Kansas at Old National Centre 11/18/18 - Point of Know Return Tour

Kansas “Point of Know Return” 40th Anniversary Tour at Old National Centre 11/11/18

After 40 years and over 6 million copies, Kansas’ “Point of Know Return” album remains an icon of progressive rock. To see and hear it performed live, in its entirety, is an amazing experience, and one which I wholeheartedly recommend! I was privileged to be part of the sold-out crowd when Kansas came to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre in Indianapolis November 11. I wondered if I’d recognize all the songs, how they’d sound after all these years, and if I’d like the new Kansas tunes. The answers to those questions were YES, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, and YES!

Kansas began their 2+ hour set with several acoustic songs, including “Refugee,” from their latest album, “The Prelude Implicit,” and an emotional version of “People of the South Wind,.” They then transitioned to a full electric set, playing “Dust in the Wind,” as well as deep cuts off their various albums, and “Summer” from “The Prelude Implicit.” They then ripped through the entire “Point of Know Return” album – and it was incredible. To be honest, I had kind of forgotten how much I loved this album. I must’ve listened to it dozens of times, because I remembered all the melodies, cool riffs, key changes, and chord progressions. But I had forgotten how revolutionary, intricate - and technically difficult - these songs were. As leaders of the progressive rock movement, Kansas the set the bar tremendously high, and few, if any, bands have surpassed them.

But Kansas’ music isn’t just for audiophiles. Sure, those who understand the complexity and depth of Kansas’ performance will get more out of it, but honestly, there were a whole bunch of people in the audience who were there just to hear the hits they listened to on the radio, turntable, and/or 8-track back in the 70s, and I’m 100% sure they had a blast, too.

As for me, I loved every single song. And although I was jamming along with everyone else to “Portrait (He Knew)”, “Spider,” and “Point of Know Return,” I gained new appreciation for “Lightning’s Hand” and “The Tempest” after watching them being performed live. Fingers, bows, and drumsticks were flying, and the energy levels were out the roof for those songs, both of which completely engaged the crowd. Which reminds me: props to the lighting maestros, who did a brilliant job (no pun intended) of spotlighting each artist at just the right time throughout the whole show.

Kansas closed out the set with “Hopelessly Human,” and even though they left the darkened stage, there was no question they were returning for an encore, because one key song had yet to be performed: “Carry On My Wayward Son.” The entire crowd went nuts for this one, myself included. To say this song is iconic is cliché, but dammit, it’s true. The poignant lyrics, the harmonies, the heavy bass and guitar, and of course that hook in the chorus, come together in a masterpiece that generations know, love, and sing along to – at the top of their lungs. Although I’m sure it would’ve sounded a whole lot better if it wasn’t sung out of key by several thousand people, but it was still a beautiful thing.

The Amity Affliction - Vans Warped Tour at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center

The Amity Affliction have been around the music scene long enough to know how to get the crowd going - and they did it with great skill at the Vans Warped Tour at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Vans Warped Tour at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center 07 24 18

Of all the women who have impacted the music industry, Joan Jett is without a doubt one of the most influential. In fact, I don't think there's a person over the age of 10 who can't sing the chorus of "I Love Rock and Roll."  To be able to photograph this living legend was a dream come true for me and all the other photographers - it was the most crowded photo pit of the entire day. The pavillion was jammed with fans, as well, and the sides and back of the stage were packed with other Warped artists and VIPs. Joan Jett's voice was strong and loud, her attitude and guitar skills were as was as badass as ever, and the Blackhearts kicked ass right along with her. 

Asking Alexandria - Vans Warped Tour at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center 07 24 18

Asking Alexandria's raw power and smooth-as-silk vocals shouldn't work together, but they absolutely do! They also have a whole lotta fun on stage, making them a crowd favorite.

Doll Skin - Vans Warped Tour at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center 08 24 18

Phoenix-based all-girl, pop-punk Doll Skin were the darlings of the 2018 Warped Tour, drawing  big crowds of devoted fans to every show and earning rave reviews at every venue.

Motionless in White - Vans Warped Tour at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center 07 24 18

Motionless in White are one of my favorite bands to photograph. Their intensity, drama, and overall stage presence are over the top - it's enough to drive the fans nuts and make photographers lose their sh** trying to capture it all.

Bush, Stone Temple Pilots, and The Cult at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center - July 19, 2018


Live Review: Bush, Stone Temple Pilots, The Cult at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center

By Laura Fox

Torrential rains, extreme heat, and gusty winds didn’t dampen the spirits of concertgoers at Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center Friday, July 19. Clad in plastic ponchos, garbage bags, or just their soggy clothes, they soaked up a great night of rock and roll as the Revolution 3 tour rolled through town. LA-based Julien K were the first to take the stage, getting the crowd warmed up with their edgy, electro-rock sound.

Post-punk/metal giants The Cult were up next. Somewhat ironically, the heaviest downpour of the night was during their second song, “Rain.” At the end of the song, however, an announcer came on stage and told everyone in the lawn to come down and sit in open sections of the pavilion; he didn’t have to ask twice!

Stone Temple Pilots started their set with their mega-hit, “Wicked Garden.” Frontman Jeff Gutt, who joined the group in 2017, nailed the rock star role, performing with great energy and passion, along with an in-your-face attitude and tons of crowd interaction.

Veteran band members Dean DeLeo on guitar, Robert DeLeo on bass and Eric Kretz on percussion also showed the fans lots of love. With the exception of “Meadow,” and “Roll Me Away” from their latest studio album, “Stone Temple Pilots” the band stuck to classic hits from their older albums, ending with another huge single, “Sex-Type Thing.”

Bush’s set started dramatically, with percussionist Robin Goodridge silhouetted behind his drumset, sticks raised. Then the first iconic riff of “Machinehead” rang out from the darkness, and lead singer/guitarist Gavin Rossdale leaped onto the stage. The crowd went nuts, lunging to their feet and shouting wildly.

The commotion never really died down as Bush powered through their biggest hits, plus an amazing cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.” Rossdale, along with Chris Traynor on guitar and Corey Britz on bass, made constant eye contact with the audience, which they ate up. Rossdale, in particular, was in constant motion, pacing from front to back and side to side throughout the set.

By the time Bush closed their set with “Comedown,” the temperature had also come down. The rain had also stopped, leaving concertgoers basking in the echoes of the heavy-hitting show they had just experienced.

Bush


Stone Temple Pilots


The Cult

16 Candles at Federal Hill Commons, 06 02 18

There's just something about '80s music that makes people happy, especially when that music is performed outdoors on a balmy evening, by a talented band who is doing what they love. If you've ever seen Chicago-based band 16 Candles, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, you need to check them out! They rocked, bopped, and walked like Egyptians through an upbeat set that had people of all ages dancing and singing the night away at Federal Hill Commons park in Noblesville, Indiana. 

Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press at Federal Hill Commons 05/20/18

Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress kicked off the Noblesville Parks Concerts at the Commons series with a set of popular tunes from a variety of genres. The talented foursome from Chicago played everything from vintage Elton John to the theme from Disney's "Moana," and they played it with sensational style and skill. Their entusiasm was contagious - they were there to have fun, and they made sure everyone else did, too. I can't wait for them to come back this way!

L.A. Guns at The Vogue 2/28/18

L.A. Guns, featuring original guitarist Tracii Guns and original vocalist Philip Lewis, wrapped up their Reunion Tour with a bang at The Vogue in Indianapolis, proving that they can still kick ass with the best of them!

Budderside at The Vogue 2/28/18

California-based Budderside showered their brotherly love on an enthralled Indianapolis crowd.

The Mowgli's at The Hi-Fi Indy 02/26/18

The Mowgli's brought a much-needed dose of west-coast sunshine and positive energy to the Hi-Fi Indy. Colorful, retro beach scenes provided the perfect backdrop for their catchy tunes and heartfelt messages. 

Flint Eastwood at The HiFi Indy, 2/9/18

I was both exhausted and exhilarated after photographing this amazing act from Detroit. Great, original music and positive messages, along with a fun, party atmosphere made for a fantastic evening at The HiFi Indy. 


Live Review

Flint Eastwood, NYDGE at the HiFi Indy February 9, 2018

By Laura Fox

After my daughter, Kelly (aka Vixen Visuals), photographed Flint Eastwood last year, she told me it was one of the best shows she had ever seen. That’s high praise from someone who’s seen and shot about a hundred concerts in the past couple of years, so when I found out Flint Eastwood was coming to the HiFi Indy, I jumped on the chance to see for myself what she was talking about.

I was not disappointed. Although the Detroit-based group had no cool light effects, pyrotechnics, fancy backdrops or any of the trappings of a major event, they put on one hell of a concert. I completely understand now why the show sold out, and why Flint Eastwood’s fans will drive hundreds of miles for a live show.

Fellow Detroiter NYDGE (pronounced with a hard “i” like Nigel), currently on tour supporting Flint Eastwood, likewise needed a minimal amount of gear to entertain the packed house. His dreamy, original, synth-created compositions were as smooth as silk, creating a super chill atmosphere. Although he lists his genre as electropop or indietronica (TBH, I didn’t even know that was a thing), I also detected a pleasant R&B undercurrent in some of his songs. Whatever you call it, his music put everyone in a relaxed state of mind, kind of like a nice glass of wine before dinner.

When Flint Eastwood, came out, however, any sense of tranquility vaporized. Striding onto the stage like she owned it, vocalist Jax Anderson immediately took command of the audience, who willingly bowed to her will. When she told them to dance, they did. When she told them to crouch down, they did. When she told them, “Shhhh,” the entire room fell silent. That’s a lotta people to get to be quiet, especially people in a party mood on a Friday night. Frequently leaning over the edge of the stage, Anderson alternately wooed and challenged her audience, who hung on to her every word.

Backed by brother Seth (aka Sybling) on drums, touring bassist Joel Parks, and some slick tracks, Anderson was a ball of energy on stage. Dressed in Carhartt work overalls and sporting her signature braids, she belted out song after song with a sweet voice and a polish rivalling that of any mega-pop star. Her swagger, however, was more like that of a rapper, and there was a healthy dose of gritty Motor City mojo in her attitude. The genre-defying set reflected pop, rock, indie and techno influences with crowd favorites like “Glitches,” “Small Victories,” “Rewind,” and the latest single, “Monster,” all of which are as unique and different from each other as Flint Eastwood is from other artists. And maybe that’s the crucial element in Flint Eastwood’s fan base – there’s something for everyone to love.

Or maybe it’s the fact that Jax Anderson seems to genuinely care about her fans, and about people in general. More than once Friday night she exhorted them to be strong, to be kind, and to work hard. Before launching into the encore with her signature anthem, “Queen,” she again silenced the audience and spoke directly to them, saying “I have a message to the ladies out there…you are just as good as your heroes. The only difference…is that your heroes have put in a butt-ton more work than you have. So get out there, work your ass off, be nice to people and get shit done,” adding, “That also applies to the gentlemen in the room.” I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who left the show both exhausted and inspired…and looking forward to seeing (and hearing) more from Flint Eastwood.