Monday, October 31, 2011

Image of the Day-"Better Way"

Friday, October 28, 2011

I was out and about on Friday and received an email blast from the band reminding me they were at the T'Bird. It's been too long since I have seen them and popped in for a little bit. Looking forward to new music soon from the band.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Between The Lines-Tony Mott


Tony Mott is a rock photographer based out of Australia. This collection gathers Mott's work from the last 30 years shooting almost anyone you can think of in music. What I really love about this book is the way in which Mott comments on his images. Similar to my style, he isn't interested in the music as much as the circumstances surrounding the photo. As an example, speaking on the Johnny Rotten picture below, he mentions that 10 punks were on top of him the whole time due to no barrier between the audience and stage. He goes on to mention, "Too much fun." This revised and updated edition from 2010 comes out this December, perfect for gift giving, wouldn't you say?

PiL, 1984
Björk, 1994
Divinyls, Mott's first image ever sold for $20, 1982
The Drones, 2008
Mott The Hoople, 2009

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Image of the Day-"Oh Me Oh My Oh"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The last time I saw them play was in 2002 at Farm Aid. They were on way early in thd day a round noon, right before Drive By Truckers. They also played the Lecture Hall in Oakland in 2004 I am told. This was the perfect venue for them. What amazed me was that the first three front row center seats were empty during the night. I found out that a buddy checked ticketmaster that day and saw those very same seats available but passed for financial reasons. Crazy that they were never gobbled up by anyone?.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Image of the Day-"All The Young Dudes"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What a surprise this set turned out to be. I know exactly two Mott The Hoople tunes and went solely on the basis that this was the first rock show in the refurbished music hall in Carnegie, which is where I practically grew up (full disclosure: I am a Crafton kid). Even though he refrained from playing his most well known tunes till the end of the show, he and his band sounded great throughout the entire night playing classic rock and roll covers and I assume originals. Really nice to see the dude still has the chops!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Image of the Day-"Sold Out"

 Friday, October 7, 2011
East End

Two of my favorite local bands coming out of 'hiding' to play a double bill in a place I've never been? Nothing was stopping me from seeing this gig. Unfortunately, the fire code occupancy limit did stop several from attending and they were turned away at the door, even though there was PLENTY of 'space upstairs' available. The problem was that there is only one stairwell in the joint and I am guessing getting caught packing the place was just too much of a risk to all involved. Besides new music, both bands are working on changing things up in the 2012 and you can bet I will be covering it all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Image of the Day-"The Valley Wind"

Thursday, October 14, 2011

Solo shows are nice but sometimes my mood is better suited for a full band. I am not taking away anything from his set, it's strictly the "it's not you, it's me" thing.. He has a serious Sun Kil Moon vibe happening and it's a shame not too many people turned out for the gig. Believe me, if it was billed as "Band of Horses' guitarist Tyler Ramsey", it would have been more crowded. Wait, was it billed as such?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Image of the Day-"Girlfriend"

Friday, October 21, 2011

This was the '20th Anniversary Girlfriend Tour' where he and his tight as hell band came out and stormed through the iconic album from start to finish. I was surprised when the next night a couple friends where unaware that he was even in town and that he was celebrating the album by playing it. The band sounded absolutely fantastic and you couldn't tell that illness required him to cancel his afternoon radio appearance that day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Image of the Day-"New Speedway Boogie"

Thursday, September 29, 2011
Strip District

On my way home from the Sam Roberts show, I was on RT 28 about to pass the 16th Street Bridge when I thought, what the heck, maybe stop in and grab a few shots of Jackie Greene. It literally took me ten minutes to park, get the photos and be on my way home again. I wish I could have stayed because he sounded great but I wake up for work at 5 A.M. Cheese move I know but the pictures didn't turn out half bad for a scant few minutes of effort. More photos here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ticket Giveaway-Ray Davies

Friday, November 4, 2011

Of all the shows I get to see throughout a given year, I am more excited to see this one more than any other. Ray will be playing most of the show with his backing band The 88, as well an acoustic solo interlude. Courtesy of Drusky Entertainment, I have a pair of passes to give away to a lucky reader of this blog. To enter, email me at with the subject line 'Ray Davies' and the name of the person who will bring I.D. to the venue on the night of the show. This contest runs until Friday, October 28 when the winner will be randomly chosen and contacted. Good luck.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Casting Call-Ben Hardt

A few months ago Ben Hardt put out a call for a female model to participate in a photo shoot for his upcoming trilogy of releases based on a WW2-era British couple. His inspiration was this photo below by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Having run into Ben a few times since (as most recently as last night), he told me he hasn't chosen the right girl just yet. He went on to say that he's looking for someone under 5'7", with strawberry-ish blonde hair and in her early 20's. If you fit the bill and would like to be 'discovered' (with BTW-no acting experienced needed) send me an email at and I'll let Ben know.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Image of the Day-"Little Something"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011
East Liberty

When the band invited me to shoot their last rehearsal with Andy before he leaves Pittsburgh to pursue new adventures in Texas, it took me about two seconds to say yes. I have grown extremely fond of these people and it was bittersweet to say the least to hear the band run through their set that they will perform tonight for a probable sold out "sink or swim EP" release show at Brillobox, the last time Andy will be playing with Big Hurry.
Photo courtesy Dani Buncher
Before I get too melancholy here, I would like to point out the space where the rehearsal took place. As well as being the band's kick-ass singer, Kelly works at the Union Project which is a restored church that was abandoned and is now a non-profit space dedicated to the arts in the community, something near and dear to my heart as well as all involved there. Check out more information here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Image of the Day-"Dye The World"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

People often ask me just how I get to photograph all of the shows I do? Among many things, it's a lot of work getting permission from the bands themselves. Take this gig for example. I contacted the Arctic Monkeys, their label, their publicist and the same for openers Smith Westerns. After a week or so of hearing nothing, I sent an inquiry to all involved and was finally granted approval from Fat Possum Records, Smith Western's label. Cool. Night of the show I find out I am only allowed to shoot them and not the Arctic Monkeys (they are on Domino). One major thing I have learned is not to be bitter, upset or even disappointed in these situations because I feel I am still one of the luckiest music fans in the city to be able to do what I love to do and as often as I do it. Is it surprising I might have got a little annoyed when the band came on and was in near darkness for the entire time I was allowed to shoot? Seriously, no front lights at all? That's O.K., I am not bitter...Much ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Image of the Day-"Occupants"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Punk icon Henry Rollins was signing his newest book of photo essays at the museum. There was a constant stream of people but the long line moved briskly. I was impressed at how friendly and engaging he was with each fan and it seemed that he was just as happy to be there as anyone who came to meet him. You can by your own signed copy of the book here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Image of the Day-Boom!CHK-A!Boom!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Paul Quattrone and Eric Yeschke make up this local duo who specialize in funky electronic instrumentals that was the perfect warm up for the other two bands on the bill. It was cool being in such ornate surroundings as the ballroom grooving to an unusually 'underground' sound. Do yourself a favor and seek out and support local music.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Image of the Day-"Let It In"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

These guys needs way more attention than they seem to get around here. Maybe it's the whole Canadian thing, but this band rocks hard right out of the gate. He is always fun to see  and his records are great. He should be playing bigger venues as he easily does up North. In due time. More photos here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

First/Last-Ryan Boldt of The Deep Dark Woods

Image courtesy the CBC News

The Deep Dark Woods are a Canadian folk rock band that will release their latest album, 'The Place I Left Behind' in the U.S. October 18th on Sugar Hill Records. Lead singer Ryan Boldt was nice enough to take the time to participate in this "Great White North" edition of First/Last Friday.

The first album you ever bought?
I can't really remember, the first album I ever bought with my own money was probably Blind Melon's Soup, I didn't really own any albums before that, I just listened to what my older brother bought.

Your last album bought?
I think it was George Jones' Trouble In Mind.

Favorite album of all time?
There are so many, but the one I continue to listen to time after time is Bob Dylan's Time Out Of Mind and Love and Theft.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
There really is too many crappy albums to name, I don't know, I guess for musicians I like I would say, Paul Simon's last album, it's a mid life crisis album, really awful, but like I said there really is too many to list.

First concert attended?
My dad took me to BB King in Saskatoon when I was a kid. It changed my life. That's when I started listening to good music.

Last concert?
Neil Young and Bert Jansch in Winnipeg, it was the day The great Ben Keith died. Neil played solo, it was one of the finest concerts I've ever been to. Bert Jansch also blew my
mind, I've been wanting to see him for years.

Favorite concert ever?
I saw Tom Waits at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver with my brother Jeff, there was only 900 people in the audience, I was front row and Mr. Waits killed it, he played for nearly two hours, I've never seen anything like it and I probably never will again.

Least favorite concert?
I saw Dave Matthews Band in Portland, the band was awful and the crowd was filled with jocks getting pissed drunk on 8 dollar beers that wouldn't shut up and listen.

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I've never been to Pittsburgh, but I love the Penguins, I've been watching them since the Lemieux/Jagr days, I remember them beating the North Stars and than the Blackhawks on CBC TV when I was a kid. My favorite football team is the Steelers, because, well they're the greatest of all time and Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu are my favorite NFL players. I love any Pittsburgh sports teams. I love Sidney Crosby, I love Malkin, I'm pumped for Neal to play with Crosby, I love Kunitz, he's from Saskatchewan, I love Dupuis and Fleury and I love Brent Johnson their backup. I watch every Penguins game that is broadcast and I think Mike Steigerwald is the finest hockey commentator of all time. Pittsburgh is the City of Champions, they will win the cup next season if Sid can stay healthy. 

Thanks a lot Ryan. This new record is really nice! And Pittsburgh will welcome you anytime bud.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Image of the Day-"Nothing's Going On"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The night before the set, I was feeling all kinds of happy and boozily exclaimed on Facebook that I demanded an electric set from Josh for the 'quiet room' gig. Threatening to boycott, poor guy had to let me down that it would be him solo and unplugged. Was I going to attend? Of course, I was. I am so glad I did because he ended up playing an hour of the most chill (meaning really, really good) versions of his and cover tunes to a modest but appreciatively attentive crowd. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon at the Library.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Image of the Day-"Without a Doubt"

Saturday, September 17, 2011
Bedford Square

This was only my second RTB but like the first, I had such a great time. It's hard to believe but the music almost takes a back seat as everyone is whoopin' it up and getting their party on. As with last year, you meet up with a bunch of people, some you never met before, and just have a ball. This is one of the most fun times you will have all year, seriously. Don't skip it next September. Lots more photos here courtesy of myself and the man, Tom Jefferson.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Image of the Day-"Feel the Rain"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Second time seeing this band hailing from Canfield, Ohio. They released their sophomore album 'Shifting' last spring and you can get it on Amazon, iTunes or from the band store. JD's an incredibly nice dude who has a few shows coming up in the tri-state area so check him out. More photos here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Image of the Day-"Neighborhood Roofs (Acoustic)"

House Show
Saturday, October 8, 2011

 The much touted VIA Fest was this weekend but I took an alternative path and caught up with a few local favorite bands that I hadn't seen in awhile. This particular show was a house gig won by a couple who live in Crafton, mere minutes from my childhood home where my mother was babysitting the kids while my wife made a rare appearance out. I was debating on whether to even go this night for several reasons. I just saw the band the night before, I didn't know the hosts and we weren't able to stay out too late anyway. I am so glad I decided to go because the band played even better than the night before, the hosts were super nice and welcoming and the music wrapped up around the time we had to leave. Add the fact that they opened with a special acoustic version of my all time favorite song from them, this easily turned out to be my favorite show of this year so far!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Between The Lines-George Harrison

Olivia Harrison

I was lucky enough to receive this book a scant few days before all the twittering and Facebookin' of everyone I didn't know was gearing up this past week to watch the doc on HBO. I thought to myself it was awesomely peculiar that I can't afford HBO but I had in my hands this incredibly beautiful edition that is overflowing with photos from George Harrison himself (or his camera) that I couldn't believe existed. There are ten pages alone that show the height of Beatlemania from his point of view that the Scorsese version barely (or really cannot) show in the film. Included here are the rare pictures, notes, letters, lyrics and quotes that not only enhance the man's Art but give the fan a personal glimpse into his life. As for the documentary, I came away moved by watching Ringo's recollection of seeing him for the last time, or Dhani's explanation of schooling from his father, or Olivia's harrowing account of the attack in '99 which the book doesn't touch on at all. That's what makes this tome all the more impressive. My favorite aspects of the film aren't even mentioned in the book and I could not miss them any less.

George, late 1940's
George and Roy Orbison backstage in England, 1963
Three of The Beatles at the Isle of Wight Festival, 1969. George's photo of Dylan from that night.
George's notes for the Concert for Bangladesh, 1971
Harrison family portrait, 1997

Friday, October 7, 2011

Image of the Day-"Oranjudio"

Friday, September 16, 2011
Columbus group hand-picked to open Donora's CD release gig. It's nice to have friends in bands from other cities. The support they have for each other is somewhat immeasurable.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Image of the Day-"Never Going Back Again"

An Evening with Lindsey Buckingham
Carnegie Music Hall
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I have to admit I am a sucker for classic rock. When I was ten years old, Rumours was the first album I ever bought. I can appreciate the whole solo acoustic thing but these versions were waaaay slow and frankly not that exciting. What do I know, the crowd was eating it up so that is all that really matters. More photos here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Image of the Day-"Make It Snappy"

Friday, September 16, 2011

The band just released their excellent new EP last week. The guys were cool enough to give me a rare physical copy complete with 'Rubber Soul-esque' cover art. You can get your digital copy here. Their next show is Oct 14 at Brillobox and as the poster warns, put on your fab gear, it should be a swingin' time.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Image of the Day-"Can't You Tell"

Mr. Smalls Funhouse
Saturday, September 10, 2011

This was one fantastic set. I have been really into this band since I finally caught them last year. They released their latest "The Errant Charm" in June and will probably hit my Top 10 in a few months. There was some miscommunication between Sub Pop Publicity who granted me the photo pass for the night and the tour manager. Thanks to my man Andy, it was straightened out in a few minutes.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Between The Lines-Bob Gruen


 Every Sunday in the month of 'Rocktober', I will be introducing you to a book dedicated to the work of a celebrated photographer who, like myself, specializes in shooting musicians. I start with legendary photographer Bob Gruen and his fantastic new book, "Rock Seen". Starting out in New York in the late sixties, Gruen has shot some of the biggest names in music, many of them as they were starting out as unknowns, including such bands as Kiss, The New York Dolls and The Ramones. Often becoming friends with his subjects, he had access that many would never dream of and thus coming away with some remarkably intimate and iconic images. This collection gathers more than 500 of Gruen's black and white and color photos over the last 40+ years within the 288 pages, often with Gruen's own personal captions included. As a music photographer, I found myself relating to Gruen's story and anecdotes on a personal level but anyone can appreciate the  beautifully magnificent and historic document this volume offers.