January 13, 2018

Best of: Top 25: My favourite concert photos of 2017

So a lot of humanity decided to double down on stupid in 2017. What are you going to do? There’s no cure for it. And America may be becoming the world cancer. And people have to learn to respect each other and treat each other right. Shouldn’t be difficult, but somehow it seems that it is.

But we have music. And most of the experiences around it are filled with joy, love and positivity. I personally find that I need music in my life, and especially the live music experience, to make my heart right, and to give some balance, and to make me feel like a complete being.

Artists are often tortured souls, with feelings they can’t and won’t contain, with stories to tell, visions to share, a different worldview, a sense of being out of place, of not fitting in, of sadness mixed with passion, of being different, but a desire to share and find like-minded souls. Thank you to the artists brave enough to listen to their guts and to take the risk to put themselves out there. It’s not easy to be that vulnerable and work that hard for art. I often wish I had done more to put my own art out there.

Take a look at my other Best of 2017 lists: My 50 Favourite Songs of 2017 and My 20 Favourite Albums of 2017
I love Scotland's Biffy Clyro. Their show at The Phoenix in Toronto was incredible. I'm pretty pleased I managed to get this action shot of singer Simon Neil. From the moment I snapped it, I've loved it. Check out the rest of the photos from this show here.
Mother Mother are always fun to shoot. This shot came from their show last summer at Riverfest Elora. It breaks all kinds of rules, and I can't stop looking at it. That must mean something. The rest of the photos from this show are here.
You don't see a lot of accordion players in bands these days, and you certainly don't get as many who can look as cool playing it as Gogol Bordello's Pasha Newmer. It's another shot from Riverfest Elora that I just can't stop looking at. The rest of the Gogol Bordello shots from this show are here.
Ah, summer, how much I love thee. And I love I Mother Earth, too. This shot came from IME's end-of-summer show at The Ex. Edwin's enthusiasm and energy are captured perfectly here. The rest of the photos are here.
USS got the crowd going full tilt at Riverfest Elora. I love this shot of Jason "Human Kebab" Parsons riding on a wave of the crowd. All my pics of USS at Riverfest Elora are here.
The photos of Pale Waves from their show at The Baby G somehow begged for more contrast. In the end, not much grey remained. I really enjoyed the band's show and how the photos came out. They're all here for your amusement. They're back in town on April 9 at The Velvet Underground. Hopefully, I'll capture more shots of the band at that show.
I knew The Dirty Nil would give good photos based on what I've seen from some of my photo friends. I was not disappointed. The hard part was picking one photo to include in this list. All the photos from The Dirty Nil's Riverfest Elora show are here.
Sumo Cyco are a fantastic live band and an awesome band to photograph. Skye Sweetnam, a.k.a. Sever, and the guys do their best to rock the crowd and I can only try to keep up and capture some of that energy. I loved this shot from their high-energy CMW show at The Bovine Sex Club. All the photos are here.
The Balconies are a fantastic live band with great songs and are wonderful to photograph. I loved this shot from their CMW show at Adelaide Hall. Sadly, the band is calling it quits. Happliy, there are a couple of shows left for us all to enjoy them one last time. Click here for show info. I'll be at The Horseshoe show on February 1; hopefully with camera in tow. All the pics from the band's CMW show are here.
I love Wolf Alice and I've been lucky enough to photograph each one of their Toronto shows. I like this severe crop of singer-guitarist Ellie Rowsell from their recent Danforth Music Hall show. All the pics are here.
Cults was one of the first bands I ever photographed with a proper camera back in 2014. I got to try again when they played Lee's Palace again this year. This is my favourite shot of singer Madeline Follin. The rest of the shots are here.
This year marked my first time attending and photographing Osheaga. I got to spend the weekend in Montreal for a rain-soaked adventure shooting for Canadian Beats. These shots of Lorde, Death From Above 1979 and Rag and Bone Man are some of my favourites. All of the coverage is over at Canadian Beats' site and their Facebook album.
I got myself right up front for Japandroids amazing Danforth Music Hall show. I questioned my wisdom since I'm not much of a mosh pit guy, but the crowd was great and the band allowed me some great photos. This is my favourite from this fantastic show. The rest of the pics are here.
If you've read this blog much before, you know of my love for the music of The Lowest of the Low. I had a perfect spot for their sold-out Danforth Music Hall show and caught many amazing shots, including this one. The rest are here.
Sleigh Bells put out some of the most sonically unique, high-energy earworms that you'll ever hear. They put on one of the most incredible live shows, too. This shot of Alexis Krauss from NXNE Portlands is one of my favourites. I can't wait for their Mod Club show on January 28. I'll be there, hopefully with my camera.
K.Flay puts on one hell of a show. The music and her presence make for a powerful experience. I love this shot from the show this past summer at Riverfest Elora. Check out the rest of the pics here. I'm hoping to be at The Danforth Music Hall on March 15 to experience it again.
Broods singer Georgia Nott is an incredible presence on stage. I embraced the red for this shot from their show at Danforth Music Hall. The rest of the photos from that show are here.
The Pursuit of Happiness has been one of my favourite bands for decades. Their debut album Love Junk spun it's perfect power pop on my turntable and then on my i-devices throughout the years. I loved every second of their show at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern for the dive bar's 70th anniversary and I hope to see them again soon. All my photos from this show are here.
Bully rock. They put on a great show at Lee's Palace and this photo captures the attitude and energy of singer Alicia Bognanno. The rest of my shots are here.
I liked this moody shot from Slowdive's Danforth Music Hall show earlier this year. The rest of the photos are here.
I love the interaction between Stars' Amy Millan and Feist during Broken Social Scene's performance at Field Trip this past summer.
I love the brotherhood captured by this shot of Le Trouble from their CMW show at Adelaide Hall. The rest of the photos are here.
As night fell, the trees behind the stage at Riverfest Elora revealed greater and greater evil. I captured this photo but was too terrified to get closer. All my Riverfest Elora pics are available from this post.