With my trusty Canon T2i in tow, I do my best to take photos at all the shows I go to, but sometimes subpar lighting conditions (I’m looking at you, Opolis) make my efforts something of a wash. The opportunity afforded by a band with a gigantic light spectacle on a big stage is always nice (My Morning Jacket at Brady Theater, for instance), but the most important lesson I’ve learned shooting shows is that there aren’t easy shortcuts.
Oftentimes, you have to work really hard to get the kind of shot you want, and, as I learned at Austin City Limits this fall, that could mean standing in one place for eight hours with limited access to water. Luckily, I survived, and was able to celebrate later with really cool photos of Arcade Fire. Totally worth it.
That said, here are my favorite concert shots of locals and non-locals alike, from 2011. All photos mine.
1. Jim James, aka Yim Yames, My Morning Jacket
front man, fiddles with his Chaos Pad during “Victory Dance,” the first song of the band’s December set at Brady Theater on Dec. 6.
2. Antonio Laster of Stillwater electro band Brother Bear, on the Opolis outdoor stage at Norman Music Festival IV on April 29.
3. Rapper Jabee
’s crew joins him onstage during a set at Farmers Public Market on Jan. 21. He shared the bill that night with Josh Sallee, Roosh Williams, Napalm, Kydd and headliners The Cool Kids.
4. Nicholas Thorburn leads rock supergroup Mister Heavenly during its 35 Conferette set on March 11.
5. A member of Girl Talk
’s crew sprays toilet paper at fans inside Opolis on Dec. 3.
6. Frank Black of the Pixies
, at Coca-Cola Events Center in Bricktown on Nov. 15. They played “Doolittle” in its entirety, as part of the “Lost Cities” tour of places they’d never previously played.
7. Win Butler of Arcade Fire
, during the band’s headlining set at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sept. 19.
8. James Smith, singer
hollerer for garage punks The Boom Bang
, juggles the mic on the Opolis outdoor stage at Norman Music Festival IV on April 30. Please note his T-shirt.
9. Lisa Lobsinger, singing with Broken Social Scene
at Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sept. 19.
10. Ryan Hahn of Local Natives during their 35 Conferette set in Denton, Texas, on March 12.
11. Reggie Watts performs at 35 Conferette, also on March 12.
12. Joshua Epstein, one half of indie-pop outfit Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
, tosses popsicles at a famished crowd during its Sunday-afternoon set at Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sept. 19.
13. Oklahoma City’s own Josh Sallee
at Farmers Public Market on Jan. 21.
14. Peter Silberman of Brooklyn’s The Antlers
sings “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out” at Austin City Limits Music Festival on Sept. 18.
15. Regine Chassagne of Arcade Fire
sparkles during the band’s Austin City Limits Music Festival headlining set on Sept. 19.
16. James Blake
makes a severely nasty stank-face during his Austin City Limits Music Festival set on Sept. 18.
17. Jabee plays the Sooner Theatre at Norman Music Festival IV on April 30.
18. Prolific punk-rocker Ty Segall whips his hair back and forth during his Saturday-afternoon set at Norman Music Festival IV on April 30.
19. Will Butler bangs his drum during Arcade Fire
’s Austin City Limits Music Festival set on Sept. 19.
20. Hamilton Leithauser, singer for New York rock band The Walkmen
during their Norman Music Festival IV set, for which they were very nearly late, due to a van breakdown, on April 30.
21. Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen
, again on April 30, kicking the crap out of a wayward beach ball.
22. Philip Phillips, of several Tulsa bands, plays with Native Lights (at least I’m pretty sure it was Native Lights — possibly Unwed Sailor) at Norman Music Festival IV on April 29.
23. Arcade Fire
’s Will Butler and Richard Reed Parry get into some percussive mischief while singer Win Butler keeps with the song in the foreground, on Sept. 19.
24. Seth McCarroll performs with Brady Smith (background) of Norman post-rock band Gentle Ghost
at the Blackwatch Stage Thursday night of Norman Music Festival IV on April 28.
25. Nic Offer, singer for Sacramento dance-rockers !!!, gets the crowd’s feet moving at 35 Conferette in Denton, Texas, on March 13.
26. Eric Mai’s bass guitar reflects a nifty strobe light during his Norman Music Festival IV set at Opolis with reunited and much-loved indie-rock band, The Neighborhood
, on April 28.
27. Nicholas Thorburn and Honus Honus share a moment while playing with Mister Heavenly at 35 Conferette, on March 12.
28. Andrew Whiteman of guitar-heavy Canadian rock band Broken Social Scene
plays during the band’s Austin City Limits Music Festival set in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 19.
29. Big Boi, of OutKast fame, performs solo Sunday night at 35 Conferette, on March 13.
30. Noelle Kilgore looks on at her husband, Ben
, during their Norman Music Festival IV set at the Blackwatch Stage, on April 28.
31. Frank McElroy performs with Dr. Dog at 35 Conferette on March 12.
32. Indeterminate members of kaleidoscopic indie band The Gentle Art of Floating
play inside Opolis at Norman Music Festival IV, on April 28.
33. Analog Rebellion at 35 Conferette on March 11.
34. Kelcey Ayer of California indie Local Natives
at 35 Conferette on March 12.
35. Ty Segall gets possessed by the devil at Norman Music Festival IV on April 30.
36. Louisiana pop-rock act Generationals
perform at 35 Conferette on March 12.
37. Reggie Watts shows his ’fro at 35 Conferette on March 11.
38. Nicholas Thorburn, of Mister Heavenly, at 35 Conferette on March 11.
39. Jabee throws it up at Farmers Public Market on Jan. 21.
40. The crowd at Girl Talk
’s now-infamous Opolis show on Dec. 3.
OKS in 2011 — Monday: Your most-viewed VOTDS
OKS in 2011 — Tuesday: The Year in Photos
OKS in 2011 — Wednesday: By the numbers
OKS in 2011 — Thursday: OKSee's Honorable Mention Albums of the Year
OKS in 2011 — Friday: OKSee's 30 Favorite Albums of 2011