Small Clubs, Local Bands

Small clubs are not just smaller than large music venues, they’re more intimate; the small club vibe drives a different experience for everyone – fans,  bands, staff, photographers….

Recently I went to Jammin Java in Fairfax, VA, for my first time.  It’s located in a shopping mall, but the interior is elsewhere; a cool surprise.   Three local bands that I like were all playing (something else I like about small clubs!):

Dub City Renegades:



Bad Lighting Can Be Good

This is musician (bass guitarist) Justin Parrot with his son Lucas:

Justin Parrot and his son AlexSome folks assumed this was a studio shot, complimenting me on the creative lighting and seemingly-genuine moment.  But I have neither the requisite studio nor the lighting skills; this was in fact an impromptu shot of a genuine moment (I wasn’t there to shoot them).

At the time, I lamented the harsh backlighting from bright, colored, wall-mounted lamps, and I assumed that the shot wouldn’t survive.  Indeed, it wouldn’t have survived had I been shooting JPEGs (rather than RAW).  Instead, it turned into yet another example of how post-production can exploit information that’s in the RAW file but not visible in the rendering based on default development settings:

Chuck Brown, R.I.P IV (Tribute)

One last Chuck Brown R.I.P. post….  Chuck had been scheduled to appear at The Hamilton on 6 June with the Brass A Holics, a New Orleans band that has incorporated Go-Go into their own style.

Brass A Holics - Chuck Brown Tribute

Alas, he couldn’t be there, so they were joined instead by Chuck’s daughter and co-performer KK (“Chuck baby don’t give a fuck”) and Sugar Bear (of E.U. fame) in a full-up Go-Go tribute to Chuck.

Brass A Holics - Chuck Brown Tribute

With the slide show I had produced for the viewing projected behind the stage, there were eery moments when it almost felt like he was present.

Chuck and KK - Brass A Holics - Chuck Brown Tribute


Sugar Bear with the Brass A Holics - Chuck Brown Tribute

Finally, my favorite personal memory of Chuck Brown:

Chuck Brown with John Shore at DC Star

KK and Sugar Bear - Brass A Holics - Chuck Brown Tribute

[A few more images from the tribute performance are available here.   See also Chuck Brown, R.I.P. III]

The Archives at The Howard

In the run-up to their album release next month, The Archives opened for Ziggy Marley last night at historic Howard Theatre.   Although I had been there for Chuck Brown’s viewing, this was the first time I’ve really shot there – great venue for musicians, fans, and photographers (!).

The Archives at The Howard Theatre - opening for Ziggy Marley

Ras Puma and Mateo Monk of The Archives - at the Howard Theatre

A couple of more photos are here (see also their band portrait).

Cyrus Chestnut Quartet

Cyrus Chestnut was at The Hamilton last week.   His virtuosity was captivating, and I loved the show.  But I found it hard to shoot in comparison to the rock/funk/reggae/go-go/DJ shows I’m used to.   Although of course there are exceptions all around, I think that in general jazz is harder to shoot – there’s less visual drama,  and the emotional moments are  more subtle.Cyrus Chestnut Quartet - The Hamiltion

Cyrus Chestnut Quartet - The Hamiltion

Chuck Brown, R.I.P. III (Funeral Service)

With thousands in attendance at the Washington D.C. Convention Center, it began solemnly, with prayers, songs, tributes, and an honor guard that carried Chuck’s casket out.


And then of course it became a celebration of Chuck and his Go-Go music legacy.


including Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton:

Chuck Brown funeral service at the DC Convention Center with Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton


Sugar Bear and K.K. say goodbye….

Chuck Brown funeral service at the DC Convention Center with Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

For more images, please look here.

[See also: Chuck Brown, R.I.P. II]