This past Saturday I headed up to Poughkeepsie, NY with my friends in Degrader. They had gone through a two round Battle of the Bands competition to win a headlining spot on the upstairs stage of Souled Out Fest. They weren’t playing until about 945 that night so I worked out my schedule of bands I wanted to shoot and then wandered around the venue for a bit visiting friends that are out touring on the Hate Me Tour.
Before I knew it it was time for Varials to play. They were playing on the smaller upstairs stage without a barrier. I was pretty excited to see them, I’ve always heard good things about their shows and their music video for “Savage” is insane. I was not disappointed as vocalist Travis Trabon took the stage dressed as a blinged out hot dog. The crowd was as violent as I expected and I took a few decent shots while shooting from the floor. It was a lot safer once I moved up on the stage to get some shots of the rest of the band. Overall it was a great first time seeing them, the hot dog costume was great and I got some awesome photos out of it.
Once Varials had finished I met up with Jimm and Doug from Sirens and Sailors, I hadn’t seen either of them since Warped Tour ended so it was nice to catch up. After a little while I wandered over to a nearby bar where Vanna was hanging out with the rest of the guys in Sirens and Sailors killing time before their sets. I had a couple drinks and watched Davey, his wife Chiarina, Doug, Nick, and Shawn play the longest and most intense game of Uno I have ever seen.
Once that was done I went to watch the van and equipment while Degrader loaded in and after that it was just about time to shoot Sirens and Sailors. I started off working through the crowd, even though there was a bigger stage and barricade there wasn’t an actual photo pit. The barricade still helped me out since people couldn’t stage dive I had more time to try and plan out my shots as the band moved around the stage. After a song or two I moved onto the stage to get some closer shots. Anyone that knows me knows I love photographing drummers, I always feel like they’re forgotten back there and they’re honestly so cool to photograph, so I photographed Doug from every angle I could without getting in the way of the performance before moving off to cover the rest of the band. It was good to see Sirens and Sailors play their home state. Despite the barricade Kyle made sure to reach over as far as he could so fans could grab the mic and they took full advantage of it.
Degrader played directly after them so I rushed back upstairs just before they started and went to work. Despite playing in New York only a handful of times they had plenty of people moving and screaming their lyrics back at them. Since it was Halloween they all wore Boston sports jerseys with Corey talking plenty of trash between songs and praising our God, Tom Brady. I’ve seen the guys in Degrader all work through previous bands before ending up together where they are now. It was great to be able to see them getting the recognition they deserve, and a decent distance from home. They finished up by playing Dead Presidents, Doriano Magliano (Ex Woe Is Me) came out to do a vocal piece in it which was really awesome because he slays.
The final band playing the upstairs stage was Vanna. Shawn dressed as Finn from Adventure Time, Davey as Roger Klotz from Doug, Seamus as a Ninja Turtle, Joel went as Rick from Rick and Morty, and Nick was Charlie Brown. They hudled together at the drum set, hands together in the middle before shouting “Tiny Rick!” and beginning the first song. Right off the bat the crowd went crazy rushing to the front of the stage and toppling over one another to get to the mic. I shot for a bit on the floor then moved onto the stage to grab some photos of Shawn who had removed his hat to unveil a glorious mane of blonde hair. Vanna ended the night with “Digging” one of my favorite songs off of their most recent release Void before Joel hung his guitar on a monitor and walked off stage.
After we loaded out the guys in Degrader and I said good bye to our friends and grabbed some late night Chinese food with Doriano and some of the guys from Yüth Forever. Once we were done we said our final good byes and headed out on the road. I slept most of the way except for when we stopped at a stereotypical horror movie looking gas station. You know, surrounded by nothing not even streetlights and in the middle of nowhere. Once we left I was asleep again and before I knew it we were back home and I couldn’t get to my bed fast enough. It was a great day and it was great to see so many friends and be able to photograph them.