British metalcore outfit Ithaca are in the midst of their very first tour of the United States. The band is covering a lot of territory over the twelve dates they’ve booked, starting last week at Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky and traveling from the east to west coast before wrapping in early October at Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, CA. The second stop of the tour was on Sunday night at the legendary Saint Vitus in Brooklyn. Ithaca was joined on this rain-soaked evening by fellow heavy acts Husbandry and Dreamwell.
Rhode Island-based Dreamwell was up first. Before they even finished the first song of their set I knew I was going to dig them. They’re the perfect kind of focused chaos, disorienting then melodically satisfying with heavy breakdowns that demand headbanging.
Dreamwell’s setlist included a handful of new songs including “Blighttown Type Beat”, the latest single from the band’s forthcoming album, In My Saddest Dreams, which is out October 20th. I for one am very much looking forward to that release.
Husbandry was up next. The NYC-based band delivered a set as soulful as it was heavy. Frontwoman Carina Zachary was earnest and passionate in her vocal delivery, the band equaling the passion in their instrumentation while feeding off of one another’s charisma. The crowd, initially apprehensive to approach the stage due to self-proclaimed shyness, couldn’t hold back any longer and inched ever closer to the band, drawn in by the energy and intensity of their performance.
Husbandry’s set included a handful of new songs yet to be released as well as a few older tunes such as “The Bells of St. Clemens” from their 2019 release, A Port In A Storm. The entire album deserves your time and attention. I’m definitely looking forward to catching another show of theirs again soon.
The crowd was electric when Ithaca took the stage and kicked off their set with “In The Way“, the opening track from the band’s excellent 2022 release, They Fear Us. The album is absolutely beautiful, and I have listened to it countless times since first discovering the band at the beginning of this year. I was excited to finally hear these songs in a live setting, and judging by the enthusiasm with which many fans were singing along to frontwoman Djamila Boden Azzouz’s every word, I was far from the only one that felt that way.
The vulnerability that exists within Ithaca’s lyrics and the fans’ connection to them harvested a closeness between the band and the crowd, the intimacy of Saint Vitus providing the perfect conduit for the connection to flourish.
Djamila Boden Azzouz noted that Ithaca drummer James Lewis’ travel visa was not approved which forced a last minute drummer shakeup prior to the beginning of the US tour. The band recruited a talented friend and colleague to sit in on Lewis’ behalf, the upside being that the drummer was fantastic and handled the job perfectly, but the downside being that the band had to cut their set short.
Prior to playing their last song, Ithaca took a moment to share their gratitude to those in attendance for being there, a feeling which was loudly reciprocated by their cheering fans. The band closed with “They Fear Us” before taking and bow and promising to return soon. Selfishly, I hope that the day comes really soon, and that it involves a performance of “Hold, Be Held” complete with some vibey disco ball lighting. Until then, I am thrilled to have been able to be on hand for Ithaca’s very first, and certainly not the last, show in New York City.
I’m an idiot. That’s a bit harsh, but let me explain. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m editing exclusively in black and white. I shoot in color, dump the photos in Lightroom, and apply a B&W starter preset that I built and then go from there. It’s always exciting to watch the transformation from color to greyscale to see which images pop and which don’t. Still, I’d been wanting for quite some time to have the ability to know how the image will look in black and white while I’m taking it and not only after I start editing.
The Canon R5 has a digital viewfinder and offers a monochromatic color profile – seems like a no brainer, right? But what if I end up wanting the photo in color? Therein lies the apprehension I had. You can take color away from a color image, but you can’t add color back to a black and white image…right?
Sometimes life’s greatest questions can be answered by a quick search on Google. It was there I found that as long as I was shooting in RAW, the color information would be retained. I could shoot in black and white with no issue. In other words, I’ve been spending close to a year asking myself a question that took all of 30 seconds to answer.
A “better late than never” mentality feels like a coping mechanism but that’s what I’ll go with here. I made the switch to monochromatic prior to this show and decided to give it a go. As expected, it was a serious game changer. I was able to walk away from the show with a clear understanding of how the shoot went, what adjustments I’d need to keep an eye on, etc. Again, a serious game changer. It’s embarrassing to admit my ignorance but I want to share with you everything I’m learning, from the painfully obvious to the incredibly helpful.
I always have a bit of anxiety before shooting a show at a venue with no photo pit, and even though I’ve been to Saint Vitus countless times, I still feel it every time. The anxiety was for naught as the show was a breeze to shoot. The bands were on fire, the lighting was bright but provided enough contrast for me to get the style of shots that I wanted. I threw on my speed light from time to time as well to get some shots with a slower shutter. My results there were decent but highlighted a need for me to brush up on my skills, as the shot I wanted and the shot I got were often very different. Definite room for growth.
The biggest takeaway here, though, is that I’m now truly seeing in black and white, and I imagine that is going to make a huge difference moving forward, both in terms of how I shoot and how I edit. Time will tell!