Having the chance to capture an up and coming local band as rad as The Worn Flints in such an intimate way was one of the highlights of my year. Not to mention they were opening for Alabama Shakes who are now nominated for a flipping' Grammy. Yup, so pretty surreal experience before the show even began.
Shooting backstage at The LC, a venue I've been to countless times for some of my favorite shows as a fan, I was now backstage having a cigarette bummed by Steve Johnson (Alabama Shakes drummer). I had to keep shaking myself (pun not intended, ok maybe it was) back to reality and reminding myself to not be afraid of shooting candid photos of everyone. That was why I was here of course, but there is something strange about being a fly on the wall. Strange but intriguing. Looking back I wish I would have shot more photos but I was sort of caught up in the actual experience. Watching Brittany Howard (A. Shakes Lead Vocalist/guitarist) steam her own flower dress she planned to wear for the show, while bassist Zac Cockrell was finishing up his laundry, made me feel so nervous to take photos. So I floated back and just enjoyed being a fly.
You could cut the nervous excitement in the air backstage with a knife. Waiting for the show to begin with TWF's was nerve racking. Liz Fisher of The Cordial Sins was tuning her violin, making sure everything was just right, or just keeping her hands busy. She played on a few tracks of TWF's newest album, "Second Sun" and has now played a handful of live shows with them as well. Kenny Stiegele, the bands lead singer/guitarist and drummer Jake Smith were the pacers and talkers but seemed to have an overall calm air about them. Bassist Steve Trabulsi was getting his blue suit just right, and also chain smoking respectively. The newest addition to the band, vocalist Emma Swysgood spent time in the shower room doing vocal exercises and strange stretches in the hallway. There was a lot of pacing, many cigarette breaks, odd stretching, coffee, and tea chats. At this point I was nervous right with them. No matter how many times you shoot a live show, or play a live show, you still get those initial butterflies. The worst part of taking risks and doing something worthwhile is that sinking gut feeling of possible failure.
At first it seemed time was inching by slowly, but before we knew it, it was time for TWF's to go onstage. The pre-show band huddle formed and I stepped back and snapped a couple quick photos while they quietly chatted. A few seconds later I was behind The Worn Flints and in front of a Sold Out LC Pavilion crowd.
So there we were, on a slightly rainy September night in Columbus, Ohio, thousands of people staring right up to the stage. I can imagine if my heart was beating fast that the bands hearts were exploding., then the music started and we all did what we do best, perform. Even from a photo standpoint it is nerve wrecking trying to "work" on a live stage with thousands of eyes on you. I managed not to trip over the stray cables and amps around the stage while I was shooting, which was a feat all its own.
I had a smile on my face their whole set and so did they. Watching them deliver their unique raw energy and melodic riffs, its like they were meant to play a stage this size. There is something musically magical about seeing a local bands sound fill an entire stadium, comparing it to the small to medium size venues they usually play. I know for a fact that this won't be The Worn Flints last huge show.
As quickly as it started, it was over. As TWF's take a bow, the lights on the crowd go on, and an intense view reveals itself. During the show you can only really see a small chunk of the crowd, but now its an overwhelming sea of people cheering. I am sure that sound and image is burned into The Flints minds. As we all exited the stage, Alabama Shakes tour manager handed us all shots, yes even me. It was the alcoholic icing on the cake.