We've said it before, and will say it again, but one of the things we're proudest of here at Rocks Off are the gifted concert photographers we get to work with. So when one of them puts together an exhibit of work - most of which appeared in these very digital pages - it's the least we can do to throw a little love their way.
So today we'd like to give a big fist-bump to Marc Brubaker, who will be displaying some 20 of his best concert shots on the walls of Catalina Coffee (2201 Washington) in his exhibition "I Know It's Only Rock and Roll, But I Like It" for the next few weeks. You can congratulate him yourself at the opening reception from 8-10 p.m. tomorrow evening.
We asked Brubaker how he got started shooting shows, because we're always curious about that sort of thing. He says it all started when he was living in Sugar Land and frequenting Walter's on Washington, dragging his camera along, "delving fearlessly into the pits at the metal shows in order to get dynamic shots of the bands I loved." (Marc is also a writer.)
He wound up meeting Adam P. Newton, also a Rocks Off contributor who was then writing music reviews for Houstonist, a cooler sort of proto-CultureMap. (Remember them?) Around 2008, Newton managed to get Brubaker an offer to shoot a few shows for the site, including Thrice and Of Montreal -- which Marc says nearly got him a two-page spread in Spin magazine.
"Unfortunately that didn't pan out, but from then on I was hooked on shooting," Brubaker says. The lure of getting a great shot, the excitement of knowing that at any moment I could capture something wonderful, that tingling rush of adrenaline every time I get in the photo pit -- that still remains."
And now, "I Know It's Only Rock and Roll, But I Like It." To Rocks Off's many other talented photographers, whom we love, we've hardly forgotten you. We look forward to writing similar words about your own exhibit, should that come to pass. This also seems like a good opportunity for us to remind everyone that we are planning another Shot In the Dark photo exhibition of our best work for the Houston Press Music Awards showcase on Sunday, August 4. Stay tuned for details.
For now, we'll turn you back over to Mr. Brubaker, whose work will be up at Catalina through June 30. We asked him to send us a few of his favorite shots from "It's Only Rock and Roll" and tell us what made them special to him.
LCD Soundsystem (Verizon Wireless Theater, 10/8/2010) This show was really special as it was not only one of my favorite acts, but also the last time LCD Soundsystem would play Houston. The lighting was fantastic, James was dynamic, and I danced my butt off after getting out of the photo pit.
Aretha Franklin (Arena Theater, 11/17/2011) I was pretty pumped to get the opportunity to photograph the Queen of Soul, especially at a unique venue like the Arena Theater. Its revolving stage and theater-in-the-round setting makes for an interesting assignment. The lighting can be a bit tricky, but fortunately Aretha gave me plenty with which to work, and she can still belt those high notes.
Chuck Berry (Nutty Jerry's, 3/4/2011) Making the road trip out east was a no-brainer when it meant seeing the founder of rock and roll himself. The performance itself was a bit sketchy at times, but there's simply nothing like seeing a legend of Chuck Berry's scale. Plus, we snuck backstage afterward and I got to shake his massive hands. Seriously, my hands are by no means small, but he made me feel like a hobbit.
The Flaming Lips (Free Press Summer Fest, 6/6/2010) There was something essential about this moment. When The Flaming Lips capped FPSF 2010, the entirety of Eleanor Tinsley Park witnessed something special. It a bombastic, dynamic and downright fun live show, but it was also so much more. With this act, FPSF became a fixture in our local music scene that has steadily grown. The little festival that could had done it, and has only continued to improve.
Brubaker's exhibit is up right now and runs through June 30.