2016, you were a musical beast. This year was full of loud guitars, heart melting tunes and laughter. It's hard to narrow down my favorites*, but here we go:
*Check out the bonus frames at the bottom of the post for more eye candy goodness
Favorite Live PERFORMANCES
1. TY SEGALL & THE MUGGERS AT KEXP (JANUARY 21ST)
It's no secret that Ty Segall & The Muggers was my favorite KEXP session that I've ever shot. Turns out it was also the first live in-studio broadcast from the new home at Seattle Center. Highlights: Ty playing with the video crew, the twisted humor, the character of baby Sloppo, and of course the super group of fantastically talented musicians. The Muggers band consisted of Kyle Thomas aka ARAH-AR-AR-AR-FAH on guitar (King Tuff), Mikal Cronin aka The Phillipines on the bass (Mikal Cronin), Evan Burrows aka Keyser Söze on the drums (Wand), Emmett Kelly aka Knick-Knack-Patty-Wack on the guitar (The Cairo Gang), and Cory Hanson aka *high shrill noise* on keyboards and guitar (Wand). (Click to see clip of introductions.)
While it's not for everyone (hello creepy baby mask), I've watched this session over and over again and it always cracks me up. You can hear quiet laughing from Cheryl during the interview, and Luke's camera definitely shakes a few times.
Favorite Song: "Breakfast Eggs"
2. JAPANDROIDS at The Cobalt in Vancouver, BC (October 5th)
While I didn't shoot the show (these are my iPhone shots), Luke and I traveled up to Vancouver on my birthday to drink whiskey and catch the first JAPANDROIDS show in three years. As soon as the guys launched into a new song "Arc of Bar" my heart swelled and I knew I was at home. A small dark venue, loud music, and bass in my chest. We also experienced the friendliest mosh pit ever because yes, Canada.
Favorite Song(s): "Arc of Bar", "The House That Heaven Built)
3. Thee Oh Sees at KEXP (November 25th)
View Full Photo Set
2016 was the year I dove deeper into psychedelic rock. I saw the Thee Oh Sees for the first time back in 2012 and was stoked to shoot their performance in KEXP's Gathering Space. I shot over 500 frames during their 5 song set and didn't want them to stop playing. I'll see these guys live any chance I get.
Favorite Song(s): "Dead Man’s Gun", "Plastic Plant"
4. Diarrhea Planet at KEXP (April 6th)
View Full Photo Set + View Full Live Performance
Four Guitars + One Bass + One Drummer = Shred shred shred. Their energy is contagious, hilarious and so much fun. Bonus points: They played an amazing cover of "Thunderstruck" during their live show that night that set off a chain reaction of Luke and I listening to it often for the rest of the year.
Favorite Song: "Ain't A Sin To Win"
5. Daughter at Showbox Market (March 19th)
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Every time I listened to Daughter, it breaks my heart in the most beautiful way. Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli, and Remi Aguilella create a vast soundscape and form worlds with their instruments. Everything about their show at the Showbox was stunning, from the lights to the vulnerable vocals of Elena.
Favorite Song(s): "New Ways", "Youth"
6. Flight of the Conchords at Marymoor Park (June 22nd)
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Being a part of the crowd for Flight of the Conchords was just as much fun as photographing the comedic duo. While their show has been off the air for a couple of years, Bret and Jemaine brought new songs about literally being a seagull, a troubling father-son relationship, and wooing women, in addition to their classics. The camaraderie of the audience made the whole experience a big warm fuzzy laugh fest, and also their "most rock and roll" show on their tour. There is also something magical about singing along to "Business Time" when it is in fact Wednesday.
Favorite Song(s): "The Seagull", "Bowie", "Business Time"
7. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard at the Sasquatch! Music Festival (May 30th)
While there were several highlights shooting the Sasquatch! Music Festival, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard took the cake. Their continuous 30 minute set (maybe it was even 45 minutes) blew my mind - no breaks in between songs and no loss of energy from the guys. The crowd kept growing too as more people got sucked into the vortex of King Gizzard's awesomeness. I'm pretty sure they're all robots.
Favorite Song(s): "Gamma Knife", "Cellophane"
8. Mitski at KEXP + The Crocodile (July 14th)
View Full Photo Set from KEXP + View Full Photo Set from The Crocodile
Mitski's Puberty 2 was one of the most unique albums to come out in 2016. Filled with melancholy and cutting lyrics, Mitski's performances felt like she's inviting you into her deepest secrets and dreams.
Favorite Song: "Your Best American Girl"
9. Sufjan Stevens at the Sasquatch! Music Festival (May 30th)
Suf, oh Suf. I have waited ten years to photograph Sufjan Steven's live performance and he delivered in only the way Sufjan could. He and his crew brought their weird colorful A-Game out to the gorge and even performed the opus that is "Impossible Soul". During the 25 minute song Sufjan transformed from a wrecked man, into a giant disco ball robot, and ended in a joyful balloon suit. Never change Sufjan, never change.
Favorite Song(s): "Impossible Soul", "I Want To Be Well"
10. Wand at KEXP (July 20th)
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Ending my highlights is another psych rock band Wand. Wand's in studio swelled and ripped, and again I found myself surrounded by a sea of guitars. Can I just be in the studio every day?
Favorite Song(s): "Fire on the Mountain (I-II-III)", "Growing Up Boys"
Bonus Favorite Frames!
I couldn't end this post with sharing images from just ten live performances, so here's a mix from live shows and portraits that I shot in 2016. Thanks for all the memories and I can't wait to get in the studio and photo pits in 2017!