A hot, stuffy Agora Ballroom surrounded by rowdy diehards came to celebrate VentanA's 13th Anniversary show on June 30th. This industrial metal band formed right here in Cleveland, decided there's no better way to reveal the dirty truth of society than spew it to their most loyal fans.
A black tarp with handwritten white letters reading, "Make America Hate Again" laid across the stage. The house music faded, the curtain dropped, and all band members entered into view equipped with dirty, broken gas masks and dressed up in black suits. From this point when the first song hit the speakers, I immediately felt my upper body compress...literally. The few fans from behind, rammed my body up against the stage leaving me helpless with no room to lift my camera. This sucked as I was a little fearful of my gear. I don't know if the tight shooting space or the pundit body odor from the guy behind me was worse. I've been in this position before, but this was a whole new level of real estate to work with. Pushing back and forth on the crowd to pop in a few shots was the only way I could do anything. Framing and waiting for key moments to arise were few and far between. Oh yeah, I forgot with the high energy from the crowd, the singer made sure to take advantage of it and jump on top of me, crowd surfing the first few rows. All the pushing and shoving, I could only stay up there for 3 songs before I ninja'd my way to the outer banks, maneuvering my way past the mosh pit.
I really thrive on these shooting situations. It's crazy, don't get me wrong. Thousand dollars worth of equipment grasping at my hands and fans giving little shits about what happens to me. Music drives us into a whole new monster and I love it! I know I'd be in full mosh mode if I had little to worry about.
After reading a few of their lyrics, I quickly came to realize the wardrobe concept behind VentanA (at least from what I recevied). We live in a toxic, polluted world. Taking up everyday issues that seem negative in our lives, VentanA seems to expose the bullshit providing light and turning it into a positive position. This was my first VentanA fix. I got wind of the band from a bartender in Cleveland who shared their newest album with me. Found out, he was their guitar player. I reached out and he set me up with a photo pass to shoot 13th Anniversary show. Thanks, Tommy!