Sunday April 24, 2005

Buddy Guy hams it up in Columbia.


At least today had a couple of amazing acts. I got there late and as I got on site, Widespread Panic was going on. Since I was pressed for time, Amanda and I just wandered across the lawn and I shot from there, getting a few good pics from a massive distance. It turns out that was good fortune as I later heard that they only allowed one festival photog in the pit. Oh well, I still got what we needed. Sometimes accidents are good things.

Then I rushed over to catch Soni (Hootie & The Blowfish's drummer), Angie Aparo and Patrick Davis doing a song swap in the indoor venue. Obviously, Soni and Angie were the ones that the crowd was there for, but not me. I had to check out Patrick. You see, he's from good ol' Kershaw County (as am I) and his dad Rusty is the only person who ever attempted to give me real guitar lessons. They didn't take...but he tried. Everything I actually digested came from my Grandmother and my Dad. But Rusty made a valiant effort. It was good to see that Patrick's taking what his Dad taught him and doing something with it. Rusty and Patrick even did a song together and I took several father and son portraits for them just because I so wish I could have the same...

Then it was over to the last bit.

Koko Taylor & Her Blues Machine was kicking it. The band opened without her and they were great on their own. Of course she came up and amped it all up considerably. She was like the female equivalent of B.B. King all the way down to opening with "Let The Good Times Roll." She was amazing. There's very few that could follow her. Luckily, Buddy Guy is one of 'em. I wish I could've stuck around to see more of Buddy's set but after 3 or 4, I had to get us on the road again. We stopped by Lizard's Thicket on the way out of town (oh, to have one of those in Athens) and were home around midnight.

I'm so glad I don't have to do anything tomorrow. I can use a day...or 3000 to relax.





Saturday April 23, 2005

K.C. hams it up in Columbia.


In the morning, I did the usual cemetary visit, some time at Grandma's and lunch at LHOP before Amanda and I headed back for day 2 of 3 Rivers. Today's highlight was easy (even if surprising). K.C. & The Sunshine Band were great for the 20 minutes or so that I got to see. Then I had to go see Crossfade who I found totally derivative. I'm proud of 'em for being a local band going from opener to headliner and gaining a platinum album in one year. Good for them and Columbia. But I can't help but think that they're modern rock / nu metal's version of Slaughter. By that I mean, their genre is dead and I think that Crossfade is the last gasp in the same way that Slaughter was hair metal's last gasp (as their heyday was concurrent with the alternative revolution).

The rest of the day was negligible. I enjoyed hanging out with the other photogs...especially my long-time friends Jason and Beth but the festival...well...what can I say? There wasn't much to get into. The fact that I enjoyed the disco / classic r & b of The Spinners and K.C. well above all of the other acts ought to tell you more than I can. Stretch Armstrong was alright. Nothing else is really worth mentioning.




Friday April 22, 2005

Nelly hams it up in Columbia.


Today, I really felt the effects of such a crazy schedule lately. I've been doing remarkably well but today it all caught up with me. Amanda and I were on the road for Columbia, SC by a little after 3. Unfortunately, heavy, evil storms were also on the road from Georgia to Columbia and they followed us all the way into town. By the time we got into town, I could hardly see from straining my eyes through the rain (and of course from spending a morning staring at a computer screen). I was also very, very tired.

We were in town for the 3 Rivers Music Festival. Even though the festival decided to blow almost its entire budget on Nelly and Widespread Panic and filled in the schedule with cheaper acts, I decided to go try and publicize the show anyway. They gave Amanda and me all access passes but they were nearly useless as the stage managers / security people were given mixed signals all weekend. It was incredibly frustrating. Because of this, I gave up pretty quickly on trying to go above and beyond by getting trades and atmosphere shots. I just said "screw it" and got live artist shots.

Due to weather, the show was pushed back a couple of hours. Lots of the early bands were cancelled. It was a neccesary call. I didn't see a single thing that I thought was worthwhile tonight. I found Boney James and Spyro Gyra dull at best. Nelly wasn't much better. The best thing I saw was a glammed up Butterfly Brown doing Curtis Mayfield retreads. It wasn't great but it was the best thing tonight.



Thursday April 21, 2005

Usher hams it up in Atlanta.


Used the day to catch things up more. Yes, I know, I'm still not NEARLY caught up...but I'm continually closing in a little at a time.

In the evening, Amanda and I went out to a fancy shmancy affair in ATL called the Atlanta Heroes Awards. It's basically a charity event that's thrown by N.A.R.A.S. (who put on the GRAMMYs) to honor local celebrities who have done a lot for their communities. Tonight's honorees were manager Charlie Brusco, Usher, The B-52's and Coretta Scott King. Tonight had some of the oddest combinations of people I've ever seen in one place. It was one of those occasions that seemed almost end-of-the-world-inducing or at least like a very strange dream.

First off, I did the whole red carpet thing. That basically just means that I photograph said celebrities as they arrive. It's a madhouse and one of the things I like to do the least as a photographer. I'm glad Amanda was there to help collect the names of people because outside of the obvious ones, I had no clue. When Vanessa from Pylon walked by, none of the photographers even noticed or knew who she was. I asked her if she'd let me get a couple of shots so then the flurry began. All of the other photogs started shooting, too. After she left, they all asked who they had just photographed. They did the same thing later when the full band came out to work the red carpet. I thought it was sad that these people didn't know who Pylon was until we photo'd The B-52's on the carpet and I was then asked who they were! Yikes! That's not sad. That's just pitiful. The only celeb at the event who didn't appear on the red carpet was Janet Jackson. I can't say I was surprised that she decided to just go in the other way between her own controversy in the past (little over a) year and what's going on with her brother right now.

Let's see if I can remember some of the people we ran across...

Styx, The B-52's, Usher, Pylon, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Michael Bolton, Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King III, Gunnar Nelson, Jon Bon Jovi, Big Boi from Outkast and a slew of other industry big wigs.

After the red carpet, Amanda and I sat in the balcony and shot the actual ceremony. I really need to invest in a 300 / 2.8 lens but I just can't afford it right now. I may start renting one for occasions like this, though. The show was alright. Jon Bon Jovi was actually really funny as a presenter (to Charlie Brusco). Styx (one of Brusco's clients) played a short acoustic tribute to him which fused "Blue Collar Man," "Foolin' Yourself", "Too Much Time On My Hands" and "Come Sail Away" into one piece. The "Come Sail Away" bit had lyrics changed to reflect their love for Charlie.

Pylon performed in honor of The B-52's. Unfortunately, they had some technical problems that dragged down the energy for what seemed like 5 minutes. Luckily, it all worked out in the end due to the fact that everyone was so supportive and encouraging. And while it was clear that Michael from Pylon was frustrated, the band still came together and pulled it off despite the glitches. Yay Athens!

The big ending was in honor of Coretta Scott King. Janet Jackson gave an impassioned speech in honor of Ms. King's achievements, then she came up to speak about her history and future. Then, Michael Bolton performed. And you know what? I actually enjoyed his performance. I never thought I'd be able to say that (especially since he was covering "Lean On Me") but he and a whole choir really turned it up and delivered. It was a fitting tribute to Ms. King.

On the way out, we both stopped by the bathroom. In and around the utilities I ran into Josh Moore and 2 members of Styx. I thought that was odd 'til Amanda came out. She was delayed while Kate Pierson of The B-52's fixed herself up in the mirror and then she had to wait for Coretta Scott King...

Our lives are very bizarre on occasion...




Wednesday April 20, 2005

I ham it up in Athens.



Today was not so good. I got up, clicked on the computer and...nothing happened. I tried it again...nothing happened. Then panic set in. My life as I know it is totally lost without a computer. I was going to use today to finally get this diary caught up. That's not the way it worked. I rushed my computer to the local computer vet and by a little after lunch it was running again. It cost me a hundred and a quarter to get it back on its feet but it was worth it. It was just a bad memory card it turns out.

Of course, getting it replaced somehow affected my monitor settings (I know, it makes no sense but it happened nonetheless). My color settings were even worse. Being a photographer who has to edit pictures and get them uploaded to an outside server just makes it more stressful. By sometime in the late afternoon, I finally had my Billy Idol pics done to (I believe) my satisfaction. By the time they were uploaded, I had to start getting ready for my own show this evening.

You wanna know how that went? Read all about it by clicking on these here colored words, pardner.



Tuesday April 19, 2005

Billy Idol hams it up in Atlanta.


Today was just a normal day. A bit of editing and catching up in the day time followed by a concert at night. It took a little bit more work than it should to get cleared for the show due to a mixup but it all worked out.

So let's jump right to the show. I had asked Tom to come along. Then Frank. For one reason or another, neither could make it. So Amanda came along. After the show, she was very happy she went. Sorry, guys, but you're chumps for missin' this one. It was easily one of the best shows of the year.

Billy Idol and Steve Stevens are amazing live. That's all there is to it. They had so much fun up there that it was simply addictive. Everyone was smiling and jumping up and down and just having a great time. Not only were the tried and true songs great but the new songs were just as good. Something like "World Comin' Down" rocks just as hard (if not more) that "Rebel Yell." Billy Idol channeled Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash and lots of early rock and rollers while adding in Vegas showmanship and punk attitude. It was a can't lose mixture all the way 'round. After a profane audience sing a-long on usual set ender "Mony Mony," he came stumbling back out with a devilish grin and a set of lyrics. He announced, "We're going to try this for a laugh. It's just for Atlanta." Then the band launched into a note perfect version of Van Halen's "Jump!". It was super-surreal and totally crowd pleasing. Billy must be great fun at a karaoke bar.

Billy Idol friggin' rocks, man.





Monday April 18, 2005

Diana DeGarmo hams it up in Atlanta.

I managed to get in bed by 9 p.m. last night. I had to. The reason is because I had to get up today at 5 a.m. Oof! That's just not for me. Neither is driving for an hour before the sun comes up. I had to get out to Atlanta's Fox affiliate for their Good Morning Atlanta show to photograph Diana DeGarmo (American Idol) live on the air. When I got there, the only people in the green room were me, Mike Cohen (promoter / friend), Diana DeGarmo and her makeup / hair person Lyssa who was getting her ready for live TV.

Everyone at the station was wonderful to me. They gave me free reign and access to do whatever I needed to do. The only person nicer was Diana. She was great. She may have been the nicest "celebrity" I've ever had dealings with. She was just a normal high school senior. In fact, she left immediately after the taping to go back to school (she lives in a neighboring county). After her song and interview, she, Mike and I went outside. After a little chit-chat, I took a few "portrait" type shots of her just goofing off a bit. She was natural and there was nothing primadonna about her. I can't say enough nice things about her. That's good to know, too, 'cause I'll be trailing her for the better part of a day in May at her one and only upcoming concert.

After Diana took off (completely on her own, no entourage at all), Mike asked me about how the Critical Darlings are doing. I gave him the low down on the studio sessions and actually played him the rough mix of "I Know Too Much (For My Own Good)" in the car. He seemed to genuinely like it. From him, we got another one of those bizarre comparisons. He said it sounded like Joe Jackson crossed with Poison. Add that to the list of strange 'uns.

By noon, I was more or less finished with my actual work for the day. I got back home and spent the rest of the day editing and uploading.

As an aside...after listening to the rough mixes of "Towel Cape Song" and "I Know Too Much", I'm just not happy with where they stand. They're both going to require more work. You have no idea how much it pains me to say that but 'tis a fact.


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