On the heels of a long day of shooting the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration, I headed up to the Santa Barbara Bowl to photograph this tour, which consisted of Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five and Guster. I enjoyed all three bands, but I was running on fumes by the end of the show. I was permitted to shoot the first three songs of each from the photo pit.

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Back from Ireland after a several year hiatus, Snow Patrol came to rock the house at the Santa Barbara Bowl last week. I had seen them in 2007, and I thought that show was fantastic. They had just released their second big album, Eyes Open, and they were running off the glory of their big hit, Chasing Cars. Added to their fresh sound was a powerful light show.

Therefore, I had pretty big expectations for them this time around. That's usually a bad idea, but I couldn't help it. Although this show was good, I just wasn't able to get into it. I did hear some people talking about it later that weekend, and they really liked it. So, to each his own, I guess.

Opening the show was Lissie, a singer/songwriter, belting her way through her powerful lyrics and guitar.

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Old school rockers, Crosby, Stills & Nash played at the Bowl last week. The trio kicked out the jams to a mostly older crowd, integrating their traditional psychedelic guitar with old favorite sing-alongs. Shooting conditions were really tough. I was limited to up-front, but far off to the side.

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The last time Fiona came to Santa Barbara was after her debut album. I think she was just 16 or 17 years old. She was a virtuoso.

This time around, I think she was even more passionate, maybe to the extent of obsessive about her music. This tiny woman, thin as a rail, wailed on her piano, belting her lyrics with so much angst that one could see the veins in her neck bulge.

Since I had to shoot from back of the floor, stage left, I took this rare opportunity to also bring a tripod and setup for a long exposed, panorama. I had to sacrifice one of my three songs to get the shot, but I think it came out pretty cool. The bright spotlight that night sealed the deal.

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European favorite, Gotye, played the Bowl the other night. As well as an artist of vocals, Gotye is quite the percussionist. The lighting was pretty spectacular, incorporating animated visuals on the backdrop displays.

Vocalist, Caroline Polachek, opened with her band, Chairlift. She's obviously has a dance/ballet background as she spun and trotted all around the stage while singing her spunky indie lyrics. Caroline joined Gotye to sing the female counterpart of Gotye's duet, Somebody that I Used to Know

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Pop rockers and 80's groovers, Huey Lewis and the News opened the show a few nights ago for vocal legend, Joe Cocker.

Huey bopped around the stage, wailing on his harmonica and belting out his upbeat singalongs that made it into both television and movies in the 1980s. His time on stage was cut a little short, probably due to a medical issue. Too bad because I was looking forward to hearing The Power of Love.

Joe Cocker hit the stage with his powerful voice, and on this tour, he was backed by expert bassist, Oneida James.

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It has been a half-dozen years since KJEE has produced one of their regular Round-ups in the winter. The Summer Round-ups are always a big hit at the Santa Barbara Bowl, and it's nice to have such a fun bash between their summer shows to break up the winter.

This year, we had four great indie rock bands:

  • Metric
  • Tegan and Sara
  • Youngblood Hawke
  • Beware of Darkness

All four performances were great, and I even picked up a couple fun shots in the bar area. Check out the review by Clare Edwards and see the extensive photo gallery on thearlingtontheatre.com

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Hippie rock legends, The Monkees, came to Santa Barbara this last week, and they put on a fun, multimedia enriched show. There was the noticeable absence of the recent passing member, Davy Jones. But that didn't stop the remaining trio and their substantial backup band from putting on an entertaining show.

If you like the Monkees, you'll love Hillary Rosenberger Allen's review of the show on thearlingtontheatre.com, where you can also see a gallery of my images.

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Colbie Cailliat came back to the Bowl this year, this time as a co-headliner. The young, pop country/rock fusion artist donned her sweet voice, playing to a crowd, mixed of young and old, many youngsters there with their parents. It was definitely an all-ages show.

Boping all over the stage, Gavin DeGraw opened the show. He spent a lot of time on a grand piano. I heard that during the tour, the two co-headliners switched off as to who opened and who closed. I heard some people say they liked Gavin's more energetic performance, but I also enjoyed Colbie, who walked right up to the edge of the stage, giving me some great photo opportunities. Her white dress and fair skin against a jet black background provided for perfect contrast.

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This was the show I had been waiting for. The Heavy Metal throwback, revisited!

Ever since I saw Def Leppard play the Bowl a half-dozen or more years ago, I've been waiting for them to return as they promised they would during their encore. And here it was, with a big fat stage extension, running three-quarters the way out the floor. What a magnificent playground.

Opening the show was Poison, all with their big hair still blowing in the wind. (Yes, I'm jealous.) So, Brett Michaels came right up to me and gave me the heavy metal bull horns while he belted out a lyric. It happened quite fast, but I was lucky enough to have just the right camera/lens combo in my hand when it happened, and I caught it perfectly.

Please check out this gallery for some serious fun on gallery.sbbowl.com

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