The Seattle grunge scene of the 90’s was a huge, formative part of my teens and musical upbringing. Few voices are more symbolic of it than Chris Cornell’s. Nevertheless, I was never a big fan of Soundgarden… I was an Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam guy.
…and then, a couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to photograph Chris Cornel during one of his solo tours.
That was a game changer for me. That man’s voice is the real deal. I now saw what millions of others had seen in him – a soulful voice with incredible range – both in octaves and emotions, packaged inside a frontman that was supremely cool – never too charismatic, always paying attention.
Last night Soundgarden played a show in Vegas. They changed up their encore song on the fly, opting to perform Led Zeppelin’s “In My Time Of Dying”. For now I’ll call it Chris’s suicide note.
You will be missed, Mr. Cornell.
IN MY TIME OF DYING
by Led Zeppelin
In my time of dying, want nobody to mourn
All I want for you to do is take my body home
Well, well, well, so I can die easy [X2]
Jesus, gonna make up my dyin’ bed.
Meet me, Jesus, meet me. Meet me in the middle of the air
If my wings should fail me, Lord. Please meet me with another pair
Well, well, well, so I can die easy [X2]
Jesus, gonna make up.. somebody, somebody…
Jesus gonna make up… Jesus gonna make you my dyin’ bed
Oh, Saint Peter, at the gates of heaven… Won’t you let me in
I never did no harm. I never did no wrong
Oh, Gabriel, let me blow your horn. Let me blow your horn
Oh, I never did, did no harm.
I’ve only been this young once. I never thought I’d do anybody no wrong
No, not once.
Oh, I did somebody some good. Somebody some good…
Oh, did somebody some good. I must have did somebody some good…
Oh, I believe I did
I see the smiling faces
I know I must have left some traces
And I see them in the streets
And I see them in the field
And I hear them shouting under my feet
And I know it’s got to be real
Oh, Lord, deliver me
All the wrong I’ve done
You can deliver me, Lord
I only wanted to have some fun.
Hear the angels marchin’, hear the’ marchin’, hear them marchin’,
hear them marchin’, the’ marchin’
Oh my Jesus… [repeat]
Oh, don’t you make it my dyin’, dyin’, dyin’…
My photos of Chris Cornell’s performance at The Depot in Salt Lake City, Utah. 25 April 2009:
It’s the best of times to be a music fan. I love Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist feature. Every week (usually) I fall in love with a new band. My latest discovery is a band out of New York called TAUK. If STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector Nine) and Porcupine Tree made funky love at a Phish concert, the baby would be named TAUK. I had the opportunity to shoot their 24 March 2017 performance at The State Room in Salt Lake City, with support by Yak Attack from Portland.
Look, Listen & Like:
Portland’s Yak Attack played Salt Lake City on 24 March 2017 in support of TAUK. Yak Attack is very RUSH-like in that they are a three piece that generates big sound – albeit more groovy and danceable than my dear, sweet, beloved RUSH. They describe themselves as “Live-looping meets House meets Breakbeat meets Electro-funK meets Drum&Bass meets Trip Hop” ….and I’d say, if the music thing ever falls through, they should consider getting into the description writing business.
Look, Like & Listen:
In The Venue
supporting acts: Lydia, From Indian Lakes
article and photos by Paul Duane
Anberlin performed to a full house at In The Venue in Salt Lake City on 15 October 2013. The performance was part of a co-headlining tour with The Maine,with tour support by Lydia and From Indian Lakes. Anberlin was here on June 28th for their acoustic tour and commanded a very healthy crowd. How many bands can manage to return 3 ½ months later to find an equally robust crowd waiting for them again?
Whereas the last tour was a more mellow acoustic show, Tuesday’s show was plugged in and turned up to 11. I interviewed Anberlin’s frontman, Stephen Christian prior to the show on Tuesday. Regarding the high octane setlist, Stephen said “This is the most fluid I feel like our setlist has ever been, at least in the last 5 years. There’s not a song I’m disappointed we are playing. The whole thing ebbs and flows . I’m not sure there’s one standout track that makes that for me, but right now this setlist is awesome. We haven’t got a chance to play “Dance Dance Christa Paffgen” which comes off our second record… we haven’t had a chance to play it on this tour yet, and I’m hoping for it tonight. If that’s the case, that will be my favorite song.”
We Owe This To Ourselves
Day Late Friend
Unwinding Cable Car
The Other side
Feel Good Drag
Anberlin plays Utah very regularly, perhaps more than any other national touring band. Stephen gushed about why they play here so often: “Honestly, it’s probably the most… unbelievable crowd. SLC is going to be up there (in the top 2 or 3 cities), if not our favorite. It’s magical, unbelievable, it’s just a staple. We are co-headlining with the maine and we were like, “I bet you are stoked to get back to SLC, and they said, “Nah, we actually don’t do that well there” That’s unbelievable! I thought Everyone does well there!”
Utah loves Anberlin. Hard. After the first few minutes of their performance, Stephen and bandmates seemed taken back by the thunderous cheering from the audience – they didn’t bask long though, getting right back to the business at hand. Throughout the night the crowd’s singing matched the band’s volume. During “City Electric”, Stephen gave some love back to the crowd, substituting in “Salt Lake City’s electric tonight” during one of the choruses of “City Electric”, much to the crowd’s delight.
Anberlin released an LP called “Vital” in 2012; On the day of the show the band released an album called “Devotion” which is a re-issue of all the tracks found on Vital along with B-sides and live tracks from the 2013 acoustic tour. Stephen explained why the band chose to reissue the material: “Universal Republic has been our label for the last 3 records. When Vital came out we felt like it was a very soft push. Universal was very honest with us and said “Listen, you can stay on Universal as long as you want, but, we’re only going to push you this hard. It’s going to be very soft releases from here on out. We like you guys but we’re going in a different direction. The label has artists like Taylor Swift, Jack Johnson and these massive bands…. and then there’s Anberlin. What an awesome experience to have worked with Universal Republic but we want to see if somebody else will take Vital. We believe in the record. Critics and fans alike [believe in it]…. we didn’t want to lose that. We put way too much work into it. It’s like a work of art: the artist spends hours and hours painting it, and it takes almost a year to craft it, and then somebody at the gallery is like, “Were’ not going to show it. But if you sell it online, then that’s good for you.” This company out of Tampa , this indie label said, “We’ll buy you out of your contract with Universal, we’ll buy Vital, we believe in it that much. We love the record, we know there are singles, we know the band has history, we know you can sell records.” It’s not a permanent switch, it’s just a parenthesis of our career. We have no idea where we’re going next. After this release of Devotion, we can go back to Universal, we can resign with this Big3 [record label], it doesn’t matter. Devotion is kind of a parenthesis in our career and the fact that we knew we had to push Vital and Big3 wanted to push it as well.”
Cutesy couples constituted a large portion of the audience, and there’s reason for it. Anberlin writes catchy, heartfelt love songs that have real staying power. Though incurably romantic, their songs eschew candy coated takes on love in favor for the nuances, layers, and the often complicated endings that love brings. When asked about the romanticism of Anberlin songs, Stephen Christian gushed. “I am completely a romantic at heart. I like to pretend like I’m a fighter with my flannel shirt and my tattoos…. I hate to admit that I was that guy in high school that liked poetry … E.E. Cummings, T.S. Eliot, I liked it all. The problem is, with romance in movies and cartoons and Disney and all this stuff is there’s a ‘happy ever after’ – and it’s not. Anybody that’s been in love for an extended period of time or made a vow or a commitment knows that its not all love . There are moments when that feeling dissipates and it becomes a choice. Sure, you can feel it again, and it’s fine, but it’s not going to be this lifelong feeling of giddiness where you’re floating where nothing else matters and money doesn’t’ matter and life doesn’t matter and credit cards don’t matter and the mortgages and kids and whatever else that comes in your life…. it’s not this colossal floating. There are moments: pinnacles and peaks and valleys and caverns… songs like, for instance, “Inevitable”, where it talks about “we end up hurting the worst the ones that we love” That is absolutely true. If you truly love them and if they truly love you . If you love each other more than anyone on this whole world , you’ve pulled down every wall . They’ve seen your chest and your insides and your anatomy and physiology and that means they have a direct access to hurt the crap out of you. That person that you love the most is the most easy for you to attack and hurt and vice versa . I try not to make the love songs where it’s just like “we’re all just going to float on”. Even in “I’d Like To Die” talks about the inevitable death . There has to be a natural balance to it all . I’m not going to be in a Disney movie were the prince kisses you and, holy crap, you’ve beat a witch and you live happily ever after – because the witch keeps coming back. She keeps coming back over and over in different forms . It might be a dwarf. It might be the prince. It might be whatever. It’s going to come, it’s going to happen. I stole the line from Dylan Thomas [for the name of their 2010 album name] where he says “dark is the way, light is a place”. Same difference with love. You are going to come into dark moments. If you truly love that person, if you have truly made those commitments, if you truly believe those vows, then it’ll be back . Light is a place. there is still hope. There is still love. “I’d like to die” [is the ultimate Anberlin love song] because it’s the most sincere, earnest, real.”
Speaking of relationships, we talked about the band and what it’s like to manage the artistic whims of 5 very talented guys with varying musical proclivities over the long haul: “I do [get that itch to explore outside the Anberlin sonic tradition] but I think that bands that get that itch need to start side projects. Within the 5 of us, there are 3 side projects: a punk rock band, an indie rock band, and whatever my project is. I don’t feel like you should stray. People found you because of that formula. If you are going to switch the formula to be unrecognizable, just quit. Start a new band. You are ruining and tainting a name, and the fans aren’t coming with you. If you ever want to go back, now you are just fighting an uphill battle. Take a year off, go start a side project, tour with it, come on back when you’ve got a dose of reality and you can stop being cool. For us in Anberlin, we do have a sonic tradition… there has to be a moment of evolution, adaptation, to wherever the climate is shifting or wherever you feel you should be shifting with the natural progression of musicianship. Hopefully you are becoming a better songwriter, a better listener, a better writer. All those things better take place or you’re just re writing that same first record over and over and over. As soon as you get sidetracked from who you are or who you were, then it’s over.”
I’ve been attending and photographing Anberlin shows for seven years. I’ve watched the love affair between Utah and Anberlin develop. This is more than just a fling; I think we want to marry Anberlin. The energy of the crowd on Tues night confirmed my suspicion that the passion is still hot. As I wrapped up the interview on the tour bus prior to the show, I asked Stephen what message he’d like to leave with the SLC fans. In his characteristically humble, anti-rockstar, gracious manner, he spouted “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Every now and then I get to photograph a legend of sorts. Tonight was one such night: I was able to photograph (and briefly meet) Adam Ant and The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse. I cannot claim to be well versed in Adam Ant’s catalog beyond the handful of 80’s radio hits and his new single, Cool Zombie, I really enjoyed the show. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ant was asked how he classifies the genre of his music, pointing out that he often gets lumped into the new romantic era. He identifies more closely with the post punk era, citing the Sex Pistols as an influence. Tuesday night’s performance certainly was congruent with Ant’s proclaimed punk roots; the band rocked hard: 2 drummers. A bass player wielding a Fender P-bass thumping on a classic Ampeg SVT stack. A guitarist rocking a Fender Telecaster through a Marshal half stack. Eccentric front man dressed like a pirate, belting out pitch perfect vocals. These are the basic ingredients of rock ‘n roll, kids, and Ant did deliver. 80’s post punk is often synth driven and characterized by glossy production that was so popular in the 80’s. Ant’s band breathed contemporary rock life into the songs while doing them historical justice.
I did it all for the nookie…
I’m not ashamed (although barely not so) to admit that Limp Bizkit’s music has been the soundtrack of certain parts of my life. What red blooded male doesn’t have a little ‘red hat’ in ’em? Sure, Fred Durst is someone that many love to hate, or hate to love… but I think there’s something cathartic about the way Limp Bizkit throws down. Gotta love the angst ridden white male rage.
I’ve never seen them play live, so I was thrilled at the opportunity to photograph their 19 May performance in Salt Lake City. Limp Bizkit is touring with a mostly original lineup; DJ Lethal left the band and has been replaced by a touring road musician who was neatly tucked away behind the bass cabinets of bassist Sam Rivers. Drummer John Otto smiled through out the whole set, his beats relentlessly driving the Bizkit sound. Bassist Sam Rivers, front man Fred Durst, and guitarist / resident freak show Wes Borland all seemed a bit tired from the road, though they definitely still delivered a musically solid performance.
They played all of the hits one would expect: Nookie, Break Stuff, Rearranged, Golden Cobra, including a few covers: George Michaels’ “Faith”, “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who, and to the delight of the audience, a reasonably scorching rendition of “Killing In The Name Of” by Rage Against The Machine.
Check out some photos from the show:
Photographs from the Atlas Genius show in Salt Lake City at The Complex, 22 March 2013. Atlas Genius played a stellar opening set for Imagine Dragons.
Imagine Dragons ruled the stage at The Complex on 22 March 2013. Photographic evidence follows.
First a few of my thoughts on the show…
The tickets had been sold out long before the day of the concert. I was not terribly surprised, as everyone from my 13 year old daughter to people my age like Imagine Dragons. The opening band, Atlas Genius, set the bar very high for the evening. Atlas Genius hails from Australia and seems to be in step with a very cool trend of modern rock that takes lots of notes from the post-punk new wave bands of the 80’s. I really like what I’m hearing on stages these days. Atlas Genius had the massive crowd’s attention, which is a major feat for an opening act.
Enter Imagine Dragons.
I stood in the photo pit waiting for the band to start. The lights fell, the intro started, and soon the band was on stage. A wall of sound pummeled me in the back of the head that was far louder than the audio from the sound system. When a crowd roars like that, it’s hard to deny that something special is happening on the stage. Dan Reynolds (vocals) both basked in the waves of sound coming from the audience between lines. His performance had a visceral quality that extends beyond his performance on their debut record, Night Visions. Abundant auxiliary percussion, including orchestral bass drum and toms, added to the explosive dynamic of the band’s performance. It’s a shame that produced studio music so often fails to convey the power of such moments.
Though Imagine Dragons’ Wikki page claims they originate from Las Vegas, the band’s early stages took place in Utah. Dan Reynolds (vocals) and Wayne Sermon (guitar) are from Utah, and both call it home. I’ve been to countless concerts, but seldom do I seen auditoriums full of fans glued to the stage, not a single eyeball distracted. It’s easy to feel like Utah isn’t a hot spot on the entertainment industry map, but tonight was evidence that some really excellent things do, indeed, originate here in the Beehive.
I’ll be honest. I totally judged this guy before hearing a single note. Seriously, look at him:
He looks like Napoleon Dynamite, raised on an Amish farm and gone hipster during Rumshpringa. I’m not terribly fond of the hipster movement, so anyone that shows up in glasses that look like something my little sister wore in 1983, automatically has an uphill climb with me. (Pretty ironic considering that I dress like a circus sideshow. ) I was certain that the next 2 hours (hopefully only 70 min, if we are lucky), would be like fingernails on a chalkboard.
A modest crowd energetically swelled with cheers when the lights dimmed.
The bass player walked out, strapped on a 4 string, and started plunking a simple line. From the first note, I started smiling. The next 5 notes from the bass player made it clear to me that I was wildly mistaken about the goofy looking guy that was about to hit the stage.
The guitarist and drummer came out on stage. They proceeded to climb deep into the pocket and did not leave for the next 2 hours. Soon the hammond B-3 was manned. Lastly, the other keyboard player came on stage, took the mic, and roused the crowd to welcome Allen Stone.
As he took his seat, Allen came bounding onto the stage, launching the band into a couple of numbers that pulled from soul, R&B, and a bit of rock at times. He started singing and bestowed the revelation on all of us: Allen must be the reincarnated spirit of a would-have-been legendary soul singer from the 70’s that was given a second chance at glory. Stone is making very, very good on that chance.
Allen Stone ministered to that crowd with an evangelistic zeal that can only come from someone who is positive he’s found the truth. This pastor preached the gospel of smiling and dancing like a fool. Or a pro. Standing still was his only “thou shalt not”… but even then, his punishment for such a transgression was to bellow out even more tunes that were very hard to hold still around.
A great cover tune is one of the hallmarks of a true artist, because it forces one to express one’s self on the canvas of a song that everyone knows. Allen Stone and band completely owned “Tell Me Something Good” by Chaka Khan. (written by Stevie Wonder, but made famous by Khan), and then reinvented Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?”.
It does not matter what kind of music you think you like – you WILL have fun at an Allen Stone show. Next time he’s in your town, bring a fun date, and Allen Stone will make sure that you’ll walk away with fantastic memories.
See the rest of the concert photos here: http://www.paulduanephoto.com/2012/11/allen-stone-concert/