Showing posts with label photo feature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photo feature. Show all posts

Sunday, January 21, 2018

PHOTO RECAP: THE OBSESSED Opening for CLUTCH New Years Eve 2017-2018 at Express Live! In Columbus, OH

Opening Artists: Devin Townsend Project, 
The Obsessed, Mike Wescott Band

Clutch - Psychic Warfare World Tour 2017
EXPRESS LIVE! - 405 Neil Ave Columbus, OH 43215
Sunday, December 31, 2017

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we've caught The Obsessed in Chicago on past tours and they were our favorites of CLUTCH's NYE 17/18 openers. We're Chicago based, but we were more than happy to road trip from Chi, IL to Columbus to catch CLUTCH. We've seen and photographed CLUTCH live numerous times over two decades and this was our 2nd time to catch them for a NYE show. I've even done a video interview with lead singer, Neil Fallon, that's still one of my favorite metal band interviews of all times. Fun fun. Here's our full set of photos of their openers, The Obsessed in the slide show here, with a few favorite shots embedded below. All photos by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara for

Thanks to CLUTCH for providing us with press comps and photo credentials. It's always a joy to shoot them and their openers in action.

The Obsessed
Full Set in the Slideshow Here 
More Favorites Embedded Below

Disclosure: Once again, thanks to CLUTCH for providing us with press comps and photo credentials. It's always a joy to shoot them and their openers in action.

More Photo Favorites:

Saturday, January 20, 2018

PHOTO RECAP: CLUTCH New Years Eve 2017-2018 at Express Live! In Columbus, OH

Clutch - Psychic Warfare World Tour 2017
EXPRESS LIVE! - 405 Neil Ave Columbus, OH 43215
Sunday, December 31, 2017

Thanks to CLUTCH for providing us with press comps and photo credentials once again. It's always a joy to shoot this fierce foursome and their openers in action. Check out our photo features on NYE Opening Artists: Devin Townsend Project and The Obsessed.

The New Years Eve show (appropriately enough on NEIL AVENUE) was incredible, with a stellar mix of old favorites and even a few brand new tunes off their upcoming release, slated for later this year. 

NYE Setlist:

We love that the band members take turns making the set list and it's always different from town to down, like the Grateful Dead of the metal scene. After over a quarter century touring together (still with the original lineup), they've got more than plenty of material to choose from, and tend to play a vast variety of obscure tracks mixed with old and new hits and fan favorites.

Two hours to showtime, we began the evening in earnest, with a pre-show meet up with a bunch of Gearheads from the private Clutch fans FB Page. Here's a shot from earlyish. Lots more members of the "Clutch family" showed up closer to show time. It was great to put some faces to the friends we've been on line with in the Clutch group since 2014, and to meet some new fans too.  

We met a girl celebrating her birthday, 
a couple celebrating their anniversary, several hard core fans 
who've been seeing shows since the mid 90's like us, 
and a handful of newbies catching their first live CLUTCH show. 
Energy was high and everyone was stoked to be there, from the back of the balcony to the rail riders that got to the venue 
hours early to stake out a spot.
Clutch did not disappoint. 
I can't think of a better way I'd rather welcome in a new year.

Here's our full set of photos in the slide show here, with a few favorite shots embedded below. All photos by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara for

Clutch NYE 2017/18 Express Live! 
Columbus, OH

Click here to check out Clutch's Official Website, for current tour dates, merchandise and tickets, and updates on their new release. 

At present, Clutch is back in the studio starting in January, working on a new release. We're excited to hear it. The world needs more Clutch! Clutch is in heavy rotation in our home, and remains one of our long time, genre defying favorites. 

We had a chance to catch a few of their upcoming songs during the new years show. Good news is, it sounds like classic Clutch. Bad news is, the new stuff seems to be lacking a bit of something. We're hoping they'll funk it up a bit more during the recording process. They're pros with 25+ years in the trenches, mostly under the radar, yet they're coming off their most commercially successful two albums ever, while staying true to their unique sound, so the bar is high. It's the old band catch 22, if you sound too much like your recent hits it's redundant, and too little like them and your core fans will revolt. 

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we've caught CLUTCH in Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana for over two decades. We're Chicago based, but we were more than happy to road trip from Chi, IL to Columbus to catch CLUTCH for New Years Eve 2017/18. We've covered and photographed CLUTCH live numerous times and this was our 2nd time to catch them for a NYE show. I've even done a video interview with lead singer, Neil Fallon, a few years back, right as Earth Rocker came out, that's still one of my favorite metal band interviews of all times.

VIP for the ADA:
At the venue I was beyond thankful for the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) seating. I've had major knee surgery twice over the past 14 months and I'm still healing from my most recent operation. This is the 4th time I've covered Clutch from ADA seating in 4 different venues. I wove through the crowds and made a trip up to the photo pit for the first 3 songs of each band's set (pretty standard for shooting shows) and was eternally grateful for a chair to return to, in a way no-one truly understands till they've been in major pain. 

I'm finally healed enough to get back to shooting live show as of December, but standing for hours is still a pretty painful prospect. It's been amazing meeting other fans in the ADA section. Some of the most hardcore, enthusiastic music lovers are there. It takes some true devotion to navigate a metal show in a wheelchair, on crutches, or otherwise differently abled. Clutch fans are some of the friendliest, most interesting people out there.

The guy on crutches in the seat next to me had also had knee surgery. He began our conversation "I've never seen Clutch...". I jumped in "They're amazing live, and NYE would be a great first show to see." He laughed and said, "No, I've seen them a ton of times for the past 20 years or more. I was gonna say, I've never seen Clutch on crutches before. This is pretty kickass. We have seats up close to the left of the stage. This is great." Yes, yes it was!

Clutch combined elements of funk, Led Zeppelin, and metal with vocals inspired by Faith No More. Formed in 1991 in Germantown, Maryland, the group included Neil Fallon (vocals), Tim Sult (guitar), Dan Maines (bass), and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums). They built a local following through constant gigging, and after just one 7" single (the classic Earache release "Passive Restraints") Clutch were signed by EastWest Records. Their debut LP, Transnational Speedway League, followed in 1993. A self-titled album appeared two years later and afforded Clutch some mainstream exposure. Pure Rock Fury appeared in 2001, and the similarly uncompromising Blast Tyrant came three years later as their first for DRT Records. Their seventh full-length, Robot Hive/Exodus, followed in 2005 and featured the first lineup change since the early '90s, the addition of organist Mick Schauer.

Clutch's numerous side releases included a groove-based album as well as Live at the Googolplex and the rarities record Slow Hole to China, both issued in 2003. Also issued in 2005, Pitchfork & Lost Needles combined Clutch's 1991 Pitchfork 7" with unreleased demos and early tracks. In the fall of 2006 the band hit the studio with producer Joe Barresi (Kyuss, Melvins) to record its next album; the resulting From Beale Street to Oblivion appeared in March 2007. In 2008 Clutch released a CD/DVD compilation of live tracks from shows in New Jersey, Pittsburgh, and Sydney titled Full Fathom Five: Audio Field Recordings 2007-2008 on their own label, Weathermaker Music. The band followed up in 2009 with Strange Cousins from the West before delivering its tenth album, Earth Rocker, in 2013. Buoyed by the success of that album (their highest-charting release ever) and eponymous lead single, Clutch continued their relentless touring through late 2015, when they released their 11th album, Psychic Warfare.

Disclosure: Thanks to CLUTCH for providing us with press comps and photo credentials once again. As always, all opinions, photos and experiences are my own.

More Photo Favorites:


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Review & Back Stage Photo Feature: Cirque du Soleil's TORUK in Chicago at The United Center

ChiIL Mama's Adventures 
Behind The Scenes at TORUK

It was my great pleasure to visit the United Center on the afternoon of opening night for rehearsal and a behind the scenes photo tour. The kids and I then went back for opening night that evening and loved it! Highly recommended. 

We were also thrilled to catch Australian puppeteer and father of two, Nick Barlow, for an exclusive video interview! Nick sets the bar high for world class puppetry on a massive, arena show scale, while balancing fatherhood. 

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Nick studied Visual and Performing Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts, in addition to puppetry, dance, physical theatre, circus, voice, Chinese Lion dance, and Japanese 'taiko' drumming.

Prior to joining TORUK – The First Flight, Nick’s first show with Cirque du Soleil, he was working with the giant puppet company Snuff Puppets.  As part of the company he was performing, touring, and building puppets.  Most recently he worked as a physical performer with Polyglot Theatre, and was a puppeteer on the Australian tour of 'War Horse'.

Beyond performing, Nick trains in Chinese Lion Dance, which uses kung-fu, acrobatics, puppetry, dance and music.  

Avatar movie fans will adore this live, stage version of the first TORUK flight with a rider, long before humans discovered the planet Pandora. Even if you haven't seen Avatar, the show stands alone as a visual feast full of world class acro acts, tissue (silks) acts, Spanish web, and stunning costumes, lights, and sets. Don't miss this! The arena shows are in and out of town fast. This one's only here for a short 5 day run, so get your tickets today! 

Check out my full set of photos right here in the slideshow. More favorites are embedded below.

Cirque du Soleil's TORUK 
in Chicago at The United Center

I love to see the process behind productions. So much work goes into making the magic and I find it fascinating to see the costumes and props up close. Cirque du Soleil puts an incredible amount of thought into every detail, from the custom designed fabric choices to the shorts to cover harnesses. 

The yarn weaves on the wigs are detachable for easy cleaning and replacement when necessary. And all the wigs and costumes feature earthy, natural items that could be found in the wild or made from natural fibers and materials like seashells, beads, beetle shells, and wood. 

It's truly a treat to see the actors in action during rehearsals too. Many are learning new acts so they can be understudies in case of injury or illness. The whole cast is in every show so they have to shuffle actors around to cover any gaps since they don't travel with extra performers.

Tickets for TORUK can  be purchased at 

The show
Inspired by James Cameron’s AVATAR, TORUK – The First Flight transports you to the world of Pandora in a visually stunning live setting. Experience a storytelling odyssey through a new world of imagination, discovery, and possibility.

Through a riveting fusion of cutting-edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft buoyed by a soaring cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination.

This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things.

Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, TORUK – The First Flight is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR, and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora.

When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys on the brink of adulthood, fearlessly decide to take matters into their own hands. Upon learning that Toruk can help them save the Tree of Souls, they set out, together with their newfound
friend Tsyal, on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains to find the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Prophecy is fulfilled when a pure soul rises among the clans to ride Toruk for the first time and save the Na’vi from a terrible fate.

Creative team
TORUK – The First Flight comprises 13 creators under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberté (Guide) and Jean-François Bouchard (Creative Guide) for Cirque du Soleil, and James Cameron, Jon Landau, Kathy Franklin and Richie Baneham for Lightstorm Entertainment:

Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon                Show Writers and Directors, Multimedia Directors
Neilson Vignola                                                 Director of Creation
Carl Fillion                                                           Set and Props Designer
Kym Barrett                                                        Costume and Makeup Designer
Tuan Le and Tan Loc                                        Choreographers
Bob & Bill                                                             Composers and Musical Directors
Jacques Boucher                                              Sound Designer
Alain Lortie                                                         Lighting Designer
Patrick Martel                                                    Puppet Designer
Germain Guillemot                                          Acrobatic Performance Designer
Pierre Masse                                                      Rigging and Acrobatic Equipment Designer

Sponsors and partners
TORUK – The First Flight in Chicago is proud to be presented by Visa Signature®, in association with United MileagePlus®. DHL is the official sponsor. The show is being created through a licensing arrangement with 20th Century Fox.

In an effort to bring audience members involvement to a whole new level, Cirque du Soleil will be launching a first-of-its-kind app for TORUK – The First Flight.  Working with long-time technology partner SAP, the app will enhance the overall show experience and enable audience members to be a part of the action before, during and after the performance! The app can be downloaded HERE

Here at ChiIL Mama, we did all try the app during the show with mixed results. It was somewhat distracting, and I felt a bit naughty, opening my phone during a show, but it was fun to be part of some key moments, and seeing large numbers of people in the stadium adding to the show's effects was empowering. My son's older android phone wouldn't run the app at all. The girls and I have iPhone 5s & 6s which worked, but were a bit glitchy. It may be that our T-Mobile signal wasn't stellar inside United Center or that too many people were on their phones simultaneously. Once we got in the fireflies part at the beginning, none of us could get out without shutting the app down altogether. Mine froze up at 2 points during the show and just gave me the welcome screen, not the action for the scene. Still, it was an interesting concept and I hope they improve and expand on it.

Follow us at, Twitter @cirque | Instagram @cirquedusoleil | Snapchat @CirqueSnap | #TORUK #Avatar #CirqueduSoleil

Cirque du Soleil
TORUK – The First Flight is Cirque du Soleil’s 37th production since 1984. The company has brought wonder and delight to more than 155 million spectators in more than 300 cities on six continents. Cirque du Soleil has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 performing artists from close to 50 different countries.

For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit
To find out more about the ONE DROP Foundation, visit

More of ChiIL Mama's TORUK Photo Favs:


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