–By Keith Brake
As I sat down to go thru my images from 2018 it hit me how quickly the year went by! 2018 was a glorious year for Saint Louis as we were able to host many excellent concerts this year and that is a credit to all the amazing music fans in and around Saint Louis, and for that I would like to say “Awesome job everyone!” I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for us! I would also like to take a minute to thank Mr Sean Derrick for allowing me to be part of the Midwest Rewind family, it truly is a great organization to be a part of and if not for his trust in me I would not be where I am at today, “Thanks Boss!”. To all my fellow concert photographers that I have bumped into, ducked, dodged and laughed with, thank you all each and every one for allowing me to be a part of the AMAZING group we have in Saint Louis…Top notch people…all of you! One of the coolest things about doing these lists is to evaluate personal growth in skill and style and I have to say that this years list appears much different that 2017.
So, here we go! The list I have put together for your review is comprised of images that are my favorites for one reason or another, and I will do my best to explain why they made my list!
Coming in at number 10 is the one and only Billy F. Gibbons. This image of Billy made to list due to a couple of really simple reasons. I really enjoy the way the lights are playing on the stage as this is a look the we don’t often get. Secondly, Billy is just one of those people that will be the coolest guy in the room, and this image exudes some of that “Coolness” to me when I look at it.
Number 9, Jeremy Spencer of Five Finger Death Punch. This Image makes the list for a few reasons. I absolutely love the way the purple lights are playing off the cymbals, I feel that element makes this image pop. Secondly, from a technical viewpoint, the image is sharp and crisp where it needs to be…his eyes and face. Thirdly it is a clear, compelling image of a drummer taken from the photo pit, fellow concert photographers will understand this reason the most.
Number 8, Joe Bonamassa. This image is on the list because I find it compelling in a minimalistic style edited in black and white to add to this element. I love how the concentration of Joe comes thru in this image as well as the elements of his traditional Hugo Boss suit. In a way I suppose I like this image for what isn’t there.
Number 7, Chris Kale of Five Finger Death Punch. In stark contrast to the last image this image of Chris has a lot going on. The spotlights cutting thru, the giant skull and of course the roar of emotion from Chris. I feel that this image kinda puts you right up front and that you can almost hear that giant scream coming from Mr. Kale. I really enjoy the overall composition of this image.
Number 6, Marcus King. This kid is really something else, he plays with such passion in his band that bears his name that it is palpable and I feel that this is captured in this image. Marcus has a habit of hiding under the brim of his hat while playing, as a matter of fact I can clearly remember waiting for a moment to actually photograph his face, and the wait was worth it as the result was this powerful image of someone fully immersed in their craft.
Number 5, Mark Thomas Quinn of El Monstero. This Image is on the list for one simple reason…I find it to be a powerfully thought provoking image. Mark does such an amazing job of selling this moment during the El Monstero show that it actually comes thru in this image.
Number 4, Tobias Forge of Ghost. This Image is on the list because I enjoy how Tobias is looking straight into my lens. Technically speaking I really enjoy the sharpness of the eyes and how you can easily notice that they are two different colors. I also really like how this image is all Tobias thus allowing the details of his stage apparel to show thru without distraction.
Number 3, Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust. Lajon is one of the most charismatic frontmen in music, he has a way of taking the audience into his hands. I really enjoy this image because Lajon seems to be saying “Calm down, it’s all good…let us begin to rock.” I love the intensity in Witherspoon’s eyes and face as he addresses the crowd.
Number 2, Alice Cooper. This Image is special to me because I feel it captures the essence of what is Alice Cooper. The grand master of all thing showmanship, the original shock rocker. The image shows Alice just being Alice, and I really enjoy the black and white edit as it makes the image powerful to me as it makes you stop and look.
Number 1, Zakk Wylde, Black Label Society. Coming in at number one is an image from the first show I covered for Midwest Rewind in 2018, Black Label Society on New Years Eve. Zakk is an amazing subject to photograph as his energy is over the top. This image comes in as my favorite for many reasons, first of all I love to photograph Zakk, it is always a blast. Secondly, I love the overall composition of the image, the stance, the limited edition guitar, the skulls on the mic stand…all of it. This image also holds a special place to me as I know Zakk likes this image as he has autographed it a couple of times…unfortunately not for me.
Well, that’s it folks I hope you all enjoyed my top 10 list, leave me some comments about the list if you want and we can discuss the images or leave me your concert shots from the year, I would love to see them!