band photography

Disturbed || The Observatory

Disturbed, the multi-platinum, Nu-Metal legends sold out The Observatory in Santa Ana, California on March 17th, 2016. It was definitely one of the most packed shows I have ever been to. Before any bands started playing, the venue was humid and smelled of sweat and body odor. This only got worse over time. This was the fourth time I’ve seen Disturbed live and it was a very unique experience because every other time I have seen them, its been at a massive amphitheater or outdoor festival with a crowd in the thousands while this show probably only had 1,000. The shows I’ve seen have had massive amounts of smoke, lighting, pyrotechnics, and even moving stage pieces. While this show was toned down on the theatricality, the energy and phenomenal performance were consistent with what I have seen in the past. 

The crowd was constantly on their feet with vocalist David Draiman leading them. Disturbed is possibly has the best crowd interaction of any band I have seen, making each show memorable and unique. My favorite part of this show was in the middle of the set when the band slowed things down, whipped out the acoustic guitars and played “Darkness” and “Song of Silence.” Personally, I love it when metal bands can really nail slow songs because it shows off their diversity and talent. My other favorite part of the show was how Draiman interacted with the crowd on the song “The Light” off of their new album Immortalized. Before he started the song, he instructed everyone to whip out their cell phone flash lights and lighters and wave then high in the sky. The catch was the crowd was only supposed to do this when Draiman said the words “the light” during the chorus. The majority of the song was dark until that moment came and lighters and flashlights illuminated the room in under a second.

Even after playing 17 songs, the crowd was longing for more. With seven full length albums, there is no chance that Disturbed could play every hit song. The set would end up being close to 2 hours long, but I don’t think the fans would mind. They played some of the hits along with material off of their new record. Luckily, their setlist wasn’t too heavily saturated with tracks from Immortalized which would have cut down on some of the crowd favorites. 


Ten Thousand Fists, The Game, The Vengeful One, Prayer, Liberate, Land of Confusion, The Infection, Stupify, Darkness, The Sound of Silence, Inside The Fire, Stricken, The Light, Closer / I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For / Baba O’Riley / Killing In the Name, Indestructible, Voices, Down With The Sickness

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

NAMM Day 2

Well I ended up doing a little bit more research for the second day, learning that there was a schedule (image that) for what famous people would be where and when. I bookmarked specific places I wanted to be in order to see some of my favorite artists. 

Upon walking in, I immediately ran into the all seeing, all shredding god that is John Petrucci. Talk about a great start to the day. He was signing autographs at Ernie Ball and the line was ridiculous. Luckily, I had a telephoto lens. :)

John Petrucci

Aaron Newberry and Me

I walked around a bit, admiring the various booths when a face caught my eye. I quickly tracked the man down to see if it was the person I thought he was. It was in fact Aaron Newberry, the singer and guitarist of the band SONS. I introduced myself and said how I’m friends with Mike Pattengale (the coolest bro to ever live) and that I shot SONS years ago at Indiana Wesleyan University. He remembered me and we had a fantastic time catching up. We talked about how awesome SONS was and how it helped both of us through some rough patches in our lives, along with everything new that was happening to us. This was one of the rare moments that required a selfie because Mike Pattengale and SONS got me into concert photography and changed my life forever. Easily the highlight of my week. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Next, I ran into Luke Holland and The Word Alive and told Luke that his new drum cover of “Sorry” by Justin Bieber was killer. We talked about how I saw TWA play on Nov 14 in Pomona and how that was the show where Telle stage dove and broke his back. Telle and I talked about his recovery and luckily its going well. However I think he’s gonna keep stage diving to a minimum for now. 

Wandering around more, I found my friends for the blog I shoot for (SoCalMusic Today) and walked around with them for a bit. We walked over to see John 5 (ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist), Alice Cooper’s daughter Calico Cooper, and Alice Cooper’s bassist Chuck Garric signing autographs.

Chuck Garric, Callico Cooper, and John 5

I went to go check out Plini play a quick set. Plini just announced he’s touring with Intervals and Angel Vivaldi recently. His set was awesome and one of the things that really stood out to me was the amount of eye contact he made with people in the crowd as he played. It definitely added a personal feeling to the performance. I noticed Angel Vivaldi was chilling in the back so I went over and said hi. He immediately recognized me from shooting a show of his at The Mystery Box and gave me a huge hug. Angel is easily one of the nicest, funniest dudes I know so hanging with him is always a pleasure. Got two portraits of him, snagged a quick portrait of Plini, congratulated them both on the new tour, and raced off to the next event. 


I reconnected with the guys from The Mirage Theory and we headed to the GoPro booth for their daily raffle. I had signed up earlier that day, but with the number of people at NAMM, I expected to walk away empty handed. I was telling the TMT guys about how a GoPro could help my photography by placing the camera in interesting locations at venues to get new kinds of shots. Well as they were calling out the winners, the announcer said my name and everyone in The Mirage Theory instantly started screaming and freaking out. Naturally I couldn’t believe it because the odds were pretty slim, but I won a GoPro Hero4 Session, their newest, smallest, most lightweight camera. 

Nick Johnston

I shot Nick Johnston at Seymour Duncan, demo-ing their pickups in front of a nice crowd and he graced me by looking at my camera. Something I really love. Snapped a few pics of Neal Morse signing autographs and I saw Thomas Lang taking pictures with some fans after his set (I missed it because they switched the times due to scheduling conflicts).

Finally, to end the day, I met up with Lauren Elle Jaye, someone I met on Facebook who I wanted to meet in person. She was the coolest, most genuine, caring person I have met in a long time. We talked as if we had known each other for years, sitting on the ground of a slowly dwindling hallway. It was the perfectly chill way to end the long and adventurous day. She simply radiates positivity and love and is such a delight to be around. Also she gives dope hugs.

Well Day 1 was kind of stressful and a bit of a nightmare. Day 2 was such an amazing day filled with old friends, new friends, and famous people. 

Other people I met and/or took pictures of were Jared Dines, Mike Orlando, Joey Creel, Steven Slate, John Browne.