Waterparks / SWMRS / All Time Low

I haven't been so nervous to shoot a show since my first day on Warped Tour. 

I love getting to catch up with Waterparks. They are some of the kindest humans. Manchester was freezing but as soon as we entered the green room, I was sweating. Awsten turned the heat up so high to remind him of Texas. I've seen Waterparks play for Warped crowds, open for Sleeping with Sirens and do their own headline tour but this was the biggest audience I’ve ever seen them play for. I was blown away by reception from the crowd. I'm so proud of how far they've come already. 

SWMRS are a punk band from Oakland, CA and one of my favorite bands right now. They used to be Emily's Army and I actually saw them under that monicker at Warped 2013, been a fan since. They are electrifying on stage and their sound is reminiscent of 70's British-era punk infused with pop hooks.

And then came the moment when All Time Low's lights raised and my shutter started. I racked up probably 800 shots just from their set. A lot of it was a blur; me sprinting from the pit, to backstage, up to the balcony and down the stairs to the side balcony. I was exhausted and my legs were dead. But it was one of the best shows I have ever shot.

Thank you again to everyone who gave me this opportunity!

Northbound / As It Is / State Champs

What better way to beat jet lag  than going to a pop punk show with some of your absolute favorite bands and people? Last Friday, I flew out to the U.K. to spend spring break with my girlfriend. The day after landing, I happily found myself standing in a line that stretched far and wide out of the O2 Forum, to see Northbound, As It Is and State Champs.

A very wise Jake Marquis (of Sleep On It) once said, “If you talk over all the opening acts, you may never find your new favorite band” and he’s damn right. I hadn’t heard of Northbound but I jumped in the photo pit for their set and holy, yeah, I found a new favorite band to watch out for.

I haven’t seen As It Is since our little run back in October and I missed them! When we toured together with Sum 41, they were the opening band on a bill of more veteran acts and they never ceased to amaze me. They gave 110% to win over each and every single kid and adult in the crowd. That’s not easy. I was also reminded of how impressively high these guys jump haha. To see them play in front of 2,000+ kids who were singing back every single word of not just the old tunes, but the brand new ones, made me so proud and excited for them.

And Champs!! I haven’t seen them since they came through on the “End The Madness tour” and it was well worth the wait. Derek said that it was their biggest headline show ever, that’s special. A band from Albany, NY is playing the O2 Forum in London for thousands of people. Absolutely amazing show with killer production and one of the best bills I’ve seen in awhile, appreciate the guys for letting me shoot!

 

WATERPARKS

As corny as I am, I believe what makes music so important, is the impact it has on the fans. I don’t think I have ever seen a fanbase quite like Waterparks’. It was a miserably cold day in Boston, I may be from California but I feel like the air shouldn’t hurt your face, but that’s me. Anyways, I heard fans were waiting out in the front of the venue since 9 am just to get to the front of the Palladium Upstairs. That’s special.

And the reason Waterparks has such strong fans is that they write incredibly catchy, fun and smart music while being the genuine and hilarious guys they are. Within this year of touring they’ve done, Good Charlotte, Warped Tour, Sleeping With Sirens and now this current headlining tour where they are selling out damn near every date. It’s so impressive and it doesn’t even stop there, Waterparks is now on UK and then US run with All Time Low. 

The boys are back, the boys are sad, and they’re going to take over.

ISSUES: The End Is Here Tour

Nervous. Eager.

Those were about the only two emotions I had leading up to the first day. I was nervous because this was honestly my 2nd tour, I had done a few short stints with bands in the fall but this was 8 shows in 11 days. This was my first club tour.

Being invited on this ISSUES run meant a lot to me and I was thrilled to make it work with my school schedule. So, every day I was eager to create. I’d be sitting in class crafting visions of portraits and videos in my mind everyday before I left.

Fast forward to day 1 in Chicago, after a whole ordeal trying to fly there, everything sort of clicked. I met ISSUES on Warped but hadn’t had a lot of 1 on 1 time to get to know them all but on day 1, they were incredibly welcoming and just love hanging out and playing video games. 

The shows began to fly by and I found myself as a part of the crew, and that’s the amazing feeling being on tour gives. You are part of a team, working together to accomplish one goal, have a kickass show, sleep and repeat everyday. I love it, and it drives me.

Within the ISSUES and Falling In Reverse camps, we loved to play the, “What are the odds game?” It’s essentially a dare game and on the last day I got AJ and he had to flex in every single meet and greet photo, it’s probably a highlight of the tour for me because I struggled to maintain composure throughout the 100+ photos.

I had the best time on, "The End Is Here Tour" and created my favorite video and photo work to date, including a tour recap I put together that I’ll include with my gallery below. Can’t thank the ISSUES guys enough for bringing me out!

SECRETS

I’ve mentioned before how my first show in the scene was Sleeping With Sirens. One of the opening bands on that show's lineup was fellow Southern Californians' SECRETS. The band was touring on their debut record, “The Ascent” and I’ve been a fan of their work ever since. Things have again come full circle.

In mid-January I was invited to spend a week in Oregon with SECRETS as they tracked their new record with producer, Kris Crummett. I've always loved being in the studio as a musician. I loved being able to see raw melodies and structures, shaped into their best form over time through collaboration and tracking. Documenting this process for someone else was an exciting first for me.

Within a day of sitting in, I could tell SECRETS truly pushed themselves to create this new record. Everything from the riffs, to screams to the clean vocals sound more defined, catchier and heavier than anything they’ve ever done. With Kris Crummett (ISSUES, Dance Gavin Dance, Sleeping with Sirens) at the helm, it’s another reason why they are a band to lookout for.

When we weren’t tracking, we avoided the cold at all costs thanks to a strange Portland snow storm. Between ping pong, burritos, billiards, watching fascinating reality TV, and taking tons of photos, I had a blast.

I won’t give too much away but I can’t wait for everyone to hear this album and to share more of the images we created in the studio. Here's a sneak peek with more to come! 

Mac Miller

The first time I saw Mac Miller was in 2013 back when Chance the Rapper was his opener. It’s hard to believe how much has happened between now and then and it’s amazing to see Mac’s growth since, “Best Day Ever”. Mac Miller just put out, in my opinion, his best record, The Divine Feminine. It has mixtures of hip-hop/rap/R&B with features ranging from Ty Dolla $ign, Kendrick Lamar and Ariana Grande - to the up and coming, grammy-nominated Anderson Paak. Truly, an incredible album.

House of Blues Boston is the biggest of its kind in the country. So for those of you in warmer places, Boston was hitting low 20s on the night of the show and there was a line extending out the door, stretched the length of Fenway Park, and around the corner - an hour after doors had already opened.

Mac sold out this show and he gave his love back through his dynamic performance. Mac’s delivery was clean, crisp and vocals sounded authentic and passionate. 

Very grateful to have had the opportunity to shoot this show. Be sure to pick up, The Divine Feminine!

blackbear

I love our Warped Tour scene so much and the music within it, but I jump at the opportunities to photograph completely different genres. I think it keeps me on my feet. blackbear is a hip-hop/R&B artist out of L.A. who’s really come up big in the underground music scene. One of my best friends on last summer’s Warped Tour was Tarina Doolittle, who is currently on tour with blackbear as his photographer. She is a highly skilled veteran who’s worked in so many different areas of photography ranging from high fashion to commercial work to music and beyond. 

I got to the venue around start time to find a line out the door and around the corner (even despite it being freezing out). It’s always a nice sight to see people supporting love music. 

blackbear hit the stage around 8:15. The moment the first track started, you heard a massive roar from a sold-out venue.They knew every word, and screamed for anything he said. I’m personally a big fan of his music and he definitely doesn’t disappoint live. He sounds great, interacts with the audiences, takes selfies on their phone, calls people on stage and brings the energy on every beat. 

I loved the environment and the different energy that a hip-hop show brings and I’m looking forwarded to doing it again.

End the Madness Tour

Born and raised from San Diego, CA, I grew up going to shows at the legendary venue, SOMA. Since I’ve only been shooting professionally for a little over a year, I had never shot my favorite venue or my home city, other than Warped Tour this past summer. I went home for Thanksgiving break and it lined up perfectly with Sleeping With Sirens’, “End the Madness Tour” featuring Waterparks, Tonight Alive and State Champs. 

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Youth Authority Tour

I'm still in my last year of college, trying to be responsible, but the void of being on the road grows by the day. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to join Good Charlotte for a few days on their Youth Authority Tour. I also had the chance to work with Big Jesus, an Atlanta based rock band who just released their debut record, "ONEIRIC". This tour was stacked with the other amazing bands, Four Year Strong and The Story So Far.

I took a 9pm to 5am bus from Boston to Philadelphia, slept about two hours and arrived at 30th street station eager, but exhausted. When I got to the venue, I was greeted by Spencer from Big Jesus and he took me to the craziest backstage I had ever seen. The Fillmore in Philly is unbelievably modern and beautiful; there were giant models of Star Wars TIE fighters hanging from the ceiling, killer sound, amazing lights, and gorgeous chandeliers hanging in the main room. Good Charlotte were incredibly welcoming and gave me their trust to do whatever I felt necessary to get the best content possible. If you've had the chance to see the Youth Authority tour, you know that they put on one hell of a show for the fans. The set list is an amazing combination of new and old and they touch everything from, "Little Things" to ,"Life Changes" and through each one the crowd is singing at full force. I had so much fun I forgot that I'd only had 2 hours of sleep in the past 24 hours.

The next day was Rhode Island. I had never really explored Rhode Island before but spent the day wandering around Pawtucket and I fell in love with the quaint New England architecture. The venue was old, rustic with an intimate space. I remember looking down from the balcony and seeing how close the stage was having no idea how a Good Charlotte crowd was going to squeeze in. Next, I prepared for one of my favorite parts of this tour, the meet and greets and Q&A's.  I heard so many touching and beautiful stories about people rebuilding their lives, making friends, falling in love and more through Good Charlotte's music. The Maddens would always humbly reiterate that the people should give themselves the credit for doing all of that. Come showtime, I'm in the photo pit and I get called back on stage by the tour manager to have Benji and Joel tell me that they want to do the Mannequin Challenge mid-show. I was so confused but they just said be ready to film after, "Riot Girl". Song ends. Joel makes an announcement, "We'd like to do something special with you guys. Have you heard of the mannequin challenge?" and at that point I was just super nervous to not mess it up. The guys crushed it, and the crowd was pretty perfect! Rhode Island was crazy but so much fun. 

With a day off, we then came full circle back to Boston. I love the House of Blues Boston, it's my neighborhood, I know the building, it's the largest HOB in the country, and to top it off, we had a sold out show. We're going through the daily meet and greet and then Benji and Joel stop me from filming and say, "Ryan, you should go to do another mannequin challenge with the line out the door". I'm normally fairly social, not the best with public speaking but I didn't want to disappoint! I stood at the beginning of the line looking anxious for like 5 minutes just trying to figure out how I was going to do this. I just had to talk real loud to 20 people at a time, explaining the challenge, then moving on to the next group and so on until I got around the corner. The line was huge. This took awhile. Then I ran back to the beginning of the line and following a countdown we had everyone yell, "FREEZE" and the the line was extremely impressive! Nearly perfect. The show went off without a hitch, I was running around from behind stage, to side stage, to the pit, balcony and front of house crowd shots. I was tired, sweaty and my voice had gone from singing along behind my camera. If you've ever seen me shoot a show, you know I'll sing while I'm shooting because I honestly can't help it. 

The Youth Authority tour was amazing, I did some of my favorite work to date and got to experiment with a lot of video content. So thankful to the MDDN crew as always for giving me this opportunity!