Soundwave Festival 2013. Finally. I was able to be on Soundwave 2013. What is Soundwave? Well if you live in Australia, you know, if you live anywhere else- day you might not. Some people say it’s their version of Warped Tour, but it’s not, it’s heaps (that’s an Australian term they toss around quite frequently) better. You play 5 shows with 70 or so other bands to 25-55k tickets sold a day. You fly from show to show and in between shows you have Sidewaves. Sidewaves are when three or so bands from Soundwave play their set at a venue instead of the festival grounds. So at the local arena, Blink-182 might play, and at the local club, Bring Me The Horizon might play. Basically the Soundwave bands take over each Australian city for a few days at a time. I’ll tell you more about how it works throughout the blog. I went out with Of Mice & Men and photographed/traveled with them for the most part, but in addition, I tried to stop by some of my friends’ stages and grab images of them as well.
Going into this tour I knew I had a few ways to approach it- in addition to photographing the band I was with, I could:
A) Photograph every band on the tour from the pit and get reasonable images of them playing live
B) Try to photograph every massive band on it from the stage and get kicked off of 80% of the stages and do not get very many images, but maybe a few gems
C) Photograph all the bands I was homies with and have been working with for the past few years, get sick ass images, put ’em to use, and continue the stories of these people I have been piecing together
D) motherfucker. Metallica is cool, but Bring Me The Horizon playing to 12k in Melbourne, Australia is way sicker to me. It’s a stepping stone in BMTH career, for Metallica it’s just some sugar on top. I know Bring Me The Horizon will appreciate it more, and I probably couldn’t turn around any Metallica photos.
Alright, so who did I work with on this tour? Of Mice & Men, as I said, my main squeeze. Homies, love ’em, got so many photos and posted to their Facebook every day. In addition, I shot Bring Me The Horizon, Memphis May Fire, Pierce The Veil, All Time Low, and Sleeping With Sirens as much as I could. I am writing this blog while sorting through my photos. I took about 10k photos on the tour, which is a good amount, a little bit less than I expected, but I got some keepers so I am okay with that. I am basically sifting through Lightroom staring images and finding ones I want to use for my blog. I did post a lot of the live images but held back on the relaxed images for this blog. You know the music, let me show you the people.
I knew Soundwave was going to be fun, but it was also going to be rough. We did 6 flights, plus flying in and out of Australia in 13 days. So 8 flights, 13 days, plus 5 Soundwave Festivals and 2 Sidewave Shows and a bit of partying during the night hours.
2/23/2013 Brisbane => Sydney
2/25/2013 Sydney => Melbourne
2/27/2013 Melbourne => Sydney
2/28/2013 Sydney => Melbourne
3/2/2013 Melbourne =>Adelaide => Perth
3/4/2013 Fly out
It was exhausting. I’ll do my best to give you an idea of how much travel we did and also mix in how much fun we have, or at least tell you a few stories along the way. I also made a shit ton of videos over at ontheroadiwthAE.tv. So I’ll put those in here as well! They basically look like my day crumbled up into my hand and then chopped up a tiny bit.
I couldn’t really find a good place to put this int he blog, so I guess here will have to do. But I do have prints available for some of my favorite images from this tour. Here are a few links for you.
Brisbane, Queensland – Day One
I usually fly in on my own, I work with a handful of bands and I am often on their tours for only a portion of the run. I was on all of Soundwave, but Of Mice & Men had a brief stint in Asia prior, so I didn’t fly in with them. I was on a US tour with them right before this. You can check out my schedule in my past travel dates section. Needless to say, I was exhausted.
I went to Madison, Wisconsin before starting this tour, to, you know- kick it with my friends I grew up with. And by kicking it, I mean play Magic The Gathering for about 3 days in a row. We used to ride our bikes to “The Baseball Card Shop” at Westgate mall and buy booster packs with money that Ian received from his parents and money I probably stole from mine. We were incredibly stoked whenever we got a booster pack, cause let’s face it- $10 is a lot of money when you are 14. After we each had our 3 packs we would go back to Ian’s place and play a mini booster draft. Basically make a deck out of the random cards we would get and then battle. The outcome was almost always the same, Ian wins, I lose, but we both had the time of our lives. Fast forward 10 years and the excitement paired with buying a single booster pack still exists, the only difference is now we can actually afford them, as many as we want! Ya know, adult jobs ‘n shit. But really, some of the most fun I have had in the foreseeable past.
After a good week of refreshing Wisconsin air, I boarded a plane to Texas and then off to Australia. On my flight over to Australia, I sat in the middle seat of the middle row. It was four or five seats wide, I can’t recall, and I was sandwiched in-between two old ladies, like grandma’s age- gray hair and coated with wrinkles. They were so funny. I taught them how to use their touch screens and plug their earbuds in. I am pretty good with technology. For those of you who are just joining me and have never read one of my blogs before- I am a sarcastic human with a plethora of corny jokes. So if I ever seem like I am being douchey in this blog it probably means I am mocking myself.
The movie library on this flight was densely populated with so many flicks I wanted to see I didn’t know which to choose. I eventually went with The Truman Show. One of my favorites because Jim Carrey was in it, I had seen it a few times but not in the past 10 years. I had to rediscover it. So sick! I love Jim Carrey but that film is just so good. I read about the film before and I guess that when it was in the theater the director had wanted to put video cams in each theater and then at some point in the film switch to the footage and creep the audience out, however, they decided it against it because it would… creep the audience out.
I arrived in Australia a sweaty sleepy bald mess. Customs have never really been my strong point and if I ever get asked questions I just look like I am in trouble even if I’m not. I got that guilty look. My emotions show on my face no matter how hard I try to hide them. After I got my Pelican case off the conveyor belt, security asked me what was in my Pelican. I told him camera gear… and proceeded to open the case. No no no no he said don’t open it, not here. Just continue on, but if you have more than $XXXX worth of camera gear, you are supposed to report it. Okay, he was right, I fucked up on my sheet. I think he understood I was just innocently ignorant at times. Next time.
I was torn away from the majority of the group and found my slot in a line with some other folk and in the end, we are privileged enough to get sniffed up by a beagle. Beagles, always for fruit/ food/ nuts, etc, etc – not drugs! Wish I would have known this prior, I am convinced that everyone always thinks I do a bunch of drugs. Coming back from Peru wasn’t fun. I got through customs and waiting on the other side were the Of Mice & Men guys, my beautiful friends, and some familiar faces! I was so excited! It was sunny out, we were in Australia with our best friends and there were coffee and yummy pies everywhere – I got my camera out. 64 gigs of hungry memory cards and my trigger finger were itching for a good workout.
We were off. Exit the airport, hop in the shuttle Soundwave had arranged for us and to the hotel. We were paired up with a local tour manager. Basically everyone on the tour was split into groups, and each group has a leader. Our leader’s name was Ryan, Chiller, level 7. The shuttle ride was refreshing, after spending so much time on the airplane I just wanted fresh air. So much fresh air! And the sun. We arrived at the hotel, walked through the glass doors, and proceeded to get our rooms, checked in, and proceeded up the elevator to our 7th-floor rooms.
I changed into shorts and went to the front desk to snag a package. Macbeth was nice enough to send us all some brand new shoes for Soundwave Festival 2013.
Ryan, our local Tour Manager, had a van. For the whole tour, Ryan acted as our local knowledge and transportation – he basically made sure we didn’t die during our stay in his country. He drove us to a central area with tons of shops and other things. We got some pies (they love Pie Face), fresh juice and then figured out our cell phones. I went to one store and told them last time I was in Australia I got this unlimited data plan for 2 bucks a day on a new SIM card- they told me it didn’t exist. C’mon now, we just met, I am not a liar! I disregarded their disbelief and went to a ‘Yes’ Optus store, I had forgotten this was the place I went to last time, but I asked them about the plan and they set it up for me. Alan and I both got the same thing and it was great. No need to have cell receptions when there are so many apps that let you do phone calls and talk to people just through your data plan. It started to rain, concrete + rain = best smell.
We headed back to the hotel and everyone took a breather in their room/ relaxed before we headed out that night. It’s important to have downtime to compliment how much not very downtime we have.
I grabbed some Wifi and a coffee and hung out down by the lobby. Now that I had my unlimited data I could tether to my computer and hang out with my favorite friend – the internet. I think there were about 15 or 20 other bands staying in this hotel. The whole tour was spread out in a few different places. Among the bunch at ours were a few homies – Memphis May Fire, Sleeping With Sirens, The Early November, While She Sleeps, Chelsea Grin, and All Time Low. They would walk in and out of the coffee shop and it was one hello after another. So many friends on this tour.
I was overwhelmed. I get really excited when multiple bands hang out cause it doesn’t happen very often and makes for some of the best images. We went out to someplace for dinner that night, I forget its name but bomb ass seafood and amazing steaks. Ryan took us there. Great start to this trip. I learned how to eat big ass prawns.
I am not used to taking off shells, legs, veins, and other crap that shrimp are made of. I am good at eating them though.
That night we went to a local bar in Brisbane. I can’t remember the name but all the people there looked like the same people that would go to concerts. We also met up with some other friends there.
I got a cider or two and chilled on that. It was an hour of two of mingling and hang with friends. After that back to the hotel to sleep, I was exhausted.
Brisbane, Queensland – Day Two
I woke up and did coffee. I acquired my love for coffee the first time I was in Australia, and it remains one of my favorite places for coffee. My goal has been to cut some sugar outta my life cause it had recently become my favorite thing. I blame all the gifts the band guys get, it’s always sweets. Sour patch kids are most popular, and they can’t eat all of it, so I do. From now on all fan gifts should be Chipotle gift cards. Or for Australia, Nandos. Perri Perri!
I heard Begley and the While She Sleeps dudes were hanging on the roof pool, I had to go say hey. Tom Begley is one of my favorite people to tour with and I had missed him!
We went to the zoo that day. Almost every band that does Soundwave gets a picture with a koala.
I had been to an Australian zoo the last time I was in Sydney, but it was everyone else’s first time- which is exciting. The highlight was definitely how long it took everyone to get used to the kangaroos being so chill. Us, Americans all think that they will get up on their tail and kick your ass… but these guys are all chilled and relaxed. I understand the wild ones could kill you though… unless I was misinformed.
Throughout the zoo, there were these giant lizards crawling around. Dream. Come. True. I Love lizards, snakes are awesome too but slightly intimidating. Lizards are just stoney. Why am I watching Pocahontas right now? The rest of our zoo adventure was pretty much how any zoo adventure went. Saw lots of Australian animals, including a Tasmanian devil that was running in circles… he must watch looney tunes. To the hotel! We hung out at the hotel for a while. The guys in Memphis May Fire, Chelsea Grin, and Sleeping With Sirens were all about. Our balconies at our hotel rooms were all on the same side of the building, so if you leaned out and looked around you could yell hello to all your friends. hellloooo friends! More fun than it sounds. I wish someone was 100 feet in front of us and 10 floors up in the air so they could have taken a photo. I need a hell cam, a jet pack is a less realistic but more enjoyable option as well.
I went up to the roof for a little bit with Austin and Alan for a swim. No one was really up there other than a few random people. The super creepy thing happened actually. One of the girls up on the roof, who I didn’t know at all, took a picture of me with her iPhone and then sent it to me on Facebook a week or so later. I didn’t even know who the person was- creepy! This is a very good example of how to not to do life.
The sunset that night was beautiful. Everyone was on their balcony having a smoke break or a drink. So many friends, such good vibes. I can’t even explain it, pretty much perfect for me, it’s always more fun to take photos of people when they are in the best moods. It translates through their face and onto the photograph.
That night there was a Metallica party. It was band only and I understood that. It would probably be a couple of hundred people if it just bands, but if it was crew as well, there would probably be almost 1,000. I also don’t really take photos of people I don’t know in private settings, too invasive and I would hate to mess up a possible relationship before the person even knew my name. But, I went. I didn’t have a pass but the band wanted me to go. I felt bad going cause if I am told not to do something I usually listen… oh well, here goes nothing. We hopped on the shuttle with a bunch of other people and went to the party. It was maybe a 20-minute ride.
We arrived and I just mobbed into the area it was being held with everyone else, when we walked by security they had us raise our hands to show our wristband, I raised my hand, no wristband but they didn’t notice – easy enough. It was a half outdoor/half indoor area located right outside of the show grounds that Soundwave would be taking place the next day.
Everyone from the tour was there, Metallica was walking around saying hi to everyone. It was very casual and all the bands I usually tour with was all extremely excited. Hanging out at a BBQ with the bands they idolized all their lives- dream come true for them. Free food, free drinks – dream come true for me… I saw the Bring Me The Horizon dudes for the first time in over a year that night. Reuniting with so many of my friends. It was a good night of talking and catching up with everyone.
I didn’t take more than a handful of pictures, and only of the people, I did know. I still felt guilty about being there. Blink-182 was playing a short walk from the BBQ so I walked over there and watched them for a bit until it began raining. Back to the BBQ for a bit before heading to the hotel!
We hung out for a bit at the hotel and had a few drinks.
To the bars!
The bar was about a 15-minute walk away. I tried to grab a group picture on the way there, which can be harder then you think. A key part about my job is not being too intrusive and knowing when it’s right to ask to take a picture. Everyone is hanging out having a good time and talking, I don’t want to interrupt. But once we got to a street light where everyone had to stop anyway, I asked to take a picture. It was at this moment I realized… where the fuck did all my guys go? I usually try to follow and do as much as possible. There are always going to be people who stay back at the hotel and do their own thing, but I try to take the most adventurous route the majority of the time. This time I just got so caught up in things that I didn’t realize… I wasn’t with anyone from Of Mice & Men, except for their guitar tech Justin.
We finally arrived and they wouldn’t let us in because we were wearing tanks tops and some people had neck tattoos. I never understood that rule… have you seen girls’ tops? Oh well, on to the next place! We ended up at a wine bar. There is usually a point in the night where I decided I should probably stop taking pictures. It happens about an hour or so after everyone starts drinking. I try not to photograph people when they are really drunk because, well that can get a little invasive and obnoxious unless it’s a rager- then I go hard.
I walked back late that night with Justin. He was hammed, I wasn’t, so we made a good team. We kicked it in Tino & Phil’s room for a bit.
Brisbane, Queensland – Day Three
First show of the tour! Every day we had a predetermined time that we had to be in the lobby to catch a shuttle bus to the venue. This is called “lobby call”. Today’s venue was the same place as the Metallica BBQ, only 20 mins away. The backstage area was pretty simple. Depending on the size of your band you either had a tent, a shared air-conditioned container, a solo container and then the headliners basically had their own little communities.
First thing on the schedule for the day- signing. Our golf cart broke so we walked to the signing area. It was a few tables lined up next to each other with lines leading to them. The guys sat down and signed for about 30 minutes? Not quite sure how long. It was as long as it took them to get through their line. Lots of screaming people outside the doors and a couple of hundred people talking inside where we were made for a very loud atmosphere. I usually put my earplugs in during times like these so I can just zone out.
After the signing, we went back to our dressing room and then took a shuttle to the set. The guys absolutely killed it during their set. Pretty cool lighting for me. Back-lit with some lights, but all the rest was natural light. So I could still get a concert-like feel… but no shortage of light. I took it for granted cause it was the first day- but I think this was some of the best lightings I got the whole trip, for live shots anyway.
Everyone helped loadout as we had to go right back to our dressing room, grab our bags, and be at the airport by 6:00 pm, their set ended at about 4:40 pm so we were in quite a rush.
We were traveling with Sleeping With Sirens, While She Sleeps, and Memphis May Fire, to name a few. Shuttle to the airport, group check-in, simple Australian security checks and we got some dinner at the airport.
All the bands were also on our flight, it was a party. I always fly alone! Now I get to fly with 30 friends.
We got to Sydney that night. Unlike the US, in Australia, you don’t need a boarding pass to get past security. There were a handful of fans waiting for the guys at the gate and then another few handfuls waiting at baggage claim. The fans asked for photos and autographs from all of the guys, I was requested to take a few as well with some of them, but mostly I just photographed what was happening. We grabbed our bag and on to another shuttle. Starting to get the hang of what it’s like to tour? Haha, lots of traveling!
It was pouring rain outside, at first it was tolerable but then it got to a point where you were going to get soaked if you went in it for even a second. Luckily the hotel had an overhang so we didn’t get wet getting off the shuttle. A quick shower, shave, and refresh then I went out with Austin and Jared that night, we met up with some of their local friends and eventually got stranded outside the bar for a little bit trying to get in. Austin ended up waiting around with his friends and Jared and I headed back to the hotel. There weren’t any cabs who would drive us where we needed to go, so we just walked. It was only 20 minutes, and by this time the rain had stopped and it was beautiful outside. It was almost 2:00 am, but still, very beautiful! I hung out with Tino and Phil for a few before passing out hard in my bed.
Sydney, New South Wales – Day Four
I woke up early, maybe like 7:00 am or so? We had to leave by 10:00 and I wanted to grab some breakfast and shower. My friend Ben was from Sydney and he suggested this place just down the street from me. I got an avocado mash for breakfast. Or is it smash? I can’t recall, but it’s avocado mixed with some salt, lemon, and a little bit of mint, very refreshing and great in the AM. I also had coffee which put me in an amazing mood. I am having coffee right now, I am currently in an amazing mood.
I hopped a shuttle with Tino at 10:00. The ride was almost an hour that day, so we arrived by about 11:00. Today’s festival was being held on the Olympic grounds in Sydney, where the Olympics were… if you didn’t catch that. It was huge, two massive stadiums, one much larger than the other, but the small still being rather large. We got off the bus and walked right into the backstage area. It was huge! Sydney was the ‘LA’ or ‘NYC’ of Australia… so where all of the industry people would be attending. It was also the largest date of the tour. It was all decorated very stereotypical Indian? I don’t know what the PC term is or what it was actually supposed to be. But a big fake fire, teepee, canoe, and some other similar decorations all existed backstage. Tino and I walked to every incorrect backstage area before finding ours.
After setting our stuff down we took a shuttle to our stage. It was about a ten-minute walk away, but only a two-minute shuttle. I got my lay of the land and figured out where I would be shooting Of Mice & Men that day. Our stage was great, lots of room around the edges and it wasn’t too tall to a point where I couldn’t jump off the front of it. Actually, it was very tall, and the ground was concrete so jumping down sorta hurt. I shot Memphis May Fire a bit. I wanted to shoot Memphis May Fire as they are a band I like to shoot, but it was also nice to get some test shots in on the same stage Of Mice & Men would be playing, this way I know where to shoot from and the fastest ways to get from one vantage point to the next. Almost like a warm-up round.
I took a little trip to stage three to shoot half of Sleeping With Sirens set. I got there an hour or so early to figure out who was in charge of the stage and sort everything out so I could shoot from the stage and not get in anyone’s way. Their stage was a lot more packed and cluttered than ours, and security was on lock because the Soundwave Secret special guest was playing. It was Puscifer, which is Maynard from Tool’s side project. I went to the pit and started shooting, I ended up getting yelled at by his security as they didn’t want any photos after first three songs, oops. I decided not to post the pics cause I don’t really know what their problem was but the images are boring and I don’t wanna mess something up I am not aware of.
I found the Sleeping With Siren’s dudes hanging around backstage and asked them to grab a quick group shot before they hit the stage. The lighting was really nice out – felt like it was about to rain, hot, humid. I pulled them to the side of the stage and took some photos. Quick and dirty.
I shot a the first few songs. First one from pit to get a few performance shots, then a few from stage to get crowd shots.
It pained me to leave their set, the direction their stage was facing during that time of day made for some absolutely killer lighting. But, I had to shoot Of Mice & Men’s set, that was my one promise everyday and I would stick to it. I had to sprint across the venue with my Pelican case in hand, monopod and camera in other. I got there with two minutes to spare, man was that a tiring and hot run.
Security got really mad at me during the Of Mice & Men’s set. There is always the ‘get out of here after three songs’ argument that comes up once in a while. I almost always try to figure out who is in charge in the photo pit area before the set and run it by them, just to avoid having problems while there is a band blasting in our ears. But that wasn’t the problem. Basically during the set Austin grabbed this giant red flag off the side of the stage and started waving it over his head like a spear. I photographed it, it looked cool. Then he threw it into the crowd and the security freaked out… I am going to assume it was because you now have this potentially dangerous flag now in a crowd of a couple of thousand raging concert attendees… it could be a very big liability. This is all an afterthought, during the show it went something like. Oh, big flag in crowd, I should probably get up on the barricade and get a better shot of that. Then security grabbed me and started yelling at me in my face. They wanted me to delete the photos and I shrugged that off and walked away. The rest was all really loud and I couldn’t understand it. I don’t really like it when people yell in general, which makes me upset. Usually, when I have a problem with security not wanting me in the pit, I just go on the stage and use my staff to shoot shots like I am in the pit. I scaled the stage and gave them their space for a few songs before returning at the end of the set.
Other than that the set was a blast to shoot. I love outdoor festivals because I don’t have to remain “hidden” on stage as the sets are usually in the sunlight and people being on stage/side stage is more normal. Also, it’s daytime, so someone peeking their head out on stage doesn’t show up in the stage lights in a distracting way at all. Another advantage of shooting outdoor sets is that I know if I point and shoot something, the only thing that will mess my shot up is my focus, lights being too bright or not existing or strobing is not a factor. It makes getting the image I want a bit easier. After shooting their set I had to get some food.
Food overload. The room was probably 150 feet on each side, and 3 of the 4 walls were lined with food, two of the walls were just deserts and salad. I had so much amazing food. Ace Enders and his team were there eating. I sat with them and chatted. Ace calls me young Adam and I call him Old Ace. He’s a great old friend of mine that sings for The Early November. I need to shoot him again, it’s been too long. I ran into Bring Me The Horizon and they were heading to their stage. I was done with my work for the day and had been meaning to shoot their set anyway. I hopped in their shuttle and cruised with them. It was great to be able to catch up with them. They were a lot more chilled out than the last time I saw them. We had some time to kill before their set so we walked over to Linkin Park’s set and watched for a bit.
We went back to their stage and hung around there. Oli was off in the distance warming up. I wanted to photograph him but from a distance. I wasn’t really sure how to do it without being weird. He and I have a pretty good relationship so I didn’t imagine he would mind and I didn’t want to interrupt him by asking. I walked over until I was 200 feet away from him and sat down and started photographing him. He had learned to sing over the past year for the new album so he was warming up his singing voice, a new experience to see /hear. I knew he noticed me because I checked my images on my camera and saw that he had flicked me off in one of the images. Haha. Classic. This is the one I ended up liking.
After he was done warming up I grabbed the rest of the guys and snapped a quick group portrait. This was their first tour with their newest addition to the band – Jordan Fish. What a cool name. Jordan played keyboard/ samples and a few drums here and there.
Their set was insane. Oli is one of my favorite people to shoot on stage and always has been for the past few years. His style has progressed slowly over time but one thing remains the same – he goes hard. I think he had the crowd do a wall of death bout 8 times during the whole set. Something that is historically only done a maximum of one time during a set. Love it.
Towards the end of the set, someone lit a flare off in the crowd and was throwing it around. it looked insane. All I could think for the first few throws were how has this not injured anyone.. should we be worries… I guess I’ll keep shooting. Eventually, someone stomped it out and all was good…. then came the second flare. This one got tossed around a bunch until it eventually landed on top of the stage, about 30 feet above where I was standing, and to the left about 15 feet. Oli didn’t notice at first and the pit security alerted him as it was literally right above his head. The stage started on fire a bit. Some of the pit security hopped on stage with their water hoses and tried to aim up and put the fire out, but it was just a tad bit too far away. It’s best to watch the video from this day, shows it best
At this point the thought ran through my head Uhhh do I leave now? Or keep taking pictures? or… What do you do when your stage starts to catch on fire? Eventually, it burned a hole through the material that made up the roof of the stage and it fell into the photo pit area. Security quickly picked it up and extinguished the flame and threw it off to the side. That escalated quickly. My camera couldn’t handle the colors but this is sorta an example of where getting the moment is more important than a well-lit shot, and black and white just won’t cut it.
Oli ended the set with “Alright guys, now you can burn the stage down,” haha. Next, I met up with Austin and Jared and we headed to the Metallica stage. Mike from Pierce The Veil told me there was a glassed-in area that overlooked the whole stadium where they did an interview that day, it was at the top of an elevator. So we walked around asking security where the elevator was. Eventually, we found it and took it to the top floor. The only person in the room was an older security lady who just a bit confused about why we were there, but she didn’t seem to mind. We watched a good 20 minutes from this carpeted closed-in area. It was such a solid vantage point for taking photos with as well.
The guys eventually left and I shot some of the Metallica set on my own. I wanted to get Pyro but kept missing it. I honestly really don’t like Metallica, with a passion, their music actually bothers me, so sitting through their set was sorta a pain. I was happy when I left and walked my ass over to Pierce The Veil’s set…. they were last to play on their stage. The walk was way farther than I anticipated and I was only able to shoot the last few songs of their set. It was still a blast to see.
One of the hardest parts of this tour was photographing everyone I usually worked with. I had 5 bands on the tour that I tend to follow. All Time Low, Pierce The Veil, Of Mice & Men, Sleeping With Sirens and Bring Me The Horizon. My priority was Of Mice & Men because that was who I was out with- but everything else I tried to squeeze in. Sometimes schedules conflicted but I tried my best. Pierce The Veil was playing a giant tent, it was indoor but by now it was night so it didn’t really matter. I shot their set from under the drum riser and with my monopod from behind Mike, their drummer. I didn’t really get any good shots as the stage was mostly lit from the front and there was a heavy layer of fog on stage- caused a smoke screen kind of effect. This meant no matter how I shot the stage, from the stage, you couldn’t see how big the crowd was. Kind of defeating the whole purpose of a stage show. Shux.
At the end of their set, the guys hand out their setlists to the crowd. They give them to the security guards so they can give them to the f. But this guy kept it for himself and taunted all the kids that were hanging out at the barricade by waving it in front of them, and eventually pocketing it. I have never wanted to smack a security guard so badly. I have a video of it but it enrages me so much I don’t even want to watch it or put it in one of my videos. He then made his way backstage and asked all the guys for pictures, then went out to the barricade and showed the fans what he just did while sporting a giant devious grin across his face. Gah, bad form.
I headed back to our dressing room which was only a short walk away. When the fuck did everyone get so hammered. I think my favorite drunk in the whole wide world is Tino, he is just an amazing human being sober, and being drunk only amplifies it to the next level of living. He does this whistling thing, it’s amazing. He has this talent he’s been working on for his whole life- whistling loud as fuck. When he is drunk you can request a whistle from him, numbers 1-10. A 10 is painful on your ears. I take that back, anything above a 3 and you better plug your ears. Seriously, loudest whistler ever. If he does it while he is drumming you can still hear it. We took the van with Ryan back to the hotel, arrived at about 10:30. There was an after-party a 10-minute walk away from the hotel.
It was at this local club called… well, I forget. But there is basically one of them in each Australian city. They are aimed at a younger crowd and the same type of crowd who listens to the kind of music that bands I tour with play. We were promised free drinks and our own “VIP” area. This usually means a few drink tickets and then an area that is roped off. When we arrived there was almost no one there, it was awesome.
After hanging for a bit and having a few drinks we made our way into the main room. It took an hour or so but the place eventually got pretty packed. This night was pretty drunk from me, so about everything cuts out after 12:00 for me. However, I do remember hula hooping before the night became too blurry. I remember when I was like 8 (?) and participating in a hula-hooping contest my mom held after one of her Israeli folk dance performances at our Synagogue in Madison. In my head, I remember winning, in reality, I think they just told me I was a winner. Regardless, this ‘win’ has provided me with the overwhelming confidence to break out my surprisingly decent hula-hooping skills on the fly. Show off.
I forgot to mention that my local friend Ben was hanging that night. He was a solid photographer from Sydney and it was great spending some time with him. I met him last time I was in Sydney and we have had some good photo adventures in some abandoned areas. This time I was too busy, but maybe next time. I think we got a cab back? I was too drunk to walk all the way back, and I had my camera dangling from me.
I used to not photograph while I was drunk, or even bring my camera out. Usually, the solution to this was to not drink at all. Recently I started drinking and shooting. I sort of like it because it keeps me on the same level as the people I am with, and helps me get more natural images. The downside is I am definitely more prone to breaking my camera. It’s a learning process. Upon arriving back at the hotel I spent over 30 dollars at a 7-11 on the corner. I can’t even remember what I purchased but it was a whole ton of shit. When I left our room no one was in there, when I got back there were 8 people there, three sitting on my bed. How the hell? Did they just appear? I sat on the couch and passed out there. Before going to bed I remember yelling at everyone and told them not to touch my computer or camera gear or I would destroy their souls.
Melbourne, Victoria – Day Five
Melbourne the next morning was roughhhhhh. To the airport! We had to be back in Melbourne as we had a show the next day there. Everyone stayed up until at least 3:00 am the night before and we had to be in the lobby by 8:00 or 9:00 am, I think. I was tired. I think sunglasses are everyone’s best friend at a time like this. I don’t wear any cause it makes shooting difficult. I got some coffee that morning, I went to a place that Rian from All Time Low suggested, it was his favorite place in the whole world. That meant a lot coming from Rian, he’s a coffee dude.
I am pretty sure a few of the guys were still hammered. Oh well, time to fly! We did the usual check-in and boarded the plane, Alan was definitely still drunk. He was speaking some weird-ass accents on the plane, saying hilarious things to the flight attendant and blurting stuff out. It was so funny, I couldn’t help but crack up constantly. I don’t know what goes on in that dude’s head, but what comes out of his mouth, as a result, is pure gold and hilarious. He would get along with Mitch Hedberg very well. I think the video has some of these moments in it. Arrived in sorta sunny partly rainy Melbourne. Shuttle and hotel take over!
We were with Chelsea Grin and While She Sleeps, our two partners for most of our travels. The hotel we were staying at had a rooftop pool. I went up to the top with Austin and went for a swim. The Deaf Havana dudes were up there hanging and the rest of our guys joined shortly after. I didn’t know Deaf Havana before this tour but they were very nice and drank copious amounts of alcohol. I felt sorta bad for the elderly couple hanging out and the three people trying to have a peaceful tanning session. One thing is for certain – give a bunch of touring people an off day and we are going to off. There were three signs on the walls surrounding the roof. No Glass, No Smoking, No Diving. So we did all three…. oh well, it happens. No one got hurt!
For this whole tour, I successfully swam only in my underwear. I pack super light when I travel and buy new underwear as I run out, so right before I throw a pair away- I wear ’em swimming. It’s nice to spend one last exhilarating moment with them before they get disposed of. Works out well, just have to be careful cause they slip off quite easily. I don’t really care, I just feel bad for anyone else who might be in the vicinity.
Had my GoPro, I had fun with the GoPro. The While She Sleeps dudes are so creative with the GoPro, it’s nothing groundbreaking but the shots they took look so much sicker than mine. I think it’s because Mat is related to Tom Welsh and Tom is a fucking badass with video.
It was refreshing and nice to be on a rooftop in Melbourne for an off day hanging with friends, but after swimming, we had to get some food – first stop, Lord of The Fries. I have personally spent a few weeks in Melbourne before. I came the first time because I had a show with Macbeth at a gallery – my first one! It was a blast, but while I was in the area I met a girl and that convinced me to come back for a vacation and to lead seminar a few months later. I love this city and even though she doesn’t really live here anymore, it’s still one of my favorite places. So much good food, coffee, people and lots of suns. I swear all the girls are always smiling and that is perfect.
Anyway, the dudes wanted to go to Lord of The Fries and I knew downtown enough to know exactly where to take them. I was stoked. It was bout a 15-minute walk from our hotel and we lizarded our way on down. For those of you who haven’t been to Melbourne, Lord of The Fries is a 100% vegan chain that is open until the early AM hours for the most part. Their main staple is their fries topped with awesome vegan things. They also have burgers, chicken, and things like that – all fake, but it’s the bomb. It’s the first time I have been with a non-vegan band that wanted to go to a vegan restaurant… although I don’t think most of them realized it was vegan until getting their food haha. I always get the Canadian style fries which is basically a LOTF version of poutine…. but I like it even more. There has got to be a pound of MSG in the gravy and it rules.
We walked around the downtown area a bunch after that and just looked at cool stuff, such a beautiful city. I just want to reiterate that it was so refreshing to be traveling with other people, instead of alone. I did like to have alone time, but it’s good to share experiences with others too.
I went to The Early November show with Austin that night. Deaf Havana opened and they are such a fun band to watch, solid rock music and their singer is the most hysterically dark dude ever, he rambled funny depressing drunk things on stage. I love it. He also has an amazing voice. I hadn’t ever seen The Early November play live and I had seen Ace play over a 12 times, under three different names. Such an amazing live band.
Afterward we met up with some of the Of Mice & Men dudes at a bar. It was actually my favorite bar in Melbourne, Carlton club. I haven’t decided if it’s my favorite because of the good times I have had there or just their awesome outdoor seating, regardless, such a fun place- but expensive as hell. We hung out there for a little bit and eventually ventured over to some cheaper small bar that smelled like absolute dog shit and was desolate. Bad call. Actually, there were 6 people in it, but it could probably fit 200. The 6 that were there were faded as hell, stumbling, and talking in slurs.
Austin and I were waiting for some more people from the tour to meet up with us. By the time they got there, I was pretty much done. Every step I took was a half fall, so every two steps was a full fall, technically, so I probably fell 300 times until I made it back to the hotel. I don’t know, how many steps is a 10-minute drunk walk? Like 600? I should have probably gotten some underwear, I went commando that whole day. Never really done that before. I made it. Love my hotel bed.
Melbourne, Victoria – Day Six
The next morning was rough, I don’t really get hung-over often but I was definitely close. I started a bit late and it was a rainy gloomy day so everyone was just moving slower. I met up with everyone on the roof and had a quick smoke in the area where the rain couldn’t reach us. We were headed to 1000 pound street that day to see Kane Hibberd’s display. We caught a cab outside that refused us service. Not quite sure why, but it’s a cab driver, and they are predominately assholes. I have gotten lucky most of the time and had good conversations, even entertaining – but this dude just had something lodged in his ass.
We ended up just walking to the exhibit, it was raining a little bit but for the most part but it wasn’t too bad out. My camera could handle a little bath anyway. The gallery was great and attached to one of my favorite coffee shop/food places in Melbourne. The first time I was here, this was where my gallery was, so I hung out in the food area a lot, and ate a lot of their food. If you get a chance, check out Kane, or Kanye Lens Vs Soundwave, it covers years of Soundwave, very well done.
On the way back from the gallery we stopped and got some underwear, more details in the video. Of Mice & Men had a Sidewave show that night, similar to the show we went to the night before, actually the exact same venue. It was a quick walk from the hotel. I got there right as the show started, which was probably a bad idea as the venue was hot as hell, and the dressing room was small. You can see it in the video. My feet stunk a lot.
I went outside to get some fresh air and do some internet on my phone as I couldn’t get any reception in the dressing room, it was underground. The set went great although I will admit it is a bit underwhelming to go from an outdoor show with 5k people to an indoor shoot with a little under 1000. It was still nice to shoot, but nothing beats outdoor festivals.
After the set, we caught a ride out back to the hotel as it was raining outside. I chilled in our room with Austin and we watched some movies. I forget what we ordered. It was funny though.
Sydney, New South Wales – Day Seven
The next day we headed back to Sydney for the day, another Sidewave show. Shuttle to the airport, the band takes pictures with fans, board plane, sleep, wake up in Sydney, back to the same hotel we were two days ago, get ready for two hours, shuttle to show, set up shop for the day. I had a lot of editing and posting to do so I had my little computer set up in the corner and got shit done.
Phil loves to fuck with me, he knows I hate when people start interacting with me for every shot I take so he kept doing this whenever he saw me.
The show was great, the band had their manager, label, and booking agent hanging, along with a few people from Blunt Magazine- it was a bit of a backstage party. We were going to go out that night but instead, we just got some pies from Pie Face. I think this was our 6th Pie Face stop so far, then headed back to the hotel.
Melbourne, Victoria – Day Eight
That morning I started laying the groundwork for a video I wanted to do. I wanted to get three bands in on a Harlem Shake and do it in someone’s dressing room. Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce The Veil, and Of Mice & Men. I sent out an e-mail to figure out availability /set times in Melbourne. It was hard cause I didn’t want to give my idea away and have someone else shoot it, but I wanted to get the commitment of the other artists- so I had to rely on their trust in me… it’s like a drama movie in real life or Aladdin. Do you trust me? Take this apple that just slid down the length of my arm, you beautiful princess. The goal for the day- find the bands in real life and get confirmation. I talked to the Of Mice & Men dudes and told them my idea, they were down. Early flight back to Melbourne.
Upon arrival we had another rooftop smoke, sometimes you just need to slow everything down a little bit, life can go fast on these tours and I don’t want to miss any moments.
We went to a place called Chin Chin for a late lunch. Phil picked it out because it had the most reviews and it was fucking crazy. It dubbed itself an Asian fusion place. Not sure what they fused their Asian with but I vote dreams. Everything was weird cuts of meat and very strong flavors. I got a kingfish sashimi appetizer that made me feel incredibly nauseous. It reminded me of this ceviche I had in Peru right before I got a fever and started throwing up. I don’t remember whatever everyone ended up getting, but it was the next level. A little much for me and I stuffed myself until my stomach pressed against my lungs and made it hard to breathe. The dessert was spectacular.
We went back to our hotel and I got my gear packed and ready to go for the Pierce The Veil Sidewave show. I walked to the venue and cruised in the back entrance to the dressing rooms. Pierce The Veil’s sideshows were with Bring Me The Horizon. I shot a bit of each band’s set and hung out for a bit. While I was hanging with them I brought up my Harlem Shake idea with them and their manager, they were totally down. Two down, one to go.
I headed back to the hotel. I connected with the Sleeping With Siren’s dudes and they told me we were good for Harlem Shake as well. Win. Everyone was getting ready for a party at ‘Bang!’. Bang! is like the club we went to in Sydney… but in Melbourne. It’s this massive 3 or 4-floor club with multiple bars, a rooftop smoke area, and a stage. I had been their once before for Break Even’s last show. I think they were a hardcore band from there.
We had a few drinks at the hotel before shuttling over. There were so many of us in the shuttle. Like peas in a pod – that’s not a cliche – let’s fucking go!
It was a good time, a very drunk night once again. We got to the venue/club and they had a special set up with people on Soundwave, you basically got to jump line, get in for free with a laminate, have free drinks all night and then there was a topped off area once again. We walked in, went up a flight of stairs, and mobbed to the VIP area. I don’t care where I hang out, but some of the people I work for couldn’t really hang out anywhere but there as they would get mobbed. Oh well, it was rest time. Pierce The Veil, All Time Low, Chelsea Grin, Sleeping With Sirens, Of Mice & Men, and The Amity Affliction were all there hanging. It was awesome, the area we could chill in had an N64 set up and a bunch of free chips and water. Perfect compliments to some alcohol.
It was probably 11:00 or so by the time we got started at the club. The band was playing Blink-182 covers all night and it was a great atmosphere, quite packed but the roped off area was a good density. I talked to Jack from All Time Low that night and mentioned the Harlem Shake thing I wanted to do. Jack instantly said “we want in too”…. fuck yea. He told me to e-mail their tour manager right then and schedule, I got an e-mail back even at that late hour saying we were good to go. That was easy enough. towards the end of the set, a few guys from All Time Low, Jaime from Pierce The Veil, and Austin from Of Mice & Men played a Blink-182 song on stage…. it was very drunk, to say the least.
Everyone was still going to hang out for another hour at the club but I was donezo. I walked back to the hotel and stopped at Pie Face on the way back. Again, a drunk stumbles with my camera in hand. but I made it back. See me drunk in my video. I am very professional.
I turned on a movie streaming site and put on the show Friends, passed out fast hard.
Melbourne, Victoria – Day Nine
The next morning I went with Austin to get some morning Nando’s and then we hopped the shuttle with Alan and Phil to head to the venue at around 10:00 am.
We were seated next to Madball, man just listening to the stories they had blown my mind. Totally different lifestyle. One of the more memorable conversations was them talking about how being a good fighter is one thing, but that all changes after you have been hit in the face a few times. Personally I have never been in a physical fight. I think the closest I ever came was at a movie theater in Chicago recently where the dude in front of me got mad at me cause I accidentally bumped his seat twice. He told me to never do it again, I just looked at him in awe and he turned around again and told me I should at least say sorry or he is going to beat my ass and kill me yadda yadda. I just stared at him in awe again and he got even angrier. Seriously? How do you respond to that? Haha… I thought we learned at like age six to not hit, I knew I was sheltered/fortunate to grow up that way and some people are brought up a different way. Maybe he was having a bad day… who knows.
Catering was amazing that day. So much amazing food, and a juicer. I love juicer. Kale, beet, apple, carrot, ginger, fuck with that. They also had a Jack Daniel’s tattoo tent set up. You could go and get quick tattoos for pretty cheap. I think there were two artists or so. Pretty rad. The whole backstage area was a bunch of containers in two rows with some tables in the middle. You can get a feel for it if you check out the Harlem Shake behind the scenes video. I caught a bit of Stone Sour’s set that day, sweet brag Adam. Blunt Magazine wanted a photo of Austin and Corey Taylor both holding their Blunt Magazines Covers, we hunted down Corey and got a picture with him. What a down to earth dude, I can’t tell you the number of times I have partied to Slipknot music with Of Mice & Men, at least once a night on Warped Tour.
I headed over to our stage after. I figured out my route from our stage to All Time Low’s stag, as after their set I wanted to run to it and shoot them. The only problem was All Time Low started about halfway through Of Mice & Men, so I would have to sprint with my camera/Pelican roller. Here we go.
The day before I tweeted saying I needed a horse head and a girl was nice enough to find me and give it to me. I wasn’t sure exactly how to meet up with someone so I just had them to wave me down while I was shooting. While I was standing on stage I just see this dude waving a horse mask above his head… amazing. I jumped off the stage and he gave it to me for his friends, which reminds me… I still have to return their mask. I promised them. Dammit, I don’t know if that’s possible. I’ll have to get them something cooler. I am so sorry for the long wait! I technically stole a horse head from you, my bad guys. Anyway, horse head for the Harlem Shake as requested by Mike of Pierce The Veil, mission accomplished, it’s like a real-life RPG.
I got to All Time Low’s set and shot a few shots from under the riser. I missed an amazing shot cause I was looking at my pics during the set instead of shooting – a mistake I still make sometimes. Duh. It was good to shoot them again, I haven’t really photographed them much since their Straight To DVD tour I worked on.
After I was done shooting their set I ran around to all the bands and made sure we were still good for Harlem Shake, told them where to be at 5:30 and that we had to get it done very fast as Sleeping With Sirens had a set to play. I scouted an area by the backstage rooms and set up, it looked like shit/couldn’t secure nice light. I eventually settled on our dressing room which involved moving a lot of people’s stuff around and clearing everyone out of the area. I just shoved everyone’s stuff to one side of the room. After I was all set up I started rounding up the bands. All of Of Mice & Men, check. All of Pierce The Veil, check… Two people from Al Time Low…. no one from Sleeping With Sirens. I ran to Sleeping With Sirens stage and ended up gathering two of the dudes, but the other three were too stressed and didn’t want to do it. I was bummed but I understand, the Harlem Shake is quite the commitment of looking like a dumb ass for a few seconds. I appreciated the people that came. Rian and Zack of All Time Low didn’t come either but I understood.
Now I had to get it shot, rounding up that many friends halfway through a day where some had been drinking can prove to be difficult. I basically had to yell at everyone and get it shot, whether they show it or not, everyone wants to get it done fast and be on with their day. I think it took us a total of 10 minutes start to finish.
I headed right to stage with Jesse and Kellin so I could shoot their set. Great set, insane light, got some solid shots.
I made a bad choice during the set. Unexpected events happen during the set- it is my job to asses them, and figure out how to best cover them on the fly. Before the set, Kellin told me he was going to go into the crowd and walk on top of them, sing the last line, and then get crowd-surfed back. Or at least I thought that was what he said. But when that part of the set arrived, he told the crowd he was going to separate them, walk to the center, then get crowd-surfed back. Well shit. I had a telephoto on my camera and was ready to shoot him on top of thousands of people, instead, this sounded like something that would look better close up. I ran from the front of the stage to where my camera was in back, swapped my 70-200mm to my 17-40mm. I ran back to the front of the stage, jumped down, and followed Kellin to the barricade. Watching the video might be easiest but I’ll explain.
So I got to the barricade where he was standing talking to the crowd. Now what I envisioned happening by what he had just presented the crowd with was that he would get all Moses on everyone and they would split like the Red Sea. But that will have to remain just as much a fictional story as the one it originated from. I would say three people moved one foot to the side and gave Kellin just enough room to squeeze in. At this point, I was on the barricade ready to jump in as soon as he moved forward. He got out about 5 feet by walking, and then suction cupped the fuck in-between thousands of sweaty bodies. Me, being a tad bit stupid, jumped in after him expecting to walk out through Moses’s parted sea- suctioned cupped right against the barricade. I now know what it feels like to be at the barricade for a concert again. Hooooly shit that hurts. The camera above head just snapping away. Soon after Kellin launched up, sang his part, and began to get body passed towards me. I panicked, and turned around and literally had to have two security guards yank me out. I pushed off a nice flat back that was in front of me and got out a second before Kellin did – took photos the whole time. I guess it worked out pretty well, just shouldn’t go jumping into crowds without thinking first, next time maybe, as I could have gotten all the shots just by standing on the barricade.
Back to catering to grab some dinner. So. Many. Prawns. I probably ate 20 or so. There was this giant bucket tipped on its side, half full of ice, and overflowing with prawns. I let my feet rest and then headed back to shoot Bring Me The Horizon. Today’s venue stage was massive compared to Sydney’s. This time around it was in a huge tent (same stage as All Time Low and Sleeping With Sirens). It was a blast to observe, I included a few video clips with terrible audio so you could grasp the size. Again, Oli grabbed the crowd by their testicles and tossed ’em around. Next level metal band.
I had heard a lot about The Amity Affliction and had a bit of time to kill before Pierce The Veil’s set. I was pretty tired by this point, and my feet hurt, but it’s not every day I get to shoot festivals in Australia so I had to take advantage of my situation and tough it out. There were a few large groups of people left, split up watching the headlining/closing bands on each of the six stages. Metallica was playing the main stage. I jogged past their set over to Pierce The Veil’s set. Get me away from that music, can’t handle it.
I was supposed to be back in the backstage area to catch a bus/shuttle back to the hotel at around 10:00. I stayed at Pierce The Veil’s set until late and had to jog, running with a Pelican rolling case isn’t very fun. I made it back and snagged a shuttle. The Bring Me The Horizon dudes were on the bus. It was good to catch up with them, I showed ’em some videos and photos from that day and they were stoked. Oli told me about the new comic book project he was working on, it was called “Raised by Raptors”. His artist, Ben, was actually out with him helping finish it up.
I had some time to kill when I got back and went to Oli’s room with his artist and took a few pictures of them together holding the comic. He showed me the layout, basically, Ben would do the illustrations and lay it out with Oli, then Oli would go in and lay the text. They made a good team and I imagine the final project will be nothing short of entertaining. After that I went back to my hotel room, long story short I got locked out for a few hours, so I went for a walk. I headed to The Carlton Club, my favorite bar- I was going to get a cider and sit outside, but it was closed. It was almost 1:00 am by now. So I got some candy from a 7-11 instead and sat on a bench and ate it. Such good candy, I forget its name but they tasted exactly like Mambas.
I went back to my hotel room and I was still locked out. So I went to Phil’s room and hung out with him. Tino had a few drinks that night and passed out hard on the floor, so I slept in his bed. I woke up at 4:00 am to a still not sober Tino going to bed on top of me. I guess he had woken up and decided to crawl back into bed, not noticing me there. I laughed it off, got up, and walked back to my room. I was pretty out of it and ready to sleep on my feet. My door was still locked with that chain link thing, but I reached my hand through the crack and ended up opening it. Bad for security, good for me. Found my bed and passed out hard.
Adelaide, South Australia – Day Ten
Lobby call was 8:00 or 9:00 am. We had to fly to Adelaide, this day was different than most cause we went directly from the airport, to the venue, to the airport. No hotel. I guess there was a massive car event or something going on at the same time and there weren’t enough hotels for everyone on the tour.
I was pretty tired that morning, sorta out of it. When I got to the venue I just wanted to sleep. I slept on the plane but was still a bit out of it. I couldn’t exactly lay down in our backstage area as we were actually in prison cells that day. The backstage area was a big prison/jail and everyone got their own cell. I took a shuttle to our stage and watched Deaf Havana play from where the crowd was sitting. Hot ass sun that day, and it was wearing me out even more. There was a car park area behind our stage or something like that. I tried to take a nap in the grass but I was worried someone was going to drive up, not see me, and squish me under their car. I figured being tired was better than being dead. Of Mice & Men’s turn to hit the stage. Our stage today was a bit smaller than other dates, but regardless- still fun to shoot. I think that 5 years on the Warped Tour has pretty much conditioned me to be able to shoot these outdoor festivals to the best of my ability. They set went, as usual, the only difference was this time Corey Taylor watched the whole set. The first half from side stage, last half from the front of the house. The guys were so stoked, this was literally their idol watching their set, a dream come true.
I went back to catering after shooting their set. Coffee, some food, I felt like a new man and was ready to shoot more. There was a dude with native Australian animals hanging outside of the catering area. One was a wombat, it was basically a real-life teddy bear. so furry and squish and just look at this thing! I asked another photographer to take my photo with it and when I got my camera back every shot was OOF, c’mon man! You are a photographer!
He also had a snake. I love snakes, it also was nice lighting out so I took some photos of Austin with it.
I hung around a lot that day. I didn’t have much to do and everyone was off doing something, somewhere, and the venue was spread out… it was a scattered day, and we had to leave by 6:00 pm. Way early! I very seldom shoot bands I don’t know. I think it has gotten harder for me to expand as I become more experienced. I used to just do as I pleased and shoot everyone’s sets, send them images, post them around, and try to get new jobs. But now I have the six or so bands I work with regularly and it takes up most of my time. In addition, I know better than to just barge onto someone’s stage and start shooting now. I also want to always be putting out my best live work and in some cases that mean not shooting from the pit. It’s hard to be around 40 bands you really want to shoot and not be able to shoot any of them, but I know sometime in the future a good opportunity will present itself. I just have to get there, eventually. That being said, I shot Cypress Hill from the stage. It was the only band I really shot the whole tour who I didn’t know personally (other than Metallica).
I knew the bands I couldn’t shoot from stage, cause they would get pissed, but I had heard Cypress had a pretty chill crew and they seemed chill as well. So I went to their stage a good 30 minutes early and hung around, figured out where their techs would be, and grabbed a spot stage right. Once they started I took some crowd shots with my camera handheld, and then after a song or two, I moved to the back of the stage and took the rest of the shots with my camera on my monopod. After I got what I came for I left, didn’t wanna stay for too long. Shuttle back to the main area and hang out in the prison for a bit with some friends. We pretty much just ate food, had some drinks, and talked about whatever it is we wanted to talk about.
Before I knew it, it was time to leave. We headed out to the bus pick-up area and hopped on our bus. All Time Low was cruising with us! We were out of there by 6:00 pm.
We got to the airport and went through the motions. Everything was the same as the other times except one thing- we had a chartered flight this time. So many people had to fly that they just got a whole plane for people on the tour. Pretty sick. I forget all of who was on our plane but it was Billy Talent, Madball, All Time Low, Sum 41, Cancer Bats… I didn’t know all of them.
That night we arrived in Perth, we didn’t have a show the next day so off night and full off day the next day. That night everyone was pretty tired so we went to sleep. I was also a tad sick so I needed to rest.
Perth, West Australia – Day Eleven
I woke up to a beautiful day. We had the beach view right off our balcony and it was perfect out. I had plans to meet up with a friend of mine I had never actually met. He was a stand-up guy named Dave. You see, about a year ago I ventured to Australia for a vacation in Cairns. I rolled alone and didn’t have a place to stay, so he hooked me up with his sister and brother-in-law. It was amazing. They were so nice and let me stay at their place for 5 days. I had to meet Dave, at the very least to thank him. I took a cab and got breakfast with him. He told me a lot about the lifestyle and how the world worked in Perth. Perth was pretty far separated from the rest of Australia and they had a huge mining industry at the moment. Now you know two things you didn’t know about Perth. Be educated!
After we were done I went back to the hotel and met up with Austin, everyone else was already at the beach so we went and got Subway, medicine, some juice, and walked to the beach. Why the fuck did I get Subway? Instant regret. It was great, the guys had all gotten surfboards of different size. I couldn’t surf, but it would be good footage/ photos and fun to watch. I hopped in and went for a swim while everyone else did whatever they were doing. I was cold and sick but this was such a good moment that I said fuck it and swam as much as I could. I really do love the guys in Of Mice & Men, such solid people to spend time with and hang, couldn’t have asked for a better Soundwave experience. Thanks for letting me tag along. Eventually, there was a shark alert…. haha oh Australia, why is your nature always trying to kill people? We evacuated a total of four times in a row and then decided to call it a day. Trekked back to the hotel, showered up, and hung out in our hotel rooms to enjoy the day off and absorbing some sun. That night Soundwave did a thing where they buy everyone on the tour dinner. We had a choice of BBQ or Asian food, BBQ was full so Asian it was. Shuttle outside the hotel at 6:00 pm or so, and then we were off the restaurant. So many bands! The whole restaurant was rented out for the occasion. Everyone at the table ordered their own bottle of wine. I got some tea, cause I was sick, and tea is great when you are sick for sure. I think we were seated next to A Perfect Circle.
Everyone was pretty well inebriated by the end of the dinner and we caught the earliest bus we cold back to the hotel.
I don’t remember what we did that night. Slept, I think that’s it.
Perth, West Australia – Day Twelve
Last day of Soundwave! We took a shuttle to the venue and it wasn’t that far away. It was on a fairground. Maybe it wasn’t but there was a Ferris wheel. I made another juice that morning after scoping out our backstage area and got geared up for the day. Headed to our stage first to catch Crossfaith’s set, I had been meaning to watch them the whole tour but never got a chance.
Next headed to the main stage to shoot Memphis May Fire. They were just playing the main stage for one day, it was good to see them kill it. On my way there I ran into a photographer that recognized me from the internet. He was super rad and I forget his name but we walked for a few minutes before I had to jet to make it to the stage.
All Time Low had an incredibly low stage that day. It was great, so easy to shoot everything that was happening.
To Of Mice & Men’s set!
I have been doing this “backstage portrait” series for a bit now and I wanted to get some of Bring Me The Horizon that day because I didn’t know when I was going to see them next. I set up in their dressing room while they were hanging and just pulled ’em aside one by one. It was hard to shoot in there but I eventually got the shots. I got frustrated at first and it’s hard to convince someone to sit and let you photograph test lighting on them for 5 minutes. Regardless, I love the shots, and one of my favorites was from a light test with Oli.
The guys wanted to take a pic with Chris Jericho but were nervous to ask him. We eventually just went up and asked, he was super nice about it. He even said to Oli “I always see you on the cover of magazines, it’s good to finally meet you!”
I shot some video for Bring Me The Horizon that day as they requested, just to have their set documented. I don’t know what to do with the footage, but I have it.
Towards the end of the night I wanted to get some crowd shots of Metallica, so I grabbed my gear and planted myself in the crowd. It’s sorta hard to not be noticed when I am raising such a huge stick so high up in the air, oh well. It works! I didn’t get any shots.
Anyway, a drunk lady noticed me, turned around, and stumbled into my personal space. I can’t remember the exact exchange of words we had but she asked me if she could show me her tits and if I would photograph them. I was just confused and looked at her bodybuilder boyfriend (assumed) dude scared. He shrugged, did not give a fuck, she kept harassing me, I said okay, took a picture of her tits, she was satisfied, left me alone, I could go back to taking pictures of bands.
I was in shoot mode, I don’t really go into “let me see your tits” mode very fast from shoot mode, two opposite ends of the spectrum here. Anyway, Australia, what the fuck?
The late-night ride back to the hotel. Got ready for the end of the tour party and went out. Very sick, felt like shit. Went anyway, everyone thought I was hammered even though I was just sick… not a good place to be at. Need to stay healthy. Back to the hotel for me after grabbing a few images.
I slept on the balcony that night. One of the best moments, fresh air is so good.
Perth, West Australia – Day Thirteen
I think I’ll end this there. We had another off day of swimming and taking in the fresh air, and then I flew home and continued my travels.
Soundwave was fun. I would definitely do it again if given the opportunity. Thanks Of Mice & Men.