Going into Bon Iver's headlining show at the Pageant, I didn't know quite what to expect, but I left blown away. Not only because the band sounds fantastic live, but because they completely rock out.
Sure, not all the time, but there periods of hardcore thrashing where singer Justin Vernon smashing a guitar on stage wouldn't have seemed totally out of place. Needless to say, this was a great show.
- Nikon D3
- Nikon D700
To be honest, I'm always a little apprehensive about mellow bands. They're not always the most dynamic live music shoots. I can safely say that Bon Iver bucks this generalization, thanks to the band, but also in part due to the absolutely fantastic stage production for this tour.
Lighting was a little tricky to shoot, but it created such a rich and vivid treatment that was perfectly matched to the music.
I ended up shooting both primes and zooms for this set, though the zooms won out for the most use due to the necessary framing flexibility that they granted.
One striking thing about photographing Justin Vernon on this tour is that it seemed almost impossible to make a clean shot of him at the microphone, due to the fact that there were no less than three mics at his station at the front the stage.
That being the situation, I focused my efforts on Vernon for the moments when he stepped away from the mic, which, thankfully, seemed frequent enough that there were plenty of opportunities to make other images of the singer.
There are a lot of performers who seem to be content to just take one step back from the mic when not on vocals, so it was nice to see Vernon take little strolls around midstage – it certainly made for better photography!
In addition, Vernon had a massive board of effects pedals at his feet, at which he often knelt, which I thought provided some nice photo ops. In fact, my favorite image of the set, which is the lead image, was made during one of these such moments when Vernon was closing his eyes and kneeling on stage.
Big thanks to my friend Heather, who granted me access to shoot the fifth song of the set when all other press were allowed songs 2-4. Photography was not allowed during the first song, which worked out just fine as lighting was quite dim.