Hands down, The Dillinger Escape Plan are one of the most dynamic live acts touring today. Their stage performance is likely one of the most intense experiences you'll encounter in live music – as an audience member, but especially as a music photographer.
As mentioned previously in the preview of this set, my primary goal was to photograph drummer Billy Rymer. The last time I'd photographed The Dillinger Escape Plan, I was satisfied with the cover I had for all the other members save Rymer, so it was my mission to bring home some killer shots of the talented drummer.
Dillinger are nothing short of a maelstrom of intensity on stage, so even with all-access and the freedom to use speedlights, I needed all the help I could get.
Even having photographed DEP twice before, when the band took the stage, I have to admit that I probably spent a many seconds just stunned by the sheer ferocity of the band. The guys came out on the attack, with only strobe lights blasting on stage to illuminate the stage.
For a band like The Dillinger Escape Plan who are using short-duration, one very real challenge of photography is achieving an accurate autofocus lock. When the duration of lighting is as short as it was with these guys, focusing and composing have to happen in a hurry; if you hesitate, the moment – and the light – is gone.
Regrouping from the assault of the band's entry, I shot at the front of what may have been the most narrow pit I've shot in to date. However, with shots of drummer Billy Rymer as my main goal, I quickly jumped on stage to solve the problem of how to bringing home the bacon when a musician is basically playing in the dark. Enter the speedlights.
Flash and live music photography may see to be at philosophical odds with one another, but I'm a practical man: flash was the perfect solution to this assignment.
While at most concerts I try and capture the most representative set that I possible can, I took the approach of this show as a character study for Billy, photographing the drummer individually and in the context of the band as much as possible.
One thing I have to do is give a shout out to Billy Rymer. After the show, the all of the band went to the front of the stage to give a little love to the fans, but Billy stuck around well after most of the room had cleared, handing out water and basically talking to the very last fans to say. Class act, 100%.
Big shout out to Lauren and Fallon, and especially to Billy for enduring me blasting him with searing hot white light all set long.
And of course, Dillinger's fourth studio album, Option Paralysis, drops March 23, 2010.
Want more Dillinger Escape Plan photos? You can see the last time I photographed Dillinger Escape Plan live and the portrait shoot I did with the guys in late 2009.