2015 Music Recap w/ Favorite Photos

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In 2015, John Brandon of San Fermin, Ty Taylor of Vintage Trouble, Colm Querney, Kellindo Parker (who plays with Janelle Monáe) and Al Kooper (who plays with Bob Dylan) were among some of the musicians I photographed who sent me personal messages to let me know they appreciate my work. It’s a great feeling to have the artists themselves find your work. And though I didn’t hear from her, even Mariah Carey probably saw my work on the Village Voice.

One up and coming band, Secret Weapons, found my photos and reached out, inviting me to come check out their show. After seeing them a few times and getting to know Danny and Gerry, it was great to hear they signed to a label before the year was out. Congrats fellas.

In the same period, I’ve gotten my work published (even if it was just once) in more places, including in and on Noisey, Pancakes & Whiskey, Fangoria, ReverbNation, Rockin’ On, Open Ears, the Sundance Institute and who knows where else.

It helps that I’ve been seeing a lot of music. Although I don’t have an auditor, I try to keep track of what I’ve seen in a year. Returning to the Newport Folk Festival and seeing a ton of great music in Fort Adams State Park was one of the highlights. I look forward to going again in 2016.

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Stromae w/ Janelle Monáe + Jidenna at MSG

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Janelle Monáe opening for Stromae at Madison Square Garden on October 1st 2015.
Stromae sign at Madison Square Garden on October 1st 2015.

Stromae is not a well known name in the United States. The lanky Belgian artist born Paul van Haver is however a strong enough performer to sell out Madison Square Garden as he did earlier this month. I took a few photos for the VIllage Voice that you can see at the link here but it is their review I want to share first. Sarah Grant wrote, “Stromae’s 2013 breakthrough album, Racine Carrée (English: “square root”), announces his passion for roots music and his polyglot background as a Belgian with Rwandan blood. The “square” part relates to his gawky yet lovable persona”. And I could see why he was lovable as his set was quirky, he sat at a table and drank wine at a couple points and he was a wild dancer throwing himself laterally across the stage. Many of his songs I was really into, as they sounded more powerful than they do on an album, but a few of them seemed to fall flat to me. One of the highlights was, “Stromae’s song to “turn up” to is contemplative and intense. “Papaoutai,” his monster hit, is a trompe-oreilles: a nonsense word that becomes a meaningful phrase. In this case, it means “Papa, where are you?” (ibid).

I really was excited to see Janelle Monáe open the show (I had missed her at least two other times in NYC this year) along with her Wondaland records friend Jidenna, the “Classic Man”, who I spotted enjoying Stromae’s set on the floor (but his friend with a cane wouldn’t allow me to get a photo unfortunately). Monáe is a real treat to photograph with her stark costumes and her vibrant antics, plus her music is great too. Shout out to her guitarist Kellindo Parker for being awesome and for sharing a photo of mine earlier. Someone found it and turned it into a sketch. Click through the jump to check out many more of my photos from the show or click this link to purchase Stromae’s work from Amazon!

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