Atlanta, GA - Last show of the tour

Sure, we've been home for a few days, but we're celebrating tonight at the Red Light Café by playing a show with some of our favorite folks. Hope you can make it out!

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We're coming home to Atlanta for a show at Red Light Cafe to conclude our two week tour of the midwest & southeast! We'll be playing the same set of songs we played on the road and with the same group of players:

Kim Ware - vocals, guitar
John McNicholas - guitar, bass
Jim Combs - keyboards
Tracy Clark - bass, percussion, guitar, backing vocals

WITH VERY SPECIAL GUESTS:
Love Me Till My Heart Stops
Garner Sloan (Austin, TX Americana)

Doors at 6 PM, show starts at 7. Tix are just $5 in advance (up soon at http://redlightcafe.com/), $7 at the door.


**We said "last full band show for a while!" just a couple months ago, but then the tour with The Indigo Girls happened so that sort of changed things. But, for real, last full band show for a while. So come on out! Early Sunday show, we'll have you in bed in plenty of time.**

Mobile and beyond

Tonight's show in Mobile was our last show of the tour with the Indigo Girls and it was our best one. A hushed Saenger Theater hanging on Kim's every line as we played with a ton of emotion. We left it all up there. Local opener, Kristy Lee brought down the house as well and the Indigo Girls, once again, sounded amazing. We're headed back to Atlanta in just a few minutes. Hard to believe this run is already over. Can't wait to find out what's next. Oh yeah, this Sunday were playing our welcome home show at the Red Light Cafe. Music starts at 7pm!

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Chattanooga (Choo-Choo)

Yesterday we played a fun radio station gig at WUTC, I'll post the audio later and then headed to Track 29 which is on the grounds of the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. It's a newish venue set up almost identically to the Orange Peel. We had a blast playing the show and the Indigo Girls ripped it up again. I will never get tired of singing Closer to Fine with them at the end of the night. Tonight's our last show of the tour. We've got a long drive to Mobile. Off we go. Living the dream.

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Asheville

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I don't have the energy to discuss how amazing Asheville was last night. The crowd was unbelieveble. The food was unbelieveble. The beers, the people. I literally started crying on stage with the Indigo Girls tonight. Their fans are the best and the most welcoming people in the world.  

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Smoke

Knoxville really knows how to smoke cigarettes. I mean, wow. We had a long drive today to play the Preservation Pub on the square here in Knoxville. The weather was nice and the tunes were pumping so time passed pretty quickly. 

We loaded in through the tiny alley in the back and then grabbed some delicious food at a place called The Tomato Head. 

Wesley Cook opened the show and sounded great. We played a long set and at some point I layed down on the stage because I couldn't breath anymore. 

On to Asheville to play another show with the Indigo Girls today! 

 

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Indianapolis, IN

My goodness I love this town. We had a long drive from Cleveland today, but rolling into Indy made everything all better. We stayed at Tracy's sister's house with her husband and they were the most amazing hosts. A sincere thank you to them for all their hospitality.

Tonight we played The Melody Inn, and while the old sign out front was missing due to building construction, the inside looked exactly the same as the last time I played there about 10 years ago.

On the way down to the venue I popped in the first record by Margot & the Nuclear So and So's and as we drove up their old trumpet player, Hubert greeted us at the door. Cool stuff.

The show was fun, the local beers were nice and cold and the other bands sounded great. I think we're going to get back here again sometime soon.

We're driving to Knoxville, TN in a few minutes, and while it will be nice to be back in the south, I'm going to miss the green springy grass of the Midwest and All their friendly faces.

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Cleveland, OH

Wow, just wow, Cleveland. You're something else. We drove in from Ann Arbor and pretty much headed straight to the in-store performance at Blue Arrow Records. First off, this place is awesome. A great selection of vinyl and cats everywhere. Everywhere. So great. We played 5 tunes, picked up some shirts and vinyl and headed out to the show we had at Bevy in Birdtown. It's a cozy bar with a huge back room with a huge stage. We loaded in and then walked around for a few minutes. Met some of the local flavor while walking around and eventually stumbled into Mahall's 20, a really cool vintage bowling alley that hosts indie shows. We even bumped into Chastity Belt in the lobby! Just saw them open for Courtney Barnett a few weeks ago. The show was fun, the food at the venue was great and our opening act for the night, Tanya Koz was high energy.

 

Ann Arbor, MI

Dressing room selfie

Dressing room selfie

Last night we stayed at Joel's awesome little town, Marshall, MI. A great spot with tons of cute little houses and a downtown lined with American flags and smiling faces.

We rolled into Ann Arbor got set up and then checked out a few record stores and clothing shops before sound check. The venue, Power Center for the Performing Arts was an amazing venue with late-60s concrete bunker architecture and beautiful sound. Our set went really well, you could hear a pin drop while we played and the crowd really seemed to hang on out every note. Unreal.

The Indigo Girls played a long set of favorites and newer tunes and they had the crowd dancing in the isles by the time we rushed the stage to sing Closer to Fine with them.

After the show the girls talked to Kim and were so complimentnary of the band. This whole thing is surreal. Today we head to Cleveland!

The Power Center

The Power Center

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The Indigo Girls

The Indigo Girls

Kalamazoo

I may have broke the luggage carrier. We definitely played an in-store performance at Green Light Music in Kalamazoo and then it was off to see the old Gibson factory smokestack! Next up, Joel took us to grab some food downtown before we headed off to play the Old Dog Tavern. The venue was in a great space. A big cozy bar with a huge patio right next to the train tracks and across the street from the Bell's Brewery. We had a fun set as did the other band, Valentiger

Oops.

Oops.

Joel!

Joel!

The Old Gibson Factory

The Old Gibson Factory

I Don't Know Where to Start

I really don't. After 3 hours of sleep we headed out to do a TV morning show, play live on WYCE Radio and then it was off to play our first show with the Indigo Girls. What an incredible time.  The venue was amazing. The show was amazing. The Indigo Girls were so nice. We finished off the night singing Closer to Fine with them on stage. You can't make this stuff up.

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video link

http://woodtv.com/2015/06/17/the-great-music-of-the-good-graces/

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Get to work!

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Robyn put me to work today so I promptly fell asleep in a chair at the back of her booth. 

 

One of our booth neighbors was Brett Whitacre, drummer for the Legendary Shack Shakers. Great artist and super nice guy.

http://www.brettwhitacre.net

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Once again, it was supposed to rain all day and with the exception of some early morning puddles from an overnight storm, the day turned out beautiful again. 

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Hope to see you again soon, Chicago. 

 

Saturday in Chicago

Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day. Most of the places I wanted to go aren't open on Sunday so today was my chance to go see the Chicago Music Exchange and the Art Institute. First off, CME was just amazing. Such a great collection of guitars. I was overwhelmed.

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Next up I headed down to the the Art Insitute. It is enormous and they have such a great collection, including Nighthawks and American Gothic. The rest of the day I helped Robyn at her art show. It was a pretty good show and the rain held off until the very end!

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Oh, Chicago

We started the day in Indianapolis and ended it at a great little Italian restaurant in Olde Town, Chicago called Ortho. In between we had lunch at the Broadripple Brew Pub, drove through  torrential rains, and a tornado warning and then we did a whole lot of walking around. Tired. Full.

Broadripple Brew Pub

Broadripple Brew Pub

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Jumping at the Bean

Jumping at the Bean

Turns out it's called the Magnificent Mile. 

Open Ears for Family and Friends

Hey all, just wanted to let you know that I've started working with the fine folks, Jamie and Mike over at Open Ears Music. Jamie and I both shot the Shaky Knees Festival a few weeks back and over drinks (and wings) at The Local (in the lights) we partnered up. Really looking forward to shooting some more shows and getting some more wings. Damn those wings were great.

The first feature I shot for the guys was the Family and Friends after party for the Candler Park Music Festival

About a year ago The Sunset District played with these guys at the Drunken Unicorn in front of about 30 people, and all I can say is, WOW these guys are just going through the roof. Saturday night, Terminal West was packed to the rafters full of folks singing along and dancing all the way to the back. I couldn't be happier for them. 

Also on the bill that night was Faye Webster, City Mouse and Monsoon. All of them absolutely fantastic live bands and good folks. Click the link below for a link to the store and a slew of pics by your truly.

FULL ARTICLE AND PICS

 

Tips for Shooting Concerts

Hey all, I’ve been shooting a ton of live music and festivals lately and I thought I’d share a few tips from the pit. I've still got a TON to learn, but here's a quick shot of. You love lists, right?

1. When shooting an event that runs all day keep an eye on your settings. Weather and light conditions change all the time.

2. Keep your shutter speed fast if you want to freeze the action. The minimum shutter speed you should be using is equal to your lens size. In other words, if you're using a 50mm lens you should keep your shutter speed at 1/50 or above. For live events I like to more than double it, somewhere around 1/125. Using a 200mm lens I'll start around 1/400 of a second.

3. Shoot wire open. When it gets dark shoot using the lowest aperture your lens has. The lenses I was using were at f/2.8, which work great for a well lit event. For smaller clubs I use a 50mm that goes as low as f/1.8.

4. Don't be afraid of high ISO. When you're shooting a band in low light don't be afraid to bump up the ISO to get the shot.

5. 3 songs or 15 minutes. That's typically how much time you'll get to shoot each band. Even if I get more time I usually just stop and enjoy the show.

6. Shoot pictures of the crowd. Sometimes they're way more entertaining than the band.

7. Be considerate of the other photographers that are covering the show. You wouldn't believe what I've seen in the photo pit  at live shows in the last year. Giant tripods, guys crawling on stage, GoPros on sticks in the singer's face... be nice, grab a few shots from your location and then let the next person get in there.

8. Clothes. If you're shooting an outdoor festival wear comfortable shoes and bring some rain gear if it's in the forecast.

9. Network! Bring business cards (if you've got 'em) and meet all the other photographers there. I've made some good friends from the local group and contacts with some of the national folks.

10. Follow up. After shooting the show, contact the PR rep that approved you and send them links to any photos or articles that ran with your images. I take it a step farther and send a note to the band I shot and share the images with them. Sometimes they'll share them with their fans and you'll get some more exposure.

If anyone would like to get out and shoot a band or a festival that's coming up let me know and if you'd like some pointers I'd love to share what I know!

TEDx Atlanta

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to shoot the TEDx Atlanta Conference at the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech. The evening before the talks I visited the venue, and got a quick tour of all the places that I could go, and all the places I needed to stay away from to keep from walking in front of the video cameras and crew from Turner that were recording the event.

I quickly realized that I’d need a long lens and a bright lens to get the best shots of the speakers. The room was very dark, with the exception of the speaker giving the presentation and they didn’t want me to be up in front of the audience or creating a distraction for the speaker. I can’t imagine how stressful it would be to give a TED talk to a room full of folks!

For this shoot I used 2 camera bodies, my crop-sensor Nikon D90 with a 70mm – 200mm f/2.8 for the tight shots of the speakers, and my Nikon D810 with a 24mm-70mm f/2.8 for the room shots.

While all the presentations were fantastic, I was so taken with one that Susanna Spaccia from re:imagine ATL gave that I’ve volunteered to assist in her Green Room project by producing some “band photos” for young kids that are forming musical groups and producing their own music video for a song they’re recording.

If you’d like to know more about TEDxAtlanta, head over to http://tedxatlanta.com.