2017 was a whirlwind of a year. I moved back to Birmingham at the beginning of 2017 and came back to the city with a lot of energy and ambition but very few concrete goals for my photography. I made Ang H. Studio at the end of 2016 and was eager to continue being serious about taking photos by shooting more shows and weddings. Ever since I started shooting my shot (or more literally, multiple shots) by just emailing artists, venues, promoters, and the like I've been able to capture some of my favorite artists and bands. 2017 was the year I truly began to develop my "style" as a photographer and these 17 images below are some of my favorite photos that embody my journey into finding/creating that style. Thanks for reading this and I hope you continue to follow my journey because greater is coming in 2018!
1. Jonny Craig of Slaves at the Masquerade
Jonny Craig was the original frontman for my favorite band, Dance Gavin Dance, and one of the main reasons I fell in love with them. I followed his music career to his new outfit, Slaves. They started their their own headlining tour with Secrets for support in Australia before coming to the United States leg of the tour where I saw them in Atlanta. Jonny's voice is still golden and this show was amazing. Well for everyone except the guy that got thrown out, poor guy.
2. Love Moor at Trim Tab Brewing Company
I had only been to Trim Tab Brewing Company one other time before this show. The outside patio didn't provide the warmest atmosphere on this cold night in October but that didn't stop a crowd from showing up. Neo-soul music is a genre close to my heart and after hearing her EP Simp Girl, I was going to this show no matter the weather and Love Moor did not disappoint. She gives you songs to groove to, songs to get sassy with, and songs that just give you that something...extra.
3. Yelawolf at Avondale Brewing Company
Yelawolf is from Gadsen, AL so his concert in Birmingham was the closest to a hometown show on his 51/50 Tour run. The outdoor stage at Avondale Brewery Company had people coming in from all over the state. While being in the pit for the first three songs, the gate got pushed so close to the stage, myself and the other photographers could barely move around. I almost died but it was worth it.
4. Third Eye Blind at Iron City
Third Eye Blind is one of those bands that I listened to in middle school without much thought (angsty teenager music, naturally). I got to be in the pit during the entirety of their concert which allowed me to dip in and out while enjoying parts of the show with my friend who accompanied me. Does it get any better?
5. Sleeping with Sirens at the Masquerade
Fun fact: Kellin Quinn did a cover of "Uneasy Hearts Weigh the Most" in an audition to be the frontman for Dance Gavin Dance. I've been listening to Sleeping with Sirens ever since. This was the first show where a press manager for a band reached out to me to come cover a show so I was head over hills excited about going to see these guys live. Their show featured an acoustic session in the middle of the set and Kellin Quinn crowd surfing for the finale.
6. Vans Warped Tour at Lakewood Amphitheater
I've been wearing Vans since I was in middle school. I can count on one hand (give or take a few fingers) any other shoes/heels that I've gotten that were a different brand other than Vans. For the price of the tickets, Vans Warped Tour gives you a lot of band for your buck. I got to see Dance Gavin Dance for a second time, Stick To Your Guns pictured above, Futuristic, Neck Deep, Hands Like Houses, and Memphis May Fire just to name a few. I was even more stoked when I got to attend Warped Tour with press credentials and got the experience of a lifetime.
7. EarthGang at Secret Stages
Fun fact (I know, another one *in my DJ Khaled voice*): Atlanta is closer to my hometown than Birmingham. With the proximity of such a large city and having a lot of family members that reside in the Atlanta area, I went there alot growing up and just fell in love with the city. As my music taste began to develop, I became more deeply interested in the hip hop/r&b/neo-soul music scene. I discovered EarthGang, a hip hop duo from Atl, literally a week before Secret Stages and made sure I was there for their set.
8. Eugenius Neutron at Seasick Records
The Syndicate Lounge in Birmingham used to be called the Foreign Exchange back in the day (maybe not that far back in the day, but you get the idea). They would have open mic nights on Fridays that would feature hip hop acts, cyphers, spoken word, poetry readings, singer songwriters, and almost any kind of creative talent you can think of. That's where I first heard Eugenius perform. A couple years later and I got to catch him at his album release party and concert at Seasick with some great openers and great vibes.
9. Richard Daniel at Secret Stages
I first saw Richard Daniel on my birthday at the January Lobotomix showcase. When I ran into him during his second set at Secret Stages his mother came to that show and he performed a song he wrote special for her. It was a really intimate show and each time he performs he leaves his everything on the stage. What more can you ask for from an artist? (Nothing, the answer is nothing)
10. Taylor Phelan at the Nick Rocks
The Nick Rocks was one of the first venues to let me come to shows on occasion and I was happy to catch Taylor Phelan on tour. His voice is smooth enough to serenade you to sleep and to wake you up in the morning. His guitarist and pianist switched positions for different songs during the set, and Taylor even brought out a tambourine for some added fun.
11. Miss May I at Zydeco
I had my stint with some heavy metal music at one point during high school and those same five bands or so have remained on my music rotation ever since. Luckily for me, Miss May I was one of those bands. I got to interview the frontman, Levi Benton, for BhamRocks right before the show so I felt comfortable and confident shooting their show for my first time in Zydeco. They're set had some crazy lights, smoke, and a drum solo (truly the way to my heart).
12. Picturesque at the Masquerade
Picturesque opened up for Slaves at their show at the Masquerade and I honestly wasn't aware they were even on the ticket as they were added close to the show date. They're a band hailing from Atlanta that brought a sound that resonated with the crowd so intensely it was almost unreal. They're definitely a band to look out for in 2018.
13. Lido at Iron City
Artists become greater when they push themselves beyond any creative barriers they didn't know they had. Lido was the tour opener for Portugal. The Man and is originally from Norway. He came into contact with PTM by covering one of their songs (which was apparently frowned upon) and killing it. Sometimes you have to knock on a door for it open, and other times you just have to bang on your drums and keys until someone listens.
14. Trina at Sloss Furnaces
If you follow me on instagram, you're probably familiar with the fact that I first started listening to Trina in the 5th grade (parents, don't try this at home). Seeing her live was truly unforgettable. Up until she finished out the Magic City Car and Bike Show set list at the end of the night, no one was in the pit besides photographers and videographers. The admiration and pure respect for her music by the other artists was surreal. When you're the baddest, people pay attention.
15. Nathaniel Rateliff at the Alabama Theater
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats have a reputation for high energy performances. I was even more interested in seeing him live when I found out Durand Jones and the Indications would also be on the ticket. Durand Jones sounds and performs very similarly to James Brown (not that there is a true comparison but just follow me for a second) in that his style and intensity will get you out of your seat. With two heavy hitters back-to-back, the crowd in the Alabama Theater must have lost their voices cheering and singing along that night.
16. Skoolie Escobar at the Syndicate Lounge
The January Lobotomix showcase was sold out, and with Skoolie Escobar finishing off the evening, nobody was leaving early. The Syndicate Lounge has a few couches but its a standing venue. Because of that, you would think most people wouldn't come in their "best dressed" let alone in heels, but you would be wrong on this night. When Skoolie Escobar got on stage, he did what he wanted and the crowd loved it. He even got all the stage lights cut off at the end of the set and let the fans illuminate him with their cell phones. There's no telling how far this cat is going to go with a stage presence like that.
17. Jacquees at Sloss Furnaces
Jacquees got signed to a record label in recent years but he's been YouTube famous long before that doing remixes, covers, and a few original pieces. He's a lot shorter in person than I thought he would be, but he's still a pretty boy and captivating performer. Every girl (and most guys, let's not lie) in a one mile radius of the Magic City Car and Bike Show was screaming at the top of their lungs the entire time he was on stage. He did a few really solid collabs with Dej Loaf to finish out the 2017 year so I'm glad this show put him back on my music radar.