Earlier this week, my photos from the Holiday Hootenanny were put up on SoundDiego, but I've got some more and haven't had the chance to write about the whole show. It was definitely a fun night. I took my friend Steve to the show, mostly because he's really easygoing and since I knew I'd be taking photos, he would be on his own for a lot of the night. What I didn't know is that he'd eaten a giant pot brownie, so within an hour of our arrival, he was telling me that we'd have to cab home. So much for my designated driver...at that point I pretty much left him to watch the show as I bounced back and forth between the photo pit and the VIP lounge. There was a little taco spread and they were serving complimentary wine and Guiness Black Lager, which is apparently test marketing in San Diego. It was good, but I'd gone big on Friday and wasn't really into drinking too heavily, so I took it easy and mostly just caught up with friends between bands.
Tokyo Police Club kicked off the night and sounded awesome on the big stage. It was fun shooting with awesome lighting so I just went with it.
Sleigh Bells was next onstage and though I was looking forward to seeing them since they were the only band on the bill that I hadn't seen before but I just wasn't feeling it. Their backing tracks were far more complex than their actual live performance. The lighting was mainly red lights and strobe so my photos really aren't worth posting. I spend most of the three songs in the pit trying to assess what part of the performance was actually live. To be honest, it didn't feel like much of it was live. Maybe that's fine for a club, but at a show like this, I want live music. I went back upstairs until The Temper Trap were on.
I've seen them twice before and this was better than the other two for me, maybe because of the energy of the crowd, but it also might be because this performance felt a little more diverse...it wasn't that alto vox the whole way through the set.
I was really happy to see Against Me! again. The last time I saw the band was a few years back at Warped Tour, and since they played back to back with Rise Against, my brain had confused the two, but I really loved Against Me's latest record, White Crosses, and to be honest and slightly sexist, I really wanted some manly rock. I definitely got that with their performance and found myself forgetting to take pictures because I was so into the band's performance and Tom Gabel just really does it for me. He's super sexy and owns the stage when he's on it.
Between bands I went back upstairs. The VIP area traditionally shuts down before the headlining band, so I had a couple quick beers. While standing around with friends, a guy started talking to me. He was hilarious and told me that he has snuck into the VIP area (twice) and the second time his friends were too afraid to follow. He had a fun energy, but the band was about to start to I had to bail and get downstairs and slipped into the elevator as it was closing. The Black Keys are always fantastic and you just get the feeling that they love San Diego and that they love FM 94/9. They had also got their Grammy nominations just a few days before so there was this infectious energy in the arena.
After the three songs, I was wandering and bumped back into Patrick, the sneaky kid in the VIP area, and he convinced me that we had to SEE the show. I cannot tell you the last time I was at a big show and actually maneuvered through a crowd, but within 10 minutes, that's exactly what we were doing. We're on the floor surrounded mostly by kids and worked out way all the way back up to the front. It was hot and stinky and sweaty and I had crowdsurfers passing over my head and it was awesome. Patrick turned to be quite sheisty and was telling people all kinds of shit...that I was some reporter and needed to get "my story" and whatever and whispering to me, "just go with it." I did and the crowd was spastic and we got carried around as it shifted and though I felt like I'd been hit by a bus the next day, I felt like a kid when I was in it.
Things worked out in the end, thankfully Natalie offered to drive Steve and I back home and I closed my night out at the Ken Club.
I took almost 400 pictures but nobody wants to see that many photos, so here's a little slideshow of some of the rest of my shots. Huge thanks to FM 94/9 for another great show and I look forward to whatever is around the corner for 2011.