Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yeasayer w/ Smith Westerns & Hush Hush @ Belly Up- 05.21.11

Nate: Calling last Saturday night at the Belly Up 'interesting' or 'eventful' would be an accurate description, but would not do justice to the evening. Heading in to the show, I was the proud owner of my very first band-issued photo pass. This ratcheted up the excitement even more for a show that I had been looking forward to for about four months. Having left the group of friends I came up from SD with at Pizza Port, I situated myself front and center before opening act Hush Hush took the stage. The decision to not drink (thus eliminating any trips to the restroom) would prove beneficial as the evening progressed.

Rosey: I have to admit, I was a little late to the show, but still arrived in time to maneuver up the Belly Up stairs to the left, crossing through the handicap ramp, passing across the bar almost toward the restroom, then passing through the stage left seating to maneuver up to the front to catch up with Nate and Jeff. At that point in the night, Elliott and I were still lucky enough to grab some space along the stage to catch some photos of the magnificent Hush Hush, in all his sweaty backing tracks (including stadium applause), and caught him during his dramatic finish, shirt off, cape on, fall to the knees, aaaand *scene*. We, too, chose not to drink in order to maintain our positions along the stage. Nate, where did it start to go so wrong?

Hush Hush:

Nate:I think the first indication of trouble ahead came at the very end of Hush Hush when a juuuust a little bit tipsy female fan decided to help Mr. Hush with his broken sunglasses. After he left the stage, she turned her attention to me, stating in very specific terms that 'the front row is for true fans' and something about how she was in a Smith Westerns video. After some back and forth as to the definition of a 'true fan', we settled in as the rapidly growing crowd filled in around us. By the time Smith Westerns started their set my new friend was very persistently giving me photo tips and when those fell on deaf (read: earplugged) ears, decided to get my attention in a different sort of manner. Not that I don't enjoy aggressive full body massages from the fairer sex, but it did make it slightly difficult to stay focused on the task at hand (even the part of me that kept repeating 'focusfocusfocus' was starting to drift away from the show). Chicago-based Smith Westerns have a very developed sound considering they're barely two albums deep and everyone in the band is between 19 and 21. Playing mostly tracks off their recently released Dye It Blonde, they did very well to duplicate the studio quality of their guitar heavy indie pop- much to the approval of those in attendance.

Smith Westerns:

Rosey: Man, that girl was all up on your shit. Like I told you, most people don't know what a jealous girlfriend I can be (lacking the required boyfriend, most people never see that side), but I was getting pretty protective over you because you were being so nice. My patience was certainly being tested because "Ashleigh" (as I decided the privileged and very drunk white girl must spell her name) was not only fondling you, but started to move into my space. Yes, I realize it's a concert and yes, I know that people are gonna get bumped, but this chick was at several points ass to ass with me and there wasn't even a band on stage. I was waiting for the right moment to say something, and then all of the sudden your altercation happened. I did not expect that one at all. I suspect you want me to tell what happened there?

So as far as I could tell, some random girl tried to put her beer on the stage (where there were at least 6 signs saying "no drinks on stage") as her ploy to elbow between you and Jeff. When you told her at least twice she couldn't put her drink there, she still tried to elbow in at which point you blocked her. She whined that she was just trying to get her beer (um, yeah this was your first rodeo) and then went into an outburst about you were pushing her (blocking and pushing are NOT the same thing) at which point that random bro popped in about pushing a girl, blah blah, and next thing I know, I see him palm your face! I'm glad you defended yourself, but the obvious concern was for your camera. You pushed him back and then he tried punching your head at which point I stuck my hand in and took some punches on my hand and wrist before people separated you guys. At that point I hailed security and they threw that dude out and I thought we were all done. Then Ashleigh came back around to fondle you a little more, at which point I dared ask the question, "Do you have *ANY* boundaries???"

Nate: Yup- priorities #1a and 1b were avoiding incidental damage to my gear and not getting kicked out. Success on both points. This was another instance that I was glad I wasn't drinking that night because my actions toward that dipshit would have been completely different. As an added bonus(?), one less person up front meant more room for Miss Ashleigh to continue her heavy petting. Shortly after the drama was over, Yeasayer took the stage accompanied by some serious lights and a healthy dose of fog machine. Sometimes when I'm shooting I get so wrapped up in what I'm doing that I hardly have time to enjoy the music- this was not one of those times. Regardless of the distraction coming from behind me and a fairly constant crowd push, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the show. There was some snipping during Yeasayer's performance coming from over my right shoulder which seemed to be directed at Rosey but, as a seasoned vet of situations like these, she handled it like a pro (and without any punches being thrown). Like I said earlier- the night was both interesting and eventful, but was primarily pretty damn awesome.


Rosey: Well, there were no punches thrown, but after settling with Ashleigh and a girl who apologized for her friend's public drunkeness that they would mind their space, the show got nuts. As I said, I understand it's a concert and some level of bumping and pushing is expected, but after the third elbow to the head and losing both earplugs to the idiots trying to grab the bassist's instrument, I tried the backing into the crowd approach with some exchange of words that went something like "it's fine if you wanna keep pushing, but I'm gonna push back" and when that didn't work, my ginglymus met her stomach. The situation being "resolved", I went back to the concert and couldn't believe how phenomenal Yeasayer were and how much I'd missed seeing them live. Incidentally, a new girl popped up and picked up groping Nate where Ashleigh had left off, but the rest of the show was pretty chill and we finally got to take a breath and enjoy the show. If you didn't catch the setlist, photos, and video I posted, you can check that out here. And to Nate, you are my hero. Can't wait to shoot another show by your side.

Nate: For more pix from the evening click here and the rest of my concert photography click here.
All images copyright © Nate Vandermeulen, All Rights Reserved.
Please ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

1 comment:

andrew said...

Ha! Great dual write up guys. The show was a dance party, great sign of a good show.