So I have seen A Place to Bury Strangers multiple times, in fact, the last time I saw them I was not doing concert photography but I decided to play around on the iPhone and see what I could do with it. That was the night I said, “I gotta do this shit!”. So it was quite a special night for me last Sunday at The Echoplex to photographer APTBS with an actual camera. It was a photographers dream to get this kind of energy from a band, oh wait not just a band, but all bands that were on the bill for the night. My dream as a rock photographer has always been to get someone like Kurt Cobain, or get that beautiful moment where Clash bassist, Paul Simonon smashed his guitar on stage on the cover London Calling. And last night, I finally had that opportunity to capture such energy.
Before going to the show I kept saying to myself, “bring ear plugs, bring ear plugs, don’t forget the fucking ear plugs,” and like an absolute idiot I forgot my damn ear plugs. I’m not complaining about this one bit, however, because regardless if my ears got a little damaged from APTBS’s tremendous performance, it was worth it.
A Place to Bury Strangers are probably the loudest band I have ever witnessed live. They really do bring the genre of post-punk, or as I like to call it neo-post punk to life. They bring energy, darkness, and mayhem to their albums and to the stage and if anyone is a fan of the genre, then you must see this band.
Toward the end of just about every APTBS show, noise and stage presence becomes totally psychedelic and abstract, almost like a dark theatrical performance, but with guitars. Oliver Ackerman usually beats the shit out of his guitar. Multiple times in a show he will throw it up into the air about twenty or thirty feet and it lands unscathed. On this night at the Echoplex, bassist Dion Lunadon started disconnecting wires from his amp, then all of the sudden, Drummer Robi Gonzalez took a high hat and snare, jumped off stage, then came back where Gonzalez and Lunadon, grabbed the amp and took it off stage. And just like that, they disappeared into the void. Ackerman still on stage, lifted his guitar up above holding a note, tossed it into the air before climbing off stage. Now the entire band all headed near the sound booth where they continued to jam. Members of the opening act, Creepoid had joined them. Soon Gonzalez and the drummer of Creepoid (Pat Troxell) commence into a drum solo. They are facing each other as laser lights surround them and it was unreal. Total mayhem had ensued.
Before A Place To Bury Stranger blew our minds, Tennis System and Creepoid kicked of th night as the opening acts. The fairly new band to the post-punk genre Tennis System sounded great and they were not that “stand in one spot bobbing their heads” kinda band. They brought the energy full circle and when I looked around the room to see how fans were taking them in, people’s eyes were glued to them. They were quite impressive and I knew the show would only get better from there.
The show did get even better from there, Creepoid was another group that just came out ready to thrash. I was standing right in front of bassist Anna Troxell and she was so animated with her expressions and body language. You can see that their music just fuels her fire. This is the kind of energy just love to eat up.
Photography and Words: Wes Marsala
Originally written for GrimyGoods.com