Tyson’s Favourite Concert of 2015

Arkells at Rifflandia/BreakOut West


Arkells – photo by Tyson Elder

I think I figured it out that I shot almost 100 concerts this year. That’s a lot of music. If I counted up the bands I took pictures of it would be probably be more than double that number. So it’s was a little hard trying to figure out what my favourite concert was.

This year I had one of my Arkells photos from earlier in the year published in the Rifflandia Magazine. It was a huge moment for me to see one of my photos on the inside back cover of the magazine that thousands of festivalgoers would see. Obviously, that meant that when the band returned to Victoria to play Rifflandia, I had to find lead singer Max Kerman to sign it for me.

When I finally did track down Max he offered me #ArkellsAllAccess with my friend Christine McAvoy. That meant we got to shoot whatever and where ever we wanted during the band’s entire show. That’s right: I got to shoot a Rifflandia headliner from an empty photo pit after all the other photographers had left. Side stage, backstage, and everywhere in between.

I think I had more fun singing along to the songs with Christine in the photo pit than actually shooting one of my favourite bands.

Honourable Mentions: The Wet Secrets at Aniän (Rifflandia/BreakOut West), Fred Penner at Alix Goolden Hall, Thuderpussy at Sugar Nightclub, Helio Sequence at The Metro (Rifflandia), and The Coup at Otalith.

Bud’s Favourite Concert of 2015

The Wet Secrets at Rifflandia/BreakOut West

The Wet Secrets - photo by webmeister Bud

The Wet Secrets – photo by webmeister Bud

I should probably specify that the Wood Hall show is the one I’m talking about, seeing as I managed to shoot every single performance The Wet Secrets put on. They were the only band, I believe, to perform thrice during the festival.

Yes, the light was great, the sound was fantastic, the venue was indoors (and so blessedly dry), and the performance was amazing, but what made this show my favourite was that fully half of the audience packed into that little room were people I knew or knew of and, were I a betting man, I’d bet a shiny nickel that many were there to experience TWS for the first time based on our Who to See at Rifflandia recommendation, and that warm fuzzy feeling was only amplified when Lyle opened the show with a shout out to Rocktographers.

Honourable mentions: Mike Edel + Towers and Trees at The Roxy, Isobel Trigger at Long & McQuade, The Coup at Otalith, Dear Rouge at Distrikt.

Kirsten’s Favourite Concert of 2015

Father John Misty at Rock the Shores


Father John Misty – Photo by Kirsten James Creative

J Tillman, better known as his moniker Father John Misty, brought his unique swagger to Rock the Shores. His onstage persona includes, hip swaggering, deadpan banter, and literally losing his shit in songs — falling to his knees like a possessed preacher. The moment he stepped on stage the audience couldn’t help but be captivated as he began to belt out “I Love You Honeybear.”

He made that stage his as he swaggered back and forth with every ounce of his tormented soul. Often coming down into the pit seemingly disinterested to pace back and forth, sometimes sitting on the steps. Always imploring his deadpan wit, “Nothing says ‘Summertime Festival Season’ like a depressing ballad about malaise,” drolled Tillman.

Without warning Tillman would fall backwards onto his knees, look to the sky and thrust his hips, like he was literally seducing the entire audience, and it worked. I heard more comments about Father John Misty than any other artist the entire weekend.

At one point, Tillman exclaimed, “I need one of those fucking whales” which the audience, caught in his mystique, was quick to oblige. He then launched into his malaize filled “Bored in the USA” while gently caressing the VIATEC whale — oh to be a whale! The moment was captured on video by Rocktographer alumni Darren Ho and Magmazing Music (Adam Lee). Father John Misty was a joy to watch, combining clever humour, emotional lyricism, and true passion to the Rock the Shores stage.

Honourable mentions: Chromeo at Sasquatch, Royal Blood at Sasquatch, The Glorious Sons w/ Northcote and Poor Young Things at Distrikt, Arkells + Dear Rouge at Sugar Nightclub

Lindsey’s Favourite Concert of 2015

Against Me! at the Vogue Theatre


Against Me! – photo by Lindsey Blane

I traveled to Vancouver the night before Rock the Shores to see and shoot Against Me! at the Vogue Theatre – which happens to be my all time favourite venue to shoot at. Despite going to the show alone, I had so much fun shooting and sticking around for the whole set. It’s been a few years since I last saw Against Me! and it was amazing to see frontwoman Laura Jane Grace kicking ass and taking names. They played a mix of old and new, and the near sell-out crowd hung on to every last word.

Photos from this show almost didn’t see the light of day – I left my hard drive containing all my 2015 work while on the ferry back to Victoria to shoot Rock the Shores. A few days and many tears later, the drive showed up in the BC Ferries lost and found, much to my relief. This concert has stuck with me for many reasons, and is by far one of my favourite memories of 2015.

Honourable mentions: Paramore at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Twenty One Pilots at Keyarena in Seattle, and Arkells with Dear Rouge at Sugar Nightclub.