As a concert photographer, I realize how privileged I am when I look and see all the perks that come with being a concert photographer. One being that I have such close contact with my subjects. On this trip, I invited Donald to come as my plus one. The best part about music and concerts is the ability to share what you love in the moment and it was my pleasure to share this world with a friend.
The Observatory in Santa Ana hosted Hibou and Yelle and I was invited by Hibou to take portraits prior to their set. If you get there early (before 6) you can get away with not paying the $10 for parking
Here are some portraits of Peter Michel, the man behind the Hibou project and some photos during their soundcheck. The Observatory not only shares its parking lot with the neighboring Home Depot, but it also has some great areas to shoot in when the outside light is in your favor. I was aiming for a more minimalist shoot, but I can never say no to an empty street.
And because the nature of concerts is always up in the air in terms of timing, Hibou invited us to hang out and document their time at the Observatory. Yelle and their tour comrades were also hanging out in the back. Although I was a French minor in college, their impeccable French speaking was at a far superior level of my understanding..
After soundcheck and hanging out, it was 7--when doors opened. The show started at 8, but there were already fans waiting outside to be the first to claim their spots at the front. Donald and I retired to the photo pit from the green room to prepare for Hibou's set.
I've worked the Observatory plenty of times before, so I know that the opening band is usually hit with a lot of black lights and little to no white light to work with. Most of my photos of the opening band will end up in fluorescent lighting when I'm editing, so I am forced to retire to black and white. This isn't the most terrible thing, but sometimes, I just wish I had a real lighting director to work with so I know what to anticipate!
After Hibou's set, it was another half hour until Yelle went on. I watched a bit of their soundcheck so I had an idea of what their lights were going to look like. All I can say is WOW. They sure have the aesthetics down on lock. After having performed Coachella a couple days prior, you would think they'd be tired as all hell, but these guys are performers through and through.
Jean-François (stage name GrandMarnier) and Franck were amazingly always in sync. Their dual drumming displayed meticulous precision and the perfect backdrop to Yelle's vocals. Their hour and a half long set was full of energy and never stopped (it even included a wardrobe change!). Did I mention that I was surprised at how many audience members knew all the lyrics (which are in French) and were singing along?
Yelle still has a few more shows, though unfortunately, they're all international. So if you're in South America or France within the next month, I highly recommend you go. As for Hibou, they're based in Seattle and doing more shows in the PNW (am I hip, yet?). You can bet that the next time they come through Southern California, I'll be there at the front of their show!