Rock N Roll Cocktail’s Great Big 2018 Recap of Awesomeness (The top photos, shows, film shots and more)
100,000 plus photos, 76 shows, hundreds of bands around the world: highlights from one year in the life of a concert photographer on a mission.
2018, what a year it’s been for gigs and travel. Instead of trying to pick my best or favorite shots of the year, I thought it would be better to provide a visual recap of the year with a shot or two from my favorite gigs around the world. There are way too many to condense down to just a top ten or even a top eighteen, and this will provide a bit more of a narrative around what a year in the life of a concert photographer looks like. Keep in mind that I have a day job as well. So without further ado, here’s a visual recap of my favorite moments from 2018 with a few fun stories and interesting characters that I met along the way.
Before we get started please note that there are only a few copies of my best selling photography book which you can get here. If you want to learn how to do this yourself and see 5 years of photos from the first one to the last, then this beautiful hardcover coffee table book is for you.
The year started off pretty low key with only a gig or two in the first month. January tends to be the slowest month for gigs. But there were a few standouts for me including Geoff Tate of Queensryche performing one of the greatest metal masterpieces in history, Operation Mindcrime, in its entirety. It was brilliant.
Operation Mindcrime at the Garage – London, UK
Cults at The Garage – London, UK
Asking Alexandria at the O2 Brixton Academy – London, UK
Started off with a keynote gig in Oslo, Norway. Arch Enemy, Tribulation, and Jinjer were playing a gig the night before and I thought, what better way to watch Norwegian metal than in the region of its origin? Oh, and did I mention it was cold??? Like 16 below cold. On top of the shows, I made it over to the Viking Museum as well which was incredible and then went to see Geoff Tate’s Queensryche again!
Tribulation, The Rockefeller – Oslo, Norway
Jinjer, The Rockefeller – Oslo, Norway
Arch Enemy, The Rockefeller – Oslo, Norway
Off to keynote a conference in Vienna and went out the night before to check out the local scene.
Stop number one: Sextile at B72 (No photo pass, just snuck my camera in and the lighting was non-existent)
Stop number two: Venster 99 – French Noise Metal band Fange were playing this intimate venue located in a cavern that was heated by a wood burning stove!
Then it was off to Dublin for another speaking gig. But then #Snomageddon hits Ireland and I get stuck for FIVE days as the city shuts down and all flights are canceled! I did manage to make it to shoot Imagine Dragons before the city shut down entirely. I was literally locked in a hotel for several days. After the snow cleared up the airport was still backed up so I went to see a couple of more shows. No photo pass, just sneaking in my gear and snapping some shots.
K.Flay at the 3 Arena, Dublin Ireland
Imagine Dragons at the 3Arena Dublin, Ireland
The Fontaines at the Button Club in Dublin, Ireland
The Temperance Movement at The Social Club in Dublin, Ireland
Quick portrait of Thomas Wynn and the Believers at the Social Club in Dublin, Ireland
Nicole Atkins show was canceled because of the blizzard so she Tweeted out that she was going to a pub to play a few songs acoustic. It was pretty much a private concert for about a dozen or so fans that braved the weather.
MGMT at the Electric Brixton – London, UK
Back in London for a bit, then off to Madrid for another keynote and a few shows along the way including my first shoot in Madrid!
At The Drive In at the O2 Brixton Academy, London
Death From Above 1969 – Brixton Academy – London, UK
Steel Panther – Madrid, Spain
Fozzy – Madrid, Spain
Macklemore – Brixton Academy – London, UK
Myles Kennedy – Islington Assembly Hall – London, UK
Trivium – Brixton Academy – London, UK
Code Orange – Brixton Academy – London, UK
Power Trip – Brixton Academy – London, UK
Asylums – London, UK
Hooverphonic -Islington Assembly Hall – London, UK
Bryan Ferry – Eventim Apollo – London, UK
Reef – Eventim Apollo – London, UK
The Wildhearts – Eventim Apollo – London, UK
Noel Gallagher – 3Arena – Dublin, Ireland
Foreigner – Royal Albert Hall – London, UK
Joanne Shaw Taylor – Royal Albert Hall – London, UK
Love/ Hate – The Underworld – London, UK
The Struts – Koko – London, UK
Hollywood Vampires – Wembley Arena – London, UK
The Damned – Wembley Arena – London, UK
The Adicts – O2 Academy Islington – London, UK
A Perfect Circle – Brixton Academy – London, UK
Run DMC – Eventim Apollo – London, UK
This Will Destroy You – The Electric Ballroom – London, UK
Ministry – O2 Forum Kentish Town – London, UK
A Sudden Burst of Colour – The Black Heart – London, UK
BRMC – O2 Forum Kentish Town – London, UK
Queen Kwong- O2 Forum Kentish Town – London, UK
Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) and Earl Slick (David Bowie/ John Lennon) at The Boisdale – London, UK
Fantastic Negrito – Nells Jazz and Blues – London, UK
LA Guns – O2 Academy Islington – London, UK
Off to the states for Content Marketing World where I was a finalist for Content Marketer of the Year. Didn’t win, but that’s ok as I think my work speaks for itself over the past 6 years at LinkedIn. I didn’t get to a show in Cleveland as there wasn’t one band playing the entire week! But I did get stuck in Chicago and went to see a show and then made a stop back in my hometown of St. Louis for an epic gig.
Pale Divine – Delmar Hall – St. Louis, MO
London Quireboys – O2 Kentish Town Forum – London, UK
Spiritualized – Eventim Apollo – London, UK
Yak – Eventim Apollo – London UK
Jude Shuma – Schubas – Chicago, IL
Warrior Soul – The Rock Yacht – London UK – Literally on a boat sailing down the River Thames
The Black Bullets – The Rock Yacht – London, UK
Pale Waves – O2 Shepherds Bush Empire – London, UK
So many shows in London and I have to make a trip to Amsterdam for another keynote. One of my favorite bands The Posies were playing in Utrecht, so I took the train down for the gig. It was an amazing month of shows!
Glasvegas – Heaven – London, UK
The Posies – Utrecht, Netherlands
Suede – Eventim Apollo – London, UK
ELO – O2 Arena – London, UK
Another keynote in Milan this time so I took a cab an hour west of the city for a power metal show. You have never seen a metal show until you’ve seen a power metal show in Europe. These fans are insane. The opening band did TWO encores and the crowd was fist pumping the entire show. Oh, and Slayer played their last London show ever. I also made it back to the states again for another marketing conference and shot three shows in a row. Daughters played two nights at Bottom of the Hill. Zero light, no photo pit, and pure chaos as I was there shooting both nights jet lagged with zero sleep. In the chaos of the pit, my ultra wide lens fell out of my bag and hit the floor. This is my favorite lens and the one that I shoot 80% of the time with. It’s now in the repair show here in London. But yet, another epic month.
Slayer – Wembley Arena – London, UK
Powerwolf – Milan, Italy
Amaranthe – Milan, Italy
Kissin’ Dynamite – Milan, Italy
Daughters – San Francisco, CA
Jake Shears – San Francisco, CA
Starsailor – Shepherds Bush Empire – London, UK
Chris Helme (The Seahorses) – London, UK
Closeing out the year strong with a string of favorites!
Hank Von Hell – The Garage, London, UK
Loom – Shackelford Arms – London, UK
Def Leppard – SSE Arena, London UK
Cheap Trick – SSE Arena, London, UK
Adam Ant – The Roundhouse – London, UK
Richard Ashcroft – O2 Forum Kentish Town – London, UK
In 2018 I started experimenting with shooting film and developing it myself. Why? I think I was just getting a bit bored. I wanted to see if I could pull it off. I bought two Nikon film cameras on eBay. An FM2, which fell apart in the middle of a show, and a Nikon F Photomic from 1971. The Nikon F is a beast with pretty much zero light metering ability so you really have to make an educated guess and then push the film when you are developing it. By the way, I’ve found that not only is developing your own film fun and less expensive than taking it to be developed, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it and get the chemicals right. I plan on shooting a lot more film in 2019 and here are a few of my favorites:
Richard Ashcroft – Ilford 800 speed film, Nikon F
Adam Ant – Ilford 800 speed film, Nikon F
Pale Waves, Ilford 3200 Speed Film, Nikon FM
Black Bullets aftershow antics on the Rock Yacht, Ilford 3200 Speed Film, Nikon FM2
Yak, Kodak 800 Color, Nikon FM2
Spiritualized, Kodak 800 speed film, Nikon FM2
LA Guns, Kodak 800 film converted to black and white, Nikon FM2
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for new adventures in 2019 as I switch to the new Nikon Z6 Mirrorless camera for all my shows moving forward. The future is mirrorless cameras all the way, and it might be time to go all in.