So I got the call last week to gear up and shoot at an awesome concert. It was the Holiday Office Party, thrown by 105.9 the X at Stage AE. There were four solid acts and I’m guessing around 2,000 pumped up fans in attendance. The bands in order of appearance were Sleeper Agent, The Joy Formidable, Switchfoot and Cage the Elephant.
I photographed all four ‘meet-and-greets’ as well as Switchfoot’s first four songs and the first four songs of the headliner, Cage the Elephant’s set. The Joy Formidable was first up for autographs and photos. I was even able to sneak into a shot before they had to go and get ready for their set. All of the posed shots were shot with my Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 zoom mounted to a D300s and lit with a Nikon SB700 which was bounced from on-camera. Switchfoot showed up for their photos immediately after The Joy Formidable had left the boardroom. After taking their photos, I had a few minutes to check out a couple songs from Sleeper Agent – very cool stuff…
Click on any of the images to enlarge
Soon after Sleeper Agent finished on stage, I had to high-tail it back to the boardroom to shoot Cage the Elephant’s meet-and-greet. These guys were a lot of fun. No two poses were alike, and there was a good bit of joking around going on. My only beef was that management had literally ‘turned the tables’ on me and had the band set up at the opposite end of the room. There is an LCD TV hanging on the wall behind where the bands were posing with the fans. Oh well, you work with what you’re dealt with. After finishing up with Cage the Elephant, the lucky meet-and-greet winners looped around the room to get ready to meet Sleeper Agent. They are another fun group of musicians to talk with and shoot. The line of fans poured through and got their autographs and photos taken, and then the band posed for a few shots by themselves.
Next it was back out into the main room to catch the remainder of The Joy Formidable’s amazing set. This trio was great! One concert-goer told me that she felt as if she was “under a spell” while watching them. They absolutely crushed. My only regret was not being able to shoot their set, as they are very photogenic and had some really nice stage lighting from what I saw.
On to the concert shots…. The lighting was surprisingly difficult for a Stage AE show. Both Switchfoot and Cage the Elephant had heavy back lighting in their stage setups that night. I had to resort to fast prime lenses and in a few photos, black and white processing. Yep, the dreaded flood of red lighting looks cool if you’re a fan in the crowd, but to a digital sensor it can be a curse. Switchfoot went on stage and started cranking out their killer brand of rock one song after another. At one point, lead singer Jon Foreman hopped down from the stage and made his way back near the soundboard to ‘serenade’ a few fans. Soon after that the video crew entered the pit and I took off in the other direction to give them some space.
After taking a short breather I headed back towards the pit as the stage was being set up for the evening’s headliner, Cage the Elephant. These five guys are loaded with energy. They zipped around the stage at speeds I didn’t realize humans were capable of. I had to ramp up the camera’s ISO setting as well as the shutter speed in order to capture sharp images. The crowd was getting more and more rowdy with each song.
On came the crowd surfers and the formation of a giant mosh pit. It was at this time that lead singer, Matt Shultz decided to take a leap of faith and dove over the seven foot wide pit onto the outstretched arms of the fans in the front couple of rows. He never missed a beat, clinging to his microphone which, was not a wireless mic by the way. I’m lucky I was paying attention to Matt at that moment, as I was nearly beheaded by the flying cable. Good thing he had an extremely long mic cable, as the crowd surfed him around for a couple of verses. The crowd safely returned Matt to the pit, where security helped him down and then back onto the stage. What a great night filled with fun people and awesome music. I can’t wait to shoot another show like this one…..
You can find more images from the show on the Coda Photography Facebook page as well as shows from the past.
Thanks for looking.