news: BEST OF LIVE MUSIC 2011 x YEAR IN REVIEW x JOE RUSSO

Larry Graham Photo by Joe Russo
Larry Graham at BB Kings.

January, 2012 – 2011 is finally all wrapped up. The year seemed to have flown by really fast…until I tried to cull a “Best Of” photoset for you all. 2011 was a busy year for me shooting live concerts/shows. I think I’ve shot more this year then ever before. A rough count comes to around 100 bands. Additionally, I shoot art gallery openings, fashion events, artist studio visits, street and graffiti art and various other freelance assignments…so this year was crazy from beginning to end.

Musically, I think I shot in almost every venue in the NY/NJ Metro area and 2 trips to Pennsylvania. Plenty of miles on both the car and my camera gear. There were plenty of great shows, lots of good times with old friends and made many new friends along the way. There were only a few nerve-racking moments…and i think my worst moment as a music photographer [Motley Crue/Scranton, PA].

Here are a few shots from this years shows. Enjoy!

GWAR Cory Smoot Photo by Joe Russo
Gwar at Starland Ballroom. One of the messiest and crazy shows I’ve ever shot. Cory Smoot; R.I.P.

Henry Rollins Photo by Joe Russo
Henry Rollins spoken word at Joe’s Pub. Very smart and very funny.

Trey Anastasio Band Photo by Joe Russo
Trey Anastasio Band at Terminal 5.

Fishbone Angelo Moore Photo by Joe Russo
Fishbone at Hammerstein Ballroom. Grew up on these guys…and they’re still kickin’ ass.

Questlove Ahmir Thompson Photo by Joe Russo
Questlove sits in with The Funky Meters at Brooklyn Bowl.

Art Neville Funky Meters Photo by Joe Russo
Art Neville and The Funky Meters.

Phish Mike Gordon Photo by Joe Russo
Phish’s Mike Gordon at Brooklyn Bowl.

Aaron Neville Photo by Joe Russo
Aaron Neville at BB King’s. He has the voice of an angel.

Airborne Toxic Event Photo by Joe Russo
Airborne Toxic Event at Piano’s. Special show for 100 fans in the smallest room on the tiniest stage with the shittiest lights. It was fun though!

Rise Against Tim McIlrath Photo by Joe Russo
Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath at Terminal 5.

Rise Against Zach Blair Photo by Joe Russo
Rise Against’s Zach Blair at Terminal 5.

Bad Religion Jay Bentley Photo by Joe Russo
Bad Religion’s Jay Bentley at Terminal 5.

Robert Randolph Photo by Joe Russo
Robert Randolph at Brooklyn Bowl. This guy always puts on a high energy show.

HR Human Rights Photo by Joe Russo
HR Human Rights [of Bad Brains] does a solo show [w/some Bad Brains classics] at Brooklyn Bowl. Announces a new Bad Brains album in the works.

Social Distortion Mike Ness Wosster Street Social Club Photo by Joe Russo
Social Distortions Mike Ness freshly tattooed outside the Wooster Street Social Club.

Band of Joy Robert Plant Photo by Joe Russo
The second time seeing Robert Plant’s Band of Joy this year. This time at the Borgata.

U2 Bono and The Edge Photo by Joe Russo
Bono and The Edge speaking at the 92 St Y in front of maybe 800 seats.

Interpol Paul Banks Photo by Joe Russo
Got dragged to Interpol at the Convention Center in Asbury Park…zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

New Orleans Radiators Photo by Joe Russo
One of my favorite bands; The New Orleans Radiators play one of their last shows together at Brooklyn Bowl. This band has played together with the SAME/ORIGINAL lineup for 33 years!

Los Lonely Boys Photo by Joe Russo
Great show by Los Lonely Boys at Irving Plaza.

Janes Addiction Perry Farrell Photo by Joe Russo
One of my all-time favorite bands…and by far one of the best shows I shot all year. This show was sponsored by LG at Terminal 5. They handed out phones to a bunch of fans to video the show in 3D for a later online broadcast.

Janes Addiction Dave Navarro Photo by Joe Russo
Dave Navarro

Janes Addiction Photo by Joe Russo
“Jane Says”…never gets old.

Nikka Costa Photo by Joe Russo
One of the most talented and sexy females in the music biz…Nikka Costa at the Highline Ballroom.

Paul McCartney Photo by Joe Russo
Sir Paul McCartney at Yankee Stadium…nuff said.

Roy Ayers Photo by Joe Russo
Roy Ayers at Central Park’s Summerstage. Loved this show so much. Roy has a great catalog of music. He posed for me before the show for a few shots. Very nice man.

U2 Bono and The Edge Photo by Joe Russo
U2’s Bono and The Edge at the new Giants Stadium or whatever the name of it is now. One of the best and most talented bands out there on the road.

Motley Crue Tommy Lee Photo by Joe Russo
Motley Crue at the Toyota Pavillion in Scanton, PA. This venue is a joke. After the long haul to get here, I got the run around for my credentials for so long that I missed both opening bands. Crue was a soundboard shoot and only the first 2 songs. Was shooting b/w heads and hands from the aisle in front of sbd as drunk teenagers bumped in to me as they tried to walk in a straight line. On the way out, our photo passes were revoked due to an “earlier incident” in Camden. WORST MUSICAL PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERIENCE OF MY CAREER.

Blink 182 Travis Barker Photo by Joe Russo
Blink 182’s Travis Barker At PNC Arts Center. This guy kicks ass. This was supposed to be a front of house shoot which at the last minute changed to a soundboard shoot. This may have been My Chemical Romance’s fault [they opened for B182]. Blink 182 felt bad for the photogs and invited us to come and shoot one of the next 2 shows. Right on guys!

My Chemical Romance Photo by Joe Russo
My Chemical Romance at PNC Arts Center…opening for Blink 182. This was supposed to be a front of house shoot and we were yanked to the SBD literally 2 mins before they hit the stage. Needless to say…the lights sucked for our allotted first 3 songs. We get escorted off to the side. Camera’s away. After that…the lights were awesome! If you’re gonna jerk the photographers around like that, I’d rather you just didn’t give us permission to shoot your shitty band anyway.

Buckcherry Josh Todd Photo by Joe Russo
Buckcherry at Williamsburg Music Hall. These guys came off tour on their own dime to play a kick ass benefit show for our friend’s very sick 7 year old son, Aidan Seeger. Please check out his story and donate to his cause/condition.

Doobie Brothers Photo by Joe Russo
Doobie Brothers at PNC Arts Center. My dad played these guys for me all the time as a youngster growing up. They put on a fantastic show this night.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Photo by Joe Russo
Lynyrd Skynyrd at PNC Arts Center. I let my inner red-neck out tonight. Good stuff. Probably the only acceptable time to yell “Freebird!” without being “that guy”.

Steepwater Band Photo by Joe Russo
Steepwater Band was in town from Chicago to play at The National. If you like blues/rock…check em out. They won’t disappoint.

Foster The People Photo by Joe Russo
Foster The People at Terminal 5. Great energy by these guys. Multi-instrumental too.

Primus Photo by Joe Russo
Primus at Roseland.

Wilco Jeff Tweedy Photo by Joe Russo
Wilco at Central Park’s Summerstage. What a shitty rainy day outside. But as always, Tweedy and Wilco still delivered a great show. Lighting wasn’t so good today here.

Cyndi Lauper Photo by Joe Russo
Cyndi Lauper at The Wellmont Theater. I grew up listening to this woman religiously in Brooklyn. She put on such a great show. She still has the most amazing and funny personality. She sang her hits and covered the blues.

G Love and Special Sauce Photo by Joe Russo
G. Love and Special Sauce at Irving Plaza. I don’t know exactly what it is I love about this guy/band…but I dig it.

Janes Addiction Photo by Joe Russo
Jane’s Addiction at Irving Plaza. This is my second time shooting them this year. For some strange reason, there was no photo pit set up at the front of house and the place was PACKED to the ceiling by the time I got in there. I wasn’t dealing with that crowd. I hustled my way in to the VIP section upstairs by the soundboard and shot the show from there. This was the hardest shoot as I am shooting above the crowd, in to the fog/haze as the lights progressively changed from beams to strobes. Recipe for diaster. I pulled it off. And once again…so did the band.

Janes Addiction Photo by Joe Russo
Jane’s Addiction

Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan Photo by Joe Russo
Smashing Pumpkins at Terminal 5. This was the night after Jane’s. Walk in to this venue right before the band hits and again…no photo pit! Terminal 5 is a big venue with no real good place to shoot from if you’re not front of house. I have a few spots I can get by with. Tonight the lights were wacky and weird patterns. Just something else thrown in to my mix. And once again, I pulled it off.

Neon Trees Tyler Glenn
Neon Trees at Madison Square Garden. They were opening up for Duran Duran. Funny how I got a pass to shoot the opener and not the main act. Heard there wasn’t even a lot of photogs for the main act either. In any event, I enjoyed shooting these guys so much. Lead singer Tyler Glenn is an amazing front man.

North Mississippi All Stars Luther Dickinson Photo by Joe Russo
North Mississippi’s Luther Dickinson at Brooklyn Bowl. Luther is one of my favorite contemporary guitarists out there. He’s such a joy to watch play guitar. He’s also a guitarist in my all-time favorite band, The Black Crowes.

Portishead Photo by Joe Russo
Portishead at All Tomorrow’s Party in Asbury Park…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Public Enemy Chuck D and Flavor Flav Photo by Joe Russo
Public Enemy’s Chuck D and FLavor Flav at All Tomorrow’s Party in Asbury Park. PE was my first live musical experience in 1987 in Brooklyn, NY. Have seen then a few times throughout their long career. On this night they played “Fear Of A Black Planet” in it’s entirety with a few other hits sprinkled in. The crowd ate up every word. This was one of my favorite shows I’ve seen in 2011.

Shepard Fairey DJ Diabetic Photo by Joe Russo
DJ Diabetic aka Shepard Fairey at Asbury Lanes. Shepard was in town all week doing art installations around the boardwalk while preparing for a pop-up solo show with Jonathan LeVine Gallery. He DJ’d the afterparty on the last night of All Tomorrow’s Party’s.

Anthrax Scott Ian Photo by Joe Russo
Anthrax’s Scott Ian.

Anthrax Photo by Joe Russo
Anthrax at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. Hadn’t seen these guys perform in ages. Welcome back Joey BellaDonna.

Testament Photo by Joe Russo
Testament at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia.

Death Angel Photo by Joe Russo
Death Angel at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia.

Chickenfoot Sammy Hagar and Joe Satriani Photo by Joe Russo
Chickenfoot at Webster Hall. Sammy Hagar and Joe Satriani tearing it up. Another one of my favorites shows of the year.

Chris Cornell Photo by Joe Russo
Chris Cornell at Carnegie Hall. Great acoustic set. Great voice. Only saw/shot 3 songs and had to shoot from the back of the house before we were asked to leave.

Evanescence Amy Lee Photo by Joe Russo
Evanescence’s Amy Lee at Terminal 5. I was talked in to shooting this show. I had no idea what an amazing voice she has. Their new album was No. 1 on the charts on this night.

Pretty Reckless Taylor Momsen Photo by Joe Russo
The Pretty Reckless at Terminal 5. Lead singer Taylor Momsen [Gossip Girls].

Fishbone Photo by Joe Russo
Fishbone at Brooklyn Bowl. This was my second time shooting them this year.

Fishbone Angelo Moore Photo by Joe Russo
Fishbone’s Angelo Moore.

HR Human Rights Photo by Joe Russo
Guest appearance by HR Human Rights at Fishbone’s show.

Fishbone John Steward Photo by Joe Russo
Fishbone’s drummer John Steward. There’s something about this shot I dig.

Judas Priest Photo by Joe Russo
Judas Priest at the Izod Center. I grew up rockin out to these guys. Since this was their farewell tour, I figured I had to see them live.

Kid Rock Photo by Joe Russo
Kid Rock at the Beacon Theater. This was my second time shooting Kid Rock. The first time was in a stadium. Now I get to shoot him in one of my favorite places to see a show…however, not one of my favorite places to shoot a show.

Trombone Shorty Photo by Joe Russo
Trombone Shorty at Terminal 5.

My Morning Jacket Jim James Photo by Joe Russo
My Morning Jacket at Madison Square Garden. Jim James is such an amazing musician and frontman. Always a great high energy show.

Twisted Sister Dee Snider Photo by Joe Russo
Twisted Sister’s Twisted Christmas at the Best Buy Theater. Another metal band I grew up on that I had to check out at least once. They haven’t lost a step.

Disco Biscuits Photo by Joe Russo
Disco Biscuits at the Best Buy Theater. I had to see what all the hype was about. Must’ve been the light show.

THe National Matt Berninger Photo by Joe Russo
The National at the Beacon Theater. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Matisyahu Photo by Joe Russo
Matisyahu at the Williamsburg Music Hall. I was supposed to shoot him earlier in the year and it fell through. At this time, Matis had just shaved off his beard, etc which caused a stir in the Hacidic community. That peaked my curiousity a bit more. He did put on a good show. And on this eve, he managed to jump in to the crowd and stomp a photographer that was using a flash during the lighting of the Menorah. Not cool at all on both sides.

Govt Mule Warren Haynes Photo by Joe Russo
Govt Mule at the Beacon Theater. Warren Haynes is a guitar playing machine. He’ll play with anyone at anytime. And that’s cool. I used to see Mule play all the time early in the decade. Got burnt out on them. I figured it was time to give them another try. This was my last band/shoot of the year…and I’m exhausted!!

I hope you enjoyed my work this year. All in all it was a blast. No show I shoot is ever considered easy. Every band and every venue presents a different set of hurdles/obstacles for me to figure out and achieve the best results possible.

A BIG THANK YOU goes out to all the bands and all the people I’ve dealt with over the year attached to them that gave me the access and the opportunity to do what I love to do. Another big thank you goes out to everyone that showed some love, bought prints and supported me in some capacity this year. It really meant a lot. And lastly to Selena…you have the patience and understanding of a saint; for dealing with me going out there and shooting as many events as I do.

I look foward to bringing you more quality photography this year. We’re off and running already with a new FB page, a re-vamped blog, live content daily and prints for sale.

As always…
If you like what you see, you can support the site by purchasing photos here.

One Response to “news: BEST OF LIVE MUSIC 2011 x YEAR IN REVIEW x JOE RUSSO”

  1. Interpol is the best live act around. They are thrilling

Leave a Reply