“Failure never left us” These are the words spoken to me by a long-time fan in line; wearing one of their shirts she purchased a long time ago. I waited in line with eager fans outside of Emo’s in Austin, Texas ready for doors to open. Even as the evening approached you could feel the heat and humidity linger. The staff walked the line checking for tickets and placed wristbands on guests before they began to let guests in. Emo’s is one of my favorite venues in Texas. One of many premier sites in the music capital of the world, the staff are friendly and professional, the house lights and sound system rock, and they always have the coldest beers on hand. Even Eskimos would be impressed. I made a new friend as I waited in line for my photo pass. I introduced myself to Cody Powell, which led to drinking a round of beers before the show and talking photography. I like connecting with at least one new person at a show. Whether they are a photographer, security, roadie, bartender, etc.
I didn’t know what to expect of Queen Kwong. I was not familiar with their music and didn’t have a chance to listen to their songs before the show. I knew regardless I would try my best to get the best photos possible. Their set was kept dark with burst of lights from time to time that sync’d perfectly with their style of music. Carré Callaway danced and moved on stage like a gypsy. Projecting a fury of emotions through her music and stage presence. As I took photos of each band members on stage their guitarist stuck me as familiar. I couldn’t put my thumb on it. It wasn’t till the next day when I looked up the band and discovered the mystery man to be Wes Borland! This is one of those surprises I get to have as a concert photographer. Taking photos of an artist I listened to before, having never thought this would be happening if you asked me ten years ago. During their last song, Carré jumped down from stage and met with her people. Engaging them personally to enrich their experience and on stage Borland began to disassemble Hayden Scott’s drum kid piece by piece. Leaving Fred Sablan and his bass echoing into the night as their beautiful and raw set came to an end. I walked towards the bar to grab another beer with that look on my face. The look that is easily recognizable as one becoming a new fan of the band they just watched.
Failure soon to take the stage I quickly sent a text message to my friend Joe O. with a photo of what their stage setup looked like. His reply “You suck. I wish I was there!” I know how much of a fan he is of the band and I had to tease him. That’s what good friends do, right? Kellii Scott drum set nestled between two large LED panels that displayed radical motion graphics throughout the night. Failure kick off the night with “Hot Traveler” from their new album The Heart Is A Monster released on June 30, 2015. The tune has a dark, eerie cosmic sound to it. The way the guitar wails on the intro is straight out of a sci-fi movie. Right away you noticed the heavy bass riffs, serving as a foundation to the song. Surely the cheers of the crowd are the sign of successful comeback to alternative, space rock. I found that live the new jams are compelling. “A.M. Amnesia” became one of my favorite tracks from their new album. With its dense layers of guitar distortion & chorus effects, pounding riffs, and waves of cymbals crashing resonate in my ear canals. Feeding my hunger of melodic alternative rock I yearn to hear. Typically, during a bands set a few people will be at the outside area where you can smoke but none were sighted. Everyone there who paid to see Failure are getting their moneys worth. Watching Greg Edwards jamming between his guitar and keyboards, Kellii Scott thundering from his drum set, and Ken Andrews echoing from the speaker system. There are plenty of dates left on the tour for a chance to check them out. Cheers!
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Photographs taken at Emo’s in Austin, Texas on July 25th of 2015
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