2018'S TOP PICS: Who, What, When, Where, WTF?
As part of the dreaded year-end-slash-New-Years ritual, I sat down to be thoughtful and reflective about the incredible music moments I experienced in 2018... (sorry if you had to suffer through that one). Aside from the kitsch and the memories, I also had a chance to take some absolutely incredible photos and this was a huge highlight for me. Here are my Top 9 pictures of 2018:
1) Blue. I took this photo standing at the bottom of a drainage ditch, trying not to fall in dirty drainage ditch water hoping I wouldn't stumble across a dead body, with crystals in one hand, bundled in a minimum of eighteen sweaters a scarf and beanie, shivering torrentially, in front of a giant, scummy underpass that had all-too-briefly been transformed into a magnificent work of color-changing neon art. This was part of the Waller Creek art installation for 2018. And yes, I probably looked like a crazy homeless person taking odd random photos through crystals and glass globes. Whatever... the result was damn cool. This short-lived outdoor visual feast of art and creativity happens every year in early November, transforming a once horrendous stretch of Waller Creek (now a part of the Waller Creek Conservancy) into a stunning must-see pop-up art show.
2) Greta Van Fleet at Southside Ballroom in Dallas. Because I drove six hours to get here, had a shoot earlier that day and another the next morning, had to fight tooth and nail with a PR person who somehow just didn't like me and didn't want to let me take these conveted photographs (why, I'll never know... but thank you, thank you, thank you!). Then got lost and had to beg for a last-minute parking spot. I was so exhausted by the time I got there, I ran in and downed a redbull with seconds to spare before the show started. But the show was incredible, as always, and the images were beyond that... I was so happy. What made it even better was writing our top story of the year (naming them the dRiFFt band of the year), and then a few days later found out these boys had been nominated for a whole bunch of grammies... I guess I wasn't nuts for thinking they'd do well, then? I hope their PR was at least happy with the photos.
3) I snapped this one taking off from Austin headed out-of-state on a multi-week festival expedition. It always reminds me of the soaring elation of taking off for new places; that mix of excitement, approaching the unknown, overwhelming wanderlust and pending adventure. Plus the skies in Texas are always incredible and this was absolutely no exception.
4) Jason Hook of Five Finger Death Punch ...on fire. Or seemingly so. This show is beyond a production; it's an appropriately overdone spectacle of morbid creativity, fire and lasers... which makes for some pretty great pictures. Smokin'!
5) Backflipping with Panic at the Disco... finally. I tried and I tried and I tried... and failed to get this photo several times. Finally, in Dallas I succeeded in snapping that coveted, mid-air backflip moment which was not only cool and in perfect form, but also happened as I was running sideways, assuming I'd miss the moment. Sheer fluke? Probably.
6) Adrian of Assuming We Surive; who exploded into the Warped Tour 2018 scene with a stunningly energetic and aggressively flawless set on the Full Sail stage. I'd never seen them before, but I will surely see them again after a performance like this. Also, he's a cool dude who treats his fans like royalty. So many kudos to any artist that does this.
7) A Giant Dog live at Float Fest in the summer of 2018. Not only was this my favorite festival, but it was my favorite performance led by an immaculately and incredibly costumed Sabrina, whose energy, vocal talent and creative dance moves cannot be matched. Another band I'd never seen, but instantly INSTANTLY fell in love with.
8) This humbling moment in the forests of the Oregon Coast early in the summer of 2018. I'd just completed a four-hour drive jam-packed in an SUV with five colleagues following seven hours on a plane and a 4am start. Despite jet lag and exhaustion, this little hike left me more awestruck than the majority of 2018's other hikes combined. What an incredible corner of the world. I cannot wait to go back.
9) September Mourning. Just like 5FDP, this was one hell of a production and Emily Lazar's costumed dramatic characterization of the band's lead songstress was both emotionally charged and visually immaculate. And proved to be worth some incredible photo moments.