I took the day off from work today, in anticipation of really needing it. Last night I went to the AFI concert at The Roseland in Portland. For those unfamiliar with them, they’re a punk/alternative band. It was just fantastic, one of the highest energy bands I have ever seen. Hunter, the bass player, and Jade, lead guitar were just all over the stage. Davey, the lead singer, is so dramatic and has such a great presence on stage. He even jumped out into the front rows of the crowd for a little crowd surfing, and periodically would get someone else up to the mike (via being pushed up by the crowd) to sing a refrain. They really involve the audience. It was a great mix of all their albums, including several cuts off the latest, Crash Love. All photos are raw, unretouched, and mine.
And for the first time in my life, I found myself being pulled into the mosh pit. Now there’s an experience! If I hadn’t been worried about my camera, I might have actually hung around and checked it out, but as it was I decided discretion was the better part of valor, and headed to the back of the crowd. The security guard had me plant myself on the stanchion holding the chain dividing the up/down directions of the staircase to the balcony, where I was allowed to shoot pictures to my heart’s content. I was a little worried I was going to be told ‘no pictures’ and would have to run back to the car with the camera, but the security guard at the entrance sort of looked at the camera as she patted me down (at no extra charge 😉 ) but said not a word about the camera. I could have danced for joy.
We had general admission tickets, but headed upstairs to the balcony where we (most of us, except our driver who is a straightedger meaning he doesn’t drink, smoke, or use any form of drugs) got some beers, then wandered over to the standing section in the balcony (no booze on the main floor). I got a good spot at the railing in front, and hoped that would be a good spot to brace myself with the camera, but it turned out not to be so great. I took a good number of photos of the opening act, Ceremony, and was extremely disappointed that none of those turned out at all well. Some are marginal, but nothing even close to ‘good.’ Too bad, they were one of the best opening acts I’ve ever seen.
At one point Davey asked the audience how long it had been since they’d played Portland. When he was told seven years, his response was “I am so sorry!” It was packed to the rafters; if it wasn’t a total sell-out, it had to be very close.
Most of the photos of Hunter are just a blur. Even when he’s not moving around the stage, he’s still moving. I’m sure he’s violating several laws of physics… Here’s my adorable Hunter, I just love him. He’s so cute in interviews. He’s intense on stage, but kind of shy when being interviewed.
Jade was just awarded “Guitarist of the Year” for 2009 by Alternative Press Magazine. Well done, Jade! He’s hard to photograph, too, but I managed to get a couple halfways decent shots.
So, I didn’t do any crowdsurfing, but the rest of the people I was with did. Maybe next time…