Earth Music

FrankBressi_072509_01 07.05.09 Another night of good friends and happy eardrums. The 808 Scene Zine hosted a show by New Jersey songwriter Frank Bressi at Onstage in Waikiki.

His acoustic songs are catchy as hell. I found myself singing along to songs I haven't even heard before that night. When he's not jamming it out with his acoustic he's tearing it up with his band The Chilling Details. Give um' a listen if you get a chance. FrankBressi_072509_02

Rock Authority

FOA_Slick_071909_05 07.19.09 You ever have the feeling that you're in the presence of someone not of this world. You feel as if you're about to witness something so incredible that the greatest pain is not having every single person you know with you to share it with; and those same people are going to all have to sit through a 2 hour phone call just so you can try to accurately describe how awesome it was?

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I thought it was going to be just another epic night with my blues buds, Friends of Adam, as they always are. But as expected they always have a lil' something that'll drop your jaw to the floor.

This time they were the opening band. If the F.O.A. is gonna open for someone, than good god, who's comin after? This time it was the Darby Slick band. If you've never heard of him I guarantee you've heard the songs he's written. The one he's most famous for is Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love." You know the one. This man's unquestioned rock authority needs no explanation, if you ever get a chance to see him play, you won't doubt it either.

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He went nuts, straight up psychedelic rock straight from the days of bell bottoms and tie dye t-shirts. And to see him in all places, Hawaiian Brians. There he was jamming with his double-necked fretless guitar, tearing it up like no one I've ever seen! He invited the F.O.A. towards the end of the night for one last jam session. At that point Darby Slick stood up, started going crazy with his guitar, pounding out note after note flawlessly, and rose to the mic and yelled "That's how we did it in the 60's!"

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The Dept. is here

_MG_1946 We did it! Aahh, sweet validation. The Dept. of Public Works has successfully conquered the stairwell at Borders (ward). It feels good to be surrounded by such passionate individuals. I honestly think I have more fun seeing my friends/fellow Dept. members work than my own up there.

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In the end, I truly believe this isn't about me or some pretty pictures. Its about inspiring one another to achieve what we normally couldn't on our own. For me, its about those people in the images up on that wall. I get to share how much their music means to me. And I get to share that with the world, seen through my eyes.

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Its proof that even after all that I've been through these last few years, I can still stand up proudly with those who inspire me.

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_MG_1976 meNthewall All shot with my trusty lil' Canon XT and my best friend, the 50mm/1.8. Which I didn't realize till I framed them all. Weird. Sometimes simplicity, shallow pockets and a great passion for your subject makes for better images.

Come down. I know most of you hang out in the photo section anyways and to get there, ya gotta walk up those stairs. I know you guys and gals won't be lazy and take the elevator.

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Before Fire Showcase

BeforeFireShowcase_38 Here's a few shots from Before Fire's showcase at Sand Island R&B. Its nice to know there's still a place were a guy can go to lose 50% of his hearing and 75% of his neck movement in a single night. Good times.

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Just wish I didn't always feel like I should go home and take a shower with a hose from all the smoke, whenever I show up.

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Whiplash

MetalFest09_14 Say what you will about the island's music scene going down the tubes, but every now and then a band will surprise you. There's always that one band you can latch on that makes you eat your words. Anna Bannana's held yet another Metalfest a few months back.

I walked in with very low expectations and figured I'd probably just see some old friends and wander around outside. There was one band I went to see. My friends, Before Fire, perhaps one of the heaviest bands I've seen on the island in years. As usual, it was hard to run around in circles headbanging, avoiding getting elbowed in the head while trying to take photos. Probably not the smartest thing to do. With the sun falling as they played and the batteries dying on my Speedlight, I did my best to capture the verocity that was Before Fire's set.

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Skate or Die

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04.25.09- Last Saturday rocked! My bud, Katie invited me to go check out her team skate during the first Derby event of the season. I headed over the H-3 to the Kaneohe Marine Base excited as all hell to check out some friends tear it up on asphalt once again.

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Derby 06Under the boiling mid-afternoon sun these women still put on their A game. The crowd was as hyped as usual, cheering on their favorite ladies take on an onslaught of rollin wheels and flying elbows. The OOOOHHHH's, WHOOAAAHHH's and OUUUCHH!!!'s from the sidelines entertained me as much as the screams from the sidelines of the girls themselves trying to motivate their teammates. I admit I had to completely stop what I was doin and recompose myself after when I heard one of the women from the Voluptuous Vixen's pit area scream out, "GIVE THEM PAIN!!!"

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We Gonna Rock all Night Long!

BigDawg_042409_01_borders 04.24.09- God I miss good ol' fashioned rock shows. I love it when I show up to a show and I'm the youngest one at the entire venue. Its even more awesome when I have friends on the stage who specifically asked me to take photos. It was an absolutely epic night that shook the island like I haven't seen in a long time. Bands that usually never stray far from their usual bar atmosphere finally took the stage at Pipeline cafe.

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The house was filled with old school rockers with tight leather pants and long hair. I felt at home. I smiled a bit knowing that their dream hasn't died with age. They were still up there rockin like they probably did back in the day. And Brett killed it as he does with his hard hitting band Big Dawg. The "not as evil" stepchild of the metal band Black Prizm.

A few of them surprised the hell out of me. Velvet Mantis covered Robin Trower!!! I think I was the only one besides the band who knew what they were playin. I couldn't stop screaming, well occasionally to take a few pictures but thats about it.

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I wasn't expecting a Journey cover band. Honestly. But they were bad ass!!! That dude hit every note. And the band was amazing.

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Along for the ride were the band, Lucky 13, the always amazing Friends of Adam, and the hilariously high energy, Bari Bari 13. I was absolutely pooped by the end of the night. The show went from 8pm till 3am. Did you read that? 3AM! And I stayed awake the whole time. Bari Bari 13 definitely knows how to wake a guy up.

Poetry Slam Finals 09

PoetryFinals_040209_14 04.02.09- I had a chance to witness an incredible night of poetry and spoken word at Pipeline cafe a few weeks ago. It was the Slam Poetry finals. These were the best of the best, pitted up against each other on one stage. I've seen them all before in previous slams but this was their shining moment. They put on their best and tore at the heart strings with the crowd hanging on every word.

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Armed with my telephoto and a well placed chair I was able to get up and take some pretty good shots. I ran up and sat at the foot of the stage every once in a while when I felt that burning urge to capture the emotion of the night up close.

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A Busekrus Birthday

BusekrusBday_041109_04 04.11.09- For my post Rise Against show I headed down to Sand Island R&B to check out my friend's band, Busekrus. Marcus Busekrus, the bands frontman was having a birthday as well, so it was a nice old fashioned rock show with a lot of familiar faces in the audience. I walked in just in time to see my buds, A Sedated Nation do their thing. As well as a bunch of other friends who were also playin that night.

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Rise Against

RiseAgainst_041009_0104.10.09- So after recooperating from the night before from Bad Religion, I decided to check out the band, Rise Against whom I had no idea were so popular with the kiddies. I walked in completely unaware what I was getting myself into. I thought I would have photo access this time but no such luck. So I stuck the 50mm on to the rebel xt and prepared myself to get a bit sweaty.  

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Pipeline cafe was shoulder to shoulder and in some places worse. It was a frickin sauna. But I somehow managed to get myself to the bar area near the front of the stage where I decided to set up camp. Did I mention it was hot? And ridiculously crowded? Rise Against were pretty good. Not a particular fan of that style of pop/rock, but not bad. So here I was squished against the bar with the audience digging various body parts into my sides and occasionally hitting me in the head. I struggled to squeeze my right arm in between all the sweaty people, over the audience and started shooting away.

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Kickin' the Jams

 
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02.04.09 - The Presidents of the USA still got it. Kickin' the Jams and makin ya smile. One really nice dude in the front working security and promoters for once who were greatful for the fact that the 808 Scene Zine was there to cover the show. Everyone in attendance was ridiculously happy and the stage was extremely well lit.

We were allowed to wander around pretty much whatever we wanted for the entire show. I sat in front of the barricade in the photo pit for almost the whole concert with my trusty Press Pass. I felt like a rock star. I couldn't help but laugh my head off and smile a bit. Hearing them rock their hits "Peaches" and "Lump" sent me spiraling through memories of high school. I'm sure everyone in attendance felt the same.

 

Rock Solid Saturdays

 
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01.24.09 - It would be a smart move if Black Prizm employed massage therapists and ear doctors at every show. I guarantee not a soul in Pipeline Cafe drove home that night without at least wondering if that buzzing in their ears was only in their heads or perhaps its something to have checked in the near future.

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With Pipeline Cafe under the refreshing new management style of Gregg Azus, this venue has fast become the forefront of local music and the last hope for emerging artists of every genre to be heard as intended.

Brett from Black Prizm intends to destroy more ear drums in the coming months with a slew of shows (cross your fingers) making these nights a valiant attempt to replant metal and rock music back on its thrown.

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SK808 INVITATIONALS

 

Last Saturday I drove up to Waimanalo to witness yet another incredible event. The 1st Annual SK808 Women's Roller Derby Invitationals. It was held in this tiny lil' warehouse out in the boonies of Waimanalo. Once I rolled up on that dirt road I knew I was in for something special and seldom seen by the masses.

Derby Girls from all over the nation gathered together that day to show their support for their sisters out in the middle of the Pacific. Teams were formed randomly to further reinforce the strong bond that held them together. They played 30 min. scrimmages on a tiny track half the size of a normal regulation rink, but with the brutality equal to that of an arena event. Inside the warehouse, surrounding the rink, stood old mattresses that served as padding for the small rink. They were spray painted with skulls and other characters displaying the misfit personalities of these girls. Clearly, these women don't play with dolls.

As the Hawaii derby teams slowly regain their momentum and popularity from decades of obscurity, it was exciting to say I was there to witness its rebirth. Here are a couple of photos I took during that rare event.

 

Punk rock lives!!!

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An epic weekend of music for yours truly. I got to witness one of my personal favorites, Bad Religion play an epic set and survive to tell about it. I ran in with my camera for the first couple of songs and then just went nuts for the rest of it. Greg Graffin came on like a hurricane of intellectual punk rock authority as only he can. And I left with a going away present, I scored a pick from the band which bounced off my head and landed in my hand. Woooo!

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Bari Bari 13 warmed up the stage for them with their always high energy Japanese rockabilly punk rock. I could tell it was the first time most of this old school punk audience would witness the monster that is Bari Bari 13.

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Midway through their set they surprised the hell out of every one by building up the suspense of what was about to happen with a ground shaking drum beat and then bamm, they dropped their pants and played the rest of their set in speedos. If thats not punk rock I don't know what is.

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Transient Colors

Pacifica_022809_03 2.28.09 - Hometown heroes, Pacifica returned to Oahu with welcoming arms and their own particular brand of atmospheric pseudo-rock last weekend. The venues were filled with friends, family and fans (new and old) for a rare musical event. Frontman, Kika Diama's vocals soared over their audience with commanding authority as if to say "No, we haven't forgotten about you."

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The band's flawless renditions of crowd favorites from their EP Transient Colors were nothing less than Epic, showing this island that there are still musicians out there who aren't afraid to push the limits and destroy stereotypes of what music is supposed to sound like.

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Thats a swanky suit...

Cheese2 02.13.09 - Weird Al and Spaceball fans rejoice, Richard Cheese and his band, Lounge Against the Machine have entered the building. Well known for his lounge renditions of popular hits, he ran through everything from 2LiveCrew to the epic "Spongebob Squarepants theme song." My sides hurt after about 10 minutes into the show and found it a bit difficult to take pictures while laughing so hard.

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True to the style of lounge Richard Cheese engaged the audience with his raunchy and hilarious in-your-face humor dragging people on stage, flirting with women in the audience (sometimes even in the presence of an uncomfortable boyfriend). At one point he walked into the women's bathroom mid-way through a song and claimed he was "in search for lesbians" to sing to. He continued the song from inside the bathroom and coersed 2 women to come out and kiss.

It was a difficult shoot due to half of the venue being closed off for the "lounge seating". But I still managed to finagle a few shots in with the telephoto.

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Put Away Your Dancing Shoes

 

Back in November I was fortunate enough to witness an event so incredibly epic, I'm still having trouble describing the insanity that ensued on that day. Girlfest presents The Pacific Roller Derby team VS the Maui Roller Girls.

One of my closest friends happens to be on the Oahu team. She invited me to capture all the craziness (from a safe distance of course) behind the lens. A sport perfectly fitting a woman who even came with me to a Testament (thrash metal) concert with a broken foot and still rocked harder than anyone I've ever met.

The battle continues this Saturday at the SK808 INVITATIONALS where Derby Girls from all over the nation join the Women's Pacific Roller Derby Team to show the island that Women's Roller Derby is alive and well and yes... these girls can kick our ass if they wanted to.

 

In Dreams...

 

The last 10 years of kicking my own ass at concerts is starting to pay off. My music experiences have finally started reaching epic proportions. Thanks to the zine and BAMP I've been living some of my dreams these last few months.

Getting to meet the some of the guys from one of my all time favorite bands, Thrice and got to scream my lungs out up in VIP (while trying to not over exert myself due to the injuries from the car collision) along with my closest friends. I was still buzzin days after that one. I've met some of the most talented musicians in my life here on the island. And have got to watch their gradual rise to greatness and capture it all behind the lens. Friends of Adam, I'm lookin your way! So much damn undiscovered talent in the islands and I get to live the experience night after night and share it through my pictures and our zine.

Got to hang with Spencer from Underoath and learn from him first hand that it is possible to live your dreams. And I got to be apart of it once again with my camera.

And just 2 days ago, DRAGONFORCE! HOLY HELL!!! That had to be one of the most fun experiences I've been able to be apart of. I got permission from BAMP to run around and take pictures in the photo pit for the first 3 songs! Just me and 2 other ridiculously passionate photoheads. Right at the foot of the stage! I'm still smilin'. I felt so darn "accomplished". Feels like its all starting to come together.

Than I got to go absolutely nuts in "THE PIT". I had to prove to myself that I could do it again after all that I've been through with the accident. And it was the most fun I've had in years! Got to have hundreds of other insane fans carry me over there heads who brought me face to face with the band again. I had so many friends in that audience it was overwhelming. And now thanks to technology I get to share that night with the world as I saw them! How freakin awesome is that!

 

Once upon a Halloween

 

Halloween, decided to strategically plan my voyage this time. Left work a lil' early then parked at Kaiser Bowls. Took the skateboard to Downtown to look at all the freaks that were out and about. Was freakin weird. Giant crayons walkin around with pokemon, 2 older folks with butts the size of yoga exercise balls dancing there heads off. Good times.

Had a chance to see this really interesting band, Art is... & the family band I think they were called. I guess this is the same guy who does those big ol' eagle flag paintings. But it was cool. So much love screamin outta one family, made me smile a bit.

Wanted to stay but promised a friend I'd go check him out in Waikiki playin with Crucible. So I skated back to my car, well, tried to than gave up and took the bus, but there was so much damn traffic goin' into Waikiki I pretty much gave up that idea. Riding the bus with the Joker, a giant baby, the Harlem globetrotters, an escaped convict, a samurai and Sweeney Todd and his twin brother was getting a lil' weird and not to mention louder than hell, so I got off and skated back to my car instead.

Went to Cirque Hawaii (the old IMAX theatre) to catch Crucible and Killswitch... uh I mean Phoenix Rose. Got there and to my surprise it turns out to be a Halloween Dance party in the main area, random skanks, drunken tourists and slutty nurses galore. And moved my way to the main stage where the opening band Technical Difficulties were doin some pretty good covers. You could tell they weren't quite used to the whole stage presence thing yet, but they did a good job. The sound was pretty awesome in there. I couldn't stand the fact that it was IMAX seating though. And you had to you know... sit. So I ran up to the front in this 5'x5' lil' standing area were the staircase was connecting to the theater and stood there and took pictures. Crucible did there thing as they always do, came out heavy, Had sound problems galore. Matt did what he could and rocked it as only he can.