Auditory Juggernauts Pt. V

 

11.12.09Disaster Kit has grown-up quite a bit since the last time I've seen them. Luckily not too much. Their playful antics onstage and ridiculous knowledge of music theory make them a crowd favorite all the while carving their names in stone as one of the island's most unique bands.

D-Kit (as their also known) has never been short of musical elements, or instruments, to add to their crazy fusion of rock, jazz & ska. With just about every member switching to multiple instruments mid-song, you would think it would just be an insane mess of notes. Over the last couple of months they have really widdled down their sound to a well-tuned machine causing an audience frenzy everywhere they play.

 

Auditory Juggernauts Pt. IV

 

11.12.09 There's something to be said about a band who's genuinely serious about their music. Phoenix Rose takes it to a whole new level. Their goal seems straight forward. Promote heavy music and destroy anyone else who tries to get in their way.

With bludgeoning metalcore riffs Phoenix Rose continually pushes the boundaries, with their live show, a veritable time bomb waiting to explode.

By this time of the night I was starting to get comfortable with the lighting in the venue and a bit more daring in my spots to shoot from. These guys are always fun to watch. Just remember to do some pre-show stretching before you get there.

 

Auditory Juggernauts Pt. III

 

11.12.09Technical Difficulty hit the stage proving that 3 guys can have just as much fun inducing neck pain in their audience as any 4 piece. I'm always stoked when a band isn't afraid to educate the public with their favorites while injecting their own personality into them. Going from Tool to Rage Against the Machine, they had the audience screaming along with fists pumping to their favorite rock hits as well as a few of their own.

 

Auditory Juggernauts Pt. II

 

11.12.09 As the night rolled on and my eardrums started to ring a bit, a few more bands tore up the stage. The awesome variety of sub-genres in the family of metal & rock is what makes Nemesis & Phoenix Rose Productions stand out amongst other promotional teams I've seen on the island. This show was no different. Each band took to the stage, with an equal amount of intensity and showmanship as the one that came before.

Upon Golgotha, killed it, while bouncing around in unison to their pummeling riffs.

With arms swinging and necks being pushed to their physical limit, Dawn of the Onslaught"s audience was the perfect example of how a hardcore audience can channel the energy of the music put before them and channel it back into something just as brutal as the screams coming from frontman, Damien Durazo's vocal chords.

As the night rolled on, I decided to keep things simple and start shooting primarily with the good ol' 50mm. Started building the courage to seek refuge in the mini "photo pit" which was actually just a small space between the barricade and the stage with no one in it. I got to avoid some of the flying elbows which is always good and compose a bit better than just shooting on the fly.

 

Auditory Juggernauts Pt. I

 

11.12.09 Bands who might have never been heard outside the walls of a sports bar are finally getting their chance at the spotlight. Pipeline Cafe has started to transform into a venue where local acts can experience quality sound playing on the same stage that has seen the likes of Children of Bodom, Testament & Skinlab.

Last Thursday, Pipeline Cafe hosted a night of eardrum-shattering riffs & friends sharing a mutual respect for each other's own brand of rock & metal. 9 bands, 1 night. Phoenix Rose productions put on a hell of a show. I have way too much fun having complete freedom to shoot as much as I want with no pressure except from myself.

The night surprised me with a few acts I might never have heard otherwise. The first act I caught was The Gods of HIFI. They brought some straight up rock, weaving seamlessly catchy hooks with a certain sing-alongyness that I really dug. Oddly enough when I walked into the venue I coulda sworn their music was being played on the speaker system. Nope, they were being played live. Good stuff.

Next up was Prevail. Catchy tunes, led by the extremely talented frontwoman, Janessa, with a voice that could tear a mountain in half if she wanted. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

 

Gettin Groovy...

 

11.08.09 Last Sunday I went to support some friends of mine at Dave & Busters at 101.9fm's Battle of the Bands. Its always fun to shoot around when I'm surrounded by friends and an awesome soundtrack.

I got there just in time to watch Phoenix Rose finish off their set and destroy some eardrums. Sadly got their a bit late and the crowd was already going nuts so it was a bit hard to sneak through the audience and shoot at that point. But I did manage to pull one off.

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Next up was the always fun and catchy as hell, Busekrus. I found me a nice spot in front of the audience to shoot from. The white material that made up the ceiling was perfect to bounce light off of from the external flash. When I'm a huge fan of the band its always a bit more challenging. The urge to jump around and headbang usually takes over even when I have my camera hanging from my neck. I get a bit more critical about my shots when I have a feeling I'll be seeing them on the bands myspace the next day... even the bad ones. Ooooh, the pressure.

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Check out Busekrus the next time they play. Their shows are always entertaining as hell and I guarantee by the end of the night those songs will be stuck in your head all the way home.

 

Girlfest presents, HPRD vs. L.A. Derby Dolls

11.07.09 I'm running out of adjectives to describe how ridiculously badass these Roller Derby bouts are. So I'll just put up some photos and get outta the way.

 
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If you haven't witnessed the women of roller derby tear it up yet, now's the time. Last Sunday, as a part of GirlFest, the women of Pacific Roller Derby faced off against the L.A. Derby Dolls in Hawaii Kai. Their bouts are growing in popularity and I have no doubt that in a few months you'll have to fight your way in to see these events.

Here's a small taste of what went down on Sunday!

Video courtesy of the one and only, Mike Orbito!

 

The Ballad of Buckethead

 

10.31.09 For the first time since Elementary school I actually got in the Halloween spirit and dressed up as my hero. I dawned the KFC bucket on my head in hommage to one of my favorite guitarists, the mighty Buckethead. Figured it was even better than wearing a band shirt to represent the music I love.

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My girlfriend and I strolled the streets of downtown with all the other crazy people. It was a good vibe. 5 stages of music going on all at once, costumed oddities extremely happy to be out showing off their creativity all the while enjoying the company of complete strangers.

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My costume was like a beacon to those who loved the same music as me. I did not anticipate that effect at all. Random people walked up to me with a "F*CK YEAH, IT'S BUCKETHEAD!" and would ask to get my picture taken with them. It was so easy to just approach people and chat. I guess in a way, just asking to get your photo taken with someone dressed up was a compliment that all their hard work was a success.

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So for the first time I entrusted other people with my 30D armed with the mighty 430ex speedlight. Figured if I had to ask strangers on the street to take photos it wouldn't be that easy for people to screw them up.

After getting our fill of downtown we headed to the beachwalk in Waikiki. I lucked out big time by finding my way around traffic in record speed and finding parking (a miracle in itself). It was different. We walked down Kalakaua, squished shoulder to shoulder with thousands of others. There was this underlying tension in the air. It was no longer as fun and carefree, it felt like everyone was just sizing up one another, a d*ck waving contest. (I even saw that, some guy was walking around with a fake one hanging out walking up to people)

I'd hate to say it but the ones who were causing the most trouble were the local kids, the "WallRats" strutting without shirts blatantly calling out slurs and offensive remarks to women. It was no longer the fun carefree vibe I felt in Downtown, I wanted to start smacking people every time someone made a KFC joke or called out Jabbawokkee. Yup, these were not my people. I was neck deep in ignorance and retardedness. It felt like high school, wait... more like intermediate. A fight even broke out on the beach, and like clockwork all these lil' pricks started sprinting towards them screaming "HOOO, get one beef! We go watch!" Man, talk about time warp.

I was sitting on a street corner next to a trash can waiting for my girlfriends' friends to show up and I got a surprise. Batman walked up to me, saw me sitting there, he looked me straight in the eye and said "WOOOHOOO, BUCKETHEAD! That is the most awesome thing I've seen all night. Hell yes, you're my hero for dressing up like that!" Bane also gave me a nod of approval. So Batman called me his hero. Awesome.

 

Caught in the Mosh

 

10.14.09 Last weekend Oahu got a rare musical treat as Finnish heavy metal band, Children of Bodom took the stage at Pipeline cafe. With no photo pass, I had to make the hard decision of either carrying my camera with me into the pit and risk having to smash it upside someone's head or enjoying the show like I normally do, while thrashing around like a crazy person with fists flying, no camera.

I had a plan, I would run in with my camera for the first couple of songs squish myself stage left and try to get a couple of shots then sprint to the back of the venue through the mosh pit and put my camera way. Then sprint back and join in the mosh. Luckily my girlfriend (and crazed Bodom fan) was up front and held on to my camera for a bit so I could let the music do what it does to me.

Pipeline cafe changed its lighting scheme as well as the whole stage area so it was like shooting in a backlit basement with someone flashing a strobe light in your eyes the whole time. Out of something like 200 photos, I pulled off a couple I was "okaaayy" with. Either way, its been like a week and my neck still hurts. This is the kind of stuff I live for. Running in circles in the Mosh with my brothers and sisters. Its like a baptizm by fire, or a whirlwind of bodies circling in controlled chaos to the music we love. In the end, if you're still standing with me, perhaps you helped me up or you saved me from buying a shoe I thought was lost forever, we're friends for life. Good show.

 

Analog

 

09.22.09 Went to check out the Thunderbirds at Hickam Air Force Base and to my surprise my bud, Kamuela Kahoano & his band Analog happened to be there tearing it up in the after-show tent.

A good day of photo practice. Didn't even try to shoot the actual airshow with my lil' zoom lens. It was a sight to behold but in the end, I actually enjoyed just hanging out watching all the interesting people taking shade under the aircrafts until Analog started.

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Kamuela is always a site to behold when he's doing his thing onstage. And its always a joy (and challenge) to shoot my friends doing what they love. Analog is always fun to watch. Catch these guys before they get to big and you can't afford tickets.

 

Beneath the surface

 

Do you ever stop and wonder what the names of the hundreds of people that pass through our daily lives are? Everyone has a story. If we could just look past stereotypes and what we see on the surface you really see the beauty in people.

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It was a normal day at Magic Island. I went for a quick swim close to sunset. And saw a young girl running around with her camera taking photos of every palm tree within my peripheral view. She looked as if she was witnessing the most beautiful thing she's ever seen. And then I realized she was taking the exact photos I took years ago under the same tree at the same angle.

It was like someone kicked me upside the head and woke me up. I had the urge to grab my camera and just shoot random things like I used to. I started shooting a tree. And noticed in the corner of my viewfinder a man riding his bike towards me that I recognized.

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I had not seen him for over 2 years. Every beach has their own regulars. For a while I was "capoeira guy." This guy on the bike used to be "the dude with the headphones that used to do headstands against a tree." I spoke to him briefly all those years ago. He introduced himself as Chan. When he spoke to me he seemed so confident about his life. He was determined to teach me that "you have to live everyday like its your last."

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Now 2 years later he showed up again where I was shooting. I actually hesitated walking up to him. Maybe he wouldn't remember me? That would be awkward... than I thought, "I don't think that way. I never have. Just go say Hi." So I did. As soon as he saw me approach he gave me one glance, smiled and said "Long time no see, Raul!"

We talked about life and pursuing our dreams. And he told me about his hardships and than he told me "No matter what you do, the mind has to be strong. You have to be confident about who you are or you are nothing!" Then he told me about his life torn from the world. (which I won't go into out of respect) Which I couldn't believe. And all the while he kept calling me "kid." And said "YOU still young, you get long life ahead you." Then he told me his age. 52 years old. And here he was in full splits doing a headstand while blasting Metallica through his headphones upside down, talking with me. So I asked if he would mind if I took a few photos. He told me "Man, it's your art. Do you're thing.

Incredible. If you just look past the surface, everyone has a story. The world is full of them, sometimes you just gotta stop and listen.

 

Kicking some serious asphalt

 

Yeah I know bad pun, either way it was yet another crazy day out at the Derby. This time our very own Pacific Roller Derby girls met up with San Diego's Derby Dolls out at Hawaii Kai.

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It was the maiden voyage of my new Canon 30D. So I was all giddy with excitement to test her out and watch one of my closest friends, Collidescope tear it up once again on some asphalt.

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For more info check out: www.PacificRollerDerby.com

 

Beating the blues... with the blues.

 

08.29.09 Like I've said a hundred other times on this site, Friends of Adam brings a dedicated audience wherever they play. It so happens that one of them happened to be the current dean of the College of Education at UH. She put on a fundraiser up at the school and invited her favorite blues bands to play.

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Time Travel

 

08.22.09 Yeah, I know. A lil' late on this one. Here's some photos from the Led Zepplica tribute show put on by my friend Brett of Big Dawg/Black Prizm at Pipeline Cafe.

It was a full house at Pipeline Cafe with good friends on and off stage. Friends of Adam opened the night to a ridiculously hyped audience anxiously awaiting to relive the 70's or just trying to imagine they were born at the time. Either way, they were happy and screaming their heads off.

And Big Dawg was welcomed with open arms and fists in the air as they brought that classic rock thunder to a grateful audience.

And then came the main event. Led Zepplica. They were quite amazing. Deep down I tried not to think of it as a "tribute" show. I imagined it as time travel to a place I'll never see. Its more fun that way.

 

Kamuela Kahoano preview

 

08.09.09 He is the man. If you have a chance to catch this incredible songwriter, don't even think twice, just go. I met him a few years ago at one of his acoustic solo gigs back at Local Motion in Waikiki. When I'm inspired I won't hide it, I'll walk right up and say it. And yes, Kamuela inspires the hell outta me.

He gigs daily, sometimes 2-3 times a day actually. If you take a look at his schedule, he's a busy man. Trying hard to pursue what he loves. The dude lives and breathes music. When he's not swooning tourists with his tunes out in Waikiki, he's screaming his head off fronting local fav's Analog.

 

Chasing the White Rabbit

 
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08.08.09 I got a chance to catch the legendary Darby Slick tear it up with his double-necked guitar again. This time at Pipeline Cafe backed by the always entertaining Friends of Adam.

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Sadly their wasn't much of a crowd to witness this man in action. But those who were there got a rare chance to catch one of the most exciting superhero team ups ever. Darby Slick even did HIS rendition of "Somebody To Love" and even gave us some back history of the song with his previous band The Great Society and after that he did his own psychedelic "White Rabbit" with the local blues legends.

 

Can a horse get the blues?

 

07.27.09 It was a nice dusty day at Mokuleia Polo Field. The sun was blaring, the financially well-off were stumbling about in their drunken stupor and the blues were the soundtrack of the day. Just another crazy gig with the islands most riot-inducing blues band, Friends of Adam.

The sun was setting slowly over the horizon which provided perfect lighting for me to play with. To be honest I never knew Polo was played here. As the band was quick to point out, it did feel a bit odd. I had an inkling that I belonged to an entirely different social class than the majority of the folks here. It was like walking into an Abercrombie & Fitch ad. The women were dressed pristinely as if they were attending a royal ball and all the dudes there had that "Well, I can afford a horse and a BMW" look to them. Yeah, it was a tiny bit weird.

But it was fun. The audience was quite receptive to the music and provided me with a great deal of personal entertainment (some had a bit too much wine which made it hilarious) While trying to shoot I had to dodge a few dogs that were running around through the bands set, I saw one keeping Justin (drummer) company for half a song. Overall it was a really fun day of shooting, great music and awesome friends.

 

When I grow up...

 

07.26.09 My lil' niece, Erin, invited me to check out the "most incredible awesome art show ever" at Grace Bible Church last Sunday. There's something about children's art work that just gets me. So much creativity in such tiny bodies. It was incredible.

I rolled out of bed on Sunday morning to find my niece standing at the foot of my bed, bouncing around like she had chocolate cake for breakfast, poised and ready in a kung-fu pose, ready to tackle me. She screamed "ARE YOU COMING TO MY ART SHOW? Huh, huh, huh, Are Ya? Are Ya? Are Ya? Pahhhhleeeeaaassee!" The first thing I thought as she woke me up on that morning was how much she sounded like me when I was running around screaming at people about the Dept's art show at Borders.

When I got there I had to step back in awe of all the energy that was up on those walls. So many of us lose site of that inner artist. We forget that as children we had fun because it just felt good. We ran in circles just to see if we'd get dizzy and made a mess because it "looked cool." It was a sense of pride to see how far we could get into the living room caked in mud without getting caught. It was fun. No other reason. There was no voice in our head telling us the things we created were ugly or that it's so immature back then. It takes years to get some of that back. I even had to go through 5 years of paid-schooling to become "Creative" again. Geez.

We could all learn a lesson from this. Its okay to get messy. Its okay to sing because we feel like it. Its all about living in the moment. Sometimes we just need to close our eyes and stick our hands in that paint and see what happens.

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