ZZ Ward at The Roxy in West Hollywood on November 17, 2023
ZZ Ward has been a staple in my playlists for years now, so when she finally came to LA when I can cover her, I dropped everything to do so. I try to avoid The Roxy because they don't have a photo pit, but on the rare occasion when there is someone worth nearly dying for, I will go there. It just so happens that that happened twice in one week.
My bestie was able to join me for this show which made it 100 times better. We met up before the show and went to dinner at a sushi spot across the street. It was so lovely.
Once we went inside, I found a group of tall people at the front of the stage to ask if I could get in front of them for the three songs I am allowed to shoot. They were more than happy to allow me to do so and were just pleasant, kind, and lovely people.
I can't even articulate how happy I am that I got to do this. ZZ Ward is so underrated and I find that to be tragic.
You can read my official review here.
Well, it happened. The one thing that terrifies me more than being eaten alive by a shark is talking to people. But, if I'm not doing things that terrify me, if I stay just inside my safe, comfortable little bubble, then what is even the point? So, I took on the task of conducting my first interview with a musician that I am a huge fan of, Barns Courtney.
I had been freaking out in the days leading up to the interview. What if I asked stupid questions? What if he was super bored or annoyed with what I was asking? What if I can't even form sentences correctly and it comes out all gibberish? It wasn't the fact that he's a celebrity that was freaking me out. I worked for 10 years at a photo store where celebrities came in nearly every day. It was just the fact that talking is hard for me sometimes.
So, the day of, I got to the venue super early because in the back of my mind I was convinced that if I didn't, the rain would cause such huge delays that I would miss my interview early. Because people in LA really don't know what to do when it rains. It's simple. Slow down. That's it. That's the magic trick for surviving driving in the rain. Anyway, I didn't miss my window.
I was escorted upstairs to the where Barns Courtney was and he cleared the room for the interview...which you can read here. I can not say enough good things about Barns Courtney. He was so patient and kind with me the whole time. He understood exactly where I was coming from and did not make me feel self-conscience at all. Having dealt with numerous celebrities in the past as a retail worker throughout high school and college, I have had some not so pleasant experiences where because I was not on "their level," I didn't need to be treated like a person. Barns Courtney was not like that. He went out of his way to reassure me that he enjoyed my questions and make me feel comfortable. We are totally besties for life now. Also, having met him in person, I am totally high school crushing on him so hard right now. Can anyone pass him a note for me?
I will absolutely cover him every chance I get. If you haven't heard his music yet, please do so now. His music is addictive.
And as an added bonus, here is a list of celebrity customers who were always so kind and wonderful when they came into the store:
Stephanie Edwards (One of the nicest human beings to have ever lived.)
Meatloaf (I took his passport photos so he could tour. You're welcome, world.)
Will Smith (He thought I was delightful.)
Amy Lee (She would skip into the store. She is so lovely.)
Lisa Bonet (There is a beautiful calmness to her that made any bad day so much better.)
Barns Courtney at The Roxy in West Hollywood, California on November 15, 2023
I have never tried to hide the fact that I am a huge Barns Courtney fan. I am not ashamed. His music is addictive, and he is incredible on stage. I covered him last year and I was not going to miss him when he came back. In fact, I will cover his shows every single time he comes to town.
I was so nervous and my anxiety was overwhelming so I got to the venue super early to make sure I could handle any issues that might come up so I didn't miss my interview slot. It was a rare night where it was raining in LA and it felt like everything was against me. It wasn't. The traffic was clear. It was all in my head. But RAIN! In LA! It's unheard of! I got there with plenty of time. Yes, there was an issue with my credentials, but it was all handled and worked out super easy.
I am not a fan of shooting at The Roxy. They don't have any kind of barrier for photographers and I have had a few issues with people trying to push their way into the space that I was already occupying. Not, next to me, but where I literally was. I ended up pinned to and bent over the stage on several occasions. This time I decided that I was going to find the tallest people I could at the front of the stage and ask them if I can get in front of them when the time came for the three songs I was allowed to shoot. The people I found, a lovely family, were so kind and willing and understanding so that took so much anxiety off of my shoulders.
Immediately after I found my new best friends, I was escorted upstairs for the interview. It was my first interview and Barns Courtney was so kind. He made me feel very comfortable.
After the interview, I headed back downstairs to do the one thing concert photographers are very good at...wait. I played games on my phone. Well, then the time came. I found my new friends and took my position at the front of the stage and the show started. It did not take long for Barns Courtney to find me at the stage and he made it a point to play into my camera so much. It was wonderful. Then, he did something that I did not see coming. He turned around and did a trust fall right on top of my head. I watched it happen through my camera and it took me longer that I would care to admit to realize what was happening. The people around me caught him. It was hilarious.
Because he was spending so much time in front (and on top) of me, another photographer decided she wanted to be in the space I was existing in. Oy vey, lady, I would have moved if you had asked. I was pinned bent over the stage again. Not were I wanted to be. So, I had to push back. I am a firm believer in working with the other photographers and always tell them to shoot over my head or shoulders or tell me to move if they need it, but all bets are off when you get physically aggressive with me like that. I will push you back, butthead. Anyway, the wonderful people around me didn't like her, either and she went away very quickly.
Thankfully, Barns Courtney and I both survived the night unharmed.
You can read my official show review here.
Come with me on some awesome photo adventures and a few wild shenanigans.