May Fair

May Fair. Ohhhhhh May Fair. What an awkward experience... haha...

So the boys usually play clubs and what I have dubbed "party bars"... but the management company ended up booking them to play at the Allentown May Fair. If you talk to anyone from this area, they'll all tell you that May Fair is nothing but a sad attempt at trying to be like the Bethlehem Musik Fest, which is a huge 3 (or so) day festival with local bands and some national acts. Well, I didn't believe that May Fair could *really* be that bad, but... yeah, they were right, it was pretty lame. (Why the management company didn't score them a gig at Musik Fest, is beyond me... ESPECIALLY since the owner is FROM Bethlehem, so it's not like he doesn't know of it's existence... and it's not an "original's only" venue because Keith used to play in a Blues Brother tribute band that plays there ever year.)

When we showed up for the gig, it seemed that the crowd on the fair grounds was fairly decent. On the way to Faded Fortune's stage, Keith and I passed the main stage which had a decent crowd, but the further into the fair grounds we went, it seemed as though everyone was heading the opposite direction as we were...

The stage they played couldn't have been in a worse location. There wasn't a whole lot of traffic, and the time slot they had, turned out to be the last one of the night. So now they're playing on a crappy stage, in a crappy location, at a crappy time slot. None of them were all too thrilled to be there at first...

At first I debated not taking shots after all, like I had originally intended to. Bands feed off of crowd energy... and if there's no crowd... there's no energy. Bands can feign energy all they want, but 9 times out of 10, it doesn't feel *real* unless they're actually feeding off of something.

When they started playing, they had a few people (maybe 5 excluding me) sitting, scattered throughout the venue just watching. They also had 3 girls up front, dancing with each other and having fun, which was nice, but still not nearly enough for me to feel any real energy coming from the boys. And, it's my personal opinion, that if I don't feel any energy coming from them, and I can't see any *real* energy (as opposed to "the smile and jump cause I have to" fake energy), then that's going to come through in all the shots, and I didn't want to waste my time with them.

By the second song they played they started to build a crowd at the back of the tent... no one from that crowd would actually come *in* to the tent, but they had attracted some people. Then John coaxed them into coming up front... add in a few wasted individuals, and suddenly the energy level picked up. After watching them interact with the crowd for another song or two, I decided to whip out the camera and start shooting.

It was definitely a strange shooting environment for me. Not because it was dark, but because there was *more* light than I was used to, the only color being washed on stage was red, and then there was the light reflecting off of the tarp in the back... I was having a little trouble trying to figure out how to meter... WHAT to meter... and while part of me feels like all of these are underexposed, the other part of me feels like the exposure isn't the problem (since they were exposed for the guys and not the tent), but the fact that the tent looks so dark in all the shots due to the tent itself not being directly lit with any intentional lighting (and why would it be? What's on the tent ceiling that anyone should be paying attention to?), and maybe for some other reasons I don't quite grasp yet, haha.

I also shot that show in RAW... with a class 2 SD card... O_o There were a lot of moments that I would have liked to capture, or *tried* to capture but was too late, because after shooting a burst of photos, it took the card nearly a full minute to finish processing the first batch and allow me to start shooting again. I have since then purchased 2 class 10 SD cards (MUCH much better...), but I haven't gotten a chance to shoot the band using them yet (ahhh... but that's where *tonight's* show comes in!)

So anyway... here are a few shots from the May 28th, 2010 May Fair show :)

Engaging the Crowd
John and Christian

To see full set, click here