• Bret

Radical Face and Axel Flóvent in Seattle


Two weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to photograph Radical Face for Troika Media. I've been a casual fan of Radical Face for about eight years and had wanted to see them in concert, so I was really excited about the opportunity.


The concert was held at Seattle's historic Neptune Theater, a wonderful venue. I showed up early for the concert and had to wait a while outside since the box office didn't have the photo pass list yet. Eventually, I was allowed inside and to the best of my knowledge was the only media photographer there.


I spent some time scoping out of the theater and deciding where I wanted to be to take my photos. There was no barricade and the whole downstairs area was general admission. This meant that I either needed to have a security guard help me be at the very front, find a location and stay there, or roam the crowd and hope for a good spot for the three songs I was allowed to take photos.


After looking around the venue I decided to try and find a good location to stay for one song to get a good selection of photos and then move around for the remainder of my time. I chose to stand behind the safety bar. This worked well since I was using my 70mm–200mm for the evening.


Axel Flóvent


When Axel Flóvent came on I was able to try out my locations in preparation for Radical Face. Unfortunately, the lighting proved not to be ideal from the safety bar for the first song and I quickly started to roam to find a better position. This worked out well and I was able to get some great shots of Axel performing.



Near the end of the third song, I headed back to the safety bar and the lighting had changed enough that I was able to get some nice wider shots of Axel that I was very happy with.



Axel on his part played an amazing set that I thoroughly enjoyed. He had a great stage presence and was a genuine and relatable person.




Radical Face


There was only a short wait after Axel before Radical Face came on stage.


Not only did Radical Face play an outstanding set of music, but they were fun. It's not often that a band has a crowd laughing along with them and participating in their jokes. This really helped the audience feel like they were participating as friends of the band, not just an audience.


Between songs, the band gave great insight into their music. As I shared in the article I wrote for Troika, Benjamin Cooper would often explain the meaning to his already tragic songs, adding a whole new level of depth to his music.



Despite the sad songs, I found myself frequently laughing and struggling to hold my camera still due to the comedic interaction of the band.


Unfortunately, the lighting for the three songs I was allowed to take photos was quite difficult and I once again quickly moved from my spot at the safety bar. Before moving, however, I was able to get several nice photos of the drummer.



I spent the remainder of my photo time moving around in the crowd looking for a good vantage to take my photos.



My personal favorite photo I took of Radical Face is without a doubt the above photo of Josh Lee. I was very happy with how this photo framed up, the lighting, the look on Josh's face, and that I got him playing his viol.


While it looks like he is playing the cello, on closer inspection you will see that this instrument has six strings, versus a cello's normal four. It's called a viola da gamba (or simply a viol) and originates from Spain in the late 1400s.



After finishing my three songs of photos I had a great time enjoying the rest of the concert. Radical Face and Axel Flóvent were both wonderful (I spoke with Axel after the concert and he proved to be very kind) and I definitely hope this won't be the last time I photograph either of them.

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© Bret Stein Photography

Tacoma, Washington