Photographer: Luana Magalhães
Based in: Lisboa
Chelsea is so beautiful that she would make for great photos even if she wasn’t playing at all. That’s why I tried to catch a few more relaxed shots of her during this show – right before the start of the concert, in between songs, just catching little details that sometimes pass you by when you’re looking for that one good “publishable” shot. I’m such a huge fan of her music that sometimes it was difficult to not just pack the camera and join the rest of the entranced crowd that filled the room completely.
After years of attending Roadburn, I finally saw a moshpit, and it took the unstoppable power of Trap Them to achieve it. The conditions we have to work in sometimes are difficult to explain to “regular” photographers, even music photographers that work in other areas of music. Like when you’re up front with no photo pit, no barriers and no security people, and you have kids (and grown men and women too!) moshing uncontrollably all around you and flying recklessly right above your head every five seconds. That was exactly the case during this whole show, and I loved every second of it.
I’m proud of this one, because Celeste is one of the most difficult bands in the world to take photos of. They play in complete darkness, save for the little red lights on their foreheads, with the occasional burst of strobe lights. Most of the time you can’t see what’s going on with your own eyes, let alone through the camera lens, so either you get really lucky during the strobes or you flash the hell out of it and hope for the best. This was one of my very few salvageable photos of the entire show, but it caught the moment perfectly, vocalist Johan allowing himself a moment of peace, leaning on the drumkit with his eyes closed, as the chaos of Celeste’s music raged on around him. The thick, dark atmosphere they create is awesome – this show was played on an otherwise beautiful setting, inside a circus tent, on a grassy field, at the end of a sunny afternoon in Karlsruhe, but during Celeste’s performance, it was midnight in hell all the time.
Trap Them might have encouraged the first Roadburn moshpit, but The Secret, playing later on the same day, weren’t too far behind. April 15th 2011 was dark hardcore heaven, and the Italians blasted the hell out of the even smaller Bat Cave room. Some bands have such a strong image that it’s easy to get good shots of them, and The Secret are a good example of that. The intensity in their expressions, the tattoos all over, the fucking huge goat in the background – you basically just have to point and shoot. While avoiding the moshers and the stagedivers, of course.
Neurosis enforce a strict no-flash policy at their shows and they use projections that reflect on their faces during the whole gig, so this photo is another good example of some of the challenges we have to face sometimes. This was taken during the very first time I got to see them live, and the spiritual connection I have with this band is huge, so the photos I have of this show mean quite a lot to me.
This photo symbolizes a lot of what I like in music these days. Black Breath aren’t remotely original, they have no frills and no pretense, they’re just up there to headbang and to have a good time with some kickass death’n’roll tunes. And it works.
It’s funny, my music tastes often lead me to bands that present several problems when playing live. Amenra are another of the “difficult” ones. Utter darkness, vocalist with his back to the audience for the whole time… but the music is so powerful and it hits you in the gut so much that if you can capture even a fraction of that viscerality in your photos, you’ve got it made. Even if it’s a lucky break, like this one, where I caught someone else’s flash. I wasn’t carrying one with me on this occasion and I had been struggling to get something decent out of it, and this bit of good fortune allowed me to immortalize a particularly heavy riff moment. This explosive show at Roadburn was one of the shows of my life, and I can’t wait to see them again.