Youth Of Today got back together for a long weekend of shows in Brooklyn, NY on March 16th, 17th and 18th at 3 different venues that are separated by a distance of less than 4 miles. Tickets sold out fast for the first show which prompted a second show and another sellout which led to a Day 3 as well. The hardcore scene these days (especially here in the New York area) is stacked with great photographers that really take their photography seriously. As a whole they are also not afraid to get into the middle of the action to get a good shot and most have war stories, bumps and bruises and broken equipment to prove it. For this article we enlisted 3 NY based photographers who were able to cover all 3 nights with photos as well as their takes on these shows from a photographer’s perspective. We asked them to gives us their thoughts on not only the band’s live performances but also about setting up, what they look for as they are shooting and any kinds of challenges that may have popped up that are either the norm or out of the ordinary. In Effect salutes ALL the guys and girls who show up to hardcore punk shows with the intention of getting some good band photos. This very important faction of our scene put in TONS of hours editing photos days and sometimes weeks after these shows are over, they often go overlooked by many and in some cases get their pictures hijacked without even getting a photo credit by the hijackers. If you see one of these types busting it at a show trying to get some good pics buy them a Coke or get them some water from the bar, they are probably scoping out where they want to set up for the next band and have to use the bathroom really bad but don’t want to lose a good location! Photos and words for this article were provided by: Pete Gregory, JC Carey (JC Photo Media) and Tim Daley. Contact info for each is at the end of this article. Lead photo graphics by: Bas Spierings.
DAY 1: MARCH 16, 2019 @ ST. VITUS, BROOKLYN, NY. WORDS AND PHOTOS BY: PETE GREGORY
As I walked over to St. Vitus for Youth Of Today’s show, the first people I see in line were Rich Zoeller, Danielle Dombrowski and Jeff Lasich, all well-known hardcore photographers. I felt a sense of urgency right there and that this was going to be one hell of a show. We chatted it up a bit, snapped a group photo and headed inside. The first band on stage was a four piece from NY, OUTSKIRTS. Jessy (vocals), Kathi (guitar), Anna (bass) and Darren (drums) got things rolling as the venue filled in. I was up front for their 16 minute set getting in my groove snapping away while only a few kids were dancing in the middle of the room.
OUTSKIRTS BY: PETE GREGORY
Next up was MIL-SPEC, a melodic youth-crewish Toronto based hardcore band that got a few more people moving. You could feel the energy building in the room. Straight edge kids, old and new bouncing around the venue and now it’s getting tighter up front. When I’m not looking through my lens, I’m always looking side to side, checking for swinging arms and bodies launching off the stage.
MIL-SPEC BY: PETE GREGORY
Fists really started flying for Boston’s NO TOLERANCE. Singer Justin de Tore mentioned they hadn’t been on stage in three years, but you’d never know it. Their early style of straight-edge hardcore set the tone for the rest of the night. When I start ducking guys jumping off the stage or start getting crushed from behind during a sing-along, I know my time is limited in front of the stage, because I’m not getting the shots I want to.
NO TOLERANCE BY: PETE GREGORY
I prefer to be up front, but at the same time, I value my equipment, I want to be able to walk the next day and I respect the people around me that are dancing and having a good time. I had brought two lenses with me to the show, a 24-70mm and a 14-24mm wide angle. Midway through No Tolerance’s set it was pretty hard to change lenses, even between songs.
I decided to get up on stage for YOUTH OF TODAY, stage left, and it got crowded up there quick. The place was packed by now and I’m sweating just standing there. I make a couple of changes on my camera settings as YOT take the stage. The first words you hear from Ray are "There’s two types of ways you can see the world …I’ve got so much, everyone owes me something or what can I give?” And hearing those words really grounded me, and reminded my why these guys have been such a powerful and influential band since their inception. With that, their first song was “Positive Outlook” and all hell breaks loose.
There’s so much energy at a show like this and it’s hard not to get caught up in it at times. You’re people watching, singing and trying to capture Walter’s jumps through your lens and that damn microphone stand always rears its ugly head when you’re standing on the stage. It stands out like a sore thumb in photos unfortunately but nonetheless the show must go on and this one was a great one to capture the audience connecting with the artists. That’s my favorite thing about photographing hardcore shows, seeing that connection. And before you know it, 50 minutes have gone by, 17 songs have been played and I have a few hundred photos of each band that I’m looking forward to editing the next day.
YOUTH OF TODAY BY: PETE GREGORY
DAY 1: MARCH 16, 2019 @ ST. VITUS, BROOKLYN, NY. WORDS AND PHOTOS BY: JC CAREY
Saint Vitus is my favorite venue to shoot at. It’s small and easy for me to set up my lights which is a big part of the JC “look”. Shooting from the pit as I do it’s not about finding a spot as much as making sure that I put myself in position for when I predict the sing-alongs, stage dives, and band movement will occur. That isn’t a science obviously but after 30 plus years of going to shows you get the point. For me it’s more just hoping that the crowd acts like hardcore kids instead of standing around looking at their phones or worse yet standing at the back which opens the pit up and really limits the direction I can aim my camera. I’ve always felt that it’s my job to make the band look cool and to make the show look cool. And to make the people that are in my photos look like they are having a killer time at a hardcore show. The line to get in was normal… the days where we lined up around the block for CB’s are long gone as advance tickets are the norm now. I did see a lot of old timers which always warms me.
YOUTH OF TODAY BY: JC CAREY
The show was packed but not the most packed I’ve had at Saint Vitus. Moving was relatively easy and the crowd was just what you’d expect at a Youth Of Today show… more finger pointing, piling, diving, etc and very little in the way of traditional dancing. For me this type of show makes the best pics… any band that has sing-a-longs is going to give great photos as that is easy to shoot and looks dynamic and creates the idea that a hardcore show is someplace a younger kid would want to be.
YOUTH OF TODAY BY: JC CAREY
I wish I’d been able to shoot the second two nights also to measure the difference in responses. It wasn’t the madhouse I was hoping for but it was a blast and the band brought it. Ray is nearly the same as he was in 1988, Walter looks to me like he’s having as much fun doing this as he has doing anything in years… his energy doing this is really one of the highlights for me. I managed to run up and get some Sammy shots but shooting drummers is always difficult. You can’t camp out and shoot 100 shots of the drummer the way you can for the rest of the band. Porcell was a little far back and I didn’t get the shots of him that I like. Wasn’t Porcell’s fault and it wasn’t mine… we just didn’t cross paths during the set like I wanted and that was my biggest disappointment of shooting their set.
CLICK BELOW TO WATCH A HYPERLAPSE VIDEO OF YOT PICS SET TO THEIR "DISENGAGE" TRACK
DAY 2: MARCH 17, 2019 @ BROOKLYN BAZAAR, BROOKLYN, NY. WORDS AND PHOTOS BY: TIM DALEY
This show was sold out very quickly as it was the first show announced. I have photographed shows here many times and have always been able to get on stage if I wanted to. This night was different in that you needed a wrist band to be on stage. I went into this show thinking that I would photograph from within the crowd so I was not that bothered about the wristband part, but thinking it was weird. The first act up was GLITTERER. Ned Russin (Title Fight) signs over tracks played off his laptop. Indie Synth Pop is what I think of for a genre. I think the crowd was into it but it was an unexpected by most.
GLITTERER BY: TIM DALEY
KRIMEWATCH from Brooklyn were up next. They played a tight set with their usual intensity that started to get the crowd moving. Vocalist Rhylli is great to photograph live. She has intensity in every movement of her performance.
KRIMEWATCH BY: TIM DALEY
LINE OF SIGHT out of Washington D.C. has that old school straight edge sound. Some of the members also play in Protester that played night 3.
LINE OF SIGHT BY: TIM DALEY
SHARK ATTACK came out to a crowd that was ready to show them that they have been missed. 18 years since their last NYC show and Shark Attack came out swinging. The room was pretty full at this point. The crowd picked up more during this set with stage dives and climbing for the mic. Added bonus to this performance was original vocalist Louie from Antidote singing “Something Must Be Done”.
SHARK ATTACK BY: TIM DALEY
SHARK ATTACK WITH LOUIE RIVERA PERFORMING "SOMETHING MUST BE DONE". PHOTO BY: TIM DALEY
YOUTH OF TODAY with the lineup of Ray, Porcell, Sammy and joined by Walter have also not played NYC for quite sometime. You would have never known it. As soon as a chord was struck there was the rush to get onto the stage and fly off. Since people are stage diving and moshing it up it actually allows for an easier time photographing from within the action. I usually try to follow the movement of the crowd and I’m able to get to both sides of the stage much easier than with a full crowd and no movement. The people stage diving create holes that allow me to slip in and out of the action. The worst part is getting blindsided by a flying body off the stage. During a band of this caliber this can happen quite often so you kind of have to keep watch around you as you try to compose a shot at the same time. I believe they played the most songs at this show. Not a huge amount of talking between songs so the music and action moved at a great pace. I chose to stick to one lens on this night… a 17mm-40mm to try and get as much crowd along with members of the band. The interaction between a hardcore band and the crowd is key. It’s what makes this music the most fun type of concert to document. The fun that is had by everyone from band members to fans is unified.
YOUTH OF TODAY BY: TIM DALEY
DAY 3: MARCH 18, 2019 @ MARKET HOTEL, BROOKLYN, NY. WORDS AND PHOTOS BY: TIM DALEY
Night 3 at Market Hotel was added after the first two nights were sold out in record time. This night was not sold out most likely due to it being on a Monday. I missed the first band EKULU. As I got there it was much less of a crowd compared to Night 2. I arrived in time for PROTESTER. Protester from D.C. is made up of members of Line of Sight and fronted by Connor Donegan who plays guitar for L.O.S. Protester plays that old-school straight edge hardcore. Connor belts out vocals while jumping as much as possible. A great band to photograph with the high energy. It was great to be able to catch these guys live.
PROTESTER BY: TIM DALEY
Next up was FIREWALKER out of Boston. It was great to see them on the bill and have some female energy up front and moshing it up.
FIREWALKER BY: TIM DALEY
YOUTH OF TODAY came out with their usual high energy pace and played for a bit more than an hour. Ray did talk a bit more in-between songs than the night before. He mentioned how they got Walter to join YOT while he was still in Warzone and Porcell received an angry answer machine message left by Raybeez about sending Porcell’s manhood to his mother. Classic stuff!
Market Hotel is an interesting venue to photograph at. Behind the stage is a huge window that looks onto the J and M train station of the NYC subway. As bands are playing the subway system is moving outside the window. The one problem is there is a support pole right in the center of the floor close to the stage. This keeps the main mosh area behind the pole and people are penned in like cattle in the front. A bit hard to move around in front to shoot but they don't hassle you with camera gear and shooting the show.
This was a great weekend of hardcore in Brooklyn with some of the best musicians in the scene. YOT also had great opening acts on all days with new and old bands playing and straight edge and non-straight edge bands playing together.
YOUTH OF TODAY BY: TIM DALEY