Best of 2012, Live Music, On The Road, Photography, Tearsheets, Year End Recaps

Best of 2012: Festival Coverage

One of my biggest goals for 2012 was to get more experience with one of the most challenging rock photography venues: the outdoor festival. 10-14 hour days of slogging through massive crowds with 30+ pounds of equipment to get 5-10 minutes of photo time for each act sharing space with dozens of hyper-competitive, ill-tempered photographers in furnace-like, often muddy photo pits can make for a very trying experience without the right perspective, outlook and preparation. Thanks to the coverage needs of City Pages and Village Voice media, this summer was a busy one for me, allowing me to get quite a bit of experience under my belt. I spent over 20 days outdoors, away from comfort of the dark rock bars I’ve come to enjoy as a second home and thrust into a world of hot, sweaty, and frequently rainy days. Through the festival season I learned many important lessons about pre-planning, hydration, gear selection, scheduling, lens/camera weather sealing and crowd navigation that will go a long way to making 2013 a much more comfortable year. Out of all of those days of shooting, here were the highlights – my top five outdoor festival experiences in 2012.

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Best of 2012, Photography, Year End Recaps

Best of 2012: Special Photography Projects

Although my main specialty is live music photography, this year I managed to stretch my legs a bit with fun, creative projects for a few different clients. I’ve done more and more event photography work this year, in particular, along with some interesting projects for City Pages and a few other odds and ends. Out of a few dozen of these special projects, here were five of my favorites from 2012.

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Best of 2012, Instagram, Year End Recaps

Best of 2012: Best Instagrams

Hi guys. It’s been awhlie! This year’s kept me busy – I’ll show just how busy in a future post – and various health and financial troubles have kept me away from doing the personal music coverage I compulsively created in 2009-2011. That said, I’d like to kick-start the old blog, and what better way than to jump in with some “best of 2012″ posts of my own? Tis the season, right? This will be the first in a series of daily blog posts covering my favorite work from a prolific year – from one-off projects to festivals to coverage of individual shows.

To get things started, I’m going to do something a little different. No rock photos yet, just the best 10 Instagrams I’ve posted all year.

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Live Music, Local Music, National Tours, On The Road

Guitar Wolf, Transistors & Birthday Suits in Minneapolis and Fargo

 (Erik Hess, Freelance Photographer)

Nagasaki, Japan’s Guitar Wolf took their “Alien Action” tour through 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis on April 8th, 2012 and impressed me so much that I traveled to Fargo, North Dakota with some friends to catch them again on the next night. I had seen their sound described as “loud, fast, dirty punk rock” and I can say that’s quite an understatement. From the first songs of their 7th Street Entry set, which saw front man Seiji come out spitting (literally hocking loogies on the stage) and chugging entire tall-boys, to the 3rd-encore human pyramid of bloody moshers in Fargo, they were performing at 110% the entire time they were on stage, impeccably clad in leather pants and leather jackets sporting Link Wray and Joan Jett buttons. The three-piece Transistors (from Christchurch, New Zealand) and Japanese Minneapolite two-piece Birthday Suits opened quite capably on both nights, although I sadly missed out on Birthday Suits (one of my favorite live acts in the Twin Cities) the first night.

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Featured Music, Local Music

New Video: Numbers Not Names – “Numbers Not Names”

Alexi Moon Caselle of Kill the Vultures and Numbers Not Names (Erik Hess, Freelance Photographer)

Alexi “Crescent Moon” Caselle of the late folk group Roma Di Luna and driving, influential hip hop act Kill the Vultures is back with a new project, Numbers Not Names on French indie label Ici d’ailleurs. The first track to emerge from the upcoming album, “What’s the Price?”, isn’t too far of a stretch from Caselle’s prior work with Kill the Vultures but it carries an even heavier sense of darkly hypnotic dread and anxiety-overload urgency. There’s sparse information about this new project, aside from an offhand mention of a visit to France to record in a Star Tribune article about KtV in December last year.

Check out the video and some more info on Numbers Not Names after the jump.

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Show Alert

Go Do Stuff! [Pre-SXSW Edition]

Weekly Fliers for March 7th

Lots of fun stuff going on this week, before many of us music journalist types head to SXSW for a crazy week of live music and short deadlines. The Empty’s Tapes gig at Hell’s Kitchen and the Condominium residency are probably my favorite gigs of the week, even if they’re both on Saturday. Seriously though, there’s stuff for everyone this weekend, so go do stuff!

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Live Music, Local Music, Photography

Buildings “Melt, Cry, Sleep” CD Release at Cause

Buildings performing at Cause Soundbar in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 17th, 2012 to celebrate the release of their new album, "Melt, Cry, Sleep". (Erik Hess, Freelance Photographer)

Buildings celebrated the release of their new “Melt, Cry, Sleep” album at Cause Soundbar on February 17th with Gay Witch Abortion and Iguano opening.

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Live Music, Local Music, Photography

The Vita.mn Are You Local? SXSW 2012 Send-Off Party

 (Erik Hess, Freelance Photographer)

Vita.mn hosted their annual Are You Local? SXSW Send-Off party at First Avenue on Friday night with a diverse group of 8 acts in both the main room and 7th Street Entry. Astronautalis played his first mainroom set while Peter Wolf Crier, Blind Shake, Pink Mink and Fort Wilson Riot kept the big room going and in the Entry, The Japhies, Prissy Clerks and Xavier Marquis battled it out for a spot at Vita.mn’s SXSW day party.

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Show Alert

Go Do Stuff! [Leap Day Edition]

Total Fucking Blood and Now, Now fliers for week of Feb 28th, 2012

This week’s edition of Go Do Stuff! is the first in a long while but, hey, better late than never. We’ve got so much going on in the Twin Cities this weekend – and on into next week – that it may as well be spring already. So, for your consideration, here are some of the diverse gigs going on around town over the next week. Read more…

Live Music, Local Music, Photography

The Vita.mn Vth Anniversary Party: The Hold Steady, P.O.S. and more

P.O.S. (Stef Alexander) performing at Epic Nightclub in Minneapolis, MN as part of Vita.mn's Vth Anniversary Party (Erik Hess, Freelance Photographer)

Vita.MN‘s Vth Anniversary Party at Epic in downtown Minneapolis brought a great variety of bands into a space that doesn’t often see rock and roll these days. Having only been to Epic to shoot two shows so far – P. Diddy and Duran Duranback in April – I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the musical and fashion extravaganza that Vita.MN had planned on Friday night. Fortunately, the mix of Minneapolis artists didin’t disappoint! No Bird Sing, Night Moves, P.O.S. and the Hold Steady proved to be a potent combination. Check out some technical notes and a bunch of seriously celebratory photos after the jump.

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