musicians Hawk & Steel and Carlines. Both have agreed to do some acoustic versions of their songs and that kicks off around 8:30PM, January 24th, 2014.

Come down and hang out!

Gallery Hours: 
January 24th, 2014. 7PM - 10PM 
January 25th, 2014. 12PM - 5PM


YYJ RocktographersFacebook Event Page | Twitter
Al Smith's Studio (660 Discovery St. Victoria, BC)

Reignwolf

It's been about two weeks since I went to see Reignwolf. Since then I've been struggling to finish writing something about the show for my blog. Don't get me wrong the show was spectacularly entertaining and a blast to be at, but I've just been unable to focus on writing about it. 

I was first introduced by fellow photographer, Brian Van Wyk. He and I were standing in line to grab a beer before we started shooting Rock The Shores. I mentioned I was planning on skipping him to have some lunch and most likely another beer on top of that. He told me I could grab lunch anytime and I would regret not shooting Reignwolf for the rest of my life if I missed it. Brian couldn't have more right. Jason Cook (Reignwolf) was probably the best act I shot at Rock The Shores this year, and he has certainly become the talk of Victoria since that afternoon.

I was off on some kind of adventure. I think I was fishing with my dad in Mexico when tickets to Reignwolf went on sale. I emailed some folks back home to grab me a ticket, but they had as much luck getting a ticket as someone in a foreign country with spotty hotel wifi. 

The concert announcement displayed in my local record store's window simply said, "Sold Out Forever!" That was that. 

I'd reserved myself to spending one more night with the family instead of going to a concert. That was until I woke up from one of my holiday naps to find an enveloped crammed into my screen door. "Merry Fucking Christmas" read the envelope. Clearly it was from one of my friends. Inside was a note and a concert ticket. Michelle became my new best friend instantly. 

I couldn't have thought of a better way to end 2013 than going to one last rock and roll show. Especially when it came to being able to hang out with some really great friends who were in town for the holidays. 

Here's my good friend David Lacroix's post about the show on Concert Addicts. I highly recommend you check out some of his other reviews on there as well. He's a talented writer when it comes to concert reviews. It's a hard thing to do well, and he's one of the best out there. 

More Reignwolf photos can be found on my flickr.

Meeting Heroes

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They say not to meet your heroes, but don't listen to them. Chances are whoever said that just needed better heroes. 

Without a doubt my path in life has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of people I respect and admire. It's one of the things that makes me love what I do and the people I do those things with. While most see the idea of meeting a rock star as a life altering moment I see it as a way to connect with another human being. One who has harnessed their artistic abilities into something beautiful. It doesn't matter what they create whether it's a song, a painting, a sculptor, or a photograph you are experiencing their purest form. 

Earlier today I was talking to a friend who has had similar fortunes in his life. Now he is build a quite successful business for himself doing the things he loves with people he respects and admires. It's something special and it seems to be a rare thing. 

What can I tell you about the photograph of Brendan Canning I posted today? Well, the joke answer is that he's "gots 2 chill." This photo came from a brief conversation with him at the merch table after his show in Victoria in late November. We talked beards, going grey, and he correctly guessed my age. After a few minutes of bullshitting I asked if I could snap a few pictures of him with my Ilford disposable camera and he obliged with this pose. It's great and reminds me of the Hanson brothers from 'Slap Shot'.' 

This marks the second of Broken Social Scene side project photo I've taken with an Ilford disposable. Will there be more? I hope so.  

I've always had a great respect for Brendan Canning and it was exciting to have a chance to meet him. He made one of my favourite records this year, and not because he is a member of BSS. It's because it is a well crafted record made with love, care, and landlines. 

We need to do what we love and with the people we love. If we don't what's the point in doing those things?

More of my disposable camera and Brendan Canning photos can be found on flickr.

Band of The Month

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Last weekend I had the chance to hang out with some friends, and check out The Zone's Band of Month Showcase at Upstairs Cabret. This was the second of the two showcases, and like the first one earlier in the month it was completely sold out. They had to turn away guest list spots at the door. 

The Grass Tracks kicked off the night at the Band of The Month Showcase. It was a bittersweet evening for them. An exciting sold out show, the release of their new album, but unfortunately possibly their last show. The next morning their lead singer, Ki McKechnie was bound indefinitely for Calgary the next morning. With that in mind they put on one hell of a "going away" show for Victoria night. Despite the departure of Ki I think there is a solid future for the the rest of the band as each member is talented in their own right. The future of The Grass Tracks may be uncertain, but there is certainly a future. 

I've seen Carmanah three times now, and this is where they finally shined. The intimacy of the bar seemed to benefit the band, drawing the crowd closer to the stage with every song. Fiddle, djembe, flute, and finger snaps peppered their set with the eclectic sounds that are distinctly West Coast. Sounds that make you think of campfires on the beach. It was nice to finally see Carmanah hit their stride at Upstairs Cabaret. 

What is there to say about Towers & Trees that hasn't already been said? They are enthusiastic, hard working, and positive musicians. That's already been said, but needs to be stated again. After a stint with the Peak Performance Project the band returned to Victoria tighter, energized, and excited to make new music. Their shows have gotten more elaborate and exciting. Often featuring balloons, guests, and topless raptors. Every band member wears a smile even when in the most intricate parts of their songs. 

It's hard to not fall in love with Towers & Tree's infectious poppy songs. They are the type of band I've been hoping would make an appearance in this town for a very long time. Outgoing, happy, excited by the prospect of playing their own music for their fans. It seems like we've been stuck with mopey bands for while in Victoria. Bands who think the only way to justify themselves as artists is to bad mouth other bands and act like it is a crime against humanity when they aren't chosen to participate in The Zone's Band of The Month. 

Not every band of the month artist has been my favourite, but I have picky taste. The Zone does a good job a curating, cultivating, and establishing relationships with local musicians looking to make their mark.

Having something like Band of The Month in Victoria is essential to the music scene and I hope it never goes away.

More photos of The Grass Tracks, Carmanah, and Towers & Trees.

Brendan Canning

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It's been a pretty exciting year for Broken Social Scene fans. It seems like everyone in the band is making stellar music on their own. From Justin Peroff's Junior Pande tapes on my friend's label Spring Break Tapes! to Aurora's latest release, and now Brendan Canning's solid record "You Gots 2 Chill."

The other night I convinced a my friend David to come over from Vancouver and my best bud, Darryl to hit Brendan Canning's show at Lucky Bar. It was the last date of the Canadian portion of his tour before heading south to Seattle.

 I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the show surpassed anything I was prepared for. Having only listened to Canning's latest record a couple times on my walk to work it made me wonder how it would translate to a live performance. A full band and a rotating cast of characters from the opening band Dinosaur Bones (who you should most definitely check out) filled the air with a dense rich sound. 

When you listen to either of Brendan Canning's solo records (yes, I count his Broken Social Scene Presents record) you can hear his direct influence in the song writing and structure of Broken Social Scene's songs. 

Several years ago when we were still young and dumb, Darryl and I set off to Vancouver to catch a Broken Social Scene show at Deer Lake Park with Jets Overhead, The Stills, and Sam Roberts. It's was at the tail end of Broken Social Scene's tour supporting their second record, and it blew my mind. I'd never known that a band could be that big, that amazing, and make that much amazing music. It's one of the concerts I fondly remember that changed my life.  We couldn't even sit through Sam Robert's set on the hill we were filled with the electric energy that had come from Broken Social Scene. 

Since then I have seen Broken Social Scene several times and each time with Darryl. It's a thing we do. Despite having gone to several BSS side project shows without Darryl I was happy I could share the experience of seeing Brendan Canning with him. My flickr is filled with photos from all those concerts. 

After the show I picked up Canning's latest release on vinyl. I bought it on itunes when my local record store didn't have it in stock the week it came out. I'm currently writing this laying on my couch listening to it. It's a beautiful record. It's a natural progression of Canning's music and there are certainly elements that I could see show up on future releases of any of his projects. 

Before I left I had a brief conversation with Brendan Canning about growing his beard back, but unfortunately that doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon. Too much grey these days. He said I'll understand in a few years when I become less of a ginger. We shook hands and I grabbed a portrait of him with my disposable Ilford. I guess that's a thing I'm doing now. Taking pictures of everyone in their side projects. I got Aurora during Rifflandia. Maybe Kevin Drew is next? 

I highly recommend you check out Brendan Canning's latest record "You Gots 2 Chill." I'm currently in love with it and after every listen I have a new favourite song. 

More photos on my flickr.

YYJ Rocktographers

I mentioned it a little while ago, but now I can actually confirm it. I'm putting on a little art show in January featuring the work of Victoria's concert photographers. 

The idea behind the event came while at a Peninsula Makes Things meetup in Sidney in early September. I ran the idea past Al Smith who was instantly on board. 

YYJ Rocktographers is a photography event showcasing the work of a thriving concert photographer community in Victoria, BC. In essence the show is about celebrating the hard work of all these great photographers that sometimes goes unrecognized. Everyone involved is extremely talented, has their own style, and are wonderful human beings that I get to share a photographers pit with quite frequently. 

Slowly all the pieces are coming together and it's getting exciting to work on putting the event together every night. Big thanks to Al Smith of VIC42 for letting us use his studio for the event and the outstanding support he's been giving me. Also my good friend Kathryn Lancashire for whipping up a website and logo for the event. 

On January 22nd, 2014 we will be hosting an opening gala shindig for the event. There might be some live music, beverages, and good times. I highly recommend you add it to your calendar. 

yyjrocktographers.com

John Vanderslice

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 The Sunset Tavern feels small. Similar to the Media Club in Vancouver, but with more nicknacks on the wall from what looks like an old Chinese restaurant. The stage is tucked in the back corner of the room across from the bar. It's the kind of corner stage that reminds me of bars that no longer exist in Victoria like Steamers and Central Bar. Places that had food but also had great concerts several days a week. 

I sneak past a group of girls huddled around the soundboard to order some beers I've never had because this is a different city. Above me is a sign that basically tells you to "Order and Get Out of the Way" but in nicer words. I had to admire the efficiency of the bar I wish Lucky Bar would adopt this principle. 

I sipped my beer until John Vanderslice came over to give me a big hug. This is why I love this guy. He was honestly so happy to see that we had made it down to Seattle just for his show. Calling us "Canadian Heroes" for making the trek down that included a three hour ferry ride. We chatted for a few minutes before introducing us to Jacob Winik, one of the engineers from his analog recording studio in San Francisco called Tiny Telephone. He'd brought Jacob along to do sound for the entire tour. Jacob and I talked about when they opened Studio B a few years back at Tiny Telephone and the exciting news about opening the new studio in Oakland. 

Pretty soon Prism Tats took the stage. Who knew just a guy, a guitar, drum tracks, some pedals, and some distortion would sound so great. He was seriously a welcome surprise, but most opening acts are these days. I think artists and bands really strive to find cool, contemporary, and talented bands to open for them these days. Unlike in the days of my parents where the "backing band" was for the most part awful. I will certainly be picking up a Prism Tats record in the future. 

Before John and Jason Slota hopped up on stage I noticed the lighting in the venue wasn't great, but I could probably make due. I wasn't overly thrilled with all the photos I got, but I did take some I really liked. Harsh reds, blues, and pinks make it tough sometimes. Someone asked me about shooting in low light at this concert on tumblr my answer is here. 

As usual John's show was filled with laughter, jokes, banter between himself and Jason, oh and a few shout outs to us for coming down. One thing I did notice though is all his praise for Jason Slota. Jason has essentially replaced the rest of the band by playing multiple instruments during the show. Primarily the drums and Moog. His drum solo at one point brought on declarations of Jason being a "golden god." A just and fitting title for him in my opinion. Seeing a talented musician like Jason Slota used to a potential I've yet to see in most indie rock bands. 

JV eventually dismissed Jason for a quick break so he could play some songs solo. One of which was "Numbered Lithograph." It is hands down one of my favourite songs off Emerald City if not all of John's discography. Quickly he followed it up with "After It Ends" off his album White Wilderness. The song has been stuck in my head  ever since. 

On this tour John's songs are slightly rearranged, with heavy and aggressive notes added by an electric guitar. All while stay grounded, but not without sticking into your mind. The whole set I was thinking "I hope someone is recording this." Songs like "Teaspoon of Codeine" I wouldn't expect to be played heavily on electric guitar with the kind of urgency that you'd find on many songs off Cellar Door. A welcome and surprising change. I was quite a fan. 

The set was certainly Emerald City heavy, but I'm not going to complain about hearing my favourite songs. There was a surprising lack of songs off Romanian Names. I'm not sure many noticed that tough. The songs off of his latest record, Dagger Beach were crisp like the autumn air outside the tavern. Seeing the songs live brought a new life to an album I fell in love with earlier this year. 

After playing a couple Bowie songs John and Jason jumped into the crowd to play two more songs acoustically. JV armed with his guitar and voice, Jason with part of his drum kit, and the crowd with their voice. It was wonderful hearing a room full of people singing along to "White Dove." After that he was joined by a lady from the crowd he'd met that day to duet on "Trance Manual." I really feel bad for not remembering her name because she had a lovely voice. Then again so did the lady singing next to me most if the night. 

It was a wonderful and quick trip to see a friend play a concert. I'd have no issue ever traveling anywhere to see John Vanderslice play a show. He's a thoughtful, caring, and extremely talented man. I highly recommend you check him out on this tour and buy some of his records. 

More photos of John Vanderslice can be found on flickr.

johnvanderslice.com

News and Updates

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That was a long hiatus. It wasn't supposed to be that long, but I guess it happens from time to time. I had two Rifflandia articles set to post while I was on vacation in Mexico, but I guess I forgot to queue them properly. It's a bit of a shame, but I'll fix that when I get back from Seattle later this weekend. 

A couple huge things are happening right now on the rocktographer.ca front. The first is I'm shooting my first official Seattle gig tonight. It's at the Sunset Tavern. I'm taking photos of one of the most inspiring people to hang out with, Mr. John Vanderslice. You might recall me raving about his talk at MaxFunCon this year or the time I went to Tiny Telephone (his studio) the year before. John is one of the kindest people out there and most certainly is the nicest person in rock. I'm really excited to shoot this tonight. If you can't tell. 

The second is that I'm going to be partnering with VIC42 to put on an event at Al Smith's studio. It'll be a couple day photo exhibit celebrating local concert photographers. It's called YYJ Rocktographers. More on that soon, but keep January 22nd, 2014 open on your calendars. That's when the big show is going to launch. 

Okay, I have to make sure I pack my passport into my camera bag before heading to Seattle in a couple hours. 

Rifflandia: Ilford Disposable

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This year I decided to do something a little different while shooting the festival. For the last few years I've used various Instax cameras and Lomo cameras. Mostly my Lomo Fisheye.

During my research for disposable cameras for Point | Shoot | Ship  one of the participants (Steve Calder) told me about Ilford putting out a line of disposable cameras using their legendary black & white film. I never picked one up for the first two cameras of PSS but I did grab one for Rifflandia. 

When I was first learning photography in school I was more into film (like video) than actual photography. I learned on these old beat up hodgepodge cameras that lived in a cupboard in the art department. Each camera had some form of frankenlens or a 50mm that barely focused and had lens scratches. We had no idea what we were doing back then, but we had fun. 

It was the dark room where I really fell in love with photography. The fun we had running around forests, the city streets, trampolines, and in the backseats of cars turned into something real. Not a digital file but something concrete and tangible. This is where you could really play with something you created. 

The one thing I remember was the boxes of Ilford 100 lying around everywhere. In fact I used an old expired roll I'd kept from school a few months ago. Nothing to write home about, but it made me remember the good old days.

I took about 28 photos over the four days of the festival and I'm thrilled with how they turned out for the most part. The shots of Matty from Victory Barbers, AroarA, Chali 2na, and Amy Millan are some of my favourites. 

I'm going to be digging out my old film cameras to play with this fall. 

 

Rifflandia: AroarA

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AroarA was the band I was most excited to see during Rifflandia. Having only heard a few demos and a quick listen to their debut album "The Pines."

I'm very fond of Broken Social Scene, their side projects, and their record label Arts & Crafts. There is little doubt in my mind when it comes to trying out new things from them. Andrew Whiteman in particular because of the role Apostle of Hustle's records have played in my life. 

About six years ago I picked up Apostle of Hustle's record National Anthem of Nowhere while backpacking across Europe for a few months. As my trip was winding down and I was running out of time and money I found myself on a ferry from The Netherlands to England laying on the exposed car deck. Listening to this record for the very first time. As I stared out at the strait that separated me from one of the best adventures of my life the song "National Anthem of Nowhere" came on. That moment is permanently etched into my memory. A fixed point in time. 

My friend Jay hipped me to Andrew Whiteman's latest project with his wife Ariel Engle about eight months ago. He passed on some demos or live recordings that really excited me about the prospect of seeing AroarA live sometime in the future. Luckily enough they got added to the bill of Rifflandia in July.

I snuck in slightly exhausted from a day of shooting the main stage at Royal Athletic Park, and slumped against the wall. I fought off sleep during two very good bands, but they weren't what I was here to see. 

When AroarA took the stage their set up was small. A pair of guitars, a drum machine, a sampler, and what looked to be a guitar made from a cigar box played through out the show by Ariel Engle. A tuning peg on Andrew Whiteman's guitar had broken off on the flight from Montreal to Victoria. Frequently he'd reach over for a pair of needle-nose pliers to twist his strings into tune. 

AroarA's performance was liquid. It seemed almost choreographed. The couple moved in unison only communicating in unspoken words, glances, and telepathy. A beautiful thing that comes with trust and love of a companion I'm sure. 

Since the festival ended I've heard from several people who were in the small audience at Metro Theatre for the performance that it was one of their favourite parts of the festival. I'd certainly say it was one of mine. They benefited from the intimacy of the small venue and the theatre atmosphere.

After their set I had a chance to talk to them for a few moments after they cleared up their gear. Ariel and Andrew are wonderfully gracious people. Very sweet and seemed genuinely excited to connect with a fan. They were nice enough to let me take a portrait of them with my Ilford disposable black & white camera. I'm going to go on record to say it's my favourite photograph I took of the festival. 

I highly recommend you check out their latest record, and see them if you get the chance. You won't regret it. 

AroarA.com