New Nobles and The Tungsten Hum @ Horseshoe Tavern – March 24, 2014

Shoeless Monday at The Horseshoe Tavern on March 24, 2014, with New Nobles and The Tungsten Hum.

NEW NOBLES (Ontario/Saskatchewan) “We play rock ‘n roll”

This was my second time seeing New Nobles play The Horseshoe. The first was back on November 25, 2013, when they had four members – they’ve since trimmed down to a three-piece outfit. I very rarely get approached by band members, so I was a bit surprised when Jen Zentner, the singer/bassist for NN, came up to me before the show. She said she remembered seeing me last time. We chatted for a bit, and I found out some interesting info about how they got the gig, and how much bands get paid on a Monday night (50 bucks!). She also introduced me to Dean Beardsley, who plays guitar. Rounding out the lineup is Robin Edwards on drums.

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ISO 3200 | f2.8 | 1/200 * ISO 1600 | f2.5 | 1/125

ISO 2500 | f2.8 | 1/200

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ISO 1600 | f2.5 | 1/160

ISO 1600 | f2.5 | 1/125

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ISO 800 | f2.5 | 1/125

THE TUNGSTEN HUM (Toronto, Ontario) “A rock and soul band” that features “greasy guitar riffs, deep low end, and ripping drums!”

I don’t remember much about this band’s set, except that they were pretty solid. That, and the drummer was awesome to watch. (As you can tell, I really do have a knack for being descriptive…)

ISO 1600 | f2.5 | 1/160

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ISO 1600 | f2.5 | 1/160 * ISO 1600 | f2.8 | 1/160

ISO 1600 | f2.8 | 1/160

ISO 1600 | f2.5 | 1/160

ISO 800 | f2.2 | 1/160

ISO 1600 | f2.2 | 1/160

ISO 1600 | f2.2 | 1/100

ISO 1600 | f2.2 | 1/100

Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: 50mm f1.8 II

NOTES:
-Before the show started, I asked the sound man if there was any way he could turn up the lights a bit, just so I could get some decent shots of the bands. He gave me a mild rebuke, saying that it’s a performance venue and not a photo studio. He was right. Actually, I have no business making such a request, but I thought I’d try my luck (as I’ve done it a few times at other venues and had some success). But he did turn up the lights enough that I was able to get quite a few shots I was happy with. So, I definitely have to thank him for that!

Ketamine // Girls, Greg McEvoy, 60 LPs, and The Fiscals @ Horseshoe Tavern – March 18, 2014

Nu Music Nite at The Horseshoe Tavern on Tuesday, March 18, with Ketamine // Girls, Greg McEvoy, 60 LPS, and The Fiscals.

KETAMINE // GIRLS (Toronto, Ontario)

After getting a bit of a tongue-lashing from the sound guy for not starting their set on time, Ketamine // Girls banged out a solid show, led by their somewhat eccentric lead singer. It’s definitely the first time I’ve seen someone perform with a fur stole draped around his neck…

ISO 3200 | f2.5 | 1/125

ISO 3200 | f2.2 | 1/160 * ISO 1600 | f2.5 | 1/125

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ISO 1600 | f2.2 | 1/160

GREG McEVOY (Toronto, Ontario) Folk Rock

Greg McEvoy was supported by a full band, including two female backup singers (though you wouldn’t know it from looking at these pics – it was too dark to get anything I was satisfied with, unfortunately).

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60 LPs (Moncton, New Brunswick) Rock

I always get stoked when an international/out-of-province band plays The Horseshoe. These guys came all the way from New Brunswick – props to that!

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THE FISCALS (Newmarket, Ontario) Indie Rock

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Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: 50mm 1.8 II

NOTES:
-I think a lot of my Horseshoe pictures are starting to look the same. Sure, I could move around to get different angles, but I feel like I can only do so much with the 50mm lens I have. Getting a great drummer shot (or a full band shot) is very hard, for example. Besides the fact that they’re so far away, they’re also usually shrouded in darkness. Anyway, I think it’s time to invest in a decent zoom lens. I do have a 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, but it’s not very useful in low-light situations, unless I’m using a flash.
-I got a better-than-average amount of sharp pics, especially for 60 LPs and The Fiscals. But there were a lot of similar ones, so I only posted the ones I liked the best.

DLV, Orangabang, History Majors, and The Live Amps @ Horseshoe Tavern – March 11, 2014

Nu Music Night at The Horseshoe Tavern on Tuesday, March 11, with DLV, Orangabang, History Majors, and The Living Amps.

DLV (Toronto, Ontario) “Heart-Pumping-Punch-You-In-The-Face-Electro-Rock-Hip-Hop”

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This guy got up on stage during the show to do a number with the band.
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ORANGABANG (Uxbridge, Ontario) Alternative Rock

Any band that puts this much care and detail into making a sign has got my vote!
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ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.8 | 1/125

ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.5 | 1/160

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ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.5 | 1/160 (both)

HISTORY MAJORS (Toronto, Ontario) Indie / Emo / Alt

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THE LIVE AMPS (Toronto, Ontario) “Our music ranges from messy prog rock to psychedelic pop”

Very intense vocalist, which always makes for some interesting shots. They also brought their own lights, hence some of the more “atmospheric” pics.
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ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.5 | 1/80

The vocalist and the guitarist interacted quite a bit, which is always fun to watch.
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ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.2 | 1/125 (both)

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ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.8 | 1/80

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ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.8 | 1/100

ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.8 | 1/60

Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: 50mm f1.8 II

Paradise Animals, River Tiber, and Prince Innocence @ Wrongbar – March 6, 2014

The Field Trip music festival, which takes place June 7 & 8 in Toronto, presented three bands in what I suppose was a festival preview gig on Thursday, March 6 at Wrongbar. Free to attend, it was another chance to shoot at a venue I’d never been to before. The doors were to open at 9, but that got pushed back by a half hour, so I waited it out at a nearby shawarma joint. The place was packed (Wrongbar, not the shawarma joint) when I got there. Someone handed me a ticket inside the front door and told me I could redeem it for a free beer. Nice! I put it in my pocket and took a look around. A very cool space, with room for over 200 people. Plenty of tables and comfy chairs, a disco ball, video screens, and a long, open space in the middle leading to the stage.

The three bands on the bill were Paradise Animals, River Tiber, and Prince Innocence. Here’s one of those nifty video screens I just mentioned:
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PARADISE ANIMALS (Toronto, Ontario)

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After the first band, I decided to go to the bar and redeem my drink ticket. I never drink when I shoot, but I figured I’d have a beer, after all, it was free! I presented my ticket to the barkeep and asked what kind of beer I could get. But sadly, there would be no free beer for me. Nope. She told me that they weren’t accepting the tickets anymore. I was like, what?! I just got the thing an hour ago! She was like, yeah, we gave out over 300 beers, blah blah. Not accepting them anymore. OK whatever. In my opinion, when they give you a ticket and say, “This is good for a free beer!” there shouldn’t be a time limit attached. Or if there is, they should tell you that when they give you the damn thing! Anyway, to look on the bright side, at least my streak of no drinking “on the job” remains intact.

RIVER TIBER (Toronto, Ontario)

Setting up…
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I’m not one to do much research before shooting a band, but apparently, the frontman of River Tiber plays every single instrument on recordings and employs a band just for live gigs. Pretty impressive.
ISO 1000 (auto) | f2 | 1/80

ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.8 | 1/100

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ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.8 | 1/100 (both)

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ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.8 | 1/100 * ISO 1600 (auto) | f2.5 | 1/125

They brought their own neon sign. That’s pretty damn cool.
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PRINCE INNOCENCE (Toronto/Montreal)

Closing out the night with the minimalist stylings of the mesmerizing Prince Innocence…
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ISO 3200 (auto) | f2.5 | 1/125

Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: 50mm f1.8 II

NOTES:
-The lighting was quite low during Paradise Animals’ set, so I had to really bump up the ISO. Looks pretty when you’re just there to enjoy the show, but when you’re trying to capture some decent images, it’s not very ideal. Especially with my camera, which is not the greatest at taking low-light pics. The image colour is pretty saturated and the noise levels are a bit high for my liking, but what are you gonna do? Luckily, they boosted the lights for River Tiber and Prince Innocence, so image quality was a bit better with those.
-Saw one or two other photographers there, but didn’t approach them, even though there was ample time to do so. Doesn’t hurt to network, right? Next time!
-In the crowd was the bass player from a band I photographed in concert last year at the Horseshoe. I guessed I could have been like, “Hey, aren’t you in so-and-so band?” But again, my anxiety got the better of me.
-A packed crowd, but I was still able to move around and shoot from some different angles, especially since there was a narrow, open area all along the front of the stage.

Modern Sands, The Marwills, When Earth Sleeps @ Horseshoe Tavern – March 4, 2014

Nu Music Night at the Horseshoe – free show. A trio of bands took to the stage: Modern Sands, The Marwills, and When Earth Sleeps.

MODERN SANDS (The GTA, Ontario) Basement Ruckus, Indie, Noise Pop, Shoegaze, Punk

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They pulled the old switcheroo – the bassist is now the guitarist, and the guitarist is now the bassist!
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ISO 1250 (auto) | f2.2 | 1/125

THE MARWILLS (Toronto, Ontario) Rock

This was no doubt the liveliest and most energetic band of the night. It’s bands like this that make shooting shows a lot more fun and interesting.
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A sax player joined them in the latter part of their set.
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ISO 640 (auto) | f2.2 | 1/125

Some fun-loving people jumped up on stage and were dancing around the band at one point (no decent shots, sadly). There was also a photographer (friend of the band, no doubt) who got right on stage during the show and was taking pics and video of everyone from every angle. I should have jumped up there and started snapping away as well. That would have been hilarious and not at all distracting. 🙂 The sparse, but lively, crowd yelled for an encore and they got it. Fun set.

WHEN EARTH SLEEPS (Toronto, Ontario) “Guitar driven rock with melodic vocals and clever lyrics”

ISO 1600 (auto) | 2.8 | 1/160

ISO 1250 (auto) | f2.8 | 1/160

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Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: Canon 50mm 1.8 II

NOTES:
-There’s something very familiar and comforting about being at The Horseshoe Tavern. Probably because that’s where I’ve shot the majority of my concert photos since I got serious about learning band photography last summer. It’s a welcoming atmosphere, where you’ll quickly be made to feel at ease. I only wish I wasn’t constantly being frustrated at my inability to consistently get sharp pictures when I shoot there. I’m either doing something wrong and not realizing what it is, or maybe this is just the way it goes when you shoot at a bar venue with hit-and-miss lighting? A ton of blurry, fuzzy shots, with a handful of good ones, if you’re lucky. Auto-focus, manual focus, it doesn’t seem to matter. It’s been an uphill battle to get those tack sharp photos I see all the other photographers getting. Is it my camera? My lens? Is it because I wear glasses? Beats me. I’m relatively new to concert photography, but not to photography in general. I know about shutter speeds, f-stops, and all that good stuff. So, can someone please tell me, where am I going wrong?

Wish, Michael Rault, Fresh Snow, and Army Girls @ The Garrison – February 25, 2014

After six months of sticking to the same three venues (The Horseshoe, Sneaky Dee’s, Bovine Sex Club), an opportunity came up to shoot a concert at The Garrison, a place I’d never been to before. The people behind NXNE, the annual music festival that takes place in June, set up a FREE concert that featured four bands and a bunch of DJ’s (I didn’t stick around for the DJ’s). On the bill were Wish, Michael Rault, Fresh Snow, and Army Girls. I signed up online to get on the guest list, and there didn’t seem to be any special permission required to take pictures. In other words, nobody tackled me when I pulled out my camera. A fairly spacious place, which can accommodate between 270 and 350 people, depending on which source you choose to believe.

The first band was set to go on at 8:30. I showed up about 15 minutes early and got a spot near the front of the stage, though I was able to move around a fair bit throughout the night. I’d say there were probably at least six other photographers there – all with huge lenses. Me, I had my little 50mm lens, as usual. I wasn’t crazy about the lighting – purplish, blueish and somewhat dim – but it was far from the worst I’ve seen. Here’s a shot I took of the stage before the show started.

WISH (Toronto, Ontario)

A four-piece band, but the bass player and the drummer were the only ones with some decent light on them, so I just concentrated on them.
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Loving the motion effect of the drumsticks!
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Foot pedals!
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MICHAEL RAULT (Toronto, Ontario) Garage, Pop, Blues, R&B

Setting up…

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The man himself, Michael Rault.

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FRESH SNOW (Toronto, Ontario)

The members of Fresh Snow play instrumental rock. They hammered out their entire set from behind a giant white sheet, which had various abstract images projected onto it. I suppose I could have peeked behind the sheet and gotten some shots of the band members, but I instead just moved back and shot the sheet. Very exciting, I know.
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ARMY GIRLS (Toronto, Ontario) Garage Pop

A duo consisting of Carmen Elle on guitar/vocals and Andy Smith on drums. Below, a lonely guitar…
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…is lonely no more. Pre-set shot.

These next four pics are basically the same, but it’s rare I get this many fairly sharp shots in quick succession, so here they are. Probably my favourite shots of the night.
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I love how the light is reflecting off the drummer’s glasses. Don’t know why, I just do. Also, notice the photographer lurking in the back? Hmm, how do I score a spot like that…
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She just plopped down in font of me and started wailing away on the guitar. It was a gift from heaven and I nearly fumbled it. Not as sharp as I’d have liked, but still got some decent ones.
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One of the few full-body shots I got. The rest were all blurry.

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Snapped this just as the drummer gave a dramatic smack to the cymbal. I’d like to capture more of these moments of “peak” action.
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Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: Canon 50mm 1.8 II