SoCalMusic Today

Pierce The Veil || The Mayan

In a venue that could resemble a ride at Disneyland, The Mayan sold out a Pierce The Veil show for the last show of their Misadventures Tour. The upside of shooting bands with a younger audience is that I can always see over them. With that being said, the crowd had an insane amount of energy for their size. At one point during Movements’ final song, Pierce The Veil came out on stage and played a game of flip cup onstage. The whole crowd erupted in teenage screams as fans got the first glimpse of their idols pranking their friends. Then, at the end of I The Mighty’s set, Pierce the Veil and Movements came out dancing and wrapped colorful feather boas around their friends. Pink dolphins littered the stage and one got taped on the microphone stand. Thats truly how it felt too. Just a few groups of friends, hanging out on a Sunday night, playing music they love in front of their screaming fans. 

Between the I the Mighty and the Pierce the Veil set, I sat down next to the loudest subs. Imagine if you fired an automatic 50 caliber surgically placed inside your heart. That's what it felt like. Seriously though. Earthquakes inside my eyes. The Millennium Falcon going into hyperspace in my ears.

Pierce The Veil played their new album, Misadventures, in its entirety. Confetti cannons exploded at the beginning of their set. Ear piercing girlish screams followed as Pierce the Veil began playing Dive In. For the rest of their set, the crowd was fully engaged and energetic; constantly jumping around hands raised. About half way through their set, Vic Fuentes (lead vocalist) came out with an acoustic guitar and played an acoustic version of their song, “Today I Saw the Whole World.” I expected to see lighters come out and wave through the sky, but only found cell phones due to the audience’s age. For their encore, Pierce the Veil played Bulls in the Bronx followed by King For A Day. In class fashion, Movements and I The Mighty put on the biggest party for Pierce The Veil's last song of the tour. Silly string, toilet paper, balloons, and beach balls flew across the sky. Then the confetti canons exploded as pillars of smoke shot high in the air. It was incredible. There was so much raw energy and life in that room. In time, all the chaos and noise would fade away leaving exhausted fans with a wonderful memory.

Pierce The Veil Setlist:

Dive In
Texas is Forever
The Divine Zero
Floral & Fading
Phantom Power and Ludicrous Speed
Today I Saw the Whole World (Acoustic)
Gold Medal Ribbon
Song for Isabelle
Encore: Bulls in the Bronx, King For A Day

I The Mighty’s Setlist:

Lady of Death
The Lying Eyes of Miss Erray
Playing Catch With .22
Four Letter Words
Slow Dancing Forever
The Dreamer
Speak To Me

Movements Setlist:

Worst Wishes
Vacant Home

Nightwish || The Grove Anaheim

Next to the Observatory, The Grove in Anaheim is probably my favorite venue to shoot at due to the fantastic lighting, massive open spaces, and accessibility as a photographer. That being said, Nightwish put in an incredible performance at the Grove that was quite refreshing for me. Also, due to the length of Nightwish's songs, I was able to stay in the photo pit longer. Usually the first 3 songs gives me about 12-15 minutes to shoot up front, but this time I probably had around 17-20 minutes.

Coming from Finland, Nightwish has been one of the most well known European metal bands in the last decade. Their highly popular musical style has been categorized as symphonic metal and is unique because of their phenomenal female opera vocals. Lead vocalist Floor Jansen joined the band in 2013 after the departure of Anette Olzon and is currently a permanent member of the band. Having never seen Nightwish live, I had no idea how tall Floor was until I saw her 6 foot 1 inch frame for the first time on stage. She was an absolute pleasure to photograph, giving me so many different faces and reactions along with the rest of the members of Nightwish.

European metal bands, especially Finnish bands have such a different feel from the American bands I usually listen to and shoot. Their chord progressions, vocals, and song structures are completely different from other cultures which truly gives live shows a unique feel. There is more passion from the fans in the crowd and they seem to love paying for concert tickets, merchandise, and the bands albums. I have found that metal heads and fans outside of the US support their bands financially more than most other genres.  The crowd was extremely energetic during the show and Floor Jansen’s stage presence and crowd interaction only helped to improve the show.

For the first time, I experimented with a camera technique called “prisming” where you put a glass prism in front of your camera lens to manipulate the light and image. While I had zero experience doing this, I’m very pleased with the results and will continue to experiment with this. I chose to do this while using my 70-200mm lens in order to blur out as much of the prism as possible. I tried it out with my 16-35mm but I thought the prism was too noticeable in the image. Be ready to see more of this soon!


Shudder Before the Beautiful, Yours Is an Empty Hope, She Is My Sin, Storytime, My Walden, While Your Lips Are Still Red, Élan, Weak Fantasy , Bless the Child, I Want My Tears Back, Nemo, Sahara, Stargazers, Ghost Love Score, Last Ride of the Day, The Greatest Show on Earth (Chapter II: Life; Chapter III: The Toolmaker), The Greatest Show on Earth (Chapter IV: The Understanding; Chapter V: Sea-Worn Driftwood)

Megadeth || The Hollywood Palladium

Smoke, stale beer, and sweat filled the air of the Hollywood Palladium as metal legends Megadeth took to the stage. With massive LED screens behind them, they put on a spectacular performance that could have rivaled most arena shows. A sea of smiling faces and screaming voices filled the sold out venue that Sunday night. The lighting was spectacular and the massive pillars of smoke that burst from the floor added to the intensity of the show. Water bottles, shirts and shoes flew through the air as wave of devil horns flew up to the sky. (One shoe even hit me in the back of the head).

American Thrash Metal band Megadeth is easily one of the biggest names in metal today, being credited as one of the “big four” bands of the genre with Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer. With 15 full length albums and their new album Dystopia which debuted at number three on the billboard 200 chart, they continue to reestablish their relevance even after all these years. 

Megadeth Setlist:

The Threat Is Real, Hangar 18, Kingmaker, Wake Up Dead, In My Darkest Hour, Sweating Bullets, Dystopia, Dawn Patrol, Poison Was the Cure, She-Wolf, Trust, Skin o’ My Teeth, Fatal Illusion, A Tout Le Monde, Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells, Holy Wars… The Punishment Due