“WHOSE BLOOD IS THAT?!”: Top 3 Most Brutal Shows I’ve Ever Photographed

This isn’t about the music per say… I’m talking about the savagery. Coming home after a show to do a bruise check, ice something, and find where that blood is coming from (is it even mine?). This list includes shows with and without a photographer pit, and all include my most epic injuries. All of which were inflicted by crowd surfers, so watch out when you’re in the crowd! Let’s MFKN do this…

#3: SPITE

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Injury: Caught a knee to the face

I’m in DTLA at the Regent for the Carnifex show and we’re only two bands deep before shit just gets amplified. Spite is fuckin killing it onstage. As a person who’s only seen them once out of a line-up of six or so bands, they were verrrry memorable. The lead singer with his expressive outbursts of festering rage – relatable – was one of my favorite sets to photograph (ever). The crowd was already surging before I was out of the photographer pit (where it’s “nice and safe”). But I just had to get more shots, so I went into the mosh pit. It’s not as crazy to walk through as most would have you believe. Unless you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t follow the flow of the pit to get where you want to go, or run straight in like an idiot… you’ll be fine. I got in, went with the circle pit until I got to where I wanted to be and got out and in front of some people who were more interested in the pit than looking at the stage. Simple. But, even if you do everything right something can always go wrong… like this drunk guy who looks like he’s about to do something. I’m too busy getting the shots and angles to pay too much attention to my surroundings (bad move). Next thing you know, I’m seeing a cheap pair of black skinny jeans… and then just black. Luckily he missed my eye by like… what… half an inch? ALSO, luckily I had brought my pain killers in with me (and had popped some before going in because I had a feeling). I took a couple more and went back into the crowd.

I caught a bruise but it was one epic fucking show. Spite is definitely a band to see live (especially if you’re a hardcore mosher)! That fuckin pit though…

#2: GOATWHORE

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Injury: Bent my thumb the wrong way

In this scenario I’m in Oakland for the Goatwhore/Satyricon show at the Metro Operahouse. The night started off pretty chill, I ended up running into Ben from Goatwhore while walking up to the venue. I was fairly early and didn’t want to just sit around in my car. I yell “Hey Ben!” and he turns around and recognizes me right away (the devil onesie probably helped). We shoot the shit for a sec and I head inside. Fast forward to Goatwhore playing, it was AMAZING (as usual) and I’m getting all the shots. People are going apeshit. The pit was brutal as fuck. And many, many crowd surfers… with one landing on my thumb as I was shooting. And of course, my thumb is no match for a grown man… so it gave way. I’ve never… screamed like that before. Someone should have had a mic by my face. It was fucked. So they get the guy turned up the right way and continue to mosh, and I just keep shooting until I couldn’t take it anymore. Satyricon was next and I’m holding ice water on my thumb in the lounge. Not gonna lie, a part of me was like “fuck it, at least I got Goatwhore, I can get the hell out of here and fix my thumb before it gets worse”. But, I thought “if I leave now, would I regret it?”. I get up, finish off the ice water, and head back into the pit. No pain killers this time. I went in raw. Satyricon was badass! Stubbed my thumb a few times while shooting but I got the shots I needed and then some. I finally said “okay… NOW fuck it” and left.

This show was on May 14th… my thumb is still not completely healed from that night. So, if you hear me yelling/grunting obscenities while holding my left hand… that’s why.

 

 

#1: GHOUL

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Injury: I thought I died (possibly light concussion).

Jesus fucking christ.

That’s the best way I can describe this show. EVERY TIME I shoot this band there’s a combination of fake and REAL blood all over me. Standard, right? I’ve photographed bands that were brutal as fuck, but if you wanted to, you could watch from a safe distance. With GHOUL… there’s no such fucking thing as a “safe distance”. You’re either getting fucked up with everyone else, or you’re not in the building. The last show I did with them was at the Ritz in San Jose May 26th. No photo pit. No mercy from me either. I got into three elbow fights up in the front. Several people were jumping on/off the stage and crowd surfing. ONE of which landed DIRECTLY on the back of my neck. I heard some popping noises and saw black with a flash of white light. I literally thought I had just broken my neck and died… and for some reason I could still hear my own thoughts like “Really?! This is how I die? …typical.” But… obviously I’m alive, and had just gotten the most BRUTAL neck pop ever. The next day, I didn’t feel shit (weird). I think I was mildly concussed though… I felt really “out of it” while looking for my car.

If you’re not drowning in blood… you’re fighting the crowd. In my case, both (while taking photos). I HIGHLY recommend this band for fans and photographers who like a challenge (if you can get through the blood, the gun blood, the REAL blood, the gore bucket, the chicken head, and crazy ass fans flying at/on you). And… hopefully no crowd surfers land on your neck blacking you out momentarily and you think that you’ve died.

 

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