I just had a massive reality check. Life is so weird sometimes. I found myself having just boarded a plane in Austin, ready to fly out for a week-long trip to Traverse City, MI. It would be a jam-packed week ahead; two concerts to photograph, a blog story, business meetings, dinners, brunches and breakfasts planned and some resort photography. And when I say "some," I really mean; "a list ridiculously long and probably somewhat unattainable." It wouldn't be a dull week. After checking my to-do list and stowing my carry-on, I had precisely twenty-three seconds of elation.
Team dRiFFt attended the highly-anticipated Simulation Theory tour at the American Airlines stadium in Dallas, where Muse's spectacular production took over on Sunday evening. Muse released their eighth studio album Simulation Theory late in 2018, following with an international stadium tour. The Simulation Theory album takes a decidedly softer slant this time around; with a notable tribute to science fiction, subtle underpinnings of a political slant and a decidedly Tron-esque aesthetic. It features album art designed by Stranger Things artist Kyle Lambert and forms the ambitious underpinnings of an even bigger live show. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who isn't familiar with Muse; the iconic rock trio features the inescapable brilliance of Matt Bellamy's vocals, Chris' powerful guitar riffs, and Dominic, untamed on drums. We know them for 'big' melancholic, symphonic tunes, sold-out international tours and festival headlining notoriety. They are simply incredible live
It's not every day you wake up to the sound of waves crashing, tropical birds singing and your first thought is "holy sh*t, today I get to photograph Duran Duran." Yet that is precisely what happened at 5-oh-two a.m., in the dusky pre-dawn of KAABOO Day Two. Why I was awake at that time, I've no idea. Why Duran Duran were my first thought? ...also no idea. But I did have a formidable and very full day ahead of me, so I blundered into the fantastic little kitchen of our AirBnB condo to make coffee, then shuffled out past palms and tropical flowers to the rocky coral bluffs overshadowing turquoise-hued reefs. I sat and sipped my coffee, mulled over the magnificent scenery in front of me, wondering how I'd do it justice in a short blog post. I took a stroll along the bluff, stopping to collect pristine just-washed-up coral and to remove a rogue hermit crab from the sidewalk squish zone. Brain sufficiently jump-started and soul sea-spray refreshed, I headed back inside to start my day.
I'm at a loss, folks. The girl that never fails to have too much to say doesn't know how to start her KAABOO Cayman day one recap except to whisper a breathless "wow" in between sips of her morning coffee. I am quite literally sitting under the palms, attempting to sum up an overwhelmingly wonderful jam-packed day while my mind races with all of the cool stories, goosebump-inducing musical moments and incredible photos from yesterday.
Happy Valentine's day from the middle of the Caribbean ocean, ya'll! As I'm sure you've heard, Team dRiFFt set off this week on an intrepid journey to attend the inaugural KAABOO Cayman music festival - the first of its' kind (and certainly the biggest) on Grand Cayman island this Friday and Saturday. We arrived a day and a half ago, after a 3am start in Austin, long airport lines and an extended layover in Miami because the incoming flight struck a flock of birds. I'd complain about this, but considering the plight of the birds in question... we fared pretty well. And for the first time in my life, I must actually commend American Airlines for their handling of the situation. They were able to find a new plane and send us on our way with minimal pain and suffering. Also, there are worse places to be stuck than behind an octogenarian paying for crummy Miami airport coffee in dimes and nickels. Yes that happened. And then I also paid for mine in kind. Because, when in Rome...
Camping isn't for everyone. In reality, festivals aren't always for everyone. If done right though, the combination can be magical. The perfect summer adventure; setting up your little home turf under the trees, grilling with a beer in one hand and then building a quick s'more before heading over to catch the music. You are blissfully relaxed, free to sip away as many craft cocktails as your heart desires. There are no concerns about the crush to exit; traffic, long lines entering and exiting the festival grounds. Only to head back over to your campground and decide whether you'd rather go hang the hammock by the river's edge or join a campfire sing-along. What is your preference? Would you camp at a festival? Or is a hotel more your style?
I am one week away from our first international festival trip of the year, and I am incredibly disorganized. The anxiety is sky-high. When it comes to travel and festival coverage I am the poster child Type-A organizer junkie. I find myself writing endless to-do lists, shopping lists and packing lists; schedules, shot lists, interview questions, schedules, checking and re-checking hotel, car, parking reservations. And right now I’m also sitting here with a seemingly impossible editorial schedule for the week and a reserve of unedited show photos from Saturday’s Frost Fest (an entirely kickass show, btw…). This may figuratively and literally break the camel’s back. There. Is. SO. MUCH. TO. DO.
Chasing live music photography has been an intense pursuit over the years, and since the question comes up on a regular basis, it's a great subject for an impromptu rambling. Why music? Why festivals? What made you decide to get into this line of photojournalism? Great question.
With humble beginnings in high school and college, photography paired perfectly with my infatuation over the live music scene. The hobby evolved slowly, bouncing between enthusiastic concert-goer and that weird girl that takes photos of everything. I learned early on that it's not an easy line of work to find success in. Between long hours carting heavy and expensive gear, meager compensation and intense competition in a field of very talented and equally hungry photographers, it's a tough gig.
Woodstock is officially making a comeback in 2019, just in time for the 50-year anniversary of the infamous Catskill music and arts festival of 1969. This time around, it has been dubbed "Woodstock 50" in honor of the 50-year mark since the inaugural, original Woodstock. Known as a celebration of peace, love, unity and music, this festival was equally as infamous for the myriad of "things gone wrong" as it was for becoming a generational landmark of the power and unity possible through music. The folks behind Woodstock 50 state: "(this) will give generations of fans the opportunity to join together in the festival's foundational intent of harmony and compassion."
Have you ever planned an elaborate trip; booked just the right hotel, plunked down some serious cash for good seats, and dug into the slush fund for incidentals - a little extra for a fancy dinner, souvenirs, upgrades, that incredible outfit - just to attend a concert? I'm not talking about driving an hour or two to the nearest metropolis when your favorite artists' tour didn't quite reach your town. I'm talking -specifically- planning a getaway around a single concert or show in a venue so momentous that it proved impossible to resist.
In a little more than a month I'm heading to the Caribbean for the first time in my life. I'll be dragging along my own personal pirate, a camera, a bikini, and my festival survival kit. We're slated for a week in paradise, there to unearth the treasures of Grand Cayman Island, work on my tan, channel my inner pirate (but where did all the rum go?), and attend the inaugural KAABOO Cayman music festival.
1/7/2019 0 Comments
I'm sitting at my desk with a piping hot coffee and my credit cards laid out in front of me. It's 11:16 a.m. on the fourth of January; the long-awaited onsale date. I just made it through the arduous "waiting room" process on coachella.com and there are two bright, shiny new 2019 Weekend Two GA wristbands in my shopping cart. I hesitate... doubt strikes. The clock counts down. Do I really want to sink this much cash into a Coachella weekend? Is this going to be worth it??
Aside from the nostalgic old-school festivals that have run for years, there are so many new festivals to pick from in 2019. Right now, all the big festivals are releasing their much-anticipated 2019 lineups. Between the old and the new, here are our picks - the nine festivals not to miss in 2019!
As part of the dreaded year-end-slash-New-Years ritual, I sat down to be thoughtful and reflective about the incredible music moments I experienced in 2018... (sorry if you had to suffer through that one). Aside from the kitsch and the memories, I also had a chance to take some absolutely incredible photos and this was a huge highlight for me. Here are my Top 9 pictures of 2018:
Every year I sit down and write a list of all the shows and incredible artists I've seen that year. It's such a great way to reminisce and relive those moments. Now that I run a music blog and spend almost every spare moment sitting in the pit, schmoozing at a local show, photographing, writing or editing photos of live music, that's become somewhat an insurmountable task. In 2018 I've been blessed to see so many incredible shows and meet talented musicians from all over the world.
Last month, Youtube superstars Walk off the Earth made their third visit to Austin for an action-packed show at Stubb's Waller Creek amphitheater. Despite frigid temperatures and an unfavorable Tuesday scheduling, the venue was packed to the hilt with fans of all ages. I was lucky to attend and to have a few minutes to sit down with Sarah and Joel. We chatted about their tour and their unprecedented online success as a Youtube sensation; one of only a few who have managed to sign a record deal based on their unprecedented success on the online channel.
The blog needed a change. I needed a change. It was time for something a little more authentic; some personality. Reality. The scary moments and those I relish in remembering. The bad dates, the time I got lost in the NYC subway system, or the moment I hiked 6 miles in 109-degree heat to reach a summit with a view that stopped me in my tracks. And then realized I forgot my camera. Where I stopped to think about the things I cry about, laugh about, savor, learn from and swear never to repeat.
It's no secret that Austin is home to many incredible musicians and wonderfully unique talent, often flamboyantly quirky. But I'd like to introduce a band that isn't trying to reinvent the wheel; one that does not need to rely on the bells and whistles or a quirky hook. Because their talent, stage presence and rock-solid original music is the hook. Black Heart Saints are a mainstay in the Austin rock scene and I've zero doubt they'll soon be one of the nation's top emerging acts. They have taken it upon themselves to show the music world what can be accomplished with talent, dedication and hard work. Comprising of bassist Ian C.G., Drummer Nathan Flores, Guitarist Mark Sean, and Vocalist Josh Ross they aptly introduce themselves to me as "a solid group of guys that are ready to live that Rock n Roll Fantasy."
I love to support women in the arts. More than that, I love to see strong frontwomen kick ass and take names in the music world. It's a tough gig being a rockstar, made exponentially tougher when you're not a dude. I'd seen Dorothy on two other occasions, so when a Scoot Inn tour stop was announced in Austin, I grabbed a bunch of local friends (and some less than local), assuring them of a 'show they wouldn't soon forget.'
Last week I found myself in the company of a motley crew of musicians clad in black leather, generously filling The Troubadour in West Hollywood with a formidable collection of genre-bending tunes, contagiously catchy lyrics, slick riffs, exceptional vocals and Johnny-Depp-esque swagger. The Sir-Elton-John endorsed alt-rock band, Charming Liars (of whom I am a huge fan), generously invited me to their show and we sat down for a quick chat to discuss music, touring and their plans for 2019.
After a stunning summer rocking audiences from coast to coast, we checked with the tour de (rock) force, Greta Van Fleet on their way through Texas. The prodigious four have set an incredible musical precedent in a very short period of time. From releasing their chart-topping debut album Black Smoke Rising in early 2017; the last year and a half has proven exceptional for the quartet. Touring worldwide, playing festivals and sold-out shows left and right, and now the pending release of their studio album Anthem of the Peaceful Army on October 19. Ahead of this album release, they gave us the groovy, brooding When the Curtain Falls. Fan feedback has been incredible.
Here you'll find archived band, festival and concert stories... plus blog entries from Team dRiFFt as they travel, photograph, interview and adventure!