Rords of the Froor’s 10th Aniversary!

The Circle of Fire/Soul Shifters crew does it again, and the 10th Anniversary of Rords was even more epic than last year! Finally coming back home to it’s Seattle home after several years in the San Francisco bay area, they did not fail to impress. This year’s Rords of the Froor was absolutely not one to miss!

With moves ranging from 70s/80s classics to modern dance to capoeira to “what the hell did I just see?!”, the night was fired up with tricks of all types. The classic hip hop culture movie “Beat Street” played on the big screens above, while real-life Bboys and Bgirls played out their own hip hop stories on the floor below.

Some dancers opted for a more casual look, but the true roots of Rords were not forgotten! “Psy” broke it down Gangnam Style, “Bruce Knee” battled “Chuck Norris” (complete with manly chest hair) in the DJ booth, Bgirls jumped rope in leotards and legwarmers, and every era of Bboy and hip hop culture was in attendance.

As always, dancers down shots before battling, but woe betide the dancer who failed to respect the DJs with a bow before drinking – for that meant another shot! Emcee Seth Martinez supported his brothers and sisters with matching shots… yet somehow remained standing throughout the entire night. This year’s rocket fuel of choice was whiskey, and it definitely fired up this crowd. More than one contestant ended up in their skivvies, ridden out of the circle with friends (and foes!) upon their backs. It had to be seen to be believed!

More photos coming each day this week!  In the meantime, check out the rest of the photos!

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Rords of the Froor @ Club 6

The Circle of Fire crew followed up the R16 championships with their infamous Rords of the Froor event.  Take every stereotype you can imagine from the ’80s BBoy scene, turn them into costumes, add booze, mix, and serve rare.  Every battle was preceded by each dancer bombing 1-2 shots, then performing.  The best dancers still standing win!

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R16 N. American BBoy Championships @ Palace of Fine Arts

Circle of Fire has really outdone themselves!  I shot the R16 North America Eliminations last year, and the experience was amazing.  This year, it was phenominal.  There were even more BBoy teams this year, and battles were split over two days rather than just one.  With rooms for BBoy battles and Popping/Locking, there was nonstop action for the first day of tryouts.

The second day was a highly-polished affair.  Taking place on the stage of the Palace of Fine Arts, the finals were presented more like a performance than just eliminations.  Poppers and Lockers battled each other solo, as did some individual BBoys, and of course the BBoy crews came out to battle each other crew-to-crew in the cypher.

Check out the rest of the photos!

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Flogging Molly @ The Fox Theater

Flogging Molly does it again!  This is the second time I’ve shot this band at the Fox Theater in Oakland (almost a year ago to the day), and it was even better than last time!  As before, the Fox Theater was completely sold out, full of wild, screaming, bouncing fans, some sporting kilts, some sporting clovers and other Flogging Molly gear, and all sporting smiles.

Robert Schmidt started off the set, plucking out the chords to Drunken Lullabies, one of my favorite Flogging Molly songs.  From the first few notes, the crowd immediately went nuts, bouncing up and down and screaming their approval.  The band bounced around just as much, with Dave King and Dennis Casey chasing each other around the stage, with the crowd roaring their approval the entire time.

Drunken Lullabies was clearly a crowd favorite, and Flogging Molly knew best how to encourage the prerequisite drunken debauchery that goes with it best!

Next to Schmidt, the nutty Dennis Casey demonstrated once again that he is one of the most energetic, fun-loving musicians on the stage today, kicking his legs and leaping into the air time and time again.  One of the best shots of my career was thanks to Casey’s antics on stage last year.

While I was shooting, I noticed a family with a few children in the front row, just behind me.  Though the little boy was camera-shy, the rest of the family wasn’t, and they all were clearly having a grand time.  But I wasn’t the only one to notice them.

“We’ve got the Brady Bunch down here,” cackled King, pointing at the family and welcoming them to the show.  The family laughed, as did the crowd.  He cracked a few other jokes, then proceeded to speak a few words to the audience before bounding into the next song of the set.

King is always a blast to have on stage.  Between his half-comical, half-insane facial expressions and hilarious running commentary, if there is one entertainer who knows how to please fans with good-natured irreverence, it’s Dave King.

When I first shot Flogging Molly, I joked that I never imagined using the words “epic” and “accordion” in the same sentence, but then I saw Matthew Hensley perform.  This man is a master of the keys, be they vertical or horizontal.  It’s incredible to watch him handle that behemoth on stage, weaving note after perfect note into each song.

To the left of Hensley on the stage was Nathen Maxwell, on bass guitar.  Maxwell’s range of facial expression is rivaled only by King, and he is just as entertaining to watch.  He is also a genius on the bass, resonating every song right in my chest.  Maxwell and Hensley sang chorus into the same microphone that night, clearly enjoying themselves.

It would be criminal to fail to mention King’s wife, Bridget.  Though she spent much of the evening on her violin, she is capable of the most beautiful, yet haunting melodies on her tin whistle.  Then again, she can be just as lively with that instrument as with the strings!

Last year, I just couldn’t seem to get a good angle on the backbone of the band, drummer George Schwindt.  But this year I could just barely catch him peeking out from behind his kit, grinning and banging away.

As always, it was a pleasure to shoot Flogging Molly.  They are by far my favorite band to shoot, see, hear and hang out with.  After the show, Dennis Casey and Nathen Maxwell came down to greet their fans a bit closer, proving just what a great bunch of folk they really are. I can’t wait until they’re in town next year!

Check out the rest of the photos!

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Symphony X @ The Regency Ballroom

It’s been a while since I’ve shot a Nuclear Blast show.  Last time, it was Accept and Sabaton, also at the Regency Ballroom.  And like last time, the performance was a crowd-pleaser.  Each band was quintessential metal.  The crowd was definitely into it, and so was I.

First up: Warbringer!  Sometimes, particularly when there’s more than one opener, the floor is empty and what crowd there is remains mostly prosaic. Not so with this act; there was a mosh pit going almost immediately.  They were just the thing to get the Regency moving.

Next up was Iced Earth.  Just as Warbringer got the crowd moving, Iced Earth got the crowd thinking.  They didn’t just rip out song after song – they actually took a few minutes to speak to the folks in the audience, but not so much that anyone wondered what happened to the music.

As I’ve said before, many bands sometimes forget why they’re on stage in the first place: for the fans.  Iced Earth definitely took this to heart, and the fans love ‘em for it.  This could be seen from the headbangers at the edge of the stage to the classic metalheads in the back of the auditorium.

Finally, Symphony X took the stage.  Now, I’ve wanted to shoot Symphony X for more than a year.  Everything I’d seen and heard about them sounded awesome, but being there in-person is something else entirely.  This is not just a metal band.  Some of their songs were simply aural emotion crafted into music and laid bare.

This was both unexpected and magical, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so.  The moshers had been going all night… yet for some of Symphony X’s performance the crowd paused to listen, rapt to the mystic sounds emanating from the stage. It’s quite something to see a venue full of wild, moshing metalheads suddenly pause, as if in communal meditation, entranced.

I don’t know when Symphony X will next visit the Bay Area, but I hope I’m there for it.

Check out the rest of the photos!

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Too $hort @ Mezzanine

The ORIGINAL, ladies and gentlemen… and from the Bay Area, no less!  Too $hort certainly needs no introduction.  I often find myself smashed up against the stage, but the girls on Saturday were NUTS.  It was stronger than a mosh pit!  And with a stage full of party people and guest talent, it was definitely a crowd-pleaser.


Speaking of the crowd, there was a fine collection of costumes in attendance – some wearing more than others, of course!  The night definitely saw folks of all shapes and sizes, colors and forms, shaggy, chic and sexy!  The $1,000 costume contest sponsored by Svedka was a blast, even if my personal favorite didn’t win.  Still, a wild, crazy night… just like a Halloween party in the city should be!

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Cirque du Soleil Presents Totem @ AT&T Park

I love shooting Cirque shows!  Let me say that again: I love shooting Cirque shows!

Totem was no exception.  Most Cirque du Soleil presentations are pretty incredible, but Totem found that place of mystical history inside all of us, and brought it out for all to see.  It was, in a word, spectacular.

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Evanescence @ The Fox Theatre

As a photographer, I tend to see the world a little differently than many folks.  For example, when Evanescence played at the Fox Theatre on Monday, they were haunted by her strong vocal talents and beautiful skills on the piano.  Me?  I couldn’t stop crowing about the lighting.

I love shooting at the Fox Theatre.  And shooting Evanescence was even better than usual, because her lighting designer KNOWS what he is doing.  The Pretty Reckless & Rival Sons opened. What a show!

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LYRIC Dance @ The Women’s Building

It was a night of all-ages craziness and fun at the Women’s Building, and I got to shoot the most colorful of ‘em!  LYRIC was kind enough to bring a huge pile of costume accessories, feathers, hats, faux mustaches, and other fun items for folks to wear during their own private shoot.

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Pancakes & Booze @ The Artists Alley

Friday night was an evening of delicious, fruit-and-chocolate-filled pancakes, spirits, artists and artwork, all set to a steller DJ sound set.  The crowd was totally into it, and some of the artists even created impromptu pieces of art live before the patrons!

Check out the rest of the photos!

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