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The Blight – Photography by Neil Girling    » Live music

The Blight, © Neil Girling, 1998-2017

Archive for the 'Live music' Category

Photos from the Edwardian Ball 2011

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Photos from both Friday’s World Fair and the Ball Proper on Saturday are finished and online! If you’d prefer to see them on Facebook, go here [Friday | Saturday]

Edwardian Ball 2011
Guests at Saturday’s ball proper

Dark Garden at the Edwardian Ball 2011
Dwoira in Dark Garden’s fashion show at Friday’s World Fair

Upcoming: Edwardian Ball

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Edwardian Ball poster

I will once again be your photographer for the Edwardian Ball! Get your tickets before they sell out.

Faith and the Muse

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Monica Richards of Faith and the Muse

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to see, meet greet and pay homage to one of my favorite artists over the past ten years: Faith and the Muse, a skillful and mercurial melange of neo-folk, goth, darkwave and rock that is wholly unique.

Faith and the Muse at the DNA Lounge

Joined by Paul Mercer (The Changelings and solo) and the sinuous Serpentine Bellydance, they had the crowd’s rapt attention well into the night.

Lucretia of Serpentine and Paul Mercer on violin

You can see the whole gallery here.

Recent photographs – Throbbing Gristle, Vau de Vire, Circus Metropolus

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

I’ve made a few recent exceptions to my event-photography hiatus (does this surprise anyone?) and you can take a peek below. You’ll find Throbbing Gristle, Vau de Vire’s “Sideshow” at Cellspace, Circus Metropolus’s “Funhouse” at the Oakland Metro, and a special bonus vignette.

Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle at the SF Regency Ballroom

Throbbing Gristle — the pioneers of noise as music and of shock theater (who are credited with the invention of industrial music, along with Cabaret Voltaire and Einstürzende Neubauten) — who had broken up in 1981 (coincidentally after last playing Kezar Stadium in San Francisco) are back on tour. To quote Jon Longhi of NBC Bay Area (where my photos ran!) “Throbbing Gristle wasn’t just showing all these young techno kids that they could still do it, they were showing them how it’s done.” See the photos here.

Illy of Circus Metropolus at Cellspace

Vau de Vire Society joined forces with the Eric McFadden Trio at Cellspace for some stellar performance and fantastic music. If you weren’t there, you missed out. I have some portraits I shot here, including those of the chanteuse Jill Tracy and Andrea Zerilli (Oryx Incruentus).

Bad Unkl Sista at the Oakland Metro

Circus Metropolus — joined by Bad Unkl Sista (pictured above), Dreamtime Circus and (obviously) Gooferman — took over the Oakland Metro for a production called “Funhouse.” I again took mostly portraits, though I did shoot Bad Unkl Sista’s lovely butoh performance.

My grandfather’s WWII / Korean War MB Jeep

Finally, for something a little out-of-the-ordinary, a very small gallery of my grandfather’s WWII / Korean War MB Jeep. He’s a veteran of the Merchant Marines, WWII (United States Army, German Theater), and the Korean War, where he was an MP and drove a jeep just like this one. I wish to thank him here for all that he’s done (and show some nifty pictures of his toy!).
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Obsequium Funeris — Final Rites of Orbis Nex

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Serpentine bellydance from Portland, Oregon

With Saturday’s passage came too the end of Orbis Nex, one of the bastions of Bay Area underground venues. Though the reasons were different than budget and economy, it follows a long list of other recently closed venues that will also be missed: the Xenodrome, the first underground I called a second home; Ace Auto, where Death Guild set up Thunderdome and Cookie Mongoloid growled out his ode to cookies; and the Parkway, which I only recently rediscovered several months ago after first being dragged to a Rocky Horror Picture Show there some five years prior.

Final rites at Orbis Nex

Being the last night of a space so infused with the heart and soul of its curators, it was steeped with ritual and ceremony. And from Portland, the world-class Tuvan throat-singer Enriqué, performing as Soriah and joined by Serpentine delivered a staggering performance.

The Tuvan throat-singer Soriah

Orbis Nes is dead and buried, and she will be missed.

Please find a small gallery of the final turn of Orbis Nex here.

Orbis Nex was fronted by Patricia Cram of the darkly beautiful Vial Magizine.

Photos from the first-ever Edwardian Ball Los Angeles 2009

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Whitney Moses in Dark Garden

Having not yet recovered from the tiredness built up from last weekend, Friday night I embarked on a whirlwind trip to LA with my good friends Nifer and Slim to do it all over again: the first-ever Edwardian Ball in those hot southron lands at the delightfully decrepit and partially restored Tower Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Being familiar with the otherworld couture of the cocktail costume party that is the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball that takes place yearly in Hollywood, I was curious to see how the LA installment of the Edwardian Ball and the costumes thereof would compare: I was not disappointed.

The weekend itself was a blur of fantastic things: we arrived late in the night and crashed at the Brewery, and then spent Saturday afternoon on a well-planned and better-executed thrift-store shock-and-awe campaign which resulted in bags and bags of magnificent wearable bits of awesome (my favorite score, found and suggested by Slim: a vintage tuxedo jacket with tails so old it’s literally falling apart, a perfect match for the Tower Theater). At the Ball I got to spend some time with Nadya and Meredith of Coilhouse, though we never found Zoetica for the group photo; I met many really great people, and this time — for once — shot no performance on stage (with the notable exception of Jill and Paul), eleccting instead to focus solely on my portraits which I felt much more important for an event like this where it is the attention to detail in each individuals’ costume, not something on stage necessarily, that makes the event what it is. I delight in the attendee-wide participation.

Sunday was simply the long-haul back up the 5, and was proceeding without incident until just before the Grapevine when I got a phone call from Paul Mercer whom, with Jill and Evil Sarah, I had just passed. Their thought was “Mr. Nightshade should have that license plate … oh wait, he does!” We stopped for coffee and gas in some desolate tourist trap (after a long dearth of nothing, there’s always a gas station with INCREDIBLY over-inflated prices for gas in the midst of absolutely nothing, so in desperation, you pay for it; a scant few miles up the road is a veritable oasis with a whole town and trees and restaurants and gas stations charging the state average price for gas. It’s really annoying.), and then off on our separate ways went.

I hope you enjoy the photos. I had a great time making them.

Photos from the 9th Annual Edwardian Ball Sunday Gorey Sunday

Friday, January 30th, 2009

With the final installment of the Sunday Gorey Sunday gallery, pictures from all three days of the 9th annual San Francisco Edwardian Ball are now online. Sunday took place in the wood and red velvet room at the top floor of the Regency Ballroom, and was a decidedly more intimate (and dimly lit) affair. Performances included those by Oryx Incruentus (Andrea Zerilli, guest Paul Mercer) performing to the 1911 silent film “L’Inferno,” The Ghosts Project (Paul Mercer, Minka, Davis, and guests Jill Tracy, Nathaniel, Erica) with Finn from Abney Park dancing,  Shovelman, Lee Presson, Alison Lovejoy, and Agent Ribbons. Non-musical acts included Finn from Abney Park dancing to the Ghosts Project, Evil Sarah (burlesque), Helios Jive (the buffoon clown), Fou Fou Ha!, and several vignettes from the Vau de Vire Society (like the incredibly-difficult-to-photograph swinging-’round-the-room rope act pictured above).

Tonight, via horseless carriage, I do depart for the arid southron lands of the City of Lost Angels for their installment of our grand affair at the historic Tower Theater tomorrow night. Go here for details.

Edwardian Ball photo galleries from Friday and Saturday

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Eva, aka Miss Never — click for Saturday’s photo gallery

It is one of the “only in San Francisco” sort of affairs in which we love to indulge, with thousands of people decking themselves out to the nines for three days of decadence in the extravagant and recently beautifully renovated Regency Ballroom center (Mike Vau de Vire told me they were pulling the blue painter’s tape off on Friday during setup). Having moved from the Great American Music Hall, where the Ball has been held in prior years, there was some concern as to whether the much larger Regency Ballroom could be filled; after three days of packed halls, that question has been answered.

The Ballroom Saturday night — click for Saturday’s photos

Saturday was the main night of the ball, with the headliner and chanteuse Jill Tracy playing with the Malcontent Orchestra, and later the hosts Rosin Coven, accompanied with performances by Cirque Berzerk and Vau de Vire Society.

These may be my favorite costumes of Friday night — click here for the gallery.

Friday night was steampunk-themed (though not explicitly advertised as such so as to avoid offending us purists), but brass and goggles and steam-powered contraptions were certainly donned by many an attendee, and those self-ascribed purveyors of steampop Abney Park definitely put on a great show. Rounding out the lineup musically were those corseted and quirky Rasputina, of whom I am a fan (what’s not to like? women playing cello, corsets, songs of nonsense and tomfoolery sung with a straight face? Indeed).

Sunday’s gallery is coming as soon as I finish editing the 1,000+ photos I shot for it. Check back Thursday night — they had better be up by then, for the next eve I depart for an additional fix of hats and corsets at the Los Angeles edition of the Edwardian Ball at the Tower Theater. (You should go).

And did you know I added a “prints” section?

Edwardian Ball 2009 teaser

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

It’s off to the third night of the extravagant gala that is the Edwardian Ball, and though I had delusions about getting Saturday’s photos up before I left, and though they’re nearly finished, they shall sadly have to wait until tomorrow. I have but one thing to offer you as a stop-gap measure before you begin hounding me for imagery of this fantastic affair, and so I present you Meredith Yayanos, violin player and thereminist extraordinaire, as well as editor at the love letter to alternative culture that is the dark and beautiful Coilhouse Magazine.

Meredith Yayanos and her Penny Farthing at the Edwardian Ball 2009

Meredith Yayanos with her Penny Farthing at the Edwardian Ball 2009

Come back and look for photos from all three days of the Edwardian Ball online here starting tomorrow evening. And now, it’s off to see the Ghosts Project in the red velvet upstairs of the Regency Ballroom.

*** UPDATE ***

Photos frrom Saturday are now online — see them here.

A Year in Review Part 2 — 2008

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I shall continue where I left off in Part the First, no less tired this time around, but a scant few hours before my self-imposed bedtime — and if I don’t finish it now, then when? Indeed.

Once again, the full gallery of my Year in Review photographs can be seen here — I have selected one photo per thousand I shot all year (45,000 in all), picking ones I thought particularly interesting in the story they told, amusing somehow, or just a personal favorite.

The first image is Magdelene Veen, formerly of Abney Park, at the Emerging Illusions fashion show with Creatureform Designs; she reposted several of these photos titled “I am some sort of demon crow.” Her act was that of a ballerina; and this shot, though backstage, reminds me of the same flow and movement (though I’m not sure she even knew I took this).

We of course love the Dresden Dolls, those purveyors of punk cabaret and one of the first mainstream underground (yes, I’m aware of the contradiction) acts to combine musical and non-musical performance acts on their stage — for, in 2005, as a fan of the Dresden Dolls, how else would I have been introduced to Vau de Vire Society but by seeing them perform onstage alongside a favorite band? The rest is history. Pictured here is Brian Viglione at the Fillmore, where I was brought in to shoot the show (and I had dinner with Brian, Amanda and Meredith Yayanos beforehand: they’re all amazing sweethearts).

Hiding ‘neath the swirl of the skirt here is Leila Bazzani of Black and Blue Burlesque, performing with the Yard Dogs Roadshow at Lightning in a Bottle 2008. You may notice a similarity to a certain other photo of mine, which just so happens to be her partner in crime, Tuesday Blue.

Please see the rest after the cut (even if it’s just to browse the photos…).

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