Carabao at the Irving Plaza NYC. (They were perfectly loud and I say it that way because …)

So I recently went with my wife and a friend to see Caraboa at the famed Irving Plaza in NYC. Now for my American friends let me give a brief description of Caraboa. They are a Thai rock band that started up in 1981 and continues to go strong today. Their material can be described simply as “song for life.” Their music is fueled by the protest and upheaval of the 1970’s in Thailand. Very similar in some ways as some of the American & British rock bands of the late sixties and early 70’s.

So I know my American musician friends are asking; are they any good? And I can say with a 100% yes. They are a world-class band for sure. They are as tight and on point as any great band I have ever seen. While they are influenced by many sources the overall feel for me personally was very Allman Brothers-ish (without the extended guitar jams). The music is rock driven guitar with prominent keyboard and at times other various instruments. They were perfectly loud and I say it that way because after a near three-hour performance and standing only about 30 feet from the stage I left the show with hearing intact. Their sound mix was perfect too, I could hear every instrument and vocal clearly. There was no fancy gimmicks or stage antics just good ole hard-core guitar driven rock music. At the same time I must point out that they have a strong style all their own and while they come across as a “rock band” on some tunes I hear the influence of folk music with mandolin, flute and acoustic guitar. Most of their songs have a bouncing beat that kept the crowd dancing through the whole show. So I can say “yes” to putting on an energetic show and nobody is falling asleep. Just like Thai food has a signature taste with lime leaf, lemongrass and tamarind. Carabao’s music has a signature Thai feel for the most part. When I visit Thailand I really like the sound of the Isaan/Lao style and I could hear that coming through in some of Carabao’s tunes.

Although I know very little Thai and I did not understand most of the vocals I still enjoyed the event.  Music is universal and being a fan of guitar driven rock I loved the show and I would go see them again.

My only gripe would be the timing of the event. The doors opened at 11:00pm on a Sunday night in NYC. The band actually took to the stage at 12:20am (Monday morning) so yeah… definitely not going to work on a Monday morning. I realize it was most likely due to last-minute booking so they could get a show in on the east coast. And with that said there were fans there from far and wide. I met people from Virginia, Ohio, Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts and more. There fans are obviously dedicated and not just a bunch of older folks. I saw many people in their twenties attending the show.

About the photography:

I used my Canon EOS M3 with the 18-55mm lens. Small and easy to carry, plus the Irving Plaza does not let people in with professional cameras. I was there strictly as a concert goer and nothing more. I arrived early because it was general admission. I found a spot along the side of the room at stage left. There was a two tier standing bar and I positioned myself at the end closest the stage lower tier about 3 feet above floor level. So I had a great view of the stage, a place to rest my drink, camera & phone. And I was just above the heads of all the fans standing in front of the stage.

Camera settings: All my shot were captured at 1/125 sec in Tv mode. ISO was auto as was aperture. Most times ISO racked out to 6400 that was what I set the limit at and aperture would fall at f/5.6 which is the widest setting for that lens when zoomed to 55mm. If I captured a wide shot at let’s say 18mm the ISO would fall to 2500 sometimes and the aperture would fall to f/4.0.

So yes the shots are grainy with ISO noise but certainly not unusable or un-editable. And “yes” of course I captured everything in RAW. Even my worst image of the night was better than every iPhone or Android shot. I think the ISO grain gives a good feel to the shots.

 

 

Love An Eagle (they were all so great, but Sad Café would really bring me to my knees sometimes.)

Godspeed Mr. Frey

Godspeed Mr. Frey

Sad to hear the news… just days after Bowie’s passing we lose yet another rock icon. The Eagles were a huge part of the sound track that was “The 70’s” they were part of the sound track of my life. I’ve seen them perform numerous times and the songs are ingrained in my head, my hands and my life. I could never have a favorite Eagles song they were all so great, but Sad Café would really bring me to my knees sometimes.

Mr. Frey you lived the life many a person could only dream of, so sad you had to leave in misery. Free of pain and flying away like an Eagle… Godspeed!

Forever A Hero (“The Chameleon” but most of all he was creative, innovative and a rock music visionary. )

Forever a  Creative Hero

Forever a Creative Hero

Very sad day when we see a soul as creative as David Bowie leave us. The boy from Brixton had a career that spanned 4 decades. For whatever reason I could not sleep last night, when I’m stressed I cannot sleep the whole night through. So I lay awake and to stop the racing of thoughts in my mind I open Instagram and see a friend from the UK had just woke to the news and was posting it. I was instantly awake and up reading the BBC news site.

Bowie always struck a strange note with me, but in a good way. When I first seen him on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert (I think that was the show) in the early seventies I was a young boy just starting to learn about stage theatrics with rock bands. He looked so strange almost scary, but the music resonated and I found him interesting.

Then in the late seventies as I was a little older I came to find the already published Ziggy Stardust album and I was hooked on Bowie. Truly a performer of a thousand faces he was “The Chameleon” but most of all he was creative, innovative and a rock music visionary. As time went by I became more drawn to his creativity than just looking at him as a rock star. Just two days ago I knew it was his birthday and as I do with many of my favorite artist I will spend time listening to their songs. With Bowie I wanted to see the “Heroes” video and then I went down a rabbit hole searching out all the facts that I did not already know about the writing of the song, making of the video and most interesting was how the vocals were recorded, “Tony Visconti rigged up a system, a creative misuse of gating that may be termed “multi-latch gating” because the overall feel of the song was to be “big and grand.”

I loved many of Bowie’s songs but “Heroes” was a song that touches me personally. You know one of those songs that instantly takes you back to a really deep time in your life and pulls some special memories of a very special someone who I was involved with but it was a “never to be situation for both of us.”

Godspeed Mr. Bowie.