Dishwalla, still just as good…

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A band with a different lead vocalist from the original line-up. A couple years back, on the members Facebook accounts, without much fanfare, they announced what many fans had been guessing: the permanent replacement of original front man J.R. Richards with long-time friend and “Special Guest Vocalist,” Justin Fox.

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And not surprisingly, much of the preconcert chatter and comments were concerning this very fact. Some fans found it deeply disturbing and even question the mindset of the band, calling themselves by the same name. Bands often replace various members of the group and not many fans even notice. It’s a rare thing when all members of the group stay intact, U2 and Kiss are the only two I can come up with at the moment. But the lead vocalist is in the spotlight, they are usually the most recognisable member of the group and changing them, can change the dynamic completely.

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Others were okay with it and commented there’s more to a band then just the lead vocalists. Also this was an amlicable switch, which makes it easier to swallow, there’s instances where the lead singer is forced out by the other members, Journey, STP and J. Giels have tripped down this rough road, some come out ahead others behind. It’s extremely difficult, from all angles, for any lead vocalist to follow in the footsteps of another.

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As a photographer, the actual sound of the voice is inconsequential to me, I don’t think to much about the vocal itself, I basically study and review the singers mannerisms, so I know what to expect on stage. In this case, a new lead vocalist seemed to bring life back into a seasoned songbook. And the interaction among the band was suburb, other than the near miss on-stage collision, they played well together, like a well oiled machine.

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I was concerned going in, since I heard so much banter about it. Well let me assure you, the band have no such concerns and no one else should either. Justin rocked it, professional stage presence, knows how to work the crowd and super impressive vocal skills. He went from power, where the songs needed it, to a soft verbrato which mesmerised the crowd, really nice work. And this was even with a fill in to the regular drummer who had injured his foot and couldn’t make it to the Philippines.

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Dishwalla hail from Santa Barbara, California and are categorised as alternative rock, they hit their peak back in the late 90’s and are best known for their hit song “Counting Blue Cars.” Justin did a great job with the song but it’s one of those tracks where, when you hear it, in my head I always hear JR’s voice, no matter who is singing it.

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First time I’ve been to the Megatent over near Eastwood, it’s a tent…not to glamorous, but this is rock and roll, but one thing that did make a difference here, large sections of fabric that are suspended from the ceiling, in a wave like progression from front to back. This baffles the sound and makes a huge difference, it prevents it from bouncing around to much, so it sounded superb almost anywhere you were standing.

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Five front bands where a bit much though, go three tops. A few fans were beginning to complain, the band finally came on about midnight.

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Lighting was okay, basic stuff. But what made a difference, is the band was really into in. It was their last performance of their recent tour, so they were much looser than you might see than at the start of a road trip.

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A pleasure to photograph due to lenient photographic restrictions, maybe not the best lighting but the band members were enjoying themselves onstage and not freaking out about who’s photographing them, no ridiculous rules. The management and band are easygoing, relaxed and just having fun – refreshing to see these days.

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As usual, I had sent out the images to the media outlets and to the band themselves, usually the tour manager and I was surpassed with special bonus. The band posted a link to the their Facebook page saying I had captured some of the most epic shots of their career. A super special compliment that you don’t get everyday, I’m super proud of this set. Check it out here: http://www.irocktography.com/Live-in-concert/Dishwalla

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I was impressed and I’ve seen many bands perform, this was one of the top ten of 2014. If they come back, which I think they will, don’t miss it…

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