Let It Rock

2017 Bands_122617

A collection of the musicians I’ve shot this year.

I don’t shoot a lot of music.

Well, that is, at least, not until this past year. And frankly, I still didn’t shoot a lot of shows. It just so happens that the few that I did included a number of musical acts.

But as I looked back at my 2017, I did realize that, yup, I did shoot a good amount. I learned a lot too, like how to wait for the light…how to anticipate where the talent will be be on the stage…don’t just focus on the lead singer, remember the drummer too.

It started in April with the Upstage Jam, and Little Steven’s Soulfire show the next night, during the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival.

Shooting Bobby Mahoney’s EP release in August was a great time, and probably gave me one of my favorite shots of the year. Backstage, Bobby warming up his vocal cords with an acoustic version of Black & Mild.


The Global Citizen Live events in New York in early September was a thrill. Another backstage shot, of Green Day’s drummer, Mike Dirnt, rose to the top of my favorites list as well.

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Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt, in the VIP tent

More recently, I headed down to Asbury Park to take in A Very Battery Christmas at House of Independents. The bill included Have A Good Season, The Vansaders, The Ribeye Brothers and, the headliner, The Battery Electric.

A Very Battery Christmas poster

it was snowing pretty good when I left the house, causing me to question my decision to go. I had been checking social media to see if the show was still on, but it was. Heading east on 195 at about 30 miles an hour felt like I’d never get to Little Eden.

But I did get there and I’m glad i did.

First up was  Have A Good Season. I wasn’t familiar with them. HAGS seem to be a young band (age and experience) who stay rooted to one spot on the stage. Tough to shoot that. The sparse crowd didn’t help much to kick up the stage show, either, but I tried to get what I could.

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Have A Good Season

Next up was The Vansaders, one of my favorite NJ bands that I discovered way back in January when I shot A Set For Vets. I’d shot The Vansaders three times overall this year, including having lead singer Doug Zambon be part of my Musicians and The Mosaic project.

They are a fun band with strong roots in punk rock (and folk, go figure). I  like their music and I like shooting them. Great sound.

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The Ribeye Brothers were up next, another new-to-me band. There are SO many bands rooted in the Jersey Shore that unless you follow the scene consistently, there’s no way to know, or know of, them all.

TRB play what they call swamp/ stomp/ “detached garage” band music and have a fun, between-songs banter going on. I dug their sound which relies a lot on the steel guitar that I like.

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Tim Cronin, lead singer of The Ribeye Brothers

The sound was cool, but the white boots of the guitarist enthralled me.


At about 10:30 p.m., The Battery Electric took the stage. They are another band I “found” earlier this year, when they played at Danny Clinch’s Transparent Gallery. I really love their sound. Add in the stage presence of MC5 and they are just a flat-out good time, both to listen to and to photograph.

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Lead singer Ron Santee



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Between the lights and the stage performance, I shot a ton of photos. Click here for a slideshow and to see the full set of my pics.

This, though, may be my favorite shot of Ron. I was able to isolate Ron against the brick wall, but adjust my settings on my Fuji X100T so it all went black. You don’t always have to show the face to make a cool portrait.

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2017 was much more a “musical” year than I expected. Will I do more in 2018?


There are a whole bunch of great music shooters in and around Asbury Park. It’s a tough clique to break in to, nor do I want to impinge on their turf.

But, as I said, there are ton of local bands out there. And I like to shoot a lot in B&W, as you can see. Maybe that will set my work apart from the others. That would be nice.

That said, my Fuji X100T performed admirably during this show. Didn’t even take my bigger Canon 70D to the show. I could not complain at all.

Of course, I do like shooting portraits. I wouldn’t mind bands coming to me for marketing materials. Getting these images out on Instagram helps. I also bumped into Ron Santee on Cookman Avenue a couple of hours before the show. He’s familiar with my Mosaics project, and I told him I want to get him in front of it. He said he’d be up for that.

I better do it soon, though. I have a feeling The Battery Electric are going to skyrocket soon and it’ll be harder to get time with him.

Maybe that should be first on my 2018 To Do List.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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