February 2, 2019

Best of: Top 25: My favourite concert photos of 2018

The experience of the concert itself cannot be separated from the photos. The photos are a reminder of what was; a method of communicating what the show was like. I can't objectively say, "This is a great photo from a performance I just didn't dig." So, my favourite concert photos may as well be my favourite concerts, or performances of the year. They capture, in image form, something special from a performance that moved me.

Click through on the venue/festival names for the full posts of photos.

As always, a special thank you to all the wonderful industry people who let me into the festivals and venues to make these photos and take in these shows, and to you for looking at the photos, reading my words, and listening to the music.

And if you haven't checked them out yet, follow the links to my Favourite Songs of 2018 and Favourite Albums of 2018 posts. It was a great year for music!

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
I couldn't be more pleased with this shot of Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne at Riverfest Elora. After shooting from the pit, I got a good spot to take in the rest of the show. It gave me a perfect spot to capture Wayne Coyne surfing across the crowd in his hamster ball. I love the balloons, the fans' hands and Wayne's pose in the ball. Check out all the rest of my shots from this set here, including the laser hands and an exploding, confetti filled balloon. Woot!

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
July Talk are one of my favourite live bands. They attract huge crowds and create a frenzy every time they play. I knew going in that this show at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern for CMW was going to be crazy due to the intimate size of the venue combined with their fans' enthusiasm. This shot captures the band, some of the crowd and the scrum of photographers at the front to capture it all. What a crazy time!

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Dizzy has become one of my favourite bands with their intimate tunes and Katie Munshaw's unselfconscious and emotive stage presence. This shot from Field Trip captures the joy of Katie's performance perfectly.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Frightened Rabbit is one of my favourite bands. I love the songs so much. I was so happy to see their performance at The Mod Club celebrating the tenth anniversary of The Midnight Organ Fight. I never thought that it would be my last time ever seeing Scott Hutchison perform. Scott's passing broke my heart for so many reasons. I didn't know him personally, but I'm saddened that his illness caused him to take his life. We need more awareness of mental health issues and need more help so that people like Scott get the help they need to live another day and help others.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
I'd never seen Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform live until Field Trip. I loved their show and loved them again at Osheaga. This shot of Karen O typifies their performance and the spectacle they put on while playing such amazing tunes.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
One of my favourite bands: Chvrches. One of my favourite venues: The Danforth Music Hall. And one of my favourite lenses: the fisheye. What more can I say?

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
A very early 2018 show by Alexis Krauss and the rest of Sleigh Bells at The Mod Club yielded this shot. It took quite a bit of post-processing but I love how it turned out. The band always puts on a high-energy show and I just love their music.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Pale Waves puts on a polished show and Heather Baron-Gracie delivers some awesome stage moves. I liked this one from their show at The Velvet Underground.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
At this year's Riverfest Elora, Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs became my new favourite band. Their songs are amazing, their energy infectious and their Sam's stage presence unparalleled. And I love that I got this shot.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Brutal Youth put on a gigantically intense show at The Horseshoe Tavern ahead of The Creepshow's headlining set. I love this shot, capturing the power of the performance.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Dream Wife has to get recognition as a band that absolutely blew my mind with the power of their performance. They may have been warming up The Horseshoe Tavern crowd for Sunflower Bean, but they made sure not one person in attendance would forget about them. Incredible.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
I got to see Johnny Marr twice in 2018. This shot is from the intimate first show at The Velvet Underground. I felt so lucky to be there and to capture this absolute legend of alternative music, songwriting and guitar playing in action. Wow. His performance later in the year at The Phoenix Concert Theatre was amazing as well.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The Hold Steady are one of my favourite bands and put on an incredible live show, thanks in large part to their enthusiastic and dedicated fans. This year, I went to all four nights of their four-night stand at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern. I only brought my camera on the first night and this is one of my favourite shots. Once again, the fisheye comes into service to capture the whole band on stage.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Yungblud blew my mind with his energy at his NXNE performance at Yonge-Dundas Square. He was hard to keep up with and he provided so many amazing photo opportunities. I just love this moment in particular. The next time I saw him, he had a broken leg, but still put on a manic performance at The Rivoli.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The legalization of cannabis in Canada was a momentous occasion as we became the second country on the planet to legalize recreational cannabis. Local radio station Indie 88 put on a party at The Phoenix Concert Theatre to celebrate and Japandroids headlined. They're one of my favourite bands, they put on a great show and I got both of them in this photo! The rest of my pics are here.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
One of the only artists to have two photos on this list, Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs put on amazing live performances. This shot of Sam with his winged costume from their show at The Phoenix Concert Theatre opening for Frank Turner was just perfect. Now if I could only capture a really good jump shot of him...

Photo by Brad Goldstein for One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
This year, photographer Brad Goldstein started contributing to One In Ten Words. His shots are fantastic, but this shot of Leon Bridges at Echo Beach stands out. I look forward to more of Brad's contributions in 2019.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue were a huge highlight of Field Trip this summer. I love this shot for the interaction between the band members and how that tambourine kind of becomes a halo.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The colours, the motion, the intensity of this shot sums up a Metric live show. I captured the band as they returned after some time away with a great set at Field Trip.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Dizzy is the other act that made it onto this list with two photos. This one is from their incredible performance at Royal Mountain Records Festival at The Royal Botanical Gardens' Arboretum in Hamilton. The way the sun shines through the stage smoke and the natural backdrop of trees, along with Katie's unbridled joy and enthusiasm make this one of my favourite shots.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
I remember being really tired by the end of the first day of Hillside. I dug deep to walk all the way to the stage that Cadence Weapon was performing on. But the shots I was able to get of his performance made it worth it. Here's my favourite from that set. Check out that fierce determination on his face.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Carole Pope is an inspiration; for the music she made, for the battles she fought, for being badass and courageous and bold and confident and trailblazing and empowering. So many people would not be able to live the lives that they can today without people like Carole putting up with and fighting through adversity that no one should have to endure. And the music that Carole made with Rough Trade made a strong impression on me from a very young age. It was an honour to witness her performance at Riverfest Elora and to capture these photos. Special thanks to the wonderful people who let me interrupt their view so I could capture these images.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Barns Courtney puts on a crowd-pleasing performance. I love the way this captures Barns surfing The Danforth Music Hall crowd as he and his band heated things up for The Wombats.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Calpurnia is one of the biggest breakthrough bands of 2018. I saw them perform three times and photographed them twice; first at Royal Mountain Records Festival and then at The Phoenix Concert Theatre. Great band; great tunes; great people. Thanks to the band for sharing my photos, special thanks to Finn: really glad you liked the photo and shared it, and thanks to Calpurnia’s fans for following and liking so many of my shots this year. Stick around for all the great music I’ll continue to capture in photos.

Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The ambience at a festival or concert does a lot to contribute to the experience. The setting for Royal Mountain Records Festival at The Royal Botanical Gardens' Arboretum in Hamilton was so idillic; the wide open space, so perfectly surrounded by mature trees and the fact that they left the back of the stage open to that natural backdrop, left a solid and positive impression on me. This post has links to every performer from that magical day. I can't wait for more festivals on this beautiful site.

January 20, 2019

Best of: Top 50 of 2018: My favourite songs of 2018

Best of: Top 50 of 2018: My favourite songs of 2018: an horse, best of, bob mould, charly bliss, chvrches, culture abuse, dizzy, dream wife, ellevator, favourites, king princess, little junior, screaming females, sunflower bean, the dirty nil, the twilight sad, calpurnia, the beaches, king tuff, ash, hatchie, inheaven, casper skulls, the joy formidable, soccer mommy, meg myers, blood red shoes, middle kids, snail mail, hop along, art d’echo, cloud nothings, young fathers, fatherson, the interrupters, dinosaur jr., the zolas, ought, johnny marr, frank turner, marlon chaplin, yuno, weakened friends, the wombats, tancred, yungblud,
Best of: Top 50 of 2018: My favourite songs of 2018: an horse, best of, bob mould, charly bliss, chvrches, culture abuse, dizzy, dream wife, ellevator, favourites, king princess, little junior, screaming females, sunflower bean, the dirty nil, the twilight sad, calpurnia, the beaches, king tuff, ash, hatchie, inheaven, casper skulls, the joy formidable, soccer mommy, meg myers, blood red shoes, middle kids, snail mail, hop along, art d’echo, cloud nothings, young fathers, fatherson, the interrupters, dinosaur jr., the zolas, ought, johnny marr, frank turner, marlon chaplin, yuno, weakened friends, the wombats, tancred, yungblud,
Best of: Top 50 of 2018: My favourite songs of 2018: an horse, best of, bob mould, charly bliss, chvrches, culture abuse, dizzy, dream wife, ellevator, favourites, king princess, little junior, screaming females, sunflower bean, the dirty nil, the twilight sad, calpurnia, the beaches, king tuff, ash, hatchie, inheaven, casper skulls, the joy formidable, soccer mommy, meg myers, blood red shoes, middle kids, snail mail, hop along, art d’echo, cloud nothings, young fathers, fatherson, the interrupters, dinosaur jr., the zolas, ought, johnny marr, frank turner, marlon chaplin, yuno, weakened friends, the wombats, tancred, yungblud,
Best of: Top 50 of 2018: My favourite songs of 2018: an horse, best of, bob mould, charly bliss, chvrches, culture abuse, dizzy, dream wife, ellevator, favourites, king princess, little junior, screaming females, sunflower bean, the dirty nil, the twilight sad, calpurnia, the beaches, king tuff, ash, hatchie, inheaven, casper skulls, the joy formidable, soccer mommy, meg myers, blood red shoes, middle kids, snail mail, hop along, art d’echo, cloud nothings, young fathers, fatherson, the interrupters, dinosaur jr., the zolas, ought, johnny marr, frank turner, marlon chaplin, yuno, weakened friends, the wombats, tancred, yungblud,
I had a great time in 2018, in spite of the negativity that was flowing so heavily from so many sources. The music and the bands and the friends that surround them were my salvation. The positive energy and empowering messages coming from stage and speakers did a lot to help me from spiralling into the despair that politics, and the ugliness it emboldened, encouraged.

Please check out my other "best of" posts. My 20 Favourite Albums of 2018 list is here and I'll link my Favourite Concert Photos of 2018 when I have that finalized.

The hyperlinks in the song titles will take you to the tune itself if you want to check it out, the hyperlinks below each song link to my coverage of the artists, including my photos from those particular performances.

As always, thanks so much to the promoters, publicists, bands, management, festivals and venues that allow me to do this thing that I love to do. 

All the best as we sail into 2019, whatever it happens to hold for us. Let's be positive, encouraging, empowering and above all, kind and understanding. It will go a long way to making the world a better place.

50. Calpurnia "City Boy"

49. The Beaches "T-Shirt"

48. King Tuff "Psycho Star"

47. Ash "Annabel"

46. Hatchie "Sure"

45. Inheaven "Sweet Dreams Baby"

44. Casper Skulls "O My Enemy"

43. The Joy Formidable "The Wrong Side"

42. Soccer Mommy "Your Dog"

41. Meg Myers "Numb"

40. Blood Red Shoes "God Complex"

39. Middle Kids "Mistake"

38. Snail Mail "Pristine"

37. Hop Along "How Simple"

36. Art d'Ecco "Never Tell"

35. Cloud Nothings "Another Way Of Life"

34. The Dirty Nil "Bathed In Light"

33. Young Fathers "Toy"

32. Restorations "The Red Door"

31. Fatherson "Charm School"

30. The Interrupters "She's Kerosene"

29. Ellevator "Voices"

28. Dinosaur Jr. "Hold Unknown"

27. The Zolas "Bombs Away"

26. Dream Wife "Fire"


24. Johnny Marr "Hi Hello"

23. Frank Turner "Be More Kind"

22. Marlon Chaplin "Elevation"

21. Yuno "No Going Back"

20. Weakened Friends "Blue Again"

19. The Wombats "Turn"

18. Screaming Females "Step Outside"

17. Tancred "Queen of New York"


15. Culture Abuse "Bee Kind To The Bugs"

14. Little Junior "Denial"

13. Chvrches "Get Out"

12. Bob Mould "Sunshine Rock"

11. An Horse "Get Out Somehow"

10. Charly Bliss "Heaven"

9. King Princess "1950"


8. The Dirty Nil "That's What Heaven Feels Like"
7. The Twilight Sad "I/m Not Here [missing face]"


6. Sunflower Bean "Crisis Fest"


5. Dream Wife "Let's Make Out"


4. Ellevator "St. Cecilia"
3. Screaming Females "I'll Make You Sorry"
2. Pale Waves "Heavenly"


1. Dizzy "In Time"

Best of: Top 20 of 2018: My favourite albums of 2018

Best of: Top 20 of 2018: My favourite albums of 2018: best of, chvrches, dizzy, dream wife, ellevator, favourites, frank turner, little junior, marlon chaplin, pale waves, screaming females, sunflower bean, the dirty nil, lykke li, restorations, cloud nothings, culture abuse, the wombats, ought, weakened friends, king princess, alex lahey,
Best of: Top 20 of 2018: My favourite albums of 2018: best of, chvrches, dizzy, dream wife, ellevator, favourites, frank turner, little junior, marlon chaplin, pale waves, screaming females, sunflower bean, the dirty nil, lykke li, restorations, cloud nothings, culture abuse, the wombats, ought, weakened friends, king princess, alex lahey,
Best of: Top 20 of 2018: My favourite albums of 2018: best of, chvrches, dizzy, dream wife, ellevator, favourites, frank turner, little junior, marlon chaplin, pale waves, screaming females, sunflower bean, the dirty nil, lykke li, restorations, cloud nothings, culture abuse, the wombats, ought, weakened friends, king princess, alex lahey,
Best of: Top 20 of 2018: My favourite albums of 2018: best of, chvrches, dizzy, dream wife, ellevator, favourites, frank turner, little junior, marlon chaplin, pale waves, screaming females, sunflower bean, the dirty nil, lykke li, restorations, cloud nothings, culture abuse, the wombats, ought, weakened friends, king princess, alex lahey,
2018 was a pretty damn cool year in music. There were so many beautiful souls trying their best to fill the world with beauty, empowerment, kindness and positive strength. While looking at the ugliness, racism, intolerance and just plain outright stupidity that so many people were trying, and unfortunately succeeding, in promoting, I loved the positive messages that I was hearing from the stage and from my speakers. The list below is the 20 albums, plus 2, that hit me the hardest, in the best way, in 2018.

And I guess I should explain the "top 20, plus 2" thing. It's because there were two albums that really only came to my attention in the past year, even though they were released in 2017. They're just so amazing that I had to recognize them; to put them on this list, kinda, sorta.

Check out my other "best of" posts of 2018. My Top 50 Favourite Songs of 2018 list is right here. And I'll link my Favourite Concert Photos of 2018 when I have that finalized.

The hyperlinks below each artist and album name link to my coverage of the artists, including my photos from those particular performances.

Here's to hoping we can all make 2019 a kinder, more empowering and inclusive year.

20. Lykke Li So Sad So Sexy

19. Restorations LP5000
18. Frank Turner Be More Kind
17. Cloud Nothings Last Burning Buildings
16. Culture Abuse Bay Dream

15. The Wombats Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life
14. Ought Room Inside the World
13. Weakened Friends Common Blah
12. Tancred Nightstand
11. Sunflower Bean Twentytwo in Blue
10. Marlon Chaplin The Circle
*. Alex Lahey I Love You Like A Brother

9. King Princess Make My Bed

8. The Dirty Nil Master Volume
7. Little Junior Hi
6. Chvrches Love is Dead
5. Pale Waves My Mind Makes Noises
*. Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs

4. Dream Wife Dream Wife
3. Ellevator Ellevator

2. Dizzy Baby Teeth

1. Screaming Females All At Once

January 7, 2019

Casper Skulls at The Baby G - Concert Photos

Casper Skulls at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Casper Skulls at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Casper Skulls at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Casper Skulls at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Casper Skulls at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Casper Skulls at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Casper Skulls at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Casper Skulls at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
We’ve covered Casper Skulls a whole bunch here on one in ten words. I’ve always been impressed with their tunes and performances, and I’ve loved watching them grow along with their sound and presence. This band is just on the cusp of greater and greater things. Their older tunes sound as solid as ever and their new music continues to push into new territories.

On this night at The Baby G, they were preceded by The Spirit of the Beehive and Horse Jumper of Love. Click through to check out my coverage of those artists as well.

For my previous Casper Skulls coverage, click on the venue names: Horseshoe Tavern, Rec Room, Lee's Palace, Lee's Palace and The Garrison.

And let your ears spend some time with Casper Skulls' music:

"O My Enemy"

"Lingua Franca"

"Colour of the Outside"

The Spirit Of The Beehive at The Baby G - Concert Photos

The Spirit Of The Beehive at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The Spirit Of The Beehive at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The Spirit Of The Beehive at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The Spirit Of The Beehive at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The Spirit Of The Beehive at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The Spirit Of The Beehive at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
The Spirit Of The Beehive at The Baby G on December 2, 2018 Photo by John Ordean at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos nikon d750 camera yyz photographer
Philadelphia's The Spirit of the Beehive played Toronto's Baby G smack-dab between headliners Casper Skulls and openers Horse Jumper of Love. Click through to check out my coverage of those acts, too.

The Spirit of the Beehive present elaborate soundscapes with huge dynamic swings, ambitious instrumental interplay, creative melodies and rhythmic shifts.

Check out some of their music:

"Hypnic Jerks"

"Cops Come Looking"

"Twenty First Road Trip"

"ricky (caught me tryin')"