"You want a Gin & Tonic, dude? Kyle went to get me a bottle of Tanqueray for my birthday! Isn't that badass?! We don't got any ice though, or limes..."
It's December 29th, and I'm still swirling in the tornado of the holiday season. All things Christmas has just passed by and New Years Day couldn't come soon enough, but there is still a few extremely long and drawn out few days left before relaxation can set in. The day before, Chaddix sends me a message and says he's shooting a video of the Millenium's show on the 30th and asks if I want to join, followed strategically with the 'It's my birthday' card.
After a moment of deliberating about what the fuck I need to squeeze into the next three days between work and NYE plans, my best judgement tells me I have to decline to Chaddix's invite to join. I am fully aware that The Millenium is playing at one of my all time favorite venue's, The Varsity Theater in my old stomping grounds of Dinkytown, and it's been a while since I've seen these guys and it would be nothing short of a great time. Then Feather texts me later on that afternoon, asking if I'd like to join and do some photos of the night. At this point, I certainly can't turn down two invites to an evening that I know will be a blast. Then I realize, "Wait, what the fuck am I doing? I'm 24 and I'm trying to talk myself out of going to a concert to get rest?" Naturally, that mindset didn't last long after I realized what kind of nonsense I was trying to tell myself. "Hell yeah dude, count me in! I'll be there!" is my reply to Kyle.
The Varsity is hands down one of the most beautiful spots I've ever been in. It had been just over a year since I was there to capture thestand4rd's homecoming show of their sold out month long tour. That night, I was given the luxury of the barricades between the stage and the crowd, which they don't normally do, and an overly amped sold out crowd. That was last year, fast forward to the present and I see that all of my shots are gonna have to be worked through the crowd. Luckily there is only several hundred kids here, all spaced out and in their own personal bubbles which makes snaking in and out to the spots I want an extremely easy task. I'd also been getting used to the luxury of using the 70-200mm for concerts, a lens I don't currently own, but with such short notice on this show I was just armed with my trusty 50mm and my legs. What's a shoot without a little bit of challenge, though?
First to hit the stage was this young and chill local dude by the name of Clay Borrell. Fronting a group of four people, Clay brought a high energy and noticeable stage presence to the room to kick things off. Still early and playing to room that was growing in size by the minute, Clay did his best to get yet another stale crowd to wake up and enjoy themselves. Clay's music also seemed to be more inline with the vibe of the night, and was a great warm up choice for The Millenium to pick up where he left off.
What followed next was just as good of a performance as any that I could imagine from The Millenium. These guys were giving 110% before they even hit the intro to their first song, and they didn't give anything short than all of their energy through their entire 40 minute set. Feather and Matt have no shortage of determination to engage the crowd and (try to) get them going, and the five of them seem to share a stage so naturally that I can just tell they are having a blast and anyone watching is lucky enough to witness them enjoying doing what they do.
Oddly enough, a night of pushing myself both creatively and mentally is just what I needed at the tail end of the chaos that is December's. Even in the middle of all of the stress and commotion of life that week, I left that show wondering why the hell I had even thought about not going. An opportunity to capture a group of people that are as passionate and energetic as these guys is such a refreshing and rewarding experience. The music was good, the gin was warm, and everyone but the crowd partied hard.
For more images from that cold ass New Year's Eve Eve night, look no further than below...