The last third of 2013 was kind of a dream scenario for me… I got to cover some of my favorite all-time bands (Travis, Switchfoot, Pearl Jam, David Crowder) and travel to some other states and unique venues, to do so. It started off with a trip to the Wiltern Theatre, to see the Scottish BritPop legends, Travis. Fran Healy and the boys were in rare form- making it easier for me to have waited almost 15 years to see them live. What an experience to be able to create images of them! After photographing my 3 songs, I stayed for the entire show and rocked along to anthems like, “Turn,” “Sing,” “All I Wanna Do Is Rock” and “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?”
The Avett Brothers brought their own style of bluegrassy folk pop to the Santa Barbara Bowl and had their faithful fans grooving in the aisles. Before the show, I got to interview and do a private photo session with their opener- former “NBC’s The Voice” alumn Nicholas David. This was definitely a fun night of photography…
Remember the cute young actress who played Cindy Loo Hoo in Jim Carrey’s Christmas movie, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas?” That girl ended up being Gossip Girl actress and now full blown rock star Taylor Momsen. I covered her band, The Pretty Reckless, at the House of Blues Sunset Strip. Her sass and attitude made her a fun artist to create images of. The pit at the HOB is small and hot and makes for some wonderful up-close experiences. I really enjoy shooting there! The toughest part of the venue is getting to the pit. If you arrive too close to the headlining act’s set, you literally have to crowd-surf your way to the front and squeeze in to the pit. This is always an adventure and one of the great parts of the job.
I was stoked to get approval to photograph the Pink show at Staples Center! Her high-flying show was like a giant Las Vegas style production- complete with trapeze artists, hanging from the rafters. In my opinion, Pink already is the most talented singer, out of all of the popular female artists. By adding her high-wire act, she has truly set herself apart! I found out that the photographers had to shoot from behind the soundboard and did not have a chance to rent a 400mm lens. All I can say is that you had better be on your game, during a concert like this. Fast action. Dozens of performers. Pyrotechnics. All in all, a wonderful night. In fact, after the show, I went down to the historic Broadway District in Downtown and did a late night architectural shoot of the old buildings.
The entire Santa Barbara Bowl season, I was looking forward to the second to last show (The Bowl shuts down, for the Winter)… The superband- featuring Thom Yorke from Radiohead, Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers and super producer (Travis, Radiohead) Nigel Goodrich, known as Atoms For Peace– was rolling through town. This was an intense experience… The stage setup featured overwhelming blue colored lighting and Flea- one of the great performers of this time- was gyrating and moving non-stop, across the stage. This show was everything I thought it would be. After the show, I headed over to Soho in SB- for the start of the New Noise Music Festival.
This was the second straight year, that I worked the New Noise Music Festival. It is a blast, to work with a community of photographers in Santa Barbara to help out with the non-profit weekend. This was the 5th annual festival and it took a big jump up, in attendance. They always have a street festival, on Saturday and the headliner was one of the hottest up and coming acts around- HAIM. The sisters definitely have insane chemistry together and their stage presence is eclectic and fun. One of the sisters had water thrown on her, after the first song and all 3 sisters ragged on him, until security kicked him out. An exciting day, in the Funk Zone, in Santa Barbara!
The Santa Barbara Bowl closed out it’s 2013 season, with a day-after-Halloween performance by the eclectic The Flaming Lips. The band came out and things got chaotic! It was a Carrie-themed, confusing mess of lead singer Wayne Coyne being covered in blood, by a Miley Cyrus look-alike and massive amount of giant red balloons and confetti, crowding the sky! I was a little weirded out, by the entire show, so I focused on the crowd and the massiveness of the stage!
Next on the calendar was the Winter Jam, at Ontario’s Citizen Bank Arena. This was my first concert shoot there (I had covered a UCLA Basketball game a few years back). I had some trouble figuring out the scheduling, with management and did not arrive at the arena, until the final two bands (of 6) were on stage. At first, the people manning the front desk tried to tell me it was too late to get in. So, I had to go into entrepreneurial mode and do some serious shaking things up, to get to the right contact. These are the type of challenges that most people don’t think about, when they see us concert photographers in action. It is sometimes really tough for management, publicists, photographers and workers at the venue- to all get on the same page. Sometimes it takes a lot of time, patience and simply being nice, to navigate this industry. The sad thing was, I had to miss cool bands like Tenth Avenue North and Thousand Foot Krutch. The great thing was, I got to shoot Crowder and the Newsboys. All in all, the people at the venue were super nice and the arena was a joy to shoot at. I love Crowder’s new bluegrass lineup (although, of course I miss the DCB) and the Newsboys are one of the hardest working and most accessible touring bands out there…
After Winter Jam, my family hit the road… Up through Sacramento and Reno- rolling through Idaho Falls and up to Montana. On top of some Landscape Photography work I got to do, I got to see Switchfoot on their Fading West Tour. I was happy to not have to shoot this concert, as I got to attend with my brother and his wife. It was awesome to see a show, in Missoula, Montana (at the University of Montana- go Grizz!)– to see the different ways that Northwest fans react to seeing their favorite band. We got to premiere the Fading West documentary.
A week later, I found out that I got approved to shoot Pearl Jam, in their home state of Washington! I am not gonna’ lie, this was dream come true territory. I got to travel to the recently refurbished Spokane Arena, meet some new local photographers and cover one of my favorite bands. I got to make the trip over, with my brother and we enjoyed the snow and Winter storms that we passed through. We got to enjoy Spokane and watch the UCLA/USC at a small PAC-12 Conference themed barbecue joint and pub, downtown. This was an interesting and challenging shoot- as we had to choose one side of the stage, or the other. There would be no shooting, from the middle of the stage. Also, within our photo pit, there would be a camera man, running a large video rig, that was on a wide track that took up 3/4 of the width of the pit. So, I had to watch the band, create shots and keep out of the way of the camera. This, along with some deep blue lighting, made this show a challenge- but, definitely a night to remember!
I got to close out 2013 by photographing the Merry Meltdown– a radio station Christmas show, at Citizen’s Bank Arena in Ontario. This lineup included Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington (of Linkin Park) and Korn. I knew that these were two bands who would put on an epic show to photograph. Neither band disappointed. This was a spirited end, to an adventurous year… excited to see what the next season brings!
Note: I use the Nikon D4 camera with Nikor lenses and Transcend Memory Cards
CLICK HERE: PART 2- BEST OF 2013 CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY
CLICK HERE: PART 1- BEST OF 2013 CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY
JB BROOKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY
Also Serving Brentwood, Leiper’s Fork and the Nashville Areas
“My name is JB Brookman. I’m a rock star concert photographer who grew up shooting the biggest stars in the world. The stages and venues of Hollywood and LA used to be my home, but now I have made a home in the suburbs of Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee. Shooting Taylor Swift, U2, Elton John and Ed Sheeran is great, but my true passion is creating highly stylized, authentic and modern portraits of High School Seniors, making them feel like they are at the center of the stage.”
Additional Portfolio at: Family, Children, Headshots, Sports, Landscape, Commercial Photography JB Brookman Photography