GALLERY: Carnifex Live at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan

GALLERY: Carnifex Live at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan

Fucking intense, evil, dark as fuck, and of course, brutal. Carnifex laid waste to the Crofoot in Pontiac, Michigan and I had front row for them to melt my face clear off. From the depths of hell Scott, Buddah and crew ripped the crowd apart with their brand of deathcore that sent chills down my spine. I am so fucking stoked to see them this summer. 

Carnifex is also one of the heavier bands to grace the stage at this year's Vans Warped Tour. 

Check out the gallery below and give them some love on their links too.

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Masked Intruder Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Masked Intruder Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

Born of an idea in a shitty jail. A bunch of low life scumbags played a great set for a bunch of fucked up kids and quite a few stoned and drunk adults, if you can call us that. I love this band. There might be a schtick, but the fucking shit works. So fuck off if you're pettiness doesn't involve songs about thievery and stalking. This is what I have always loved about punk music, even softer sounding pop punk bands can push boundaries and piss people off. People still don't get this world, whether it is commercialized bands rekindling their glory days on the Warped main stage or admitting time to move on like Yellowcard's most recent retirement. It's nice to have fun in punk and be fucking stupid and make people remember why they used to call us fucked up names and fight us and rob us and fucking kill us. This shit has been safe as fuck for half my life. It's why I like bands like this and heavier bands like Converge or Lorna Shore, who to me piss people the fuck off and to a lot of us, that's exactly what entertainment is here for. Enjoy the gallery and give Masked Intruder some love, I'm sure they got old court fees to pay or bench warrants to deal with. Also, I am in some sort of mood today where I just don't give a shit? Can you tell? Good. 

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Motionless In White Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Motionless In White Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

 

 

Motionless in White is a band that I always saw in magazines but I was honestly a dick about. I just lumped them in with who they looked like instead of being a decent fucking human being. I made Warped a point to be a change in my mentality and attitude towards music and people in general. I won't ever lose my cynicism or my brash bluntness so many of you have come to hate, but I can at least say that I gave a bunch of bands a shot that day and no one was disappointing, or fucked up, or not completely on point. "Motionless" chants from the crowd came as the 6 member band came out on the stage and ripped right into "Reincarnate" and immediately the crowd bounced ala 70s English Pogo. I didn't even know what to say when Ghost was right in front of me staring me in the eyes dressed as Regan from the Exorcist with pea soup vomit and all, I realized I was wrong. I fucked up. This band is great and fucking brutal and bassy with synth sounds all to their own. I really enjoyed this set and furthered my knowledge of completely being wrong and sleeping on artists for years. Bands like this make you a better photographer and writer and critic. Admit when you're wrong, it's fucking freeing you bastards. Check out the gallery below. 

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GALLERY: Fallujah Live at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan

GALLERY: Fallujah Live at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan

Fallujah is an extreme metal band from San Francisco. I fucking loved photographing them. They were brutal, technical, and photogenic. Their set was on point and I am looking forward to photographing them again in the future. They released their third studio album last year "Dreamless" and it is fucking gnarly. Get it, listen to it on repeat and run on a treadmill or punch a dishwasher or whatever the fuck you need to do to blow off steam. European friends, make sure to check their websites for details on their 2017 summer tour. They are surely not to be missed. 

Check out the gallery below and give them some love on their links too.

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GALLERY: A Will Away live at St Andrews Hall 03.19.17

GALLERY: A Will Away live at St Andrews Hall 03.19.17

Sunday March 19th I got to take the Cat to see a few bands while I photographed them. It was my first time finally photographing at St Andrews Hall in Detroit, Michigan. This venue is unique in many ways. Mainly, it housed so many events of my youth that inspired me musically and visually to fall in love with this industry. This night wasn't like other nights though. I had decent access and got to shoot from the photo pit with the old pot-belly on the stage Nirvana played in the 90s. I saw Deftones play a secret show there, and to this day is one of my favorite concert experiences ever.

As the only American band on the bill A Will Away brought it just as much as the other three acts. I was pleasantly surprised with how good their live set was. Deeply emotional and highly energetic, they are a definite repeat act for me and the Cat. If they come through Detroit again we will more than likely be there. A Will Away just finished up their last spring tour and are resting up before their summer ventures. Give them some love and follow them and support them when they come through your city.Check out the images from the show below. 

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WARPED TOUR 2016: The Story So Far Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: The Story So Far Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

The Story So Far was one of my highlights of the day. I had been looking forward to this one for a few years. I was so stoked to have my beer gut rub against the stage while awaiting them to come out and rock the middle of the day set.  It was hard to not sing along while shooting this set. Because of that I upped my shutter speed to almost 1/400th knowing that I was going to be unable to resist singing along. Not to mention the band moves around a lot and with the sun beating down it was easy to use the settings I used. How could I resist singing along though? The first three songs were "All Wrong" and "The Glass" and "Nerve". Give me a break. If my life depended on not singing along to this band I would have been dead 30 seconds into their set. It hit's the chest so deep and considering the shit this band has helped get me through, it only made sense to get as many photos as possible. 

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GALLERY: Rings of Saturn Live at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan

GALLERY: Rings of Saturn Live at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan

Aliencore! lol. Rings of Saturn fucking slayed the Crofoot Ballroom. As a musician, this show really opened me up to how lacking I am in musical instrumentation and overall musicianship. These dudes are fucking unreal. As a die-hard Deftones fan, every time I see big fucking 7-8-9-10 string guitars I fucking get lost in the sound waves. Of course, a lot of bands won't give it up for Stephan but plenty do. I always like to mention it because he was the first to put the shit out there at scale for everyone to hear. His influence can be felt more in tones than in the insane technicality that is Rings of Saturn.

Anyway, check out the photos from Rings of Saturn's set from March 21st 2017 at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan. 

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GALLERY: Lorna Shore live at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan

GALLERY: Lorna Shore live at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan

In March I was sent an email with Lorna Shore's new video for "Flesh Coffin". I get a lot of PR emails for all sorts of genres of music, but the video name resonated with me. This was one of the first ones in a while that was purely death metal. Some of the craziest guitar instrumentation I have ever heard is coming from this band. If only to keep up with their drummer Austin who's drumming playthrough videos I watched after "Flesh Coffin" just to understand how anyone can play drums that fast. Even as a drummer I couldn't wrap my head around it. Giving all the musicians in the band playthrough videos made me appreciate them so much more. 

March 21st, I drove an hour to Pontiac to shoot Lorna Shore's set and the venue was packed. I have shot at the Crofoot Festival ground but never inside the actual venue so this was a first for me. I had no idea it had been seven years since Despised Icon had been to the Detroit area. This alone brought a lot of people to the venue. I got up front and awaited Lorna Shore to come on stage and eventually the lights went dark and they blasted into some of the most brutal death metal I have ever heard in my life.

My expectations of a band I just found out about were incredibly high, and they smashed them, repeatedly for the next 30 minutes. Needless to say, I became a fan of LS before the tour got to Michigan, but seeing them live, even with missing their bass player, they made a fan for life with me. The full-length album will rival every death metal to deathcore record in 2017. So let's get to the gallery already! 

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GALLERY: Trophy Eyes live at St Andrews Hall 03.19.17

GALLERY: Trophy Eyes live at St Andrews Hall 03.19.17

So through my PR contacts, I was able to get a pass to photograph Trophy Eyes. I dealt with their PR people strictly and knew that they were the focus of my photography for the evening. Their new record "Chemical Miracle" is great. I highly suggest getting it or at the very least streaming it and passing it along. There's a reason they're playing on the entire Van's Warped Tour this year and it's because they're a hard-working and incredibly talented group who deserve the spot. I only expect huge things from them from here on out. Their music videos are fantastic, even if one gives me a headache, it's still worth viewing. I did get to talk to John Floreani for a few moments and mind you this was the day after the VWT lineup leaked only a few days before the actual lineup. He played it cool when I asked if their spot on the lineup was true, to which John replied: "Our record label told us to neither confirm nor deny anything about the Van's Warped Tour leak." I laughed and hugged him and said: "Well that answer's that, at least know I won't confirm anything or deny anything until after the actual lineup is released". He was very nice to the Cat and I and we didn't even want to bother him with a photo because well, I had enough in my Canon. It's hard for me to ask for a shitty 5mp front side selfie photo with an artist I just took a hi-res image of ya know? Anyway, make sure to check them on this summer's Warped Tour and check out the images below!

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Emarosa Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Emarosa Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

This was a set that I was looking forward too all summer. The new Emarosa record had just dropped and I had 131 on repeat. Fuck, the following months afterward it got me through endless night shifts at Kroger unloading trucks and stocking gallons of water, pop, juice, etc. So when the band came out on stage and started into Miracle, it felt fucking fantastic to be photographing them. Especially as Bradley Walden jumped into the crowd and rode around the pit on a Detroiter's shoulders. (Someone find the dude holding Bradley!) 

There were only a handful of photographers shooting this set and I believe this is when I bumped into Ashley Osborne and a few other photographers that I would see a couple weeks later at Dirt Fest 2016. Emarosa have had a few different lineups and have lost/gained fans because of the changes. I know I'm going against the grain by saying the 131 era is my favorite. I know that pisses off every single person who kisses Johnny Craig's ass, but my preference is with Bradley. Check out the setlist below and the gallery too!

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Reel Big Fish Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Reel Big Fish Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

3rd wave legends Reel Big Fish just celebrated their 20th anniversary of their full length "Turn The Radio Off" with a few tours. Before those tours started, they were on the Vans Warped Tour. I had fun shooting RBF. I have seen them so many times now it's almost like seeing a local. That's the one thing I love about Michigan and Detroit in general. Ska and Ska-Punk bands love touring here. Because of that, I have seen RBF and LTJ over a dozen times each. 

Check out the gallery from Reel Big Fish's set at the Auburn Hills, Michigan stop of the 2016 Vans Warped Tour.

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Real Friends Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Real Friends Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

To say Real Friends headlined this date of the Warped Tour is a fact, but WT has always rotated its schedule daily so all the artists on the four main stages could easily headline. Pop punk has always had a safe place in the Mid-West and Real Friends epitomizes that four season punk influenced emo perfectly. If you don't know what 3-5 months out of the year being overcast and gray are like, then it might be a little hard to relate to all of their work. I immediately fell for this band years ago and was very happy to get to see them so close and photograph their set. Last summer was a really emotional one for me. Most summers are, as I am emo as all hell, but last year, in particular, was pretty intense to get through. This band and a few others really helped me through it, so this set was going to be the highlight of the day for me. 

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WARPED TOUR 2016: State Champs Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: State Champs Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

State Champs to me were relatively new. I had a few playlists with a couple of their tunes on that I really enjoyed. I will say this right off the bat, they are great musicians. As a band, they are tight and professional and know exactly what they're doing. It was a pleasure to watch them and photograph three songs from their set. In the mid-90s when pop punk really started to come together as a genre and not just someone else's failed attempt at copying the kings of it The Descendents. This was when I started to fall in love with bands that had musicians who could play multiple instruments and chose to write a little more conservative and added about 1000x more stage presence than that of their alternative counterparts. State Champs would have been one of the biggest bands in the world in the mid-90s, so as history is repeating itself some 20 odd years later, it seems as they are doing just fine. Check out the gallery from their set below!

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Good Charlotte Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Good Charlotte Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

Good Charlotte is a band that when I was younger, I wasn't all that fond of. At the time they were corporate punk to us on the "streets". Nowadays that shit sounds so fucking childish and bitter, which is why I opted to photograph them.

They had some of the most energetic tunes of the day. They were bouncing all over the stage, to the sub-woofers, to the drum risers. I gave them so much credit knowing their not 21 anymore. 

These are the kind of sets that you walk away from learning a lot about yourself and how fucking stuck up you can be, not to mention how focused you can be when photographing bands you're not entirely into. I hope this doesn't seem like I'm just blatantly talking shit, so not my intention. Merely expressing that growth can happen in 10 minutes while photographing a band you have either been on the fence with or at times even full on hated. Some of these shots ended up being pretty damn intense. I coined this set as the one that ended my pride as a stuck up snobby musician and opened my mind up to a whole realm of music that I might not like, but would love documenting. 

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Black Christmas 2016: Magic Stick Locals

Black Christmas 2016: Magic Stick Locals

There is a definite throwback to 70s and 80s rock and roll that took over the Magic Stick before the headlining acts graced the stage. I loved every second of it and probably had a lot to do with me missing out on all the artists in the Majestic Cafe.

I like that feeling for the Stick that night. The nostalgic influence added with a blend of punk and drunkenness with a pinch of stoner vibes was just enough to make me love shooting in such horrendous lighting conditions. I love the Magic Stick, but from a photographer stand point, without using flash man... it's a fucking hard one to get really good photos out of. 

Here are some photos of Bison Machine, Dirtwolf, and Cheapshow from Black Christmas 2016 at The Majestic Complex (Majestic Theater, Magic Stick, and Majestic Cafe)

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Sleeping With Sirens Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Sleeping With Sirens Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

They like it fucking loud. Sleeping With Sirens played in the middle of the day, I was sweating my tubby butt off, I was a little high and a little dehydrated. Younger siblings of the band were tossing t-shirts and towels into the crowd. Drink slingers were dumping their coolers full of ice water on people in the crowd and I think to myself "apparently they like it fucking hot." I chuckled and feedback hit and the band took the stage to a cheer of "Kellin, Kellin, Kellin". 

They ripped through "We Like It Loud" and then one of my favorites "Kick Me" and into "Do It Now Remember It Later" and all of a sudden a security guard grabbed me to be escorted out of the photo pit. The best sets go by so quick and a lot of times, it's just incredibly hard to stay the course when it's someone you listen to regularly. You want to sing along, and there is nothing wrong with that, but you can tell my festival shots lack on the sets that I probably got a little too into. 

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Less Than Jake Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Less Than Jake Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

Less Than Jake, a band I have listened to for over 20 years. At this moment I believe it's 21 years later this year. One of the last sets of the day and I was so fucking tired and just ready to go home. I only had room for maybe 150 images and two or three bands left to shoot. In a prior post I mentioned how I forgot one of my cards and my mini-sd card reader failed which left me with two cards that were definitely not enough for me to be satisfied with the set. 

Less Than Jake will be a band that me and my partner listen to when we're retired and gray. This isn't a band that either of us will grow out of. So it makes perfect sense being between them and 5000 people can make you stop, and just appreciate everything that has happened to lead up to that moment. Check out the pics below!

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Chelsea Grin Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Chelsea Grin Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

Chelsea Grin is one of the heaviest bands I have ever heard. Deathcore to me is nothing without one band, and if you can't feel that influence from that one band, then it doesn't seem like Deathcore to me. That band Chelsea Grin definitely pulls influence from is On Broken Wings. It's even more advanced and intricate and the songwriting brings progressive styles into an otherwise only brutal as fuck genre. I fucking love when a band goes in on every song like it's the last one they're going to put out. This alone is why I was so fucking stoked to photograph these dudes, the even cooler thing is I get to do it again this week in Detroit. 

Chelsea Grin came out with middle fingers up and gave us the sonic jump kick to the face. They make it easy to photograph them simply by being so animated and involved with their fans and the photographers in the pit too! I was a fan of their work before this set, but this sealed it for me. I'm now all about this band and am in full support of their latest record "Self Inflicted". Detroit, check them out Thursday at the Shelter with Ice Nine Kills, Gideon, Enterprise Earth and Clarity. I believe this is an early show. Doors I think are at pm! 

http://www.chelseagrinmusic.com/

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