Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Crossing an Hasidic Jew and reggae... you one hell of a great artist.

I had the pleasure of shooting an artist I recently discovered called Matisyahu. As of 3-4 months ago, I actually had no idea who he was. I follow a photographer named Jared Polin (aka who posted up some awesome concert and tour shots of Matisyahu and when I had the chance to shoot him in a show, I jumped on it! Nothing better than comparing your output with someone whose work you respect.

The show was at (surprise surprise) Club Soda! And it was sold out! Production Iris was great enough to get my accreditation done (these guys rock!). I was told that he would be coming on stage around 10:00pm, so after getting all set with my press credentials, I showed up around 8:45pm to make sure I could get a good setup for the pictures.

Man was I wrong. I should of just bucked up and stayed in front during the 2 opening acts. Getting in front was a chore. The floor was tight with bodies and people aren't too keen at letting someone walk in front. Although once they see the camera and lens, they are usually great at making space.

I ended up on the right side of the stage, behind a speaker that was hung from the ceiling. I picked this side for two reasons:

1- In looking at Matisyahu images, I saw that he holds the mic with his right hand. So shooting from the right side gives me more of the shots I like to take, where you can see the mic and his mouth. Compared to being on the left hand side where his arm would be blocking the mic and mouth most of the time

2- The left side of the stage leads to the backstage and has a bouncer. The right side is empty (although there is a door) but usually has 2-3 chairs along the wall, giving this photographer a little higher vantage point to shoot from! Oh yeah, I do think sometimes.

And that's what happened! After the 2nd opener left the stage, a few people cleared out and I was able to make my way to the chairs and stand on one. Half the stage was blocked by the speaker, but the front was clear! To my chagrin, Matisyahu likes to hang further back of the stage, where he does this funky dance routine. I unfortunately had no shooting angle to get any of that. I was stuck in one spot, no chance at moving anywhere else. You'll see in the first image posted how much to the side I was.

I was delighted at how Matisyahu blended some rock, alternative and reggae into a pretty unique sound.

At the end of the 3 songs, one of the bouncers was nice enough to let me leave from the door and I ended up right in the back alley. No trying to make my way through the ultra dense crowd back out! The crew at the Club Soda are seriously awesome.

I would of loved to be closer up to the stage and have more access to move around to get a variety of shots as he was pretty expressive on stage. But what can you do! Maybe next time :)

Here are a selection of images, 30-ish up in the Galleries on the website