Rock n Roll Photography


February 3, 2007
Double Door – Chicago, IL

We’ve recently been experiencing some pretty brutal weather here in Wisconsin. I was almost convinced at one point that venturing to Chicago in such conditions was assanine. I did it anyhow. This would probably be the last opportunity I’d ever have to see Redd Kross and I’d be damned if Mother Nature was going to get in my way.

After spending the night in Milwaukee, my friend Terry and I decided to hop the early morning Amtrak to the Windy City. It just really wasn’t worth the hassle of worrying about where to park and hoping that his vehicle would start when we needed it to.

Several hours, a Renaldi’s Pizza, a nap, and various electrical shocks from our motel later…

The doors were supposed to open for the show at 8pm, so we departed early and spent some time at Reckless Records. On our way past the club, we got to watch the band perform “Mess Around” during soundcheck. It was far too cold to stand outside for long periods, so we ventured to a local Starbucks and warmed up a little. We got in line shortly after 8, but the doors remained closed for a significant amount of time. Terry and I went to the building across the street and continued to wait for the doors to open. A few others had the same idea and joined us in our windless retreat.

By the time the doors finally opened, I was somewhat chilled and couldn’t find the patience to give the first band that played (Hushdrops) the attention they deserved. I went to the lower level to warm up and resurfaced when Frisbie hit the stage. I had just interviewed Steve Frisbie a few days earier, so I was somewhat excited for their set. Frisbie’s high energy performance was the slap in the wind-burned face I needed. The chill slowly departed and the excitement for the McDonald brothers to play increased with each song that passed.

An ear to ear smile found its way to my face when Redd Kross launched their set with “The Lady In The Front Row”. The band flawlessly plowed through one song after another (“One Chord Progression”, Switchblade Sister” and “Bubblegum Factory”), but it wasn’t until Jeff McDonald set his guitar down and grabbed the mic to perform “Annie’s Gone” that I was truly won over. His exaggerated motions and hand movements were enough to make Jarvis Cocker look like a stage novice. His brother Steven was an equally cool presence to watch. Looking suave in his three-piece, he shared vocal duties on several songs (set closer “After School Special” being my favorite).

Guitarist Robert Hecker will more than likely travel with a circus one day. The man is a freak onstage! Imagine if David Byrne and Jim Carrey had a lovechild. Now, imagine that lovechild being taught to walk (barefoot, nonetheless) by Elastic Man. Surreal! It was clear that the band were really enjoying themselves onstage. Their enthusiasm was infectious. At one point, I found myself lunging forward like a teenage school girl to grab a drumstick that Roy McDonald tossed on stage. Good times!

The band took a short break before returning for an encore. They opened with “Follow The Leader” and closed with a cover of Kiss’ “Duece”…I don’t recall what was in between. What I had just experienced was well worth every second of braving the subzero winter elements. Well worth every second of sitting in Terry’s car at the Amtrak station praying it would start after we returned. Well worth every penny of the cab fare it took to get me back to my car to return home. I think you get my point.

Special thanks to Wes for sharing the photos he snapped at the show!!

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A friend told me today that she was pleased to see Big Star’s “Thirteen” in our playlist. In case you missed it, that was your cue to locate it in the player before enjoying the slideshow below. This entry is for her.

I recently had the pleasure of seeing Big Star at the Taste of St. Louis Festival this past October. Here are a few of the photos I snapped:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Big Star, the best pop culture reference I can give you is they wrote the theme song of That 70s Show. The version of “In The Street” that can be heard in later seasons of the show was re-recorded by Cheap Trick.

Chris Poppe is a photographer from Jersey City, New Jersey. He was kind enough to put together a slideshow of the New Brunswick music scene and beyond to share with you. Enjoy!

Poppe Photo
Chris on MySpace

One thing I feel many music blogs have ignored is the art of rock n roll photography. I’m hoping to change this. If any of you know a rock n roll photographer whose work needs to be seen, please tell them about Rock Sellout.

Rachael from Heroine – Dreams was kind enough to put together a slide show of various gigs she’s shot for us. Click on an image for a closer view. If you like her photography, please take the time to leave a comment…if you’re not in the mood for words, add her to your MySpace friends list.

Special thanks to Rachael for helping bring my ideas to life!