Primus is one of those bands with a huge amount of talent! They are quite original yet remarkably Zappa-esque! Les Claypool has a very unique voice much the same way Frank Zappa did and his bass playing is on a level all its own! Larry LaDonde is another incredible 6 string player matching Les’ style with a history of playing with other incredible musicians including Possessed, produced by Joe Satriani in the 80’s. On the skins, although hidden in the shadows, was Tim Alexander giving full support and providing difficult times that Primus is known for!
Although it was a great opportunity to shoot a legendary band that Primus is, I found them to be a very difficult band to shoot! Lets start with the barricade!! Typically the barricade is no less then 6 ft. from the down stage lip of the stage to the top of the barricade. The barricade for Primus was 3 ft at center stage which is arced, making it nearly impossible to move around trying to get decent shots! It should also be stated that there were 4 security guards and 7 other photographers all wrestling to get multiple angles of the band. After fighting for a good spot during the first 3 songs of the crowd warmer I took it upon myself to plant myself near the entrance of the pit and not get in anyone’s way during Primus! I know its a privilege to be able to shoot bands and I was happy that we didnt get secluded to shooting from the FOH board but in my humble opinion, if youre going to allow for a photo/security pit, it should be accommodating for ease of access and obvious safety concerns! Not sure why it wasnt.
As for lighting, I didnt know that Primus isnt a fan of down stage lighting! This would include follow spots which isnt normally used for shows at The Paramount in the first place. But it would have been nice to have some sort of down stage lighting for photo purposes. Several settings had to be adjusted but to get any decency the ISO was almost at max which caused quite a bit of graininess in the shots. I was told again after the fact that a couple photographers decided to not submit for photo pass because they were aware that the lighting was horrible! I couldnt imagine any more photogs in the pit!! After the first three songs, I decided to leave!
From the short time I was there, the music was great! But it wasnt my kind of crowd! If I werent there for photo purposes and had bought tickets as a fan, I would have had a great time sitting in the reserved seating section enjoying the “earthy” smells that accommodated the atmosphere! Ill keep that in mind the next time they come to town!
Thanks to Jon Bleicher for the photo op!