Event: Early Elton At House of Independents


Early Elton, left to right: Jeff Kazee, John Conte, Rich Pagano

Back in 2017, when I shot the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival Upstage Jam, one of the performers on stage was Jeff Kazee, on piano.

I’m not sure why, but at some point, I must have kicked out a photo I took of Jeff on Twitter. He responded positively, and we started to follow each other.

I enjoy his posts. His day job is being a Juke. He’s played piano for 20 years with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.

Like many musicians, he has a number of side projects going on. A few months ago, on social media, he mentioned something about playing early Elton John songs at the House of Independents.

I responded by saying “I’d love to shoot that.” He direct messaged me “Let’s keep in touch.”

I didn’t think anything would come of this but as the date got closer, I kept an eye on it. I knew the show was on a Friday; I was going to wait till the previous Sunday to ping Jeff about this, because, why not? Worse he could say was no.

But before Sunday came, he pinged me. Wanted to know when we could talk on the phone about my shooting the show.

Wow. Cool.

So, early last week, at about 9:30 p.m., just after I put the kids to bed, I got on a call with Jeff for a more formal introduction. We spoke for about 45 minutes on a whole range of topics: The Upstage Jam, Ohio, sport talk radio, our kids.

And, shooting the show on Friday at the House of Independents.


Early Elton is Jeff, John Conte and Rich Pagno. Reading the About page on their website, it’s clear the musical acumen and experience is incredible.

And, since I’ve shot in the House of Independents before, I knew the sightlines I liked, hand an idea of how the lights would play, and where I could move around to get some good shots.

The best part, though, was the band said I could shoot the sound check, hang backstage…and also ON stage to get any shot I wanted.

I took them up on that.




So, as is my style, while I got the stage shots I wanted, I also tried to find some interesting angles to put my own spin on the evening.


Walk In_mkrajnak_060818_DSCF2440


Set List_mkrajnak_060818_MG_3266




We four also talked about doing some group band shots.

Walking to the HOI, I thought maybe could do something outside on Cookman Ave. Or against some cool brick walls nearby. Or the brick walls INSIDE the HOI.


Scouting shot

Yeah, yeah, we can do some after we get dressed for the show.

Just no brick walls!


Anyway, before the show, I’m looking around. Through some doors by the dressing room, was a cool looking hallway, plus another little doorway area I could, with available light I could use.


Scouting shot



Scouting shot

They are supposed to go on at 7:30 p.m. As we push pass 7, I can tell they are getting tight a little bit. Hey, they are very experienced, but they are also ready to put on a show, basically to hometown fans. There’s always some nerves.


Ok, Mark, let’s do some group shots. We can’t go outside. We have about four minutes. Where can we go?

Actually, just go right through this door. I think I found a couple of spots.



And one I threw a little filter on. My fav, actually.


The show was great, Early Elton sounded awesome. I sent some quick selects to Jeff after I got home that night, then followed up with a link to a full set the next day.

The band has been very receptive to what I shot, hopefully we can work together again.

And maybe have more than four minutes to do a group shot!


For this event, I used my Fuji X100T and my Canon 70D. Lenses on the Canon were the 24-105 mm and my 70-200 mm. Even snapped off a few with my Canon SX610 point and shoot.

I almost forgot…I also started to use my Polaroid Propack loaded with Fuji FP 100C film. Tried a few shots…and somehow it mis-fed on me. I wasted nearly the whole $35 pack. Ugh.

The group shots were done with my Fuji. Man, I love how that camera works in low light, at 1600 ISO.

I had rented a fish-eye lens from Borrowlenses.com to use. However, due to a snafu, the lens didn’t get to me in time before I left for Asbury Park, so I never used it. Bummer.

But, overall, a fun night on Cookman Ave! Pretty cool how it all came together, thanks to social media!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2018

Instagram | Twitter


4 thoughts on “Event: Early Elton At House of Independents

  1. Pingback: Event: Soultime Comes To The Summer Stage | JerseyStyle Photography

  2. Pingback: Tear Sheet: Early Elton Trio | JerseyStyle Photography

  3. Pingback: Travel: The Big D | JerseyStyle Photography

  4. Pingback: Project: Checking In With Jeff Kazee | JerseyStyle Photography

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: