There was a long line of funky dressed teenagers and sweaty parents wrapped around the newly minted Raleigh Amphitheater by the time I made it there. It was about as hot as July gets at six o’clock in the afternoon and I had just finished doing battle on the Interstate with crazed commuters and wild weekenders bound for the beach. This was the first full show at the downtown amphitheater nearly named for Bud Light before folks got to thinking that wasn’t too regal or Christian. My bearded colleague in words, Grayson Currin, had arranged for me to make some photos of Paramore on there opening tour date for SPIN online – a pretty easy live performance gig. Then, one day earlier, it turned into a photo shoot with Paramore lead vocalist Haley Williams and her opening bandmates Tegan & Sara. Grayson was already interviewing them, somewhere. After some hustling around, more sweating and some phone scrolling I found my contact and was brought to a small green colored trailer behind the stage. Stepping inside, I was struck by the deep chill of the air conditioning. Everyone stopped talking and I made some odd exultations of joy at the relief from the heat, bending over and letting my camera bag drop to the ground. Introductions were made and the interview continued whilst I snapped away.
Once we finished and went back outside, I bid adue to dear G.C. and reported for duty with the rest of the photographers headed for the pit in front of the stage. This is always a funny bunch to be sure. Given that you only need a loose association with a local media outlet or blog or friend of a friend to get a press pass, there’s an interesting mix of snappers waiting in the wings for their three songs to shoot (most venues/bands limit press photography to the first three song). Invariably you’ll have a couple of die hard dudes with loads of gear, bandanas and ear plugs at the ready, “to shoot the shit out this shit, man.” There will be at least one quiet person with a camera they’re not too sure of, hunched over the screen and pressing buttons, sighing, then pressing more buttons. In this situation I usually end up on the peripheral, chatting casually with someone I recognize until it’s time to go down front. I wouldn’t say that being that close to the stage is the best seat in the house, but it certainly has a thrill about it. Throw in some good lighting and high energy music and it’s a damn fine way to spend fifteen minutes making photos.