2022 was a year of great change for my photography career. In February, I created my first blog with the intention of highlighting some of our unsung heroes in the music industry. Specifically, I looked to focus on our local Durham Region music scene.
I started shooting at some local venues like Ajax's The Edge Lounge, and Oshawa's Atria which host some great events. Little did I know the doors this would open for me, and things took off pretty much immediately. I was soon approached by Digital Beat Magazine to shoot and write for them. I was completely honoured and accepted the challenge. I took the opportunity for growth, as it allowed me to shoot some bigger shows in Toronto.
The following is a list of my 5 favourite shows from 2022.
5. GWAR (shot for Digital Beat Magazine)
On November 2, GWAR rolled into Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre. I had seen this band on video, and was warned to keep my camera safe, but nothing could have possibly prepared me for the bloodbath that ensued. It was a literal blood bath for the whole show, as blood sprayed the audience, song after song. At the end of the set, the fans, walls and ceiling all dripped blood and slime. The energy in the building after the show was unmatched as everybody was chatting, and laughing and smiling at what had just happened. Indeed, crazy shit!!
This show was my first real assignment, shot for this very blog at jaybroderick.com. As part of Sepultura's Quadra Tour, I had reached out to opening act, Los Angeles California's ART OF SHOCK with a request to photograph and cover their set. I was completely thrilled to receive a response back with an acceptance of my offer.
While I had shot other local shows before this one, I really had no idea what I was doing, where I was supposed to go, or what was to be expected. But it was all part of the learning process. After the band's set, I was able to chat with them back stage for a bit and the guys were super cool. They were very thankful for me covering their show. The feelings were completely mutual as I was more than gracious for the opportunity they provided me. As a result, I feel forever indebted to this band, and will always hold this show as one of the greatest moments in my photography career.
Aside from the opportunity, the show itself was fantastic. I mean, Sacred Reich AND Sepultura? No words can explain my gratitude.
3. The Metal Tour of the Year (shot for Digital Beat Magazine)
In May, I shot my first show for Digital Beat Magazine, and it was a big one, in both the venue (Toronto's summer venue of choice Budweiser Stage), and the acts that were touring. The Metal Tour of the Year featured dual headliner's Megadeth and Lamb of God, along with supporting acts Trivium and In Flames.
How could I have ever imagined I'd be standing in the photo pit of one of my favourite bands in Megadeth, photographing them while they performed? It was a completely surreal feeling for me.
These "firsts" in my Live Music Photography career will never be forgotten, but not only because it has allowed me to live out my photography dreams, but the performances were simply fantastic.
2. Airbourne (shot for Digital Beat Magazine)
Now we get into some mind blowing shows that were more than a personal photography milestone. On September 20, I headed downtown Toronto to The Opera House. Again, for Digital Beat Magazine, the assignment this night was to shoot Australian rockers Airbourne.
WOW! Without a doubt, this was one of the most energetic shows I have ever seen... like EVER! Not just talking about 2022 here. I liken it to the energy given off from the band's fellow countryman Angus Young, but this was on a whole new level. Lead singer and guitarist Joel O'Keeffe simply did not stop during the whole set. It was completely insane. I was exhausted just watching him.
Another great thing about the job I do is that it allows me to see shows that I likely would never get around to seeing in my personal life. When I see band's like Airbourne, it makes me wonder why. Why have I never seen these guys? Definitely, will go down as one of the greatest concerts I have ever seen. If they are ever in a city near you, do yourselves a favour and go check them out. You will NOT be disappointed!
HONORABLE MENTION: The Black Crowes (for Digital Beat Magazine)
Before I get into my #1 show of the year, I do have an honorable mention, that didn't quite make it into the Top 5, but is definitely worthy of a quick blurb. On July 6, I hit another show at Budweiser Stage. This time, it was The Black Crowes who were celebrating 30 years of their debut album Shake Your Money Maker. I have always loved the blues rock of these guys, so to get an opportunity to photograph them in concert was simply another honor for myself. I was also extremely humbled to have been contacted by one of their backup vocalists Mackenzie Adams who had loved one of the photos taken of her that night. In fact, she advised that the photo was her favourite photo ever taken of her, and I'm completely honored that she uses it as her Instagram profile pic, at east as of this publishing. Simply no words!
1. JOHN 5 (shot for Digital Beat Magazine)
My favourite experience from 2022 came on June 9 when I headed to Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre for Digital Beat Magazine. The headlining act on this night was (ex?) Rob Zombie guitarist JOHN 5, as he toured in support of his solo album release for 2021's Sinner.
It is well known that I'm a lover of all things horror. It's likely that this is one of the fascinations I have with the most recent addition to the Motley Crue lineup. I have seen JOHN 5 with Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, but with his set design, costumes, and theatrics, I was like a kid at a horror convention. What was unfolding before my happy eyes was something I had never quite experienced so up close and personal at such an intimate venue. And it's definitely nothing I had ever experienced while I had my DSLR in hand. And with that, the lighting at this show was hands down the best I had experienced all year from these smaller concert halls.
Aside from the eye candy, the most important thing that was happening at this show was the music. This guy is a friggin' shredder!! JUST WOW!!! While my eyes were joyfully darting around the stage, my ears were gleefully soaking in the sounds of the guitarists fingering, plucking, bowing and crunching of his 6 string. How many thrills can the senses take in all at once? I'm not certain I would have been able to take any more.
2022 was a great year for music. Do you have a favourite show from this past year? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.