May 04

- At the Vintage Trouble show last Thursday night at the El Rey, i wished so desperately that i had my 1973 Nikon, a 180mm prime lens and some 1600ASA B&W film. oh the grainy compositions and soul shaking artistry i could’ve captured of Ty, Rick, Nalle, and Richard! but instead, i had my iPhone.  and after a busy day tweeting, texting and calling to check on my sick possibly dying grandmother, i was left with 10% battery by the time the curtain opened on Vintage Trouble.  i had two choices: just enjoy the show (a ludicrous idea for someone who is trained not just to observe, but to capture, to record, to document life, so that i might manipulate it later into an interpretation of life that could, if i’ve done my job, at least illicit some emotional reaction, and more preferably, incite a riot),  or i could put the iPhone to the test until it died, knowing that when it did, i would have no choice but to just sit back and enjoy the show;  a restless prospect, since i’ve not been trained conversely to simply participate in life — i.e. if i don’t have a camera or a notepad in my hand, i’m sometimes unsure of how to just be. but that’s perhaps a story for another blog post.  or my therapist.  meanwhile, what you see here, is the 4 minutes of footage i was able to grab on the best camera I had with me — of Vintage Trouble bringing the house down in Los Angeles.


i should also mention that two unique things happened, one while i still had iPhone battery, and one after i was left alone with just my racing heart and Ty Taylor.
the first is that without a long lens, i was forced into wide shots where Ty and company were little specks of light in the distance.  i tried to get close at one point, but the lens on the iPhone is ugly and revealing without foreground or depth.  and as it turned out, the scope and visceral energy of the crowd allowed me to capture in wide shots what i was experiencing emotionally in the close-ups i couldn’t take.
and the second thing is this:  when you observe your artist friends perform in their element, in their bliss, there remains a part of you, unconsciously, that reminds you that you “know” that person; that as good as this performance may be, it’s just another moment in your friend’s long sordid wonderful life, to which you are a witness.  but on this night, all that pretense dropped away, and i was witness for maybe the first time to Ty’s greatness the way you might be witness to Otis Redding or Sam Cooke or James Brown;  their moments of transcendence aren’t grounded by my knowledge of them, precisely because i don’t know them. and in this moment, i didn’t know Ty either.  and now, strangely, gratefully, i feel like i know him in a whole new way.
Vintage Trouble‘s album “THE BOMB SHELTER SESSIONS” is now available on iTunes! get to know them.


  1. Thank you so much for capturing this magical evening so beautifully. You were able to articulate the EXPERIENCE of this great band on this particularly perfect night so clearly through your thoughtful, passionate words, and powerful imagery. Had I had not been there myself, I certainly would have felt as if I had been, after reading this and watching your footage. I was up against the stage myself, in front of Nalle, shooting both video and stills…. swapping out batteries…. and trying desperately to dance without shaking either camera too much. No easy task, mind you. My only regret is that I did not ever leave my post to get the overall shots you did, because, as you know, the connection between these performers and their audience is a HUGE part of the phenomenon we have been lucky enough to witness, and to be a part of. Thank you, so very much for this lovely, powerful piece. Please drop me an email,if you are so inclined. I will be happy to share what I captured that night with you.

  2. Amen Sister!

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