Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Enough is enough. This has gotten out of hand.

So I read in a book I'm reading about procrastination, (I've been reading it for a while now), that if you communicate your goals to people that you're more likely to actually accomplish them. The reasoning being that you more apt to be okay with disappointing yourself than you are with disappointing others. Well hear me now! I am going to post more! There, I said it, it's out there, it's on the table. The difficulty with being consistent comes to me in many forms: a) I have an attention deficit. This isn't diagnosed by any individual from any particular field of expertise - except my own, which has made it increasingly hard to ignore the signs, i.e. scurrying about the house half-completing projects such as, oh, making the friggin' bed?! However, I refuse to use this new self-discovery as a crutch of any sort. I will triumph over my lolleygaggedness and i'llget-to-it-edness. b) I graduated from the best Journalism school in the country, as you can tell from my big words in the previous sentence that aren't actually words, (a school that resides in a town with the best pizza in the country - yea, Shakespere's! See what I mean? I digress). I truly love to write, just about as much as I love to shoot photos, if not possibly more. Writing is an elusive art form, utilizing the most powerful tool that we as human beings have - our voices - to communicate our version of the world to others... The problem is that I never think what I'm writing is good enough - like people are saying, "um, she wrote that? Didn't she go to Missouri's J-School?" When, in actuality, I have gotten many and plenty props on my writing - I'm just overly self-deprecating in every facet of my life, which can tend to be crippling. I'm certain other writers and photographers alike can relate. Well hear me now! No more! Okay maybe sometimes.
I am happy to report that this morning, I made the bed, all in one sitting. Actually I was standing. To me this is a beacon of hope, a ray of light shining through the bedroom blinds, a breeze of inspiration wafting in as I open the storm door to let out the cat... And I have successfully made the bed in one fell swoop on many other occasions, believe it or not! I must stop focusing on the inevitable imperfection that comes with writing - allow myself to run with what my heart is demanding my hand to type or write on paper, and not fight fulfillment that washes over me when I feel as if I've successfully, even eloquently, executed my thoughts on a given topic....And the fact of the matter is, what I love to write about most, is music. You can see some recent writing of mine about a favorite band of mine, Railroad Earth, that I had the opportunity to photograph recently at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, on Playback STL. Please enjoy, and if you'd like, and really think so, tell me it's good. I'm going to expose myself a little more here and say, folks, I'm that kinda guy (girl) that needs a pat on the back every once in a while. I'm a youngest child and an artist, affirmation and encouragement is vital to me, trust me, I don't take the fact that I'm pretty good at what I do for granted. Call me what you will. I'm a big baby.

Below check out you can what you can expect to see reviews and/or photographs from in the coming weeks and months, finally, PLEASE STAY TUNED, AND HOLD ME TOO IT! (and I'm going to figure out, once and for all, how to post a damn slide show because that could certainly be item "c)" - that I shoot way too much) :
Austrailian Pink Floyd - November 15-16, 2007, The Fabulous Fox Theater

Moe. - January 24, The Pageant

Lotus/STS9 - February 2, The Pageant

Robin Trower - March 1, The Pageant

LANGERADO Music Festival, Sunrise, Florida, March 6-9 (I will need to post several slide shows - I really got some amazing stuff from this festival, it will be great to finally have it edited and posted....)

Bob Weir & Ratdog - March 24, The Pageant

The Panderers - March 27, The Gargoyle, Wash U.

** Please view my outstanding videography from Radiohead - May 14, Verizon Wireless Ampitheater on my YouTube page, as well as many other fantastic, exciting videos that I've shot... I'm a phenomenal videographer! (Hopefully you're sensing the thick sarcasm). **

Railroad Earth - June 10, The Duck Room, Blueberry Hill

Iron and Wine - June 13, The Pageant (stay tuned for more, here's a few, have I mentioned how fond of Sam Beam I am?...)

Via Dove (Twilight release party!) - June 20, The Chapel (great new venue!)

Modest Mouse - July 1, The Pageant (stay tuned for more, here's a couple...)

Joss Stone - July 4, Live on the Levee

Umphrey's McGee - July 11, Live on the Levee

Grace Potter supporting The Black Crowes - July 25, Live on the Levee

Tristan Prettyman - August 3, The Duck Room, Bluebery Hill

Thanks again for stopping by! Please also check out my wedding blog to see some of my awesome clients at their most beautiful... I'm also working on ideas for my new wedding and portraiture website, which will have a music sub-site. Keep asking me about it, it will make it happen faster. And last but now least, I've decided (with inspiration from a friend, Meredith) that my personal life is actually pretty cool too, considering, really, that my music, writing and photography all kind of blur into each other for me - please stop by to see what myself, Kristian, Larry, Reagan and bad bad Leroy Brown are getting into, if you're terribly bored that is and have the time...., I'll be back with the link as soon as the site's up! Happy summer to you all!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tori Amos, The Lied Center, Lawrence, KS

Hi everyone! I'm really excited about the upcoming winter/spring show season, there are some great artists stopping by our fine city in the coming months, I have plans to at least attend, if not photograph, (cross your fingers for me), some great bands like Keller Williams, Moe., Marah, Band of Horses, G. Love and Special Sauce, STS9, Via Dove (a favorite new discovery - check 'em out on myspace), Galactic, Yonder Mountain String Band, Robin Trower (you heard me right, folks), Built to Spill.... and, I've officially gotten Kristian (my old man for those of you who don't know, "if ya don't know, now ya know!") on board for the fifth annual LANGERADO music festival on the Big Cypress Indian reservation in sunny Sunrise, FL! I'm hoping to officially photograph and review the festival for Playback: STL, the ball is rolling through the tape on the credentials tip, please do a little dance for me, say a prayer, or both, I'm so excited about this potential opportunity. Speaking of Playback, I figured this would be a perfect place to share the piece that appeared recently on their site - I drove to god-forsaken Lawrence, Kansas with my friend Kristy, got out my "Jayhawk-B-Gone" spray and sat, in awe of one of the true loves of my life, Tori Amos, during the amazing performance she blessed us with that night. Please enjoy my show review and photos, and, as always, feel free to leave any comments you'd like. I promise to be back soon with lots more... Thanks! Joanna

Tori Amos – University of Kansas Lied Center – November 9, 2007

Joanna Kleine for Playback STL (view article at Playback

“Toriphyles” from Little Earthquakes and American Doll Posse alike had their fix fed by a masterful and energetic performance put on by Tori, her Bosendorfer and the guys Friday evening at the Lied Center in Lawrence, Kansas. It’s no secret that Tori has a loyal, some would call, rabid fan base; and no matter where they jumped on along her now 15 year career, there seems to be a general sentiment among her fans that Tori is, right now, at the top of her game.

One great thing about being a fan of Tori Amos is that she always keeps you guessing. It is impossible to predict the tone of any of her highly anticipated new albums, and attempts to categorize her music has landed her in both the Blues and Alternative Punk bins. American Doll Posse, her newest release, is solid, with diverse tracks where Tori confidently wears several hats, as do a few friends/alter-egos named Pip, Santa, Clyde and Isabel, who evidently co-wrote the album with Tori. Isabel revisits the sentimental “girl and her piano” with the opening track “Yo George,” a number about our current administration. “I salute to you, commander, and I sneeze. ‘Cause I have, now, an allergy to your policies it seems.” Next up is a little pop-folk with “Big Wheel,” followed by “Bouncing off Clouds,” and “Teenage Hustling,” both of which have definite pop elements. Pip’s 41 second “Fat Slut” interlude is disturbing, but that’s okay because “Girl Disappearing” directly follows, showcasing the gentle, feminine side of Tori’s voice, and the skill of her stand up bassist Jon Evans. More so than many of her other albums, American Doll Posse utilizes a number of instruments, including the mandolin in “Devils and Gods,” digital beats in “Digital Ghosts,” lots of Matt Chamberlin percussion all over the place, and, of course, heavy on the Bosendorfer and Tori’s mesmerizing voice(s). The album as a whole is fluid, and seems to manifest all of what is strong in all of her previous albums. There is no vulnerable Tori to be found on this album. It’s as if she’s figured something out, after all these years, and has either learned to accept it, or is pissed about it. Either way, American Doll Posse is not short on emotion. Each track, as always, is a journey that doesn’t always have a destination in mind, but certainly stops and takes a close look at things along the way.

Tori commands full attention while she is performing, as she is arguably just as skilled on her instrument as, say, BB King or Miles Davis on theirs. Tori Amos and the piano are synonymous, take “Bo,” as she affectionately calls her Bosendorfer, from the equation and Tori would be a mere shell of herself, save the hypnotizing voice. There is an undeniable sensuality that radiates from Tori as she plays - two pianos at once a good portion of the time. Her lips smear blood red lipstick on her microphone as she sings, and she’s not the kinda girl to cross her legs before she sits down, or after. She owns any stage she graces, as was the case Friday evening in Lawrence, a town which Tori is admittedly quite fond of.

Having attended around 15 Tori Amos shows, Friday’s is a decided favorite. I was taken aback a number of times, in a beautiful way. Emotion was thick through the capacity room, and there was a noticeable strength in Tori’s voice. Her confidence resonated through the theatre, even through delicate numbers like “Frog on my toe” from the Talula EP and powerfully through fiery tracks like “Precious Things” from her first release Little Earthquakes, and “Body and Soul” from her newest. When Tori, after five or six numbers, ducked backstage for a wardrobe change during a “Professional Widow” electronic jam session to emerge clad in a blue sequined pant suit… I knew we were in for it. For some reason she completely avoided playing from the albums between 1998 and 2001, although that had no impact on the intensity of the show. She remains loyal to many of the songs, (or “strange little girls” as she has called them), from Little Earthquakes, performing, to the old-school fan’s delight, “Crucify,” “Leather,” “Little Earthquakes,” a gorgeous, bluesy rendition of “Mother,” and ending the evening during an encore with “Precious Things.” For those participants who were on the fence about whether or not they knew who the hell Tori Amos was, “Cornflake Girl,” put an “oh, yea, her,” look on a few faces. “Caught a Lite Sneeze,” along with “Sugar,” “Little Amsterdam,” and “Code Red,” all set a lascivious tone to the performance, and “A Sorta Fairytale,” “Roosterspur Bridge,” and “Sugar” brought tears to our eyes, in a way that no one but Tori can.

When you’re spiritually connected to a musician or a band, there’s no doubt that seeing that musician or band in their element, performing live, changes you, even if just a tiny bit, for the better. Whether it’s discovering, finally, how to execute an elusive guitar skill, confirming your passionate attraction to horn players, or simply seeking refuge from one sphere of chaos or another, there is nothing like live music to remind you of the blood rushing through your veins. Tori’s music is blatantly introspective, she has never intended for us to understand her lyrics at all times, or even half the time. That’s what is so authentic about her as an artist - she uses her music, her strange little girls, to work out what she needs to in her head, to preserve her sanity. The raw emotion in her music naturally lends itself to being performed live, each song evolving further, through each execution, in pursuit of some sort of resolution. She possesses a unique energy that is inviting yet just out of your reach, which keeps you coming back for more. Hopefully, sometime soon, it will lead me to St. Louis. How ‘bout it Tori?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Modest Mouse - The Pageant 11.14.07 (with opening bands Love as Laughter and Man Man)

When people ask me who my favorite bands are, Modest Mouse normally is a staple in the list I rabidly rattle off. A Tribe Called Quest and Iron and Wine also have real estate on the list. I have liked them since their quazi-punk days, and have always felt like Isaac Brock and myself are some how related. His lyrics intriguingly analyze the coincidences and irony we encounter in life, everywhere we turn. Take "Good News for People Who Love Bad News," "Classy Plastic Lumber" and "Satin in a Coffin" for example. There's something refreshing about spotlighting how ludicrous people act sometimes, and celebrating indifference and laziness. "I'm gonna look out the window of my color t.v., I'm gonna remember to remember to forget you forgot me." Isaac has an insatiable mystery about him, at times his sensitivity seeps through while he sings hushed and apprehensively, like in "Gravity Rides Everything," and yet while you witness him scream "Bury Me With It," you can see his veins in his neck and the sweat rolling down his face from the 1st balcony. "And when my free time's gone, won't you promise me this, that you would, please! bury me with it!" Each ego is equally alluring.
Isaac, along with mates Eric Judy, Johnny Marr, Jeremiah Green, Tom Peloso and Joe Plummer, put on a stellar show at The Pageant on Wednesday, November 14th. I was fortunate enough to be granted press credentials to photograph the show, which was exceptionally exciting for me considering I have seen them 8 or so times and the closest I've been is the first balcony. So, being in the vacant pit designated exclusively for shooters, with cameras in my hands, at the Pageant, one of my favorite places to be, about 4 feet away from one of my favorite performers, was a sort of an apex for me, given how much I love MM. I feel pretty good about my images, yet found myself technically frustrated due to ever-changing, low lighting... an issue which Todd Owyoung - the guy I want to be when I grow up - reminds me is, "par for the course." I quickly learned that when you're shooting a more well-known act at a well-known tight ship like the Pageant, you really have to be on your toes. Instincts of both fan and photographer were battling, for sure.

Check out Jason Green's review of the show, paired with my photos at Playback: STL.... Hope you dig it, make sure to drop by and leave comments when you can! Thanks everybody!