Nothing But Thieves | MuteMath | Cat's Cradle

I’ve been out of the professional photography world for a couple of years now, but as soon as I heard MuteMath was coming back to Cat’s Cradle I knew I had to get a photo pass. I hadn’t photographed a band since 2009 when they played in Charlotte. Out of practice but so damn excited to photograph my favorite band, I had no clue I’d also fall for their opening act.

The show was February 12th 2016, and the opener was Nothing But Thieves. I’d heard some sweet things about lead singer Conor’s range and a few comparisons to Matt Bellamy from Muse were thrown out from other Mute fans who’d seen the show the night before. Amazingly for them, they just started opening for Muse this week!

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Damn was I blown away by these boys from England. Their debut self-titled album has been on heavy rotation in this house and I have a different song of theirs happily stuck in my head daily. I fall in love with an incredible voice, but if you can rock out on stage with some great songs too? I’m done.

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These guys know what I’m talking about. They sang every song at the top of their lungs, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the band. I didn’t photograph NBT as much as I now wish I had, since I wanted to pay attention without a camera on my face stealing my focus. Now I’m watching their tour schedules for life hoping to catch them again when I can sing along like this too. 

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No shit, I’m an instant fan girl and cannot stop with these guys. I have a serious new band crush/obsession for the first time in years.

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I doubt anyone will ever knock MuteMath off my #1 list of favorites, but these thieves are holding some kind of top 5 ranking on the immediate. Pretty impressive. And now for much scrolling because damn I took a lot of MuteMath photos. Also thankfully I’m at a point where I can enjoy their show with a camera on my face and sing all the songs at the top of my lungs. They get better with every show, though I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them. I think was my 7th show since seeing them for the first time in 2006 in this same spot. Whatever the number, they’re still kicking ass. See for yourself, and check their latest album, Vitals, too. 

The intro to Mute shows never disappoint.

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I would like to note that the gal who tried writing a love note to Todd was interrupted by security and almost thrown out for writing on the setlist. I only tell you this to defend what looks like poor grammar. The “To” was supposed to say “Todd.” ;) 

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The lighting setup for this show is beast. I was most excited to listen and dance, but was a bit nervous about my photography skills with their sick-ass lights. I worried more about settings than composition, but am still loving the images I brought home, and more importantly the moments they take me back to when I look at them.

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I giggled with our (talented and super sweet) photographer friend Kristen about how nervous I was to be fan-girling and photographing our favorites, and how happy I was to be so close to the guys that I’d be photographing straight up Paul’s nose. So I had to go literal. 

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The bird is the word.

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Darren’s drum show never disappoints…

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Darren pulled some front-row folks onto the stage to wear some kickass percussion gloves. Basically he played by high-fiving them while they wore the gloves. Talk about an amazing fan experience!

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Normally if I’m shooting I move around the stage a bit, but the Cradle was packed front to back and I really enjoyed my spot. Especially knowing how likely it is for the band to hop into the crowd at any time. Hi Paul!

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Getting high in so many ways at this show (all legal y’all, all legal).

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The lighted mattress experience is amazing every time, even though Paul was tossed from it at our show. He was lovingly caught thank goodness, and uninjured as far as we know.

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I’ll end this long post as briefly as possibly, but just want to say this about music: Today (weeks after this show took place) was a hard day to adult/parent in our house. Some days just are for so many varying reasons. But I played some music from all of these guys while Riley (now 2 1/2 and very picky about what music he listens to) ate his lunch at the table. Not only did I catch him dancing to it, but when I turned it down to talk to him he then asked me to turn it up “super loud again please Mommy.” And that’s how I know I’m winning at parenting today.

Love & hugs & sweet music in your ears.

~m.

showered

What in the world is it about being in a bathroom that can sometimes make people incredibly productive? I know this isn’t just me, guys. My productive thinking happens in the shower. I won’t get too detailed here, but we have more than one friend who is most productive when doing other bathroom-related things. Let’s just say that thought-dumping happens in there (poop joke) for many of us.

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Maybe it’s because the bathroom is one place where no matter where you are, you go there for a specific purpose. There’s room for thoughts to fill your head as you’re doing whatever business you came to do habitually. I was laughing with Jordan the other day because every time I get in the shower, I curse myself for not putting the waterproof case on my phone. Because inevitably, I always think of at least seven different things I want to write about, or have defining conversations in my head with people that I’d never have in real life and get shit figured out about them and about me. A lot of discovery is done during my shower, and if I don’t take note of the things pouring out of my mind, those thoughts seem to wash right down the drain with my way-too-expensive shampoo and conditioner. (My dad is a hairdresser. I’m very particular about my products.) So I’ve started keeping a stool next to our shower with my phone resting on top. I grab it at least once but usually three or four times to pour a list of topics into my Day One app so I remember what the hell I was thinking. 

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So here begins the shower log blog. The thing that’s been crossing my mind for years now is one that I’ve read, word for word, on other blogs/posts/whatevers: Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? What worth do my words have? What could I possibly write about that hasn’t already been written about elsewhere? If everyone who had these doubting thoughts let said thoughts stop them from writing, there would be a hell of a lot of good content lost. So here I am, sharing the beginning of my randomosities. And I’ll tell you why, as briefly as I can.

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A friend once told me about the idea that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Google tells me this idea is entrepreneur/motivational speaker Jim Rohn’s. That’s cool, Jim, and I mostly agree with you. Of course, I factor who I am innately in there too. But when it comes down to it, I’m always affected by who and what I surround myself with. Everything from who I hang out with, what I watch on tv/other screens, who I follow on social media. It all affects my mood and my thought process. On social media, I follow a lot of very inspirational people who share the same kind of positive thoughts I tend to have, and shit on a lot of the same negative ones I’ve had (more poop jokes, I’ve got ‘em). I like anyone who can be real and still hold things in a positive light while also acknowledging but trying to squash negativity. Does that make sense? Anyway my thing is, I tend to be a lurker there. I read a lot, and only really comment when I feel like I could be of help to someone else who’s asked for help. But sometimes, reading just one relatable post turns my whole day around for good. So, if I can shower you all with some random thoughts that might help you in some way, I’m down with that. Or should I say I’m up for that? Yeah, I’m up for that. Positives, y’all. The shower’s on, the pressure is high but oh so nice, and it might even get a little bit steamy at times. Join me if you will. On this blog I mean. Right.

~m.

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being you/me

It’s been about three years now since Jordan and I have shot regularly for our photography business. In those three days-are-long-but-years-are-short years, life has changed in so many ways. I was pregnant and sick for what felt like a year, then nursing for what felt like five. Jordan went from teaching to entering the world of tech, and I went from running around with client kids with a camera to running around with my own kiddo with that same camera. Family became a more sacred thing in our minds and hearts. We’ve been through some shit in our own relationship and in a friendship or two, and have come out stronger on the other side of it. And there’s this imperfectly perfect little being consuming almost every bit of our time, running around our house (or “flying” if you ask the plane-obsessed being himself) and over every inch of our hearts, into spaces and edges I didn’t even know were available.

Said being is in the toddler stage of figuring out pronouns. He currently calls himself either by his own name in third person (pronounced “Riwey”) or “you,” as he hears us saying that to him quite a bit. I’ve been putting a lot of focus on “you” these last three years. Figuring out who you are, taking care of you, asking you what you need. And by “you,” I really mean me. While navigating ourselves through these new roles and in our relationships, there’s a lot of emphasis on taking care of ourselves. That’s important, but I want Riley to understand how to also care for others. Kindness and compassion are at the top of a list of traits I want to instill in him. There’s a balance that has to be found in taking care of yourself and others. Honestly, at almost 34 I’m still trying to figure out that balance. 

I started writing these first two paragraphs in October of 2015. Going back, I realize the next sentence I need to write is, “I’ll likely be figuring out that balance for the rest of my life.” I have a small list of topics I want to write about, if for no other reason that getting the thoughts out of my brain. A few folks I know personally have shown interest in these little musings I blog on or photo-caption with, so I think this space will be good for sharing at least a handful of new posts this year. I don’t really do resolutions since as soon as I admit I have a goal I’m less likely to chase it (I know, it’s ridiculous), so let’s just say I’ll get to these posts when I get to them. And we’ll see what happens. For now I’ll have a little fun re-designing this space so it reflects how I’m feeling these days. And wouldn’t you know, I have a few images to share with you too. Poor little neglected blog of ours.

I’m in the middle of another 365 project, where I take at least one photo every day with a legit I’m-still-a-professional-photographer camera. I just scrolled through the last few months to try and find images that really grab me to share here. I’m always drawn to bright light, color, love and laughs (or just meaningful connection in general, in some way), and the photo’s location. Nostalgia plays a big part there. Anyway, I need to be taking more of those for this project. Goals, y’all.

This one here was taken by Jordan/Daddy at Wrightsville Beach. One of our favorite places, with one of my favorite smiles, and some favorite colors.

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The blues all around, and again the location, grab me here. We’re building a home in Wilmington (well you know, we aren’t, but we have some really amazing people building it for us after a really amazing architect took things we love and made a spectacular plan for it), and this dock is going to one day be home to a boat. And possibly a jet ski. Dreams, guys. We’ve got ‘em.

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We’re overdue for another shot here. This is one of our oaks on our Wilmington property. Our land has had a few names: Serenity Point (that’s the road name), The Cove Dwelling/The Cove (our architect, Kevin’s name for our home), and Camp Shamp (also Kevin’s idea).

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The eyes. The water. That and a lot of love are all I really have for this image. It speaks for itself.

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I can’t even exactly place what it is here. The green of the trees, us being in the mountains where we met, our sleepy-eyed kiddo. I love it all.

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Our little flyer, flying by the guest room of our Wilmington house. That sun on the tippy top of the tree that will so soon be spilling into windows of our very own home at the coast. Dreams are made of this right here.

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New Year’s Eve afternoon. 2015 at its very end. Bowtie tee and cottage cheese lips. And my goodness, those eyes again.

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Here’s to a fantastically wonderful, appropriately productive new year, guys.

~JAM