Oct. 10th 2016 is a night that will go down as one of the most insane photoshoots that I have ever had the chance to shoot. It was a night full of fun, frustration, utter enjoyment, and lots and lots of extreme energy! To explain just how “Insane” the night was I have to start from the beginning.
It all started with a friend and I pulling up to the venue in his beaten down Toyota Tacoma. There was a line that seemed to stretch out of sight, wrapping around the parking lot adjacent to the Ace of Spades. The line was filled with kids who had Florescent color hair and extreme eye liner. I had obviously missed the memo that Monday night at AOS is Flannel and snap back night. But I digress. I waited in line till I was waved across the street by the security guards where I was then searched and granted access into the venue.
Inside the faint smell of beer and sweat filled the air. Men and women sitting at the bar trying to get the last couple drinks and cigarettes in before the show started. I maneuvered my way through the crowd towards the photography pit where I was greeted by a man much larger then myself, wearing a large black shirt reading security. I was a little intimidated but he waved me thru into the pit and I got my gear ready to shoot the first band.
The lights went black and Old Wounds, a hardcore band out of New Jersey, took the stage. The lead singer Kevin Iavaroni emerged from the dark wearing skin tight black leather pants and thick black striped eyeliner, followed by the rest of the band. You could feel the tension in the air as the guitarist Zak Kessler hit the first chord followed by the eruption of noise as the crowd cheered for their arrival! Moments later Kevin let out a scream with such passion that the crowd exploded with movement. The raw emotion as the lyrics “Hell is a place on earth where men live in greed and purge in filth” Rang throughout the crowd. At that moment I knew that tonight would be one for the books.
As Old wounds set ended the crowd began to shift. People fighting to get as close to the barriers as they could. Fit For A King was about to go on! As Fit For A King arrived on stage the crowd went wild once again. The energy raised as the band started into their song “Pissed Off”. People began to fling themselves over the crowd just to get a chance to receive a high five from Vocalist Ryan Kirby. With every beat that drummer Jared Easterling hit the crowd jumped into the air. The crowd had opened a mosh pit the that spanned from bar to bar and soon the entire crowd was moving with excitement. FFAK was in full control of the energy of the crowd and could mold it into anything they wanted. Ryan (Vocalist) raised his hand waving them it a circular motion. Without any words being said the crowd began to swarm. A circle pit emerged in the middle of the crowd as FFAK erupted into their breakdown of “Warpath”. Their set ended shortly after with cheers from the crowd.
As people frantically ran to the bar and bathroom, all I could think was just how amazing the turnout of the show was. The Sacramento music scene for hardcore bands and punk bands has slowly been fading away, but this night was a glimmer of hope.
The lights dimmed once more as Every Time I Die claimed the stage. Little did I know shortly after my night as a photographer would be coming to an end. The crowd energy went from a 9 to 11 within just a few seconds of ETID being on stage. Lead Vocalist Keith Buckley raised his hands as the crowd let out an ear piercing roar! The packed out room separated, creating one of the largest mosh pits I have ever seen in a local Sacramento venue. The first beat of the kick drum hit, and the crowd erupted into a violent rage. People flying above the crowd into the photography pit. Security franticly trying to catch each person as to not let anyone get injure. At that moment the very large security guard grabbed me and the other photographers and told us we had to go. So I grabbed my gear and made my way up to the upper bar.
The crowd energy continued to rise and guitarist Jordan Buckley egged them on. Throwing his guitar in the air and catching it over and over again. Bassist Stephen Micciche spinning his guitar around his neck as the crowd reached out for him. Moments later I hear a noise. One of the band members had hit the air duct and completely ripped off the grate. The grate hung by a small piece of wire, keeping it from dislodging into the crowd. Security shortly took break from catching kids to pull it down. But that did not stop ETID from pumping up the crowd. Band members climbed on amp, drums, boxes, anything they could to get higher off the stage. Jordan (Lead Guitarist) Grabbed two boxes and stacked them on top of each other. He climbed on top and motioned to the crowd. People moved as close to together as they could and raised the hands as Jordan leaped from the boxes into the crowd! The people went nuts! The set came to a close shortly after.
I returned to the front of the pit where I was told that I would not be able to photographer the main event “Beartooth”. Frustrated, I walked back up to the bar where I shot the rest of the show. People began to leave before Beartooth even took the stage. Every Time I Die had stolen the show. The lights went dim one last time and the crowd began to chant “BEARTOOTH, BEARTOOTH!”. The band emerged from there dressing room off stage. They crowd went nuts, moving and jumping before the band even came on stage. This was it, the last set of the night. Beartooth arrived on stage as the stage lights went crazy. The band broke into their song “Beaten in Lips”. They crowd singing every word. Tired and warn out. I motioned to my friend that it was time to go. So as Beartooth continued on with the rest of their set, I left with a heart full. Sacramento’s hardcore scene is not dead. Its only just beginning!