I messed up. This post should have gone out before my last post with photos from Red Handed Denial’s Dirty Diana MV shoot, but here’s a recap of the second half of my 2015 when I started working with the band, aka how I tagged along on their summer shows and took photos.
My story with Red Handed Denial started back in 2011 when I saw them perform at a Battle of the Bands show and was super impressed by their stage presence.
I remember leaving wishing I had shot them… but wait, in the months it took for me to prepare this post, I found the photos, which was reassuring because I kept telling this story without proof other than my memory and I was starting to think that I had made it up. Maybe one day we will release those gems. But since the first time I saw them, I’ve kept tabs on them, and I went to their Stories of Old album release show in 2013, which, oh my god, I actually wrote about in a timely fashion. Probably because I wanted to get on their radar so I posted those photos super fast, and in hindsight it totally worked. But we kept missing each other and didn’t meet in person until Warped Tour this past July and THAT IS WHERE CHAPTER TWO OF THIS STORY BEGINS.
July 17, 2015 — Vans Warped Tour @ Toronto, ON
I have shot Warped Tour every year since 2009 except 2014, and it has rained every other year on the Toronto date. 2015… was one of those raining years. It rained on and off the entire day, but at least it wasn’t raining when RHD played.
The band played right by the lake at a stage that’s in a pit… um just look at the photos, I’m not sure how to describe it. But there is a huge gap between the stage and the crowd, and the crowd is essentially on a “balcony” directly facing the stage. At one point, Lauren, the lead singer, got off the stage and climbed up the rocks to get closer to the crowd. I quickly followed when I figured out what she was going to do, and climbed up to get a better angle. I was so sure I was going to slip and fall or hit my camera with the rocks but that didn’t happen. I got some interesting shots with the crowd in.
This shot looks simple but it wasn’t easy to take. There were two rows of people between Lauren and me, and she was also walking back and forth so it was hard to track. She probably stopped here for a few seconds longer than usual? I vaguely remember people making space for me to get some photos. Thank you, nice people.
Look at that “photo pit.”
July 25th, 2015 — Night It Up! @ Markham, ON
I loved how these photos turn out, especially since unsigned bands don’t usually get bright lights and LED backgrounds at a club show. I guess it’s the best part about outdoor summer shows, haven’t shot enough of those to have an informed opinion yet :) Fun fact: I took photos of Maybe Refuge last year’s Night It Up! (here’s the post) and I found out later that RHD’s drummer Tyson Dang filled in for that show, I love how small the world is.
August 22nd, 2015 — Rock the Mill @ Cambridge, ON
My first out-of-town show with the band. It was also the first time I saw the show process through a band’s perspective, from load in to teardown to the midnight post-show band meeting in a parking lot that continued at a Tim Horton’s before the drive home. That was such a great day.
Tyson played an acoustic set earlier that day at the Cambridge City Hall, which impressed me with its awesome skylight and a living green wall.
September 26th, 2015 — KOI Festival @ Kitchener, ON
Last summer show! Don’t remember much from the day aside from watching the merch tent when the band went to do an interview. They played their set in the early evening, and then we just hung out at the merch tent nomming burgers in that cool late summer air, and watching other bands play.
Thanks for reading! Red Handed Denial has a lot of plans in the works, including an upcoming EP with a much refined sound than their previous work. I’m so lucky and excited to be working with such a talented and genuine group of people, I can’t wait to see how the next chapter unfolds.*
*Is this cheesy? Let me know. After all, their last album was called Stories of Old, I’m just working with the theme here.