Holy shit this guy just gets better and better. I had the pleasure of photographing Freddie back in 2015 and I was super impressed having not known much about him much at the time. A muther fucker know Freddie now, believe that. As much as his steelo has improved since then, at his core he's still Gangster Gibbs. It's still a plate a chicken with the bread stuck to the bottom. It's still all the fries you can give us. BET.
G Perico held it DOWN.
I can't say enough good things about G Perico. Holy shit this dude is raw. Took me back to mid-90's South Central LA rap. This dude took us to LA as he rapped through his set with an upbeat Westcoast vibe and a tone that reminded me of DJ Quik. I was sold immediate as this dude just has that vibe about him that is so nostalgic from my youth.
I shot most of this show from the crowd given that this venue does not have a pit. It took me back to my early days, dreaming of the opportunity to have a better camera setup other than disposables and access to the front of the stage for the best shot. Shooting from the crowd always presents challenges and that's what makes photography so exciting--you never know what's gonna happen from one moment to the next. You just have to be ready.
Freddie Gibbs brings such an incredible hood vibe to his shows, yet his lyricism and sharp presence exude a certain professionalism. This dude shows up and puts in that work. I've been to plenty of rap shows and yet none can really compare to Freddie's performance. He's just on another level and is brimming with confidence as every word gets spit. This just can't be replicated.
Big ups to Freddie, his management, and Scoremore for the opportunity to make these images happen.
What better way to kick off the new year than with another wild show in Austin, this time courtesy of the electro-fueled, Portland-bred STRFKR celebrating 10 years of their self-titled album. The dance party was on once they hit the stage, donned in women's apparel and bleach blonde wigs. The summery vibes were all around me and as much fun as it was watching these guys perform, their music gives me such a rush to just hop in my vehicle and drive to the beach for a campfire among the blissful sounds of crashing waves. And just like ocean waves, I found it difficult to sit still. The rhythms emanating from the stage were super infectious leaving my body nodding and swaying to the beats without me knowing what was happening. Sometimes the music just gets into you.
I want to keep this post really short and let these images speak for themselves, mostly because I find it really difficult to put these guys into words. And also because I don't know much about them as a band other than I really dig their thumping sound--it vibrates a different set of wavelengths inside of me.
I will say the show was super rad, eclectic, and a lot of fun. Hard to believe anyone would watch STRFKR and not enjoy themselves. Even harder to believe anyone is able to stand motionless while they perform such dreamy melodies.
I made this illustration based off their self-titled album and King of The Hill's Peggy Hill.
View from the back of the house.
Thanks guys, it was a pleasure to photograph you all!
Another year has come and gone and we've all been susceptible to the longest IG stories of all time from everyone's 2018 recap. I guess blogging is fading, giving way to the immediacy of today's modern attention span. I wanted to let some time pass and allow everyone to settle into 2019 before making any posts and wanted this one to be the first.
2018 brought me a slew of experiences and emotions from starting a new occupation in a really cool environment, discovering new artists, losing the best relationship I've ever been a part of and as a result experiencing the biggest creative overload I've had since maybe 2010, and countless other moments, designs, and shows of varying successes and executions. I decided to start this year off on a high note and designed a greeting card for some family, friends, and long-time supporters. A few have arrived by the time this is published and hopefully more are on their way.
This piece was inspired by my previous partner's love for the vintage and my expanding curiosity of typography. I hand drew/designed these letters with the intention of ringing in the new year with an old, nostalgic feeling. After drawing tons of letters and settling on a final layout, I imported the finished drawing into Illustrator for vectoring and coloring. You can read more about this piece on my portfolio site blue731.com, a mixed collection of designs, illustrations, and photos along with details on the process because the process is, dare I say, even more important than the final product.
I'll spare everyone a lengthy 2018 recap as you've all been tortured enough. For now, I am taking all my experiences from last year and expressing them through many projects this upcoming year including more books, apparel, accessories, art markets, and art shows. And of course, more episodes of The Natural Spark! I have a lot to let out this year and I'm stoked to have this New Year piece kicking off 2019 in a letter-driven manner. You can certainly expect more typographical pieces coming this year, in many different tangible forms to take home.
Thank you all for the years of support you've given me as an artist, as a brand, and as a fellow human being. You all have taught me so much and have provided me with countless inspiration. Thank you for coming along on this wild and creative journey I've chosen. I hope I can inspire and teach you all as well.
Cheers to another year of painting lemons gold, and painting gold with black smiley faces.
Goodbyes aren't ever easy. However, some are very satisfying even in the pain of a farewell. Such was the case for me at my first [and possibly last] Minus The Bear show. Recently, the Seattle-grown band has embarked on their farewell tour and made a stop through Austin, TX. Thankfully I was there, camera in hand, soaking in the melodic tunes through eager and soulful ears. Torn between my youthful excitement and the growing inevitability that this is ending. I'm not crying, you're crying.
Minus The Bear is a band that seems to ebb and flow throughout my playlists and my listenings overall. Usually a song or two here or there, maybe I'm feeling good and just need a break from rap, and then it's sudden floods of relentless replays trying to further dive into the emotions of each song that I seem to swim in so effortlessly. There's something very relaxing about the pinpoint accuracy in the lyrics Jake Snider puts together. His words have a knack for sounding very peacefully soothing only to realize the hurtful longing that hides within each bar. Yet it's somehow still all so comforting. For myself, it's always, "This guy gets it." Songs like Last Kiss and Excuses just have a way of reminding you that someone out there understands the feelings without knowing you or your story.
The vocal legend Jake Snider. Such an honor.
Alex Rose spreading the melodies across many keys.
I've photographed a ton of acts and I'm glad I was able to finally capture this band. First time seeing the band, I get to photograph them, AND they're closing the chapter as this band? Talk about a tidal wave of emotions! I've been wanting to see this band for quite sometime and their live presence brought a huge smile to my face. My biggest challenge this evening was seeing the barricade pushed so close to the stage and realizing I may not have the right glass on me for the change in distance. Also though, make best use of what you got, so we make it work. I hope these images capture as close they can of the evening. Although nothing beats the real thing!
Killer boots, man!
Farewell, Minus The Bear, and THANK YOU.
Farewell and goodbye, guys. Thank you for very emotion you put into every note of every song. The ups, the downs, the yearning, the celebrating--they're all so amazing. Best to you all in your next chapters of life. Cheers to an incredible seventeen years!
Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko always come correct. Austin, TX
Strange Music was back in the building earlier this month with the Independent Grind Tour 2018, on the birthday of none other than the King/the Clown/the G himself, Tech N9ne. I've been attending Tech's shows for almost 15 years and it's been incredible watching him grow as an artist. I've "outgrown" a lot of my early music favorites of that time. Some because I didn't like the direction the music went, some because it simply represented a chapter in my life that was closed and no longer serves me to re-read (or re-listen). So there aren't a ton of music acts I follow today that I did back then. Tech is one of those few that just keeps making great music.
Tech's partner in rhyme, Krizz Kaliko.
When Tech N9ne hits the stage, you can almost guarantee that Big Krizz Kaliko will be along for the ride. Watching these two trade verses, back each other's vocals, and move in unison on time and in rhythm is something of a masterpiece to watch. There's an art to the way these two share the stage, almost like a really dope rap ballet. They've only tightened their synchronicity over the years.
Named after the gun, this be the one them call Tech N9ne.
The crowd sizes have ebbed and flowed over the years I've been attending Tech's shows, the remaining constant is that all those in attendance are just as stoked on the floor as they are on stage. For the decades that Tech has been putting in work, he most certainly has Absolute Power with crowds. Every Tech show delivers and it was a super fun night revisiting some of his classics as wel as experiencing his new joints. Thank you, Strange Music!