Monday, May 25, 2009

Franti! W/ Spearhead, in Eugene, May 24, 2009


Humanity has advanced...not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.

-Tom Robbins

I love Michael Franti & Spearhead. They're probably my favorite current band. I was at their show last night at Eugene's Cuthbert Amphitheater. (Here's a video if you haven't seen this band before: Time To Go Home)

The Cuthbert is a very nice, outdoor venue, located just east of downtown Eugene in the broad expanse of Alton Baker Park. Near the Willamette River and next door to the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium, the amphitheater (which sits amidst open fields and large trees) was made better this year by the recent removal of the old, uncomfortable wooden benches and having those benches replaced with more grass (festival seating) and fixed, comfortable chairs. It is already a beautiful venue but the new changes enhanced it that much more. For music venues, creating an atmosphere that enhances their concert experience is as important as the quality of the music. Which is why Horning's Hideout makes for such pleasant shows.

The Cuthbert is used no more than 5 months of the year. So in those 5 months... it gets used frequently. For years tho' it went under utilized. Concert management from my eyewitness experience is not an easy business and plenty of folks lose their... shirts. But the Keseys keep bringing in quality acts and I'm sure they really appreciate bands like Franti's, which bring a large, money-spending crowd.

The nice thing about Spearhead is that their message is so community oriented. Family friendly and peace oriented these are folks who come to experience the Spearhead vibe. And it is an infectious vibration. Hippies, yuppies and just plain folks - folks from all walks of life - become like one, moving to Spearhead's driving rhythms and playing off of Franti's intense energy. Few shows' audiences are so animated as a Spearhead crowd. These folks dance, sing along and when Michael says to "PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR," everybody puts their hands in the air.

Because I work as part of Harmony Event Medicine's crew, an audience's vibe can be the difference between day and night for us. With a Franti crowd, there will be no fights. Someone may (did) get too drunk but they don't make waves. Unlike some shows we work... for us, a show like this is fun. Way fun.

So more pics, less words. Here's Michael Franti and Spearhead:

As I was taking these I kept noticing the light changes on the raised arms and hands of crowd and I saw them how I wanted to see them in an image... and heck, I was pushing my ISO to 1600 (ISO is the same as ASA for film) and even then it's just my years and years of shooting that allows me to shoot hand-held at slow speeds with confidence. And with a digital that confidence is boosted knowing I can shoot my ass off and I'm not spending anything other than time so... I shoot and shoot and shoot... and all that shooting allows me to come away with a select few better-than-good images. So I wanted to capture those waving limbs, those dancing digits and celphone cameras in motion. Pretty cool what I ended up with...

And I know I'm just putting these out here to the wwwonderful wwworld of the wwweb, but folks, please, if you use my images, give me photo credit whn you can, please. I appreciate Spearhead allowing people to shoot photos and I'm a promoter of their music so... as they share their music, I share my images.

Oh... one last thing. Michael was talking about our troubled times and he acknowledged those of us out here who are un-employed or under-employed. Well Michael, ummm... you know you guys should have a photographer... (nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean?)...

(Michael brought this young lady up fom the crowd near the stage. She was sooo jazzed, grinning from ear to ear and she got a kiss. If anybody in Eugene knows her, here's her pic)

Many thanks to the many good folks who work hard making sure shows are safe, friendly experiences for concert-goers. I've grown so used to working shows I can hardly go to a show just to go and hear the music. Thats just... boring. I like knowing what happens behind the scenes. The perspective is so much different between patrons and staff.


And today is Memorial Day. Remember the vets and let's bring the soldiers home. A shout to my daughter's friend Ryan Fling serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq (a likewise greeting to all of Ryan's peers - all you GIs - no matter in/on which particular swamp, desert or iceberg you've been stationed, they're all great places!).


“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul”

- Plato


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