Tuesday, October 07, 2014

pomplamoose firebird

We traveled out to St Louis this past Saturday for a rare and unique performance by the band Pomplamoose at The Firebird!  After having marveled at their videos, and interesting twists on various covers of some of our favorite tunes, I was surprised and excited to get tickets to the event for my birthday!

The only disappointing part of the entire show was the late start; even then, for us that was not quite so disappointing, since we arrived late, to a near sell out.  The line stretched out a half block, and everyone was pretty excited about the coming performance.  The venue was perfect too, perfectly located downtown, with reasonable drink prices and a friendly staff.  All that is good though, right?  So maybe there really was no disappointment, after all.

John Schroeder, their lead guitarist opened the show, with a bit of solo acoustic work.  One of the tunes a little too sleepy-time, and another seemed to stretch the range of his voice, but his playing throughout was fantastic.  He definitely has a lot of talent, and it is easy to see why the dynamic duo of Nataly Dawn & Jack Conte chose him to join in the fun of the tour.

Pomplamoose took the stage, immediately following John’s performance, opening with their Season Two theme song.  They followed up with a collection of their unique brand of originals and covers that had the whole room singing along most of the time.  During one of their last songs, Jack employed a little crowd participation, transferring his intensity to the crowd.  Coming down on the floor, and choosing folks at random, to choose other folks, to choose yet more folks, he soon had the whole place jumping around.

The video production that had helped launch their recent success was absent from the performance, but did not detract from it at all.  The golden sweetheart voice of Nataly Dawn was every bit as pure as in their recordings and videos, and Jack every bit the wild-man he always appears to be.  They are an intensely multi-talented, energetic band, and really seem to have a lot of fun making and sharing their music.

After the show, they held a little meet-n-greet / photo / autograph session, so we stuck around to be goofy fans for a minute.   We were just as impressed with these two off the stage.  They are real and genuine people that have an intense love for the music they produce and the people that follow their act.  We really appreciate them taking the time out for this sort of thing, and were glad to have the opportunity to meet them in person.

We definitely look forward to catching this act again; whether they make it to Kansas City or not!   As is almost always the case, we took some shots and video with the phone, and they are over in the g+ page.  Follow This Link to have a look.  They are not the greatest, since the phone camera kind of sucks, but good enough; although, the video clips do not do them justice at all.

Otherwise… if you have gotten to this end of this little bit and still have no idea what or who Pomplamoose is, get educated!  Check out the following links!  There is still time to catch their act, if you are out west.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Happy Mardi Gras!  It took me a few months to get back around to this and today seems as appropriate as any to dive back in.  I have to admit that it was semi-intentional; although, the holiday season did have a bit to do with it.  Since my last post, the phocas collection was accepted to the new Google Open Gallery.  This adds a little bit of a twist to the story.  As mentioned previously, the photos will be posted to Google+, but final selections of the best of the best will end up in the Google Open Gallery.

The latest release of photos picks up where I left off in my last post.  We returned to Mardi Gras the following year, and were equally amazed at the controlled chaos New Orleans descended into.  We arrived early enough to catch a friend’s performance at Checkpoint on Lundi Gras, and met some interesting folks from Slovakia.  They had arrived looking for a place to stay, on their way west to get married in Las Vegas.  There is no such thing in the days leading up to Mardi Gras.  If you didn’t book it a year ago, you’re on the street.  They were not.  They were invited to stay with us, and we began a long friendship across the globe.   Mardi Gras Day found us all over the French Quarter, later returning again to the street-stage of improvisational music in the Marigny, to dance the night away.  It was a fantastic day of photos that covered nearly every aspect of the Mardi Gras in and around the French Quarter.

I returned later in the year for an off-season visit, only to discover it was never really off-season.  The weekend I chose turned out to be that of Southern Decadence.  That could not be a better title for what was witnessed over that particular weekend.  Indeed, we were privileged enough to obtain a balcony view as events unfolded on the streets on the final night.  Chaos reigned again on Bourbon Street, in not too different a fashion than it had on Mardi Gras.  I did not take quite as many photos that day, being short on battery power and memory, and the film camera that I had with me was for other purposes.

The people, the atmosphere, the happenings all came together to form a story.  I knew then that photo-documenting these events as they unfolded was definitely what I was looking to do.  These large scale events were already being done a hundred times over though; their story was already being told.  I wanted to tell the story of a different subject.  I just didn’t know what it was, until I heard that steady pulse of bass.

The last night of Southern Decadence, without a camera, my comrades and I stumbled into a dance club sometime around 2 am.  The DJ was spinning some soulful Deep House, and everyone was on their feet moving to music.  We were lost for hours there, and with the dawn, came a new light.  Recognizing the untold story, I returned to Kansas City to start laying the ground work.

Saturday, December 07, 2013


It is hard to believe it has been 12 years since this last project started. For many that follow this blog, it is probably hard to believe I am finally getting around to writing this down, and making the photos available again. What follows is as accurate account as I can surmise. If somebody knows a better lie, please feel free to jump in anywhere. The people are real and are their own truth.

It was more than a year before that though, that the inspiration for this particular project occurred, and it seems only fitting to post those photos first. It was the Millennium Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and a close friend and I had crossed half the US to be in what at first appeared a war zone. Indeed, taking our first exit in to the city of New Orleans, we were confronted with burning trash barrels. It was only the aftermath of a parade, but hundreds of people wandered the streets, as if there had just been a riot. It was a bizarre sight that we would later take odd comfort in being a part of.

“Flash” took the photos over that extended weekend of debauchery with good friends. There are only a few from the days leading up to Fat Tuesday, since he had to conserve floppy disk space on his Sony Mavica. There are lots of Mardi Gras day; a fantastic journey through seemingly endless cascade of parades and people. It was a whirlwind tour through chaos, starting with a Bloody Mary at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, ending up joining hundreds in rattling our excess of beads to one of the best street beats that I have ever been privileged to witness. Numerous musicians and several hundred people grooved on what could only be called House - New Orleans Live Improvisational Jazz Style. Seeing, hearing, and being a part of that was an amazing experience and it was a fantastic end to a fantastic event.

The next year I returned to Mardi Gras and later in the year, Southern Decadence and the stage was set for the set that first taken on this very night, December 7, 2001; the first peek inside the underground dance music subculture.