Sunday, July 8, 2012

Glassjaw Review!

Aside from the torrential downpours, the long wait on line outside (thanks to that jerkoff that stabbed someone the night before at CBGB Fest!), and the usual douches in the crowd (you know...the ones that spend more time talking about their weekend with their friend during the set or recording every single moment of the show with their goddamn phone?), last night's show was amazing!

Before the band started, I saw people all around me yawning and falling asleep where they stood.  As soon as the lights went down, everyone found their second wind and was singing and dancing along to "Worship and Tribute" in its entirety.  The songs were flawless and definitely struck a chord with many folks.  I actually spent a lot of the time watching people on the balcony passionately singing along instead of watching the band to be honest!  That was probably because the tallest people were in front of me and made it impossible for me to even see the band BUT who cares?

Glassjaw played "Worship and Tribute," then left the stage but came back for a 2 song encore.  The show ended a little after 2am with the band playing over an hour (a little short but still pretty standard for them).  I heard a lot of cranky fans in the audience complain about this but I honestly couldn't complain.  The show was solid, the band delivered on their promise to play the album in its entirety, and even had some treats thrown into the mix (like the extra songs at the end, unique merch to commemorate the anniversary, and screenshots on a projector screen prior to the set of what looked to be a new contract with their record label Warner Bros).  And keep in mind...It was past 2am!

In true NYC post-show form, Anthony and I hit a diner up for some late night grub and then headed home.  All in all, a unique experience that I feel lucky to have been part of!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Late Night Concerts

WOW! I disappear from this blog for a few months and the entire Blogger layout does a 180 on me! Apologies for being so distant, loyal readers. We at RO3 Audio have been extremely busy recording, photographing, and mastering away!

I (Gina) am writing this on a late Saturday night. When Anthony wakes up from his evening nap (that makes him sound like an elderly vampire, no?!), we'll be heading into NYC to see Glassjaw perform at MIDNIGHT! You see, Glassjaw is playing their legendary album "Worship and Tribute" in its entirety on its 10th anniversary. The original show (scheduled for tomorrow evening at 8pm) was sold out almost immediately. Ticket buyers also had some MAJOR issues buying tickets for this show due to Bruce Springsteen tickets going on sale at the same time (what an a-hole!). To make up for this crap, Glassjaw decided to add ANOTHER anniversary show into the mix on Sunday at 12:01am. And we were lucky enough to score a pair of tickets!

I just heard Anthony's alarm clock scream through the apartment so I can only assume we'll be heading out shortly. I'll try to post my thoughts on the show for you all soon.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on late night shows? Do you think this is a new trend that we'll see emerge?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

5 Pop Acts I Want at Metalfest

New England Metal and Hardcore Festival (NEMHCF) is just a couple of days away. I'm too excited to see and photograph so many great bands (especially Volumes, my newest obsession).

Even though I love heavy music and will be spending a long weekend with it, I'm not ashamed to say that I enjoy a good amount of pop music. I know I'm not the only fan of pop music that happens to love all things brutal, either, which got me thinking...If NEMHCF allowed pop acts to perform, who would I like to see on stage?

Mr. Worldwide himself! I can see him now...Dancing all around The Palladium in his crisp red slacks and white blazer, making all the ladies (all 12 of us in attendance) feel sexy and the men inclined to say "Dale!" every 5 seconds.

I know it's terrible to like their music but I CANNOT FUCKING HELP IT! Shit's so goddamn catchy. They can play some hits (especially "Shots," with Dave Chappelle performing as Lil Jon), buy me some booze, and then get their asses beat.

Flo Rida
Because "Wild Ones" is such a hot song and I want to watch Rida throw down in the pit afterwards...Dude is JACKED!

The Wanted
Only allowed to perform "I'm Glad You Came" for 30 minutes straight because it's so catchy and because it's their ONLY good song (trust me). Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die is pretty like these guys are, too, so he can pull a sweet cameo to keep the crowd pumped.

Because the guys need something, too, and "Birthday Cake" is the hottest, most inappropriate song on pop radio right now (lyrics to this gem are here). We'll need Chris Brown for this jam, but only if a hardcore Mass crew gives him a beatdown after the performance.

The list could go on and on for me but I'll stop right there. What pop acts would YOU like to see at a heavy metal show?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Capturing Redemption

Metalfest 2012 is more than just 3 days of music and photography for me. It's a chance for photo redemption.

This will be my 3rd time “professionally” shooting Metalfest. The first time, I casually shot some bands I liked on the main stage since I wasn't really sure if I was allowed to shoot with my pass. I was happy with the photos I got because it was my first time truly exploring my camera and shooting with the “pros” by the barricade.

The second time, I was much more serious about shooting as many bands as possible on every stage. I was really passionate about getting the perfect shot for every band and ran around like a fiend the entire time (which probably contributed to me getting bronchitis). I felt confident in my abilities and quickly filled up my memory card daily. However, when I got home and truly LOOKED at my photos, I was extremely unhappy with the results. Most were dark and/or blurry and VERY few stood out from the pack as “winners.” Granted, just getting 15+ good photos per show I shoot is considered a great thing to me (and many other photographers out there) but I don't think I even got 15+ solid photos for the entire FESTIVAL! This is why I haven't put my 2011 photos online yet. I'm not proud of them at all and know they could've been better if I was better prepared.

2012 will be different, though. Thanks to Anthony, I am armed with a brand new camera. I now own a beautiful Canon Rebel T2i with its standard 18-55mm lens and a 55-250mm lens, allowing me to retire (and sell) my ancient Canon Rebel XT.

I've been using my T2i a lot to learn its features and quirks, which something I should have done with my XT. When I got my XT (which was also my first DSLR), I assumed that it was magic; that amazing photos would just HAPPEN every time I clicked the shutter button. Turns out, it is even HARDER to get an amazing photo with a DSLR when you have NO CLUE how to use it correctly!

Buying new gear for my camera has always scared the crap out of me because it can be really intimidating (and expensive). Not anymore! I'm taking another step towards Metalfest awesomeness by researching (and potentially buying) new accessories for my camera, like another lens and a flash. I may go for a flash first, since the one that's attached to the camera isn't very versatile.

I'm also enrolled in a series of photography courses at my local camera store (Unique Photo in Fairfield, NJ), which are already helping me out so much. My instructor is great and doesn't make anyone feel dumb or inferior (unlike my art teachers of years past!). My last class will be the week of Metalfest, which will help keep me in the photography mindset and not lose the knowledge I gained over the past few weeks.

I can say with confidence that my photos at this year's Metalfest will be the best ones yet. I'm looking forward to shooting and sharing my work from the festival with you all later this month!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

35 Days Until Metalfest!

So it's almost that time of year. 2012 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival! Held at The Palladium in Worcester, MA every April, it's the biggest and heaviest music festival around (well, at least to me).

This will be the 3rd year Anthony and I (Gina) head up for our romantic weekend away. NEMHCF is like our Mount Airy Lodge getaway (minus the champagne glass bathtub). Lots of music, friends, and photography!

NEMHCF is the biggest event I have ever photographed. It's really fast paced and chaotic but a whole lot of fun. I'm looking forward to shooting this year because I have brand new gear to break in along with 3 photography classes (thank you Groupon!) that I'll be taking prior to the festival to brush up on my technical skills.

I'm going to try to post some entries about bands/artists I'm excited to be shooting up until the festival. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wha' Happen?! - The Band Orgy

So I'm thinking of doing a "Wha' Happen?!" segment in this blog. Named after a particular scene in the movie A Mighty Wind, I'll be using the Wha' Happen topic for anything music-related that I find either bizarre, sad (yet funny), and WTF-ish.

This week's wha' happen is all about the late 90s/early 00s "death pop" band Orgy. Back in the Summer of 1998, I became infatuated by the sounds (and looks) of this new band that seemed to have appeared out of thin air. Candyass was stuck in my CD player for quite some time and their photos were plastered all over my bedroom, binders, and locker.

Fast forward to present day 2012. I receive an email from Ticketmaster saying that Orgy is playing Irving Plaza in NYC on March 6th (the day before my 28th birthday...What a gift!). The 15 year old in me started to shriek and convulse with excitement.

Then I learned something. After doing a little bit of digging, I discovered that it wasn't REALLY Orgy that was going on tour. Nope...

Jay Gordon (Orgy's original vocalist) owns the name Orgy. A few years ago, he left the band and recently "resurrected" Orgy with a WHOLE NEW LINE-UP.

Hey, wha' happen?!?!??!?!?!

I know of some bands that CAN pull this sort of thing off, like Dillinger Escape Plan, Misery Signals, and Darkest Hour. The reason bands like that can pull off having 1 or 2 original members is because they are ALL about the music.

The reason a band like Orgy can't (and shouldn't) do something like this is because their LOOKS are just as important (if not MORE important) than their music! Each member was a character with a specific style and personality...JUST like a boy band!

With that said, why the hell would I want to see a version of this band that only has ONE of its original characters? It just seems unfair to the fans.

Since their booking agent didn't respond to my inquiry to photograph their NYC show* (and Jay Gordon went from looking like this to this), I won't be there. I know the new guys in the band are great (like the 2 former members of Deadsy), but it's just not the same.

What do you think? Do you think it's smart or silly for a band like Orgy to start fresh?

*Update 03/05/12 - I got a one line response from someone from the band's PR group saying they couldn't accommodate my request to photograph the band. Not sure if I should be insulted or relieved?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Showing My Age - Tool Time

Tonight, Anthony and I are seeing the almighty Tool at the nearby Izod Center. It's a special night for Anthony since it'll be his very first time seeing Tool live. Tonight will mark time number 4 for me.

I was reminiscing about the past 3 times I saw Tool. The last time I saw them was 6 years ago during the 10,000 Days tour with my good friend and a random guy from my past job that bought our extra ticket. Our seats were on the other side of the arena but worked in our favor because Tool had a sweet laser light thing going on at the time (and the first band I can remember that utilized these crazy laser light rigs that many big & semi-big bands use now). I probably have photos of this on my ancient pink Motorola Razr.

Wow...A Motorola RAZR? Shit, I'm old...

Wait, it gets better.

The time before that, I saw Tool in Wilkes Barre, PA while they toured Lateralus in 2002. I got floor tickets with my high school friend and we somehow managed to get one person away from the barricade on Adam Jones's side. This show will forever be one of my most favorite live shows. The setlist was perfect, the crowd was comfortable, and I had an intense out of body-like experience the entire time (sans drugs/alcohol/anything of that nature). I can vividly remember feeling the bass from some filler music pulsate from my feet all the way up to the top of my head. My friend felt it, too, so it wasn't me being crazy. Super intense and memorable!

The first time I saw Tool was probably the worst time I saw Tool. It was Lollapalooza 1997 at Randall's Island, which is basically a dust bowl. It was my second concert EVER. First outdoor/all day concert. AND the first concert I was allowed to go to without adult supervision.

My friend and I were both only 13 years old.

Our parents were either really stupid or really trusted us.

My friend and I spent the whole day in the blazing hot sun together basically waiting it out for Tool. We got to see Porno For Pyros, Korn, and Snoop Dogg throughout the day, but we were mainly there for Tool.

Tool came on at 7:45, opening their set with "Hooker with a Penis" and I crowdsurfed for the first time. Maynard was in his drag era, so he was rocking his fake breasted corset, kabuki make-up, and curly wig. Pretty amazing stuff.

Unfortunately, my parents said they'd be picking us up at 8pm.

We had to leave 2 songs into the set.

We waited outside the venue for quite some time, wondering where the hell my parents were. We could hear the muffled sounds of Tool while we waited, which was just beyond depressing.

My parents finally rolled up, and proceeded to yell at us for apparently waiting for them in the wrong area. They said they were driving around for ages wondering where we were. Because of our misunderstanding, I was punished. By punished, I mean I couldn't go see Metallica when they came to town in the next couple months. I was heartbroken.

I look back on that day and wish cell phones were around.

I also look back on that day and realize the sad truth...

That the first time I saw Tool was 15 YEARS AGO.

I'm old...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nice Guys Finish FIRST!

I was inspired to write this entry after meeting Jesse Leach, the formal vocalist for Killswitch Engage and current vocalist for both Times of Grace and The Empire Shall Fall.

Anthony and I went to the Kearny Irish (a fantastic little venue in NJ) to see The Empire Shall Fall a few weekends ago. I wanted to say hello to Jesse but as usual, I was feeling very shy and didn't want to approach him throughout the night (even though he was hanging at the bar being a normal dude). Eventually, I worked up the courage to say hello and tell him how awesome the show was.

And guess what? He was REALLY NICE!

We chatted for a bit, got a photo together, and that was that. All in all it was a very positive experience.

My heart explodes a little more for all things Jesse Leach since our meeting. Not just because of his talent or music, though.

Because he was nice to me.

Unless he's a douche to me at a later date (highly unlikely!), I'll forever associate this happy memory to him and his work.

This even works on me for bands/artists that used to be great but are starting to suck (I'm not naming names because I'm not that mean)! Even though their new stuff blows, I still find myself buying the CDs and seeing the artists perform because the artists were just so damn genuinely nice to me.

Crazy how that works, right?!

The opposite happens when an artist is mean to me. I'll forever have that shitty memory tied to their work. I may not completely stop supporting the artist's work but I definitely lose some passion and end up not going out of my way to support them like I used to.

Kind of like that time I met Richard Patrick from Filter and he was a rude douchester for no good reason, even though I waited outside in the rain to say hello to him for over an hour. Or that other time I ran into a member of local band The Oval Portrait at Taco Bell and he was a dick to me when I said I liked his band's music.

I think I've only purchased 1.5 Richard Patrick-related albums after that awful meeting (the .5 is the Army of Anyone CD, which was $6 and terrible). And I never supported The Oval Portrait after my impromptu meeting.

One band is gone. The other isn't nearly as successful as they used to be.

It would be unfair of me to say these bands folded and/or became irrelevant because members were jerks to me...But I can say this...Maybe if those guys weren't such assholes to me (and other fans, I'm sure), things would be different.

You could argue that I caught these guys on "off" days. That they were in shitty moods and just couldn't help being dicks. But I say fuck that.

If you're serious about being a musician, then it's your JOB. Be a professional and don't let your crappy mood interfere with your livelihood. I can tell you right now that I have had plenty of shitty days at work but I'be been sure to keep my mood in check for the sake of my career. It's tough to do some days but it's certainly well worth it in the end.

And honestly, fans don't really give a shit if you're having an off day or not. Why? Because it is your JOB to make them happy REGARDLESS of whatever bullshit you're going through! They're holding up their end of the bargain by seeing your shows, purchasing your merch/music, and spreading the word about your greatness in hopes of recruiting more fans for you.

So there you go...This is why it's important to be nice as an artist when a fan approaches you. It's your time to create that happy memory and make a fan for life. It's also an opportunity to make your dreams of playing music for a living a reality.

So...What do you think?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Best Albums of 2011 (in Gina's Humble Opinion)

I tend to suck at introductions but in the words of little Kevin McCallister, "I'll give it a whirl."

Hi there. I'm Gina, the photographer for RO3 Audio. And this is my first blog entry here! *confetti*

Since 2011 is now a mere memory, we at RO3 Audio figured it would be a good time to list out some of our favorite albums of the year. I'm up first!

Gina's Top 5 Albums of 2011

Born of Osiris "The Discovery"
I haven't stopped listening to this album since it came out. The whole album flows together beautifully and truly proved to me that these dudes have some chops. I remember seeing BOO for the first time in late 2010 and being extremely underwhelmed. Everything from the set to their stage presence was lacking something to me. Even though they were playing to a packed house at the Best Buy Theater in NYC, their performance felt like something I'd see at an NJ VFW hall on a Saturday afternoon. "The Discovery" paired with an explosive live set at the 2011 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival changed ALL of that for me. BOO has definitely found their musical mojo, both live and in the studio. They were also a whole lot of fun to photograph (especially their bassist, who did a lot of splits). I hope the trend continues for them into 2012 and beyond.

Times of Grace "The Hymn of a Broken Man"
Jesse Leach is back! This album has just the right mix of heavy and light, making it nice to listen to on a Sunday morning without looks like a giant wuss. It's also another one of those albums that flows so well from start to finish. Definitely not an album I like picking and choosing songs off of. When I listen to this, it's start to finish or nothing. Times of Grace is another band that blew me away at the 2011 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. Jesse seemed right at home on stage while Adam D. kept his usual on-stage antics to a bare minimum. They were another band that was fun for me to photograph. Definitely not as insane as BOO was at times, but still interesting. My hope for 2012 is that they play some more live shows but with an rumored new KsE album in the works and Jesse's other band The Empire Shall Fall, we can't be so sure.

Bury Your Dead "Mosh 'N' Roll"
This is one of those albums I'm sort of ashamed to love so much (probably because it's total meathead mosh music) but I can't resist including it in my top 5. I remember the first time I heard this album. I was having an awful day at work due to my now ex-supervisor's supreme acts of douchebaggery. I saw that this album was streaming on AOL for free that day and decided to give it a spin. "I dressed myself for my own funeral tonight. C'mon!" screamed Mat Bruso on the opening track "Slaughterhouse 5," and I was fucking HOOKED! The album doesn't let up from start to finish AND includes a more moshtastical version of the greatest mosh song of all time, "Mosh 'N' Roll." Sadly, the first (and maybe last) show they played with Bruso back on vocal duties after a 4 year hiatus was at (surprise surprise!) the 2011 New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. They put on a hell of a show and were a lot of fun to photograph. I'm not usually afraid of the talent I photograph but something about these guys made me uneasy. I loved it!

Texas in July "One Reality"
I fell deeply and madly in love with this band around Christmas of 2011 (so maybe 2 weeks ago?). While I was warming up my car, one of their songs came on WSOU (Seton Hall University's metal radio station) and it had a very Misery Signals vibe to it. Throaty vocals with gorgeous guitar arrangements gliding throughout the song. I can't remember the name of the song I heard that day but it did hit me hard enough to go listen to their 2 full-lengths (with "One Reality" being the newest one), which is something I don't do very often to be quite honest. Their sound is like August Burns Red meets Misery Signals while they were recording "Controller" (which is one of my favorite albums) so I was instantly in love. They're touring with (another surprise surprise) August Burns Red and will be in the NJ area next week. I may try to harass their management for a photo pass but don't want to come off as the scary fan I truly am.

Mastodon "The Hunter"
I wasn't too sure about this album at first to be honest. I remember hearing "Curl of the Burl" on WSOU in late 2011 without knowing it was Mastodon. The song didn't blow me away and I got really sad when I learned it was a Mastodon song. Eventually, the song grew on me (along with the other single played on WSOU "Black Tongue"). I listen to this album a lot at work, especially when I need to focus on big projects, and it keeps me entertained. I like that "The Hunter" isn't a concept album like "Crack the Skye" was and the songs are fairly short. This album may have been higher on my top 5 if I was able to see them perform tracks from it on their recent tour with Dillinger Escape Plan. Unfortunately, Anthony's car broke down right outside the venue so we had to be towed home to NJ immediately AND miss the show. Womp womp. Good thing those tickets were free!

Honorable Mentions

The Human Abstract "Digital Veil"
The album itself isn't incredible to me HOWEVER the most awesome song of 2011 IS on this album. That song is the title track "Digital Veil." You have NO idea how many days a week I hum the, "Pull me to the gallows!" to myself. The song is just plain infectious! Too bad they broke up a few days ago...

Between the Buried and Me "The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues"
I personally don't count this as an album since it's just 3 tracks but the total length of this album DOES clock in slightly over 30 minutes which sort of makes it an album, right? It's your standard fare from BTBAM on this one which isn't a bad thing at all. I just don't think these guys will ever blow me away again. Again, not a bad thing since they're consistently GREAT but yeah...Damn I'm jaded!

2011 Albums I STILL Have Not Listened To That Probably SHOULD Be In My Top 5
Darkest Hour "The Human Romance"
Suicide Silence "The Black Crown"

2 bands I sweat like no tomorrow released albums in 2011 and I still haven't listened to them?! What the fuck is wrong with me?! I ask myself that every day. But I do resolve to listen to them soon AND update this little blurb soon with what I think!

So now, dear readers, let me know your thoughts. Do you agree/disagree with my choices? What do you suggest I check out in 2012?