The 91X Wrex The Halls show returned to the Valley View Casino Center on December 8, 2013 with performances by Queen of the Stone Age, Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant, Alt-J, Arctic Monkeys, The Silent Comedy and J. Roddy Wilston & the Business. This was my fifth show in five days and would end up being the toughest shoot of the week. Mainly due to the lighting and restrictions during the Queens of the Stone Age set.

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There were a 18 approved photographers plus a couple working directly for the radio station. It was the smallest photo pit of the week and for the Queens of the Stone Age we were limited to one side or the other of the photo pit. I was really pleased with the lighting for the J. Roddy Wilston and The Business who kicked off the night. There were just a handful of photographers for the opening acts, so there was plenty of room to move and shoot.

J. Roddy and the Business / 2013

J. Roddy and the Business / 2013

J. Roddy and the Business / 2013

J. Roddy and the Business / 2013

Next up was The Silent Comedy, a San Diego based band that I had never heard of before, but will be on the lookout to photograph them again. they were really fun to listen to and photograph.

Silent Comedy / 2013

Silent Comedy / 2013

Silent Comedy / 2013

Silent Comedy / 2013

Silent Comedy / 2013

So with two bands done I was really happy with the lighting and the reasonably empty photo pit. For the next two bands, the pit was actually even emptier as some of the photographers were not approved to shoot the Alt-J or Arctic Monkeys set. The problem is that the lights went from GREAT to very tough. The Alt-J set was a difficult shoot, I took a deep breath and started to look for different angles and subjects.

Alt-J  / 2013

Alt-J  / 2013

Alt-J  / 2013

Alt-J  / 2013

Alt-J  / 2013

Next up were the Arctic Monkeys. The Arctic Monkeys are a UK band formed in 2002 which a good sound and good look, but some really funky lights. Again, it was a real challenge to get some great shots but with  fewer photographers approved for their set, moving around was pretty easy.

Arctic Monkeys / 2013

Arctic Monkeys / 2013

Arctic Monkeys / 2013

Arctic Monkeys / 2013

Arctic Monkeys / 2013

Next up was a band that I was really looking forward to shooting; Cage the Elephant. Especially after reading about the lead singers habit of going out into the crowd. They did not disappoint and I was really lucky to be in the right spot for the crowd surfing.

The lighting again was pretty dark and the antics of the band meant a faster shutter speed and higher ISOs.

Cage The Elephant / 2013

Cage The Elephant / 2013

Cage The Elephant / 2013

Cage The Elephant / 2013

Cage The Elephant / 2013

Cage The Elephant / 2013

Cage The Elephant / 2013

Next up were Vampire Weekend, who in my opinion stole the show both with the really solid set musically and visually. By this time the photo pit was getting a little crowded and moving around was getting tougher.

Vampire Weekend  / 2013

Vampire Weekend  / 2013

Vampire Weekend  / 2013

Vampire Weekend  / 2013

Vampire Weekend  / 2013

Vampire Weekend  / 2013

Vampire Weekend  / 2013

The final act of the day was The Queens of the Stone Age. The biggest name on the bill and the biggest restrictions on shooting. For some reason only known to the band, we were not allowed to shoot from the middle of the pit and had to stay either to the left or the right. Then there was the lighting or I should say the lack of lighting.

Queens of the Stone Age   / 2013

Queens of the Stone Age   / 2013

Queens of the Stone Age   / 2013

Queens of the Stone Age   / 2013

Queens of the Stone Age   / 2013

Queens of the Stone Age   / 2013

Queens of the Stone Age   / 2013

Queens of the Stone Age   / 2013

Queens of the Stone Age   / 2013

All images taken with Nikon D4 and Nikon D700 cameras with 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses. I use Hoodman CompactFlash cards and Sony XQD cards.

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