Following the drunken, manic Astro Attack performance were Japanese three-piece metalheads MOZ8. Despite starting well after midnight, they still commanded a sizable crowd that grew by the time the show was over. And what a show it was.
Before the show I had seen MOZ8 drummer Kumi in bright fluorescent clothing and seriously did not know what to think. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate finally getting to shoot a drummer wearing anything other than black, but it did seem a bit odd seeing a female drummer for a Japanese metal band running around in colors that would have secured her a place in the ’80s. I shouldn’t have worried, though, because as soon as the band started playing any doubts pretty much died.
An interesting thing about MOZ8′s music is that all three members get vocal time. While in the bassist’s case it’s more limited to guttural grunting and screaming, the overall affect is something akin to an orchestrated cacophony detailing the collision of a satanist and a pop singer. Confused? Yeah, I still am. Basically, the sound is very heavy, with a typical metal riff-driven background fronted by guttural singing and screaming, which is then contrasted against what is essentially sweet singing. Of course, I don’t understand Japanese so I can’t really vouch for whatever they might have been singing, but I can say that it sounds really good. If you like metal, or maybe just heavier music, you’ll definitely find something to like in MOZ8.
On the show business end of things, MOZ8 really has character. Besides the fact that the drummer is a larger-than-life type that basically is a character, the whole group really has a good sense of identity. And if the music isn’t enough to convince of it, the jumping off the wall and headbanging act will seal the metal deal. Even on a relatively-confined stage like Revolver’s, the band still found the room to jump around and juice up the entire audience.
All in all, it was a great show with good music. Good enough for me to buy a CD, even though they’re not a local band (I’m into supporting the local scene, you should be too!). Next time they’re in town, I’d say it’s well worth your time if you like your music heavy.
The lighting was Revolver standard dark with spots of bright, so it was a mostly high ISO evening (1600-3200 and up). The only real variations from my normal formula were going super slow for a few shots of the drummer and going astronomical-ISO for all the jumping around to boost shutter up a bit.
For the slow shots, I went down as low was 1/30 and still managed to get clear shots of her face. I love the motion blur from the drumsticks when shooting this slow, but it’s not a technique useable with everyone, as a lot of drummers tend to move their heads to the music. I got lucky in that Kumi was an exception and got the best of all possible factors: good exposure, dramatic motion blur and clear facial features couple with lower noise.
When the singer and bassist started jumping around and headbanging, things got interesting. Exposure was iffy, since they’d jump from dark to bright, or vice-versa. I chose to ensure a good capture and jacked up the ISO a stop, brought up the shutter to 1/250 (some at 1/320 even) and went to town. Basically it was machine-gun the hell out of the action and cross my fingers for a clear shot in good light. In the end, it worked well, and I walked away with a lot of useable action shots.
I took a few shots with my SB-700 just to make sure I had at least a couple of frames I knew for sure would be good, but in the end didn’t have to use them. I got more than enough shooting available light, and they all looked way better than with the strobe. I did learn a couple of valuable lessons on flash, though, and I’ll be writing that up later when I post the shoot where I tried everything out on.
Nikon D7000 (Amazon)
Nikon AF 24mm f/2.8D (Amazon)
Nikon AF 50mm f/1.4D (Amazon)
Nikon AF 80-200mm f/2.8D (Amazon)
Nikon SB-700 (Amazon)
Nikon SC-29 (Amazon)