2012: A Year In Pictures: Dec. 2011- March 2012

A series of highlights, as well as a chronological accounting.

At the beginning: shows I went to after I had completed last year’s year-end roundup but before the end of the year.

Naked Fiction, Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 30, 2011
we are the Last Men On Earth, Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, Dec. 30, 2011
Pollux, Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, Dec. 30, 2011
Wounded Lion, Brick & Mortar, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 31, 2011
White Fence, Brick & Mortar, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 31, 2011
Fresh & Onlys, Brick & Mortar, San Francisco, Dec. 31, 2011
Thee Oh Sees, Brick & Mortar, San Francisco, Dec. 31, 2011
And now, 2012, starting my first show of the year at the Lakeside Lounge:
Mud, Blood & Beer, Lakeside Lounge, NY, NY, January 5, 2012
Crown Jewel Defense, Irving Plaza, New York, NY, February 4, 2012
Foxy Shazam, Irving Plaza, New York, NY, February 4, 2012
Justin Hawkins, The Darkness, Irving Plaza, New York, NY, February 4, 2012
The Darkness, Irving Plaza, New York, NY, February 4, 2012
Built By Stereo, Irving Plaza, New York, NY, February 17, 2012
TESLA, Irving Plaza, New York, NY, February 17, 2012
Iridesense, Irving Plaza, New York, NY, March 10, 2012
Saw Doctors, Irving Plaza, New York, NY, March 10, 2012

Postcards from the Pit: The Darkness / Foxy Shazam / Crown Jewel Defense, Irving Plaza, 2/4/2012


This past Saturday night I went to the third show of The Darkness’ current North American tour, which is their first visit to these shores after a six year hiatus. It was an amazing evening; one of the many highlights of my time in the pit was the multiple occasions the dudes around me started air-guitaring along with the band.

The setlist was a mixture of old and new songs, and included the entirety of their first record, Permission to Land. Highlights: One Way Ticket, Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us, Get Your Hands off My Woman, Love Is Only A Feeling, Everybody Have a Good Time and, of course, in I Believe In a Thing Called Love. If the new tunes are anything to go by, the record they’re working on right now is going to be a banger. I can’t wait to hear the rest of it.

And now, some pictures, starting with the first opener, Crown Jewel Defense, who have a record out.

IMG_4957Taylor Hood and Steve Ford


IMG_4942Nick Clinch

Next up was Foxy Shazam, who have become somewhat ubiquitous (omnipresent?) in my concert-going adventures in the last couple of years or so.

The first time I saw them was during their own headlining tour, where the first show I attended concluded with Eric Nally literally half-naked and swinging from the lighting rig on the ceiling.

But more recently I’ve caught them as an opening act for Panic! at the Disco and Courtney Love. In all instances, they have put on a SHOW (all caps totally appropriate) and the audience reacted with either enthusiasm or bafflement (Panic!) or else just plain bafflement (Courtney Love).

This time around, they won over a restive crowd within one song. The dudes around me especially appreciated Eric Nally sticking his head into the drums, and also his mid-song headstand. (I’m fond of that move myself.) I got approximately three decent pictures of them, though at this point I think all y’all know what they look like.

Anyway, here is a Eric Nally singing while bathed in moody green light:
And then it was time for The Darkness. Here was where everyone (including me) really got going and started jumping, singing, and waving their hands in the air. There were one or two crowd-surfers, and at the end, someone on the balcony climbed down onto a riser and jumped into the crowd. It was complete chaos, and it was glorious.

IMG_4993Dan and Justin Hawkins


IMG_5003Justin Hawkins and Frankie Poullain


IMG_5020Dan Hawkins, Ed Graham is behind those drums, and Justin Hawkins


IMG_5022Dan and Justin Hawkins jamming out on the drum riser.


Justin Hawkins playing his guitar behind his head.


IMG_5039Dan Hawkins, Ed Graham is (still) behind those drums, and Justin Hawkins.


IMG_5044Frankie Poullain


IMG_5049And then Justin Hawkins took his jacket-shirt thing off.


IMG_5051The tattoo on his stomach says “Lowestoft”, which is where they are from. It’s a town on the east coast of England, and Wikipedia tells me it’s also the most easterly point in England.


I just like this one. Isn’t his moustache dashing?


He donned a special fancy hat for Holding My Own.



I think this costume change happened while I was trying to avoid being trodden upon by glamazons.


The new costume again in color, because I like the purple light in this one.


Every once in a while I get a shot that I think “now that is a damn beautiful picture of [insert name here]” in an almost abstract way, as if I had just stumbled over it and not, you know, taken it. This is one of those pictures:



Postcards from the Pit: Patrick Stump, Starland Ballroom, NJ, 11/4/11

To the left, in the snazzy teal suit: Patrick Stump, formerly of Fall Out Boy. To the right, on the bass, Matthew Rubano, formerly of Taking Back Sunday. Also present are Michael Day on guitar, and Casey Benjamin (HEAVy) on keys and saxophone. (Skoota Warner of Ra is playing drums on the tour, he’s just not in this picture.)

Patrick Stump and friends – technically this is a solo tour for him – were the second of three acts in the show I went to last Friday. The  first opener was Foxy Shazam, the headliner was Panic! at the Disco, and I’ll get to back to them later. First I have to tell you that how Mr. Stump and his merry crew put on a defiant, triumphant, raucous roller-coaster ride of a show. I was actually really surprised at some of the pictures I was able to get, given the way the pit was heaving.

Like this one, for example:


The set started with a snippet of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, which essentially set the tone from the evening. (We were jammed in too tight to really dance, but there was definitely a great deal of enthusiastic jumping up and down.) The rest of the songs, with the exception of a cover of “In the Air Tonight”, were drawn from Stump’s solo work, including both the Truant Wave EP and the more recent full length  Soul Punk.

His new, post-FOB sound is different than FOB – more synths, less thundering drums – and has soul, funk, and dance-pop elements. The  lyrics with sharp, sharp edges are the same though. For example, on Soul Punk there is Run Dry (X Heart X Fingers) a bouncy up-tempo number that is at least in part about hitting an alcohol-fueled rock bottom, and The “I” in Lie, a soulful meditation on infidelity.

On the other hand, there is also This City, a mostly-sweet pop hymn to both the bright and dark sides of Chicago, Stump’s home town, and Coast (It’s Gonna Get Better) the theme of which is “you may think things are screwed up now, but hang in there, it’s going to get better.” (My favorite, to my own bittersweet bemusement, is Bad Side of 25, because I do actually remember Chernobyl and a time when there were two Germanys.)

Anyway, here are some more pictures from his set:

IMG_2833Conducting the pit


IMG_2867The photopit in front of me suddenly (and briefly) cleared . . .


IMG_2878Drum solo! (I promise he’s in there.)


IMG_2890Matthew Rubano and the double-bass keytar.


The Panic! tour is winding down now, but Stump will be playing more shows this winter, and if you can catch him, you should. Now, as for the rest of the evening: Foxy Shazam and Panic! at the Disco were as fabulous as ever.  I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures from their set(s):


IMG_2746Eric Nally and Sky White


IMG_2773Alex Nauth; sadly, his fabulous furry boots are hidden behind the monitor.


IMG_2785Eric Nally, Loren Turner (guitar), and Eric Nally’s light-up cowboy hat.


IMG_2797Sky White, with Daisy and his bass in the background.


IMG_2983Brendon Urie, during Always.


IMG_2941Fierce Brendon Urie is fierce!


IMG_2925Dallon Weekes on the keyboard


IMG_2959My attempt at getting both the still-pogoing pit and the band at the same time. I promise there are many many arms waving in that inky darkness on the left.


IMG_2998A good whole-band shot, as they were winding down.

Postcards from the Balcony: Panic! at the Disco / fun. / Foxy Shazam, Terminal 5, 5/24/11

I was up on the balcony for this one largely in the interest of self-preservation; I don’t do well in large crowds I can’t get out of, and Terminal 5 was almost literally packed to the rafters.

The first band was Foxy Shazam:


I’ve seen this band four times now, twice on their headlining tour last summer (I went for one of their opening acts and developed an affection for them along the way), once when they opened for Courtney Love (!), and then at this show. Eric Nally whirled around the stage as he always does, but somehow they seemed a little bit subdued. And by “subdued” I mean Eric Nally did a headstand in the middle of a song –


– but didn’t do the bit where he eats lit cigarettes (which I can’t actually bear to watch). Though I suspect that bit of business was sacrificed due to them being confined to a truncated opening act set. In any case, I was pleased to visit with them again.

The next band was fun., which is Nate Ruess (vocals; The Format), Andrew Dost (piano, keyboard, fluegelhorn, and glockenspiel; Anathello), Jack Antonoff (guitar; also currently with Steel Train) at the core and also currently has Will Noon (drums; Straylight Run), Nate Harold (bass) and Emily Moore (keys/guitar) as traveling with them, and to my surprise they were actually fun. I was surprised because when Aim & Ignite came out I tried to get into their tunes and it just didn’t work. Their live show is strong, however,  and I am still humming bit of the chorus to All The Pretty Girls almost a week later.



And then it was time for Panic! at the Disco. The last time I wrote about them here was in February, when they played a special show in New York to introduce some of their newer tunes and promote their (unreleased at that time) third record, Vices & Virtues. Up until that point, the Panic!-focused internet (including me) had been collectively hovering over them like a hen with one chick, waiting anxiously for new tunes, and to see if the band had survived the departure of two of its members, including the chief lyricist. The songs I heard that show were promising; the record finally appeared in late March, and I loved it.  As of right now I can tell you: they have caught the thermals and are soaring.

As I noted after the show: now that was a rock concert. They started with Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind) and proceeded to power through a high-energy mix of old and new songs. I was especially pleased to finally hear Hurricane live, and also Memories; and as much as I love Always, I was a little bit sad that Northern Downpour didn’t make it into the set-list this time around.

It was also a visual spectacle. They have new steam-punk stage furniture – Spencer Smith’s kit was perched atop a raised platform that looked like it would be at home in 2000 Leagues Under the Sea, with matching old-fashioned pipe organs on either side -  and Brendon Urie threw himself all over the stage, incorporating some of the dance moves from their recent video for Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind). The rest of the band wasn’t standing still either, and the audience was definitely into it too.

Watching the pit sway and heave, I was both filled with joy to see people pogoing hard and grateful I had claimed a spot in safer territory. And, for those of you who may be keeping track of their tour covers, they did Careless Whisper (instrumental) by George Michael, Panic by The Smiths and Carry On My Wayward Son, by Kansas.

I don’t have that many pictures of them this time around, partially because I was on the balcony, and partially because I was busy trying to dance and not flail all over my neighbors. The following are a few of my favorites from the evening. The first one is from when Brendon Urie came up to the balcony to sing Always:



And this one is probably the best picture of drummers in general and Spencer Smith in particular that I have yet managed to take, thanks to the spotlight rolling over him at just the right moment:

And then, finally, a wider-screen shot of the view from the balcony, taken while Ian Crawford (guitar, left), Spencer Smith and Dallon Weekes (bass, right) were waiting for Brendon to return from his balcony visit, and which I like mainly for the atmospheric look of everything, including  the pinpoints of light visible in the pit:


Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Bad Rabbits/The Young Veins/Foxy Shazam

NTSIB is very pleased to introduce a new series to the blog. Our good friend and rock ‘n’ roll photographer Jennifer will highlight some of her favorite photos from her various rock ‘n’ roll escapades and talk about the photos, the musicians and related minutiae. Please enjoy the first installment.


My name is Jennifer, and I’ll be one of April’s partners-in-shenanigans in Mississippi this summer. I live in New York. I go to a lot of shows. I take a lot of pictures. This past week the Foxy Shazam/The Young Veins/Bad Rabbits tour stopped at Webster Hall in the East Village in Manhattan and also at the (new) Knitting Factory, in Brooklyn. The tour continues through April, and all of you should see them if they pass through your neighborhood.

These are some of my favorite pictures from those shows:

Bad Rabbits

These gentlemen from Boston really bring the funk. (Their MySpace sound really does not do them justice at all. Let me put it this way: I walked in having never heard them before, I walked out willing to pay money to see them at their own show.) Most of the pictures I took of them at Webster Hall were not that great; I was much more successful at the Knitting Factory. I’ve picked two to share today.

One of their bits of stage business is boy-band style synchronized dancing, which I tried to capture here:


And as for the second one, mainly I just like the wash of blue light:


The Young Veins

True confessions: This was the band I went to these shows to see.[1] Their sound is closer to classic rock than to funk and they’re so new they only have two songs on their MySpace. Their record comes out in June, but, based on what I’ve heard so far live, my favorite songs are “Capetown” and “Young Veins (Die Tonight)” mainly because they remind me of the wry pleasures of being young, running around in ridiculous clothes and falling in love with inappropriate people. (She says, like she doesn’t do that anymore. Well, all right, but perhaps not on quite the same scale.)

The first couple of pictures are from Webster Hall, specifically, the basement space, known as The Studio. The light down there is kind of awful but I got several pictures I liked:


Ryan Ross as a point of stillness amid a flurry of on-stage activity. The stillness is actually what I like; they were setting up and soundchecking at the time, so there were people all over the stage fiddling with wires and whatnot; that’s Jon Walker behind him.


Ryan Ross with Andy Soukal in the background; I like this one because I managed to capture the spotlight hitting them just right.


Ryan Ross again, this time playing the tambourine. I should delete it – I have other, better ones, and it’s all blown out — but I love it. Possibly I love it because it’s all blown out. Or because I have a soft spot for Ryan Ross playing the tambourine. That could be it, too.

Foiled by bad lighting at the first show, for the second night, at the Knitting Factory, I was on a mission: get a decent picture of Jon Walker. These are some of the results:


Here he is singing a song. This one is one of the better attempts at the same picture, but I’m still not 100% happy with it. They’ll be back in June, and if I can get to their show, I’ll try again.


In the classic “tuning my guitar” pose. I’m fond of this one because I had finally managed to get the right combination of light and activity.

Other highlights from the evening:


Nick Murray at his drums during set-up and sound-check.


Nick White, with Jon Walker’s arm in the middle there. This is probably one of the better ones, in terms of crispness and clarity.

Foxy Shazam

If you have never attended a Foxy Shazam show: you owe it to yourself to remedy that situation, because they are amazing. Eric Nally is a tiny tornado on stage, bunny-hopping onto the shoulders of his guitarist, eating cigarettes, doing headstands and rolling somersaults, and jumping into the audience. At the end of the Webster Hall show he was literally shirtless and swinging from the rafters. Here are some of the highlights of the shows:


Eric Nally does a headstand (mid-song!) at Webster Hall.


Eric Nally addresses the crowd at Webster Hall, in one of the very few moments in which he was standing still.


Alex Nauth comes up to the front to play the horn, at Webster Hall. I love both the lights on him and his dramatic pose.


Eric Nally, facing Daisy, who is balancing his guitar on his fingers. Sky White is playing the keyboards to the right. The Knitting Factory used a bunch of different colored lights, which is always fun. I think “green” was a great decision for this bit of stage business.

[1] Two members, Ryan Ross and Jon Walker, are formerly of Panic! At the Disco, one of my favorite bands. They left Panic last summer, and this is their new project.

Upcoming Dates
Apr 7 2010 7:00P The Basement Columbus, Ohio
Apr 8 2010 7:00P The Eagle Theatre Pontiac, Michigan
Apr 9 2010 8:00P The Mad Hatter Covington, Kentucky
Apr 10 2010 7:30P Beat Kitchen SOLD OUT Chicago, Illinois
Apr 11 2010 5:30P The Vault Buffalo, Minnesota
Apr 13 2010 8:00P Marquis Theatre Denver, Colorado
Apr 15 2010 8:00P El Corazon Seattle, Washington
Apr 16 2010 7:30P Venue Vancouver, British Columbia
Apr 17 2010 8:00P Satyricon Portland, Oregon
Apr 18 2010 9:00P Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, California
Apr 19 2010 7:30P The Boardwalk Orangevale, California
Apr 21 2010 8:00P Troubadour West Hollywood, California
Apr 23 2010 7:15P Martini Ranch Scottsdale, Arizona