On the heels of the release of their prolific new album, War of Being, British djenters TesseracT kicked off their North American tour last week in Charlotte, NC (my hometown!). The massive 30-date tour, which features support from Intervals and Alluvial, stopped in New York City on Friday for an epic night of metal mastery at Manhattan’s Irving Plaza.
Alluvial opened the evening with the most brutal set of the night. They packed a hell of a lot of heaviness into a 30-minute slot, playing tunes from their 2021 album, Sarcoma, and offering a preview of their forthcoming EP, Death Is But A Door, with “Bog Dweller” and “Fogbelt.”
Though the band is billed from Atlanta, this was a homecoming show for vocalist Kevin Muller who is originally from Long Island. Muller noted as much before demanding the crowd show him some energy, a circle pit forming almost instantaneously as fans vibed to guitarist Wes Hauch’s shredding and the blasting rhythms held down by bassist Tim Walker and drummer Zach Dean.
Alluvial ended their set with “Anodyne,” the closing track from Sarcoma, leaving the crowd energized and eager to start headbanging again as soon as possible.
Prog quartet Intervals were up next to get those heads banging again with a set filled with soaring melodies and heavy riffage. Opening with “Mnemonic,” the title track from the band’s forthcoming new album, Intervals tore through a career-spanning setlist of killer instrumentals that highlighted the members’ technical prowess.
What the band was lacking in vocals they made up for in stage banter and crowd hyping. The fans ate it up, at one point chanting “New York” which led lead guitarist Aaron Marshall to note it was the first time he’d heard a crowd chant the name of their own city at a show. The chant then changed quickly to “you fucking rock!”; a rightly deserved phrase given the band’s high energy performance they’d delivered thus far. “Did you guys just set the bar for this tour?”, he asked the crowd, and they were quick to provide a loud confirmation.
Opening with “Natural Disaster” and “Echoes” from War of Being, TesseracT showcased the brilliance of their new material and the overwhelming resonance that it has amongst their fans. The band then time traveled back a decade to 2013’s Altered State with “Of Mind – Nocturne”, the room erupting with excitement as soon as drummer Jay Postones’ snare counted in the heavy grooves that followed.
Frontman Daniel Tompkins sized up the packed Irving Plaza crowd by asking for those seeing the band for the first time to raise their hands and then for the longtime fans to raise theirs; both sides of the spectrum had strong representation and unified in mutual amazement by TesseracT’s performance.
Tompkins’ vocal range is otherworldly; his reach of one of the high notes in “Legion” caused the crowd to literally cheer in amazement, and with good reason. To be able to sing with such range is incredible to begin with, but to be able to do it over the course of an entire set and night after night is mind-blowing.
TesseracT’s set came to a close with “Juno,” the band returning to the stage by demand of the crowd for an encore performance of parts one and two of Concealing Fate, “Acceptance” and “Deception” respectively. The tour continues through the middle of next month, capping off in Nashville, TN before the band heads back overseas for the European leg of their tour with Unprocessed and The Callous Daoboys.
For years I’ve dealt with an issue when my photos are very noisy or underexposed. When I try and push the exposure too much in Lightroom, I get this:
See those lines? Obviously I’ve really blown this edit out so you can see what I’m talking about, i.e. they’re not usually this glaringly obvious. What often happens is the photo looks fine in Lightoom, I export it, send it, and then look at it on my phone later and discover the problem. A photographer’s nightmare.
For as long as I’ve experienced this issue I’ve tried to find the right balance of settings and editing for low light situations to minimize the risk of this happening. I’ve felt beholden to it. With a problem like this, you might just wish there was a magic button to fix it. Well, as it turns out, there is. By simply unchecking “Enable Profile Corrections”, the lines disappeared. It was literally that easy. I didn’t have free rein to go crazy with my edits, but I could push the limits a lot more. The nightmare was over. I won’t go into the technical reasoning behind why that resolved the problem (I’m still learning it myself), but the forum post linked above has some details you might find interesting.
With this newfound freedom, I decided I’d push the limits of and boost my Auto ISO max, which was set to 3200, to 6400. I increased my shutter from 1/200 to 1/320 to take advantage of the increased range of ISO assistance and set my aperture to 2.8 to let in as much light as possible.
In terms of results, I’m not sure how I feel. The ISO at 6400 had much more noticeable noise, and the increased shutter speed didn’t make a huge difference in the number of action shots that were in focus. I will say, however, that this night had some of the most productive shoots of the drummers (thanks to the increased shutter speed). That said, I wasn’t sure if the tradeoff of higher ISO made things all that much easier for me when it came time to edit.
Given the noise, I figured it was a perfect opportunity for me to give Lightroom’s relatively new A.I. Denoise tool a try. The results were impressive:
This was a lot of changes to my process all at once. New settings, new editing steps, new challenges. I plan on dialing it back and reintroducing these approaches one at a time so that I can continue to increase my precision without exploring too many solutions at once. In other words, I need to slow down. Serendipitously, next week I’ll be catching Live doing an acoustic performance in Morristown, NJ and the change in tempo will be just what I need.