Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too.
Daniel Jackson's concert photography on Instagram (at @listenyoungman) first caught my eye about a year or so ago, and became almost a daily part of my social-media life when I got the photo app myself earlier this year.
You can always spy Mr. Jackson snapping pictures with his phone while lurking in the pit at Fitz or Walters. Rocks Off has always championed concert photography, but mostly of the professional kind that our own stable of photogs divvies out. No doubt you have heard of our "Shot In The Dark" photo exhibits.
But Jackson's concert shots aren't the usual drunk-girl jive, or those awful out-of-focus jobs you see while all your friends are at a huge arena gig. He takes a little more care with his hobby, even if his seats aren't so great. His pictures take you inside the eye and mind of a true music fan.
Who Is You?: Daniel Jackson is a live music fan and an incessant concert Instagrammer. That's a thing.
"I was born in Spring Branch, grew up in Crosby and now I call I Katy home," says Jackson. So I guess that makes me a lifelong Houston suburbanite. I have a very supportive wife and two little girls who love to go with me to Ifest, Miller Outdoor Theater and Discovery Green to see shows."
"I am a late-bloomer when it comes to secular music," he adds. "With the exception of oldies stations and Dad's country albums, I was not allowed to listen to secular music for the better part of my childhood and really until I left my parent's house at age 20."
From tinkering on his first guitar, Jackson was addicted to music, scouring his family home for bits of knowledge.
"I was hooked, I was in love, and I was smitten by music," he says.
Jackson posted his first concert photo to Instagram, a pic from a Centro-Matic gig at Fitzgerald's, late last year. Today he has uploaded more then 800 photos and recently set up a Tumblr account that compiles the concert shots in an easy-to-see format.
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"People from all over ask me about emerging local talent like Tyagaraja or The Tontons," he says.
Home Base: Most of Jackson's shots come from Fitzgerald's, but he will go wherever the bands go. "Cactus Music and Discovery Green in the fall are probably the coolest places in Houston to check out music," Jackson adds.
Why He Stays In Houston: "I feel very fortunate to call Houston my lifelong home," he says. "Everything I love is here and more. We have a great thing going on in the local music scene right now."
Good War Story: "At Fun Fun Fun Fest a couple years back, I was standing on the edge of the pit watching The Bronx," opens Jackson. "It didn't take me long to recognize that I was standing next to a guy in a motorized wheelchair. He was a pretty small guy, dressed in black and looked to have been in the chair for most of his life.
"As the Bronx kicked into gear, some guy bolted out of the pit directly toward my neighbor," he continues. "He ran up to him, screamed in his face and ran back into the pit. Well, apparently the guy on the edge of the pit wasn't gonna take that and put his wheelchair into full-on Berserker mode.
He was doing donuts in the middle of the swarm and clearing people out left and right," finishes Jackson. "It didn't take long before he essentially cleared the pit. When the song ended, he put the wheelchair in park and the guy that screamed in his face -- now apparently his friend -- came up and high-fived him."
Music Scene Pet Peeve: "If there is one thing that music fans in Houston should work on, it's staying connected and building community," declares Jackson. "Come support local live music venues and musicians."
5 Desert Island Discs (From Bands You Should See Live):
1. John Prine, Bruised Orange
John Prine has the unique ability to conceal some of life's most troubling and heartbreaking topics with humor. I have seen John Prine a handful of times and each show is a little different. What I can guarantee is that you will leave with a smile on your face and lots to think about.
2. The Bronx, The Bronx
How these guys pack such melody into a hardcore punk album is beyond my comprehension. The Bronx has the proper amount of cockiness and attitude. Listening to this album you can kind of get the feeling they have the ability to play just about anything they want. This is proven with their Mariachi El Bronx project. The Bronx is a great live act and you will find me up close enjoying the noise every time.
3. Dawes, North Hills
With just two albums under their belt, these guys have written a better collection of songs than most bands have after four albums. Both records are excellent, but the live show is where they really shine.
4. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, From Africa with Fury
This album captures only 1/16 of the energy, charisma and passion of their live show.
5. Grandfather Child, Grandfather Child
Wrap yourself in the warm wall of gospel voodoo these guys conjure up. This is an excellent album that can stand up to an Alabama Shakes or just about any other band in that southern R&B format.
Best Show Ever:
"When I started playing guitar, 'Misirlou' by Dick Dale was one of the very first songs I ever learned to play," says Jackson. "He had become somewhat of a hero to me. So when I found out he was going to be at Fabulous Satellite Lounge, a couple friends loaded up and we headed out there.
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"Even though he was probably in his late sixties at the time, I remember the front row being nearly all female," he adds. "One of these female fans kept yelling at Mr. Dale to give her a kiss. He took notice of this, looked down at me and handed me his gold glitter Fender Strat. I completely froze because I had seen this guitar in magazines and movies, but now I was holding it.
"After I snapped out of it, I noticed a pick holder attached to the guitar," Jackson continues. "I reached down and swiped a pick, which I still have). What I didn't realize was that he had finished groping the groupie and was patiently waiting for me to hand him back his guitar. He didn't seem irritated at all and I left that show with a huge grin on my face."