Warding off the cold, Quietdrive laid down a tight, half-hour set that had the 2200 bodies in the Pageant bouncing to the band's bright pop punk melodies in the perfect warm-up to A Very Ludo Christmas 2007.
Lead by Kevin Truckenmiller, The Minneapolis-based five-piece drove into their set with a strong selection from their 2006 debut on Epic Records, When All That's Left Is You.
Truckenmiller's seemingly boundless energy and motion on stage perfectly reflected the band's all-out approach, and they had the crowd moving bars into the opening song.
Between the low light and the band's constant motion, this was a tough gig. And let's not forget shooting over and around the plastic candy canes and other holiday cheer at the front of the stage.
Unlike the set before with Nothing Still, Quietdrive's set was dim by comparison and utilized more atmospheric lighting, which was dominated by deep oranges and bluish purples from the back of the stage. White light was relatively sparse other than weak front lighting that took on an orange cast due to the intensity and a few blasts from the back during the high climaxes.
I used the Nikon 24-70mmm f/2.8 exclusively for this set and focused more on chasing Kevin Truckenmiller around on stage than on switching lenses. The mid range zoom proved perfectly adequate for this task and never swayed me enough to switch.
I shot between ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 for this set, which was just enough to keep me at my comfort level of 1/160 and f/2.8. With the D2x, this would have been one of those unshootable performances that would have found me scrambling to mount f/1.4 primes.
With the Nikon D3, the camera made shooting possible – for better or for worse. Just as with the Hush Sound's performance that followed, I quickly came to the conclusion that just because one can shoot in darkness doesn't mean it's a good idea.
Even with the D3's exceptional performance, there's only so much technology can do; when the quality of lighting isn't there, there's really nothing that can change the fact.
This shoot really reminded me of Anberlin's set a few weeks prior, who received a similarly dim treatment at the Pageant, and whose frontman Stephen displayed the same moving-target challenge as Truckenmiller.