Category Archives: Photo

Noise Pop 2013: Starfucker and Blackbird Blackbird

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Ed. note: Friend of Treeswingers Jonathan Hall gives us a first-person account of what it’s like to get caught up in a haze of pandas, teeny boppers and Starfucker. 

It’s the loaded Friday night of Noise Pop and I am going to a Starfucker show for the first time. Words and phrases like “insane,” “cross-dressed” and “floor-bouncing” buzz in my ear.

I arrive early and do my best to blend in with the adolescent crowd leftover from Blackbird Blackbird. Eventually I settle in, upfront and early, only to realize I’m the only one in the front row old enough to drink the whiskey and ice that’s in my hand. As I down my plastic cup of booze and wait for the teenage dance carnage to begin, a brief flashlight guides the four lanky members of a group now known as the more radio-friendly STRFKR into position.

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Outside Lands 2012: Sunday Recap

Jack Blue. (Brian Valdizno/treeswingers)

The last day of any music festival often serves a time of reflection. Looking back, one can often be perplexed how a weekend can move so fast. At the same time, we all know that our bodies were looking to the last note of Stevie Wonder’s keyboard, so that we could bike, walk or bus home and curl up in bed  and sleep.

Looking back, the 2012 edition of Outside Lands had its definite improvements. The inclusion of atypical headliners Metallica and Wonder was a major coup, while props can also be handed to the stage setups which permitted little overlap or sound clashes. The little things helped, too. Valet bike parking was a major plus, while the free shuttles did their best to minimize driving and traffic. As for the questionable goings-on, one wonders why festival organizers proceeded to place a four-story scaffolding smack dab in the the middle of views of the main stage. Crowds seemed nearly unmanageable this year, with some sets–see: Alabama Shakes–unaccessible, leaving plenty of festival-goers to channel their inner ingenuity into off-road, fence-collapsing excursions.

Can someone do something about that dust for next year?

Shortcomings aside, Outside Lands 2012 is in the books–a figment of our memories to be brought up at family dinners with grandchildren 50 years from now want to see how crazy grandma or grandpa were in their prime. “When I was your age, I ate these mushrooms just before Sigur Rós and let me tell you…”

Sunday, Outside Lands’ final episode, gave us plenty of nostalgic moments for future use. From City and Colour’s country-tinged jams in the sunlight of the Sutro Stage to Santigold’s dancers shaking their asses off, there was a moment for everyone. Also, who knows if someone like the great Stevie Wonder will ever perform in the city of San Francisco again? Now that’s special.

Here are some reviews from Sunday’s acts below the break:

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Outside Lands 2012: Saturday Recap

Where’s Waldo? (Brian Valdizno/treeswingers)

Saturday may have been the only time in the history of mankind when someone could go from sucking in the helium-powered tunes of Passion Pit to being sprayed by the froth of Metallica frontman James Hetfield within the span of an hour.

By all accounts, Day Two at Outside Land was exquisitely random– a mindfuck of genres and sounds that screwed up any chance of us piecing together a cohesive narrative. Well, shit. 

For organizers, their diverse offerings served an exact purpose: attract the most amount of people to Golden Gate Park as possible. Saturday’s crowds were a testament to that as elbow room became wrist room, health conscious San Franciscans nearly rioted due to a tofu shortage and traffic-jammed PortaPotties sent humans scurrying to relieve themselves on everything from bushes to art displays. Careful what you end up leaning against on Sunday.

Saturday’s crowds were unbearable–think, N-Judah at 5:30 after work on a Friday… during a nuclear explosion. The music, however, was a different story. Sure it was random, but quality was apparent throughout, from the early indie rock chain of Tame Impala and Portugal. the Man to the parlor crooning of Norah Jones. Geographer, decked out in all black and playing their hometown’s biggest festival for the first time were particularly impressive, drawing a huge crowd during an early set on the Twin Peaks stage.

Below are some recaps from Saturday’s performances:

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Coachella 2012: Under The Desert Sun

I left my heart (and the heat) at Coachella.

One week has officially passed since the end of the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival.  Remembering the blistering heat and highs of 110 degrees, the tens of thousands who flocked to the desert are maybe happy that it’s all over. But if you’re still longing for a little sunburn or want to recall that ringing sensation in your ears, here’s a set of Treeswingers’ favorite shots from the gathering in the Indio desert.

Also if you missed it, here are our recaps from the festival: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Check out the photos after the jump…

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On Tour With School Of Seven Bells

Photo courtesy of Justin Hollar.

An old soul in modern times, Justin Hollar always loved music. He embraced The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, icons of a time period when the photographer was the artist and the camera his palette. Looking back, we remember of shots of John and Yoko in an Amsterdam Hilton or black and whites of Dylan breaking out the electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival. You can almost hear the boos emanating from the pictures. Through his viewfinder, a photographer was present yet hidden at the same time, less a voyeur and more a shutterbug historian in an era of burning draft cards, gunshots and experimentation.

So when Hollar found himself holding a camera instead of a guitar, he thought he’d try and rekindle the feel and emotions of a bygone time. The man behind the candid clicks, he spent two months on the road with Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Deheza of School of Seven Bells. Logging 9,000 miles on a bus and 1,400 hours with SVIIB, Hollar travelled from Bismarck to Santa Barbara with the pair and captured their every moment. As the duo just released their third studio album Ghostory last month, the photographer has finished his own work,  the masterfully compiled and edited photobookSVIIB. With photographs of Curtis playing basketball or Deheza carrying her laundry, the book doesn’t just have your average stage shots. Rather, it contains truthful moments from the artists’ everyday happenings and recalls a period when photos made us fall in love with musicians just as much as their music.

Here are some of our favorite shots from Mr. Hollar:

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Karen’s Many O Faces

Wandering around backstage, Karen Orzolek seemed like anyone else at the Creators Project production in San Francisco. Face painting aside, you could hardly tell that she was the beer-fueled, battle-tested front woman of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as she hurried by before scurrying behind the curtain that served as a dressing room door. When she emerged an hour later, though, she was Karen O, Orzolek’s destructive banshee of an alter ego. Letting bandmates Nick Zinner and Brian Chase take to the stage before her to kick off “Gold Lion,” she announced her arrival–“CREATORS SAN FRANCISCO” —and sent everyone with two X chromosomes into a screaming frenzy. Their Y-bearing counterparts had their confidence castrated at first sight.

Come at me, bro. (Brian Valdizno/treeswingers)

Pointing to the crowd, Karen O has the distinct ability to single each and everyone out at the same time. Which is probably why some drunk frat bro in green decided to charge the stage and give her a hug near the end of her set. Nice job, Jolly Green Giant.

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Top Photos of 2011

We’ve made it around the United States this past year capturing some of the best live events of 2011. There were the treks to the desert for Coachella, the ferry rides to Governor’s Ball and, of course, the annual Golden Gate Park love-in at Outside Lands. It’s safe to say that in 2011 we were at more shows, festivals and events than any year past. Here are our picks for some of our favorite photo moments of the year past.

Aesop Rock @ The Great American Music Hall, Noise Pop 2011
Photo: Brian Valdizno
Rob Sonic unleashes candy from a broken piñata on a hungry crowd.

Ellie Goulding @ Rickshaw Stop, Popscene
Photo: Brian Valdizno
Ellie gets ready to swallow the mike at a packed Popscene show.

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