Bloodlined Calligraphy @ Facedown Fest in Pomona, California

Bloodlined Calligraphy @ Facedown Fest in Pomona, California

Everyone who has a deep appreciation for the healing power of music will get on board with a few bands from their area and latch on, hard. For me, one of those bands is Bloodlined Calligraphy. I have a deep love for the past and present incarnations of the band. I used to watch them in Ypsilanti at Mr. Muggs and The Elbow Room and Woodruffs and various spots all over Michigan. In the 2000s this band was my Michigan hardcore heroes...

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#TBT Black Christmas 2016: Majestic Theater Headliners

#TBT Black Christmas 2016: Majestic Theater Headliners

The Suicide Machines and Mustard Plug are two of the most iconic Ska-Punk bands of all time, and they're both from Michigan. So it's kind of tradition to at some point around Christmas, that most Michigan punks and skunks see these bands. It almost always ends up being at Black Christmas. An event that takes over the entire Majestic Complex in Detroit, Michigan. At one point it was known as Motor City Ska Fest and had a lot less heavier or faster bands on the bill. Once it became Black Christmas, heavy metal heavyweight champs, The Black Dahlia Murder were obviously added to the bill. Local heroes helped up the ante on what Black Christmas is. In 2016, Black Christmas was sweaty, hairy, and a little less stinky than previous years. Thankfully, no stinkbombs were lit at the 2016 edition of Black Christmas. Originally these photos were on For The Love of Punk as that is who I photographed the show for. It was fun doing this event for them. Here are plenty of photos of Mustard Plug and The Suicide Machines.

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GALLERY: Lorna Shore, Bodysnatcher, Extortionist @ The Ritz in Warren, Michigan

GALLERY: Lorna Shore, Bodysnatcher, Extortionist @ The Ritz in Warren, Michigan

Lorna Shore is one of the heaviest bands I have ever heard. I first got a hold of them (late as fuck I know) earlier this year before their record "Flesh Coffin" dropped. I was approached about shooting their stop here in Michigan in March. They played with Despised Icon, Carnifex, Rings of Saturn, Fallujah all at the Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac. I fell in love with this band during their set. I have highlighted Austin's drumming a few times this year and the dude is a fucking beast. The rest of the band equate his energy, musicianship, and talent. This is a solid heavy as fuck band that will more than likely be melting faces for years to come. 

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Every Time I Die! Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Every Time I Die! Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

The last gallery from Warped Tour 2016 in Auburn Hills is from one of my favorite Hardcore bands ever. Every Time I Die. I really don't need to go into why they are one of the most unique groups of musicians out there. I really can't tell you how many times I have seen them because I have honestly lost count. What I can say is this set meant a lot to me and I could feel that it meant even more to them.

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WARPED TOUR 2016: Knuckle Puck Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

WARPED TOUR 2016: Knuckle Puck Live at the Palace of Auburn Hills

Knuckle Puck graced one of the smaller stages earlier in the day and it just felt right to snap a crap ton of pictures. This band writes music on a different plane, elevating the depth of songwriting and lyricism in a genre that is founded on songs about coffee and farts. The beauty of this is showing the balance in humor and intelligence. Knuckle Puck being a blatant reference from one of my favorite movies as a kid D2: The Mighty Ducks. I forever will feel bonded to the pop punk bands of Illinois as I spent about half of my youth growing up in the northern Chicago suburbs. Before going further into my past, let's just check out the gallery from Knuckle Puck at the Auburn Hills date of the Vans Warped Tour, July 22nd, 2016 in Michigan. Knuckle Puck is almost always on tour and always working on new music so follow the links below to keep up to date with them. 

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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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GALLERY: Justin Martin at Movement Detroit 2016

GALLERY: Justin Martin at Movement Detroit 2016

Justin Martin is easily one of my favorite DJ's and producers in dance music today. I can't tell you how many times I have seen him, I'm from Michigan, Dirtybird Players are here like every couple of weeks. They have nothing but love for us here, and we reciprocate. I love this set, and it has a lot to do with the sun going down alongside Justin's beautiful cartoony visuals. J.Phlip gave Justin a great segway and he crushed it. His set led into Get Real aka Claude Von Stroke and Green Velvet. Incredible. Check out the gallery from Justin's set below. 

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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: Boston Manor live at St Andrews Hall 03.19.17

GALLERY: Boston Manor live at St Andrews Hall 03.19.17

Boston Manor came on 2nd for this night of 4 bands at St Andrews Hall. They upped the ante on the energy level. From then on it became apparent that I was going to just have to get used to seeing circle pits at emo shows. It makes me happy because the bands have that influence from punk that drove me to love this shit too. You don't put those tempos and beats in songs without having some form of influence from bands like Nofx or Bad Religion or No Use For A Name, which the ladder being who I consider being the 2nd godfathers of Pop Punk. The first being The Descendents. I get flack for it sometimes but I can guarantee Tony Sly is a top 3 songwriter to every pop punk band out there nowadays. I loved their set and they ended it on a fast and high note at that too. I am stoked to say they are also on the entire Van's Warped Tour and cannot wait to photograph them again here in Michigan. For now, check out the gallery below and make sure to get Warped tickets as they went on sale March 22nd. 

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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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