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LasVegas-0298
You’re probably coming around these parts looking for some sort of inauguration coverage/photos, but sadly, it is not to be. I actually boarded a flight early Tuesday morning to Vegas and am here all work for a day job-related trade show. So don’t expect this piece to be updated much. Instead, check out my Tumblr or Twitter feed for the latest.
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If its inauguration coverage you are looking for, head over to DCist, who I am told kicked mucho ass coverage-wise yesterday. I wouldn’t know, I was running around the Vegas Convention Center all day. I have not seen minute one of the ceremony, much less read anything about it. Help me DVR and Bloglines, you’re my only hope.
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In other news, I am totally down with Old Vegas and Fremont Street. It beats the strip all to hell.
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As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a Metallica fan. I don’t own any of their albums, just a promo double disc set called Madatory Metallica that I picked up from a friend at their label solely because it had their cover of “Breadfan” on it. It is, without a doubt, my favorite Metallica song.
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Last week’s show at the Verizon Center went a long way in making me think differently about the band. I can’t remember a bigger show or band that treated photographers so nicely. There was no photo release to sign. We had full access to the stage area (they were playing in the round and we had no restrictions in the photo pit). We got three songs to shoot and other than the lazer light show for the first song, the lighting was incredible. And most importantly, the three songs we shot lasted about 25 minutes. It’s rare that I get to shoot a band that long and I certainly appreciated it. Also, on a side note, their photo pass is the biggest I have ever seen.
[Photo Gallery]
Metallica w/ MachineHead @ Verizon Center

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Crowdsurfing-4747
I shudder to think at how many photos I shot over the past 12 months. To give you an idea, here’s a list of some of the bands I shot in 2008: Editors, Buffalo Tom, Fiery Furnaces, Super Furry Animals (twice), Angels & Airwaves, From The Jam, Say Hi, Jay-Z and Mary J. Blige, Ra Ra Riot, John Vanderslice, Stephen Malkmus, Jens Lekmen, The Dodos, The Big Sleep, Les Savy Fav, The City Veins (twice), Robbers on High Street, The Cure, Finger 11, Seether, Live, Chevelle, Liars, Radiohead, Pela, Modest Mouse, R.E.M., Ted Leo, Pearl Jam, 20+ bands at Whartscape, The Dirt Bombs, Spiritualized (twice), The Cool Kids (twice), Redman & Method Man, Ghostface & Raekwon, Q-Tip (twice), Nas, De la Soul, We Are Scientists (twice), Nine Inch Nails, Iggy & the Stooges, Lil’ Wayne, Paramore, Underworld, Duffy & many more at the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore, Title Tracks, The Hold Steady, Jana Hunter (twice), Thao Nguyen & TGDSD, The Jonas Brothers, Shudder to Think (twice) Stereophonics, The Kooks, Oasis (twice-kind of), Paul Weller (twice), Silversun Pickups, Stereolab, The Black Kids, James, David Byrne, New Kids on the Block, Lykke Li, Cold War Kids, The Whigs, Kings of Leon, Smashing Pumpkins, Usher, Vampire Weekend, Nada Surf and Ryan Adams.
And that’s not counting the Washington Wizards, Washington Kastles, Legg Mason Tennis Tournament, 20+ D.C. United games and all the photos of my cat. But I’m not complaining. Just the opposite in fact. I hope to do it bigger and better in 2009. I can sleep later.
Here are a few of my faves from 2008.
Robert Smith of The Cure
Robert Smith of The Cure
Michael Stipe of R.E.M.
Michael Stipe of R.E.M.
Jonas Brothers
Jonas Brothers

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NoelGallagher-1-2 web
As you well know if you are my friend on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, Saturday was my big night. After chasing them down for three or four years, I finally got to shoot the Noel and Liam in all of their (seemingly disinterested) glory at the Patriot Center. The cherry on top is that I also got to review the show for Washingtonpost.com (thanks guys!). Much like the concert, the review is OK, but not my finest work. Luckily there were other people people there reviewing the show, so you can read Dave McKenna’s fair-handed mainstream media review or perhaps Chris Klimek’s pretty spot-on casual fan review (with more photos from yours truly).
I wanted Saturday night to be pure euphoria, and for songs 2, 3 and 4, it was. But after I shot my three songs and put my camera gear away, I never got back to those heights, probably because I am a jaded old fuck that can’t even enjoy his favorite band anymore. Who knows? I talked to a few friends who were also at the show and they all loved it, which is great to hear. I was also happy to see an almost full venue! D.C. hearts Oasis.
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But that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the show, because I did. “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, which has never been one of my favorite Oasis songs, was performed acoustically sounded brand new and shiny. “Falling Down” was totally mega, as was “Shock of the Lightning” and “To Be Where There’s Life”, one of the few songs in the set where Liam really went for it on his vocals.
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It was a real thrill to finally be able to shoot Oasis. I had to drink a beer during Ryan Adams’ set to calm my nerves a bit (and I never drink when I am shooting). I regret not taking some wider angle shots, but I was so focused on getting great shots of Liam and Noel I kind of threw my normal process out the window. The stage was really high and they had a wall of floor monitors on the lip of the stage, so the narrow photo pit kind of limited what I was able to do. But I got some good stuff and I ultimately walked out of the venue one happy camper.
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But most importantly, I got to stand about 6 inches from Liam!
Here’s hoping that rumor of a Spring tour with Weezer turns into reality.
Read the reviews:
Mine (with photos) for Washingtonpost.com’s Post Rock blog.
Chris Klimek for Dcist (with more photo by yours truly!).
Dave McKenna for the Washington Post.

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Quite frankly, this was one hell of a year. More about that a bit later, but let’s go ahead and kick off the end-of-year-listage with the best gigs of 2008!
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1) Underworld @ Virgin Mobile Festival – Baltimore, MD
What I said at the time: Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy Crazy
Not only was this the best show I saw all year, it was one of the best shows I have ever seen. Period. It was thoroughly mind blowing. My expectations for this could not have been higher but Underworld still blew me away. All concerts should be like this.
[MP3] Underworld | Beautiful Burnout
BUY: Underworld: Everything, Everything on CD
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2) Oasis @ Virgin Festival – Toronto, ONT
What I said at the time: Craziness erupted at the Oasis gig in Toronto tonight when during “Morning Glory” some punter somehow got onstage, and gave Noel a mighty shove into the monitors directly in front of him before turning and going after Liam. Luckily security corralled the guy before he could do any more damage to the band and the gig.
Photo superstardom for yours truly! I was totally crushed that I didn’t get to shoot Oasis from the pit, but because I didn’t, I happened to have my camera out when Noel was attacked on stage. The resulting shots were published all over the world.
[MP3] Oasis | To Be Where There’s Life (live Wembley Arena 10/16/08)
BUY: Dig Out Your Soul on CD
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3) Radiohead @ Nissan Pavilion – Fairfax, VA
What I said at the time: It rained. Alot. A hell of a lot. More than you’ve ever seen. Ever. Almost four inches. Seriously, it was one of the biggest storms in D.C. history. And we stood outside during it and watched Radiohead. The “rain down” part of the “Paranoid Android” suddenly has new meaning to me.
Fuck. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this gig. It led to my first-ever photos in the Post and a whole bunch of other work. Oh yeah, and it rained. A hell of a lot. More than you’ve ever seen. Ever. I cannot stress this enough.
[MP3] Radiohead | Reckoner (live @ Nissan Pavilion)
BUY: In Rainbows on CD

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I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the Vampire Weekend show at the 9:30 Club last week. I have pretty much stayed away from the band all year due to all the hype and the few times I have seen them perform on TV they left me less than impressed. The band always seemed detached and kind of mechanical, but that was not the case at the 9:30, where they were quite engaging and above all, crack musicians. As I stood bopping along to “A-Punk” I tried to erase the memory of every Cold War Kids and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show I have ever had the displeasure of attending. Finally, a buzz band that can actually sing in tune and play their instruments with aplomb!
That said, some of their songs are a bit too twee and precious for me – the Jackson Crowder one to start with – and I don’t care how preppy they dress, a turquoise Patagonia fleece jacket is never appropriate stage wear unless you are playing outside in Colorado! Jeezy Creezy.
[Photo Gallery]
Vampire Weekend w/ The Teenagers @ 9:30 Club

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Santarchy2008-8306
On Saturday I headed down to the National Mall to check out this year’s edition of Santarchy, which is basically a whole bunch of people dressing up like Santa, running around like fools and spreading holiday cheer. It was just as awesome as it sounds. I wrote up a quick piece about it for DCist and took a whole bunch of photos.
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[Photo Gallery]
Sanatarchy D.C. 2008

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WaPoQTip
Head over to washingtonpost.com to see my photos of the Q-Tip and Cool Kids show from Sunday night. I’ll have the full photo set posted here later in the week.

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Q-Tip
Although the Thanksgiving holiday is bearing down on us, I have much more than turkey on the horizon. Mrs. Leaf and I are staying in town and have a bunch of thing on our plate (no pun intended). We’re spending Thanksgiving at the Verizon Center with the Wizards and Magic and then on Sunday night we’re heading to the 9:30 Club to catch comeback kid Q-Tip and The Cool Kids.
Tip is back in the limelight after the release of his excellent new album, The Renaissance and although he’s been away for quite some time, he still sounds fresh and new. I’ve seen Tribe no fewer than 10 times, and he’s always been a great performer. I caught The Cool Kids over the summer and they weren’t exactly slouches. I’ve been rocking their album The Bake Sale quite a bit lately.
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Thanksgiving, not just for turkey anymore!
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Although I haven’t mentioned them very much, I have become a big fan of The Duke Spirit. I liked a track they had on a sampler a while back and was pleasantly surprised by their latest album, Neptune, which is full of bluesy, garage rock goodness. It’s one of my favorite albums of the year and it’s been in heavy rotation on my iPod since February.
So of course I jumped at the chance of seeing them at the 9:30 Club, especially after Redboy gave them his stamp of approval. And they did not disappoint. They were full of vim and vigor, whipping a fairly sizable crowd into a frenzy and, best of all, they sounded spot on. While the guys in the band don’t do much of anything on stage, it’s hard to take your eyes off of frontwoman Leila Moss as she prowls around. “The Step and The Walk” is one of the best Bunnymen songs not written by Ian McCulloch and their other standout tunes like “Lassoo” and “You Really Wake Up The Love In Me” were straight fire. Can’t wait for these guys to come back to town.
Sadly I didn’t stick around for the Eagles of Death Metal. It was a school night and they weren’t due on stage until 11:45.
[Photo Gallery]
The Duke Spirit @ 9:30 Club

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