Last week I took a last minute assignment to shoot the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in Golden Gate park for the Denver Post. I usually don't shoot live music because of the hassles and restrictions, but this was a chance to shoot a bunch of currently popular bands, and a couple that I actually like. I'm not going to get into the behind-the-scenes stuff because it really doesn't reflect well on anyone involved, but I will share what I wrote on Twitter at the time, and say that I 100% stand by it:
Unless you shoot concerts, you probably don't know that the standard rule is that you're allowed to shoot only the first three songs. You're also stuck in the pit with 20-50 other photographers. Not ideal, but you still need the pictures. Luckily sometimes the subject is Sarah Barthel of Phantogram:
Other times, it's a hipster wearing a native headdress:
As an Outkast fan, I was curious to see what kind of game Big Boi had, but his DJ, the incompetent DJ Swiff, couldn't get his laptop running, and didn't have actual records with him. This snag cancelled Big Boi's performance, and if there's any justice at all, DJ Swiff is unemployed right now. Big Boi used Dave Chappelle to help him break it to the packed Sutro stage audience, drawing a ton of boos.
Then Chappelle kicked a beach ball into the crowd and they all left.
So after I had been standing around for an hour missing other acts, it was time for one of my favorites Erykah Badu. She came out in a hat with a big brim and was lit with overhead spot lights, so I put my lens on her and waited for her to tilt her head back. Thankfully she obliged:
For her third song, she took the hat off, and I was able to get some more pictures:
I like the Greyboy Allstars, but was disappointed to find that DJ Greyboy doesn't tour with them. Still, Karl Denson is no joke on the sax:
I trekked to the Sutro stage to shoot the Stone Foxes, but quickly found out that they were not stone foxes, but rather, dudes:
Didn't care much for the Arctic Monkeys, but they seem to have a lot of fervent fans:
All I can say about OK Go is this. I mean, really:
Some nice sunset light across the crowd:
I had never heard any of the Black Keys' music, but everyone raves about them, and the praise is in fact totally deserved. They can play:
On the other hand, I had not even heard of Muse before, and was planning to skip them because signing a release was required to get into the pit. But I was already in trouble for not shooting enough headliners, so I signed the (mild) waiver and waited for the music. And was pleased to find out that Muse can also play. Also, cool lights:
Major Lazer was the act that I was most looking forward to, and despite not bringing any of the MCs from their album, Diplo & Switch knocked it out:
I thought I would have a chance to catch Gallagher before the Arcade Fire went on, but he was running late, and I had to leave before he went on. On the way to the Lands End stage, I saw some ladies dancing:
I have absolutely no idea why Arcade Fire is so popular, but both the pit and the lawn were packed. I got my pictures and bailed, ready to go home:
But as I was leaving, I saw that Gallagher was still on, and couldn't pass up the chance to shoot (from the far back of the tent):
Funny how pictures of a guy making an unholy mess ended up making my weekend...