This year's KJEE Summer Round-up gave us some great alternative rock bands. I love this annual show because I get to do a lot of photography.

Shooting was from the photo pit, and this year, I got one of my favorite concert photos ever during the performance of New Politics. Lead singer, David Boyd, is quite the acrobat. He was doing flips and crazy break-dancing style maneuvering all over the stage, and when he climbed up onto the crowd, it made for a great shot with my fisheye lens!

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Man, was this show fun. (not fun!, but fun.) That's how they spell their name, with a period.

Local favorites, Tegan and Sara, have now played in SB three times in the last two years. I guess we really like them. And opening for fun. meant for a great show. I loved how fun. had two of the largest confetti canons I've ever seen on a stage. Luckily, I got special permission to shoot the action, when they fired them right before the encore. The normal photography was shot from the photo pit, and conditions were very good.

Attached is one of my favorite Bowl photos ever. Thanks, fun.

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Heart at SB Bowl

Playing with Led Zeppelin's most recent drummer, Jason Bonham, Heart played a phenomenal show at the Santa Barbara Bowl last week.

Jason Bonham opened the show with his own band, and he closed the show along with Heart as they did an entire set of Led Zeppelin tribute set. In my opinion, their performance of the song, Kashmir, was the single best song performed at the Bowl this year!

This show was really hard to beat. Ann Wilson's voice is so silky smooth and yet powerful at the same time. I'm sure the entire tour was an astonishing success.

I got to shoot the first three songs, and the last three during the Zep tribute set. That was quite a treat. See the gallery on

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Grace Potter and the Nocturnals opened up for Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters at the Santa Barbara Bowl. This was my first time seeing Grace, and I was blown away! She is not only unbelievably beautiful, but she's an amazing, passionate performer.

I was permitted to shoot Grace from the photo pit, and I'm very happy with some of the shots. I had to back up to the ADA (handicapped) section for the headliner, Plant. Since I had already captured some great photos last time he came with a 600/f4 lens (from the soundboard), I didn't bother to rent a big lens for this show. My 300/f4 with a 1.4x teleconverter did most of the heavy lifting, gathering some very decent shots; although, they aren't exceptionally sharp. Had I known that he was going to wearing a much "cooler" outfit than at his previous performance, I would have brought something bigger and faster. The lighting during his performance was very challenging, so I really had to push my gear.

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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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A few nights ago, Dispatch opened up for Steve Miller Band at the Santa Barbara Bowl. I was permitted to shoot Dispatch from the photo pit (against the stage). This group from Boston really rocked the house, especially when they brought in their banjo player to kick things up a notch.

For Steve Miller, I was required to shoot from the sound board. I didn't have any terribly long lenses with me, save for my 300/f4 and teleconverters. The resulting photographs are good but not exceptional, yet the show, itself, was a crowd pleaser.

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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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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

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