2016 has certainly been an interesting year. I shot 129 shows in 2015 but I shot significantly fewer this year, since I was on the road with PETA and peta2 most of the year. I spent this spring on the road for peta2's college campus tour, and made it a point to check out shows on my nights off whenever I was able to. I spent this summer working for peta2 on the Vans Warped Tour, which was a dream come true. I worked hard at outreach, and whenever I had a break or a day off, I was shooting sets. I spent the end of the summer and the beginning of the fall in Orlando as the Tour Administrator for PETA's I, Orca exhibit, where I was able to catch some shows at Backbooth and The Social. This fall and winter, I've worked ten shows for peta2 around the Northeast as a Concert Rep.
This year, I was able to travel to Thailand and Israel (blog post coming soon, but there are a few images up on my Instagram already). I never thought I'd be able to visit either of these places, so to go to both in one year was absolutely incredible.
I'm so grateful for all of the traveling I was able to do this year. I narrowed it down to 22 of my favorite live music images from 2016- some of them I've posted before but some have yet to be seen by anyone but myself. These images were taken in 15 cities across 12 different states; 7 are from Warped Tour and the rest from other shows. There are local bands and some of my longtime favorite musicians.
Without further ado, here are my favorite and most important live music images from 2016.
At the start of the year, my friend Chris (who used to book the greatest basement shows, and now runs the record label All Sounds) was working at the Old Mogul Theatre. He asked me to shoot this math rock show; I didn't know any of the bands but I always trust his taste in music so I said yes. I shot the entire show (which was a pretty cramped stage) on my 50mm/f1.4 lens. I love this shot of Max from The Planet You on the ground, fiddling with his pedals.
While on the college tour this spring, we had a weekend off in Dallas. In addition to getting my fill of Spiral Diner, I wanted to check out a show. I discovered that Anti-Flag and War On Women were playing at The Prophet Bar. I didn't know a single War On Women song but I knew that they sang about feminist issues- everything from rape and sexual assault to the gender wage gap- so I knew I had to pay attention. I loved the energy that Shawna Potter had, and I love the colors in this image- her blue hair contrasts so nicely with the pink and orange lights.
I've been a fan of Rachel Platten for a long time, so I was naturally excited that she was in Orlando when I'd have a weekend off in town. I didn't know much about opening act Christina Grimmie before the show, but I was blown away by her voice. Unfortunately, about three months after I took this photo, Grimmie was shot and killed at another show in Orlando. I chose this photo because of what it represents. Let us remember Christina Grimmie for her talent and the happiness she brought people through her music, and let us do whatever we can (lots of venues have since increased security measures) so that this never happens again.
I discovered Vance Joy's music sometime early last year, and was able to photograph him when he opened for Taylor Swift on the 1989 Tour last summer. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to see him on his headlining tour, The Fire and the Flood Tour, but it lined up perfectly that I was able to catch him in Atlanta on a night off. Vance Joy is a storyteller; I love that this image portrays that.
About 48 hours before this show, my tourmate Emily and I discovered that we'd be only an hour and a half from Millvale on a night off in West Virginia. Both being huge fans of The Wonder Years, we were pretty stoked! Mr. Smalls had a photo pit but for some reason- despite having a photo pass- I wasn't allowed to enter (I didn't see any photographers in the pit that night). I shot from the front of the room, and then ran upstairs to get this photo from the balcony. I've said for a long time that The Wonder Years are an important band for our generation; this image shows the (very positive) influence that they've had and connection they've made with their fans.
I went to college in Cleveland and was always driving around the state for shows, so any time I'm able to go back to Ohio, it feels like I'm going back home. In Columbus, I was able to shoot X Ambassadors on a Saturday night off. I missed a step and twisted my ankle on my way to the photo pit to shoot their set; luckily, an EMT was right there to make sure I was okay. I wasn't about to miss shooting such a cool band for a twisted ankle, so I hobbled over; if I'd waited thirty seconds longer, I wouldn't have gotten this photo! Sometimes, it's worth pushing through a little discomfort to get the shot (so long as you're careful about it, of course- I took Advil right after I finished, and iced my ankle later on that night).
By a stroke of luck, I was able to photograph two dates of Motion City Soundtrack's farewell tour- Anaheim, Calif. on May 11 and Philadelphia a month later. I didn't take the time to really get in to their music until I saw them on their 2015 tour with The Wonder Years, and I regret not doing so earlier. I'm now a huge fan, and hope I've been able to do their legacy a bit of justice through the photos I took. I love the energy and contrast in this photo of Jesse in Anaheim.
I've photographed Patent Pending more times than I could count, and each and every time, their energy and stage presence amazes me. I've gotten plenty of jump shots of the various members, but this was the first time that I was able to get a clear shot of Robert, Joe, Rob, and Corey in the air at the same time.
I photographed Saosin twice this year- in March at Amos' Southend in Charlotte, and in June at Taste of Chaos in Mt. Pocono, Penn. I love all of the gesturing Anthony Green does with his hands and how he plays with the microphone- it makes for such great photos. They played during the golden hour, which meant gorgeous light hitting him just so.
The first time I saw Broadside was at a VFW show in Tiffin, Ohio over three years ago, so to see them play Warped Tour to great crowds (they frequently moved up from the Full Sail Stage to the Cyclops Stage) was insane- I was really proud to see their hard work pay off. In Atlanta, they played last on the Full Sail Stage and it was raining- basically a recipe for "no one showing up" but they ended up getting a decent crowd. It's cool to see how they've progressed, and I'm proud of getting a clear image in the rain!
On the first day of Warped Tour, Yellowcard announced that they'd be breaking up. This was their final summer on Warped Tour and they'd be doing one last world tour in the fall. There were a fair amount of serious moments- it's always sad to say goodbye to such a monumental band- but I love how happy (and slightly mischievous) Sean Mackin looks here, holding the drumstick.
When I shot Capsize on their first Warped Tour show (Holmdel, N.J., which was also my hometown show), I was unsure what kind of crowd they'd get and if people would know their songs. What I ended up loving about shooting them each time was that they always got such a great reaction. I love the interaction between Daniel and the crowdsurfer in this photo.
One of the highlights of Warped Tour for me was being able to photograph my long-time favorite band, Good Charlotte, six times! At the Auburn Hills, Mich. show, I worked hard so I could take a short break in the afternoon to shoot their set. Good Charlotte inspired me to pursue a career in music, but they went on hiatus shortly after I got involved with music photography and journalism. I never thought I'd be able to shoot them so many years later; it definitely felt like a big accomplishment! I love this close-up of Joel; he always interacted with photographers and fans in the front.
The first time I saw Sum 41 was six years ago, when I went to Warped Tour for the first time. With plenty of ups and downs in between, Deryck is happier and healthier now, which is great to see. When we were in Milwaukee, the main stages were in the amphitheater. Normally I don't love shooting in the amphitheater for Warped Tour (there's no direct light, so things tend to look pretty drab) but Sum 41's set actually turned out perfectly. This photo captures the type of poses and movements Deryck was always doing on stage, which is why I love it.
Like Pacific is another band that I've had the pleasure of watching them grow for a few years now. Their former drummer, Dillon (he left the band shortly after Warped Tour ended) is one of the most passionate drummers I've ever seen. I love that you can see the emotion in every bit of his body in this image.
I think it's impossible to frown while listening to or watching The Summer Set; every time I see them live, I leave in such a good mood. This photo of Jess is one of my favorites because she's expressing such pure joy.
When I was 16 and a junior in high school, my dad took me and my friend to see Simple Plan in Trenton. I brought along my little point and shoot camera and looking at all those photos was one of the reasons I wanted to get better gear and learn how to be a "real" concert photographer. I was able to photograph Simple Plan twice on Warped Tour 2015, but this October was the first time I photographed them playing a headlining gig. I love how perfectly framed this image is; I think my skills have certainly improved in the past 9 years!
Simple Plan's song "Crazy" helped me through a lot of hard times in high school. When they played it at their headlining show at the TLA in October, Pierre actually jumped off stage and sang right to the fans on their level. The lighting was pretty awful and there's an awkward streamer hanging down from the ceiling, but I'm really glad I was able to capture this photo. This moment was pretty meaningful.
This fall, Vanna, Capsize, and To The Wind toured together, and a local New Jersey hardcore band Provenance opened the Philadelphia show at Voltage Lounge. I've seen some great shows at Voltage Lounge but the lighting is always pretty tough to deal with; on top of that, my flash was broken. I shot a little bit of Provenance's set so I could get my camera settings right, and I'm actually really happy with how this photo of their frontman Matt turned out. It shows passion but there's a pause in the midst of all the action.
There was no way I was going to miss Yellowcard's final tour, and I'm actually really glad I ended up shooting their show at The Paramount on Long Island. The photo pit was huge and the stage was at a great height (too low or too high, and every photo ends up at a weird angle!). Yellowcard was one of the first "big" bands I shot over five years ago, and they had some of their best lights ever on this tour. I love this photo of Ryan Key making eye contact and making a face at me.
I saw A Will Away a handful of times in 2015 but I was only able to catch them once in 2016, at Planet Trog in Whitehall, Penn. I had been warned that the lighting was terrible, and it was definitely rough but I managed to make it work without a flash. Their songs have so much emotion, and they're both goofy and weird and totally serious. I love this shot of Matt laughing during a song.
Patent Pending has been playing a holiday show at the Sherman Theater every December for almost a decade now, and I've had the pleasure of photographing this event five times now (I've been there every year since 2011 except for 2015, when I went to see Major League in New Jersey instead). They always pull some funny stunts for the holidays, and this year they had a bunch of friends sitting on bleachers on stage! Anthony's drum kit was set up on the far side of the stage, and I love this photo of him look towards his friends.
I'm excited to see what adventures 2017 will bring. I'm hoping it brings touring, travel, and adventures; new artists to work with and new festivals and venues to photograph at. Check out my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated on what I'm up to.