It's been months since Ludo blasted the Pageant with confetti, flying poinsettias, and bombastic pop, but our ears have been ringing with melodic power chords ever since. Fresh off their A Very Ludo Chrismas tour, the St. Louis-natives bounced back into town for the release of their 2008, major-label debut, You're Awful, I Love You (Island).
While the Christmas motifs of the last show did not make a repeat appearance, theatrics and a party atmosphere were anything but absent.
Orange and white balloons covering the stage, oversized Ludo-cherries, and plenty of confetti – not to mention the band's antics on stage – made sure the night was a carnival for the eyes as well as the ears.
And, of course, the band brought the noise. Specifically, a tight set that pulled on golden oldies while still showcasing the best of the band's newest release. For me, the highlights were the perennial favorites “Hum Along” and “Part I: Broken Bride.”
At the helm was Andrew Volpe, bouncing on the stage like Buddy Holly hopped up on goofballs, equally at home shredding on his Fender as he was thrusting his hands into the air with gestures that would make the Three Tenors proud. And let's not forget the signature Duck Face.
Lighting up his Moog, Tim Convy kept up with Volpe's antics with his own contributions, making frequent trips to the front of the stage to hype the crowd, which needed no help in expressing their rabid affection for the five-piece.
In contrast to Volpe and Convy, bassist Marshall Fanciullo and Tim Ferrell played their sets more cooly, but with no less relish. Presiding over it all on a short riser, drummer Matt Palermo tore it up with fresh beats all night long.
Ludo's brand-spankin' new video for “Love Me Dead” is playing on MTV's TRL tomorrow, March 19 at 3:30 PM EST.
I had all access for this show and split my time from the photo pit and the side stages, with plenty of time crouching beside Matt Palermo's drumkit with the wide angle.
In contrast to the last time I shot Ludo, the stage was free of cotton-fluff snow and plastic candy canes; in their place, however, was a small sea (or if not a sea, a large pond) of white and orange balloons to match the color scheme for the new ablum's cover art.
For the first half of the set, these balloons covered most of the stage and were gradually kicked off, though they still posted an interesting challenge to shoot around.
If anything, lighting was the only technical weak point for this show, which seemed to lack the interest of the Christmas gig.
For the CD release, lighting was the Pageant's modus operandi of high, white frontlighting and thin backlighting.
The intensity kept shutter speeds up and ISO relatively low, at the expense of deep shadows.
Lots of warm light from the front, with mixes of red, blue, and orange from the back.
Lenses & Gear:
I shot with the Nikon D3 and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 for much of this show, with a good mix of the Nikon 14-24mm thrown in for comic effect.
The 70-200mm f/2.8 made some brief appearances, but I was mostly content to stay below 100mm.
Given the full-set shoot, I was happy to have a more leisure to try out the 14-24mm on Matt Palermo, which was an especially nice change considering the stage access.
Exposure & Metering:
Given the full-set shoot, exposure was all over the place. Sensitivities were set everywhere from ISO 1600 to ISO 6400, and shutter speeds were similarly varied.
Once again, this band was a joy to photograph. Once again, I failed at photographing Marshall Fanciullo, international man of mystery, ladies' man, and mad scientist on the bass guitar. Next time.