The Mowgli's Perform at DuQuoin State Fair, September 1, 2015

     The Mowgli's are an alternative rock band from Southern California. The talent and style of this group is exceptionally unique in the message they deliver in their songs. Always striving for the positive and upbeat perspectives, it is easy to see why they have a rapidly growing following in the online world. I recently had the opportunity to shoot photography at their concert via all access.

Here is how it went…

    I arrived to an empty arena with a large stage in the center. The stage was set with the instruments of The Mowgli’s. The sound crews had recently completed their sound checks, the lighting had been focused, and the only people visible was security and myself watching. The 7,000 seats lay empty with fans soon to fill them.

Colin Dieden - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion

     Part of connecting with the band, is seeing the cases for their equipment. Sitting on a tour bus for hours a day can get boring. Some performers turn to decorating their cases to pass the time, I feel the artwork shows what they are like when there is no one around. It shows their character. I have seen thousands of cases, but none quite like the ones I saw with The Mowgli’s. 

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      Knowing their music, this case just helped secure the realistic views they have on their message. This case could have stayed a black case with nothing more than a label that said, “The Mowgli’s”, but instead it captured the essence of art. From instrument to instrument I saw the remnant of dedicated individuals who put all of their efforts into what they do. 

     Following some shots on stage I bumped into Spencer Trent (pictured below), one of their guitarist. We stood side stage for a moment and talked about the upcoming show. You see, a lot of artists arrive at a venue and just sit on their bus or backstage until call time and I understand that fully, but not The Mowgli’s. This fun loving band had just gotten back from exploring the DuQuoin State Fair with each other in close to 100-degree weather. They were riding rides and enjoying their visit to the area. Speaking with Spencer, we had a great conversation on growing up and how we got to where we were. His modesty and appreciation for his current role was just sublime. You could see that he truly loved what he does and the atmosphere that comes with it. 

Spencer Trent, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals

Spencer Trent, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals

     After sitting backstage for a while, it was show time. They got stage left and grabbed close center left in the photo pit. I grabbed my Nikon D700 and Nikon D7100 with my Nikon 80-200 2.8 and my Sigma 24-70 2.8. I got low and the show started. The stage was only about 3 feet in the air and about 3 feet to the first seat so staying low and out of the way was my main goal. In the time we were backstage and the doors opened, the crowd had flooded in.

     I worked quickly to get individual shots of everyone up close before retreating to my second vantage point in the second floor. The energy was just unrivaled by any other band I had seen in this venue up to this point. They worked so well together and their music was absolutely seamless. The crowd excitedly sang along with their songs, but when they started playing the hit “San Francisco”, the excitement only grew. 

L-R Josh Hogan, Colin Dieden, Katie Jayne Earl

Andy Warren, Percussion, Drums, Vocals

Andy Warren, Percussion, Drums, Vocals

      As a photographer there is a time when I just have to say, I have gotten my shots, and lower the camera. We were only a few songs in and I was given all access for the show. Instead of shooting to see how many shots I could get, I stopped when I knew I had enough to give them some great shots. This is a boundary of discipline that is important as a photographer, more on that in a later blog. 

       The show went on without a hitch. I was able to get shots from the pit, stage left, stage right, second tier, high tier, and the tunnel entryway all in a matter of 12 minutes. I ended up with about 50 great shots for them. Some of the images have even been used on their social media pages.

     Spencer was the only musician in the band I was able to sit and talk with, primarily because they were all very busy. As a photographer my job is not to make friends with the musicians, it is to capture the experience for them. Sometimes however, they are kind enough to make friends with you. 

-Jonathon

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