My daughter is a huge fan of a band called “The Buttertones.” In fact I even like them! My wife and I promised to take her to a Buttertones concert – and finally they were playing not too far away in a venue allowing 16+ so my daughter and a friend could go see.
They were playing at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz- I was unfamiliar with the venue. I checked the Catalyst’s website and was pleasently surprised they allowed photography. That meant not only would I have to leave my camera gear in the car in a seedy neighborhood, but I could have a go at some concert photos.
Another pleasant surprise about the Catalyst, it really reminded me of the concerts I’d seen back in the day like at the Warfield in San Francisco. Perhaps my most memorable concert there was in the early 1990’s where my favorite band of the time, The Pogues played without Shane MacGowen, but was substituted by Joe Strummer of the Clash. London Burning was much better with accordian! But in any case, prices were reasonable, and musicians and the venue cared as much about music and their fans as they did about profit.
While I’m writing here, let me lecture the young folk of the music viewing world. If you want to be right up front in full view of your favorite band: watch the friggin’ opeing band. In this case it was Tracy Bryant, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed their performance. But it’s not only polite, but you then are not showing up late and having to try and shove your way to the front.
Luckily I did see Tracy Bryant, and managed to stand right next to the stage. I stood my ground as the newcommers tried to push their way in front of me. Plus I’m 6’2″ and was wearing boots that gave me another inch or two of elevation.
So I managed to get some good closeups. Lighting was tricky for photography, and many of my images were shot wide open (f1.8 mostly with the 85mm Zeiss Batis) at ISO’s in the 3200-6400 range. I opted to convert the resulting images to monochrome. The noisy high speed meshed well with monochrome Tri-x look. And that fits well with the sound of The Buttertones. They have a very analogue sound that seems to reference Los Angeles bands of the 1960’s and 70’s.
Seeing that I still shoot lots of film, I’d love to get these guys on real film! Who knows, maybe one day I’ll become a music photographer?
See all the photos here