This is one of those late posts that I truly wish wasn't a late post. Diet Cig's headline show at Bottom of the Hill last year on April 16th was one of my favorite live events of 2016. Also performing that night was PLUSH and Jay Som. They had their own little articles after the show, but for some odd reason I never got around to the third article that needed to be done. Life happened? I lost focus around that time of year. I wish I didn't, but enough of the excuses. Let's take a look at the magic Diet Cig unleashed in San Francisco 9 months ago.
I caught Alex and Noah after sound check for a little photoshoot just outside Bottom of the Hill. 17th Street in San Francisco is a mellow street in the afternoon, so it was a great time to get some shots with them on the road. These two are such a joy to shoot with. We also roamed around the sidewalk area across the street for some regular shots before heading back into the venue.
We all watch live performances on YouTube, and can get a sense of an artist's energy through the screen. That's basically how I became a fan of Diet Cig. I saw a live performance online of their song "Dinner Date" while looking for music, and was completely hooked after that first play. They're so fun to watch in person and seem to have an endless amount of energy on stage. Alex moves around the stage quite often during the set, and, at the time, I was really into shooting shows at Bottom of the Hill right up front. It didn't hit me towards the end of the set that I should relocate for the sake of variety.
They're Coming Back Next Month
Diet Cig will be returning to the area for Noise Pop next month at Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco. You could say their return also made me aware I was sitting on this article for way too long. I think last year I was trying take on too much on my own, and gave up on projects that shouldn't have been neglected. Having a partner / significant other around surely has helped, so these types of late articles won't be happening anymore.
Obviously the selection of photos are mostly black & white. Longtime followers of my photography know that black & white is my bread and butter for portraits. That brings up why I like being closer to the stage at this venue. It lets me get intimate with no-so-huge lenses that could be distracting for others. Since I shot this with my Fujifilm cameras, I was extra stealthy with their quiet shutters. Let's see – oh, I used two prime lenses (16mm and 56mm). Lately I've been preferring prime lenses over zooms. These primes are super fast at f/1.4 and f/1.2, and I'm totally fine shooting primes at Bottom of the Hill.
Anyone that has been to this venue to take photos knows that it far from a well-lit stage. Lenses with super fast aperture really does help. I know I should probably shoot full frame to get even better results, but back then I was only shooting with Fujifilm's X Series system (added a full frame Nikon since then). Autofocus can be challenging, but I managed to get an ample amount of photos during Diet Cig's set. Having shot Julien Baker and The She's previously at this venue during 2016, I was already used to how I work the cameras here.
I usually pack light for live shows, especially if it falls under pleasure instead of business. I think the 16mm is so useful for the venue setting. It's a chunky piece of glass that feels great on the X-T1 and X-E1. The weight balance is alright to me. The two photos in this article of the performance are taken with the 16mm, and I really like how they turned out, but the 56mm impresses me so much if I have the open space to work with it. It's a two lens kit that I can carry around to anything, and feel confident in getting shots without feeling like I need more.