Photo Essay

The new rocker - with not much hair

Tyler Glenn 3

"Do you know a band called Neon Trees?" my friend Jae asked over the telephone.

"What bank?" I asked back. Obviously I did not know what she was talking about.

It was Tuesday, July 26. Lunch time. Jae's friend had a free ticket to a performance that night by the rock band and the friend, who writes a music blog, needed a photographer urgently. Would I be interested? "No payments," Jae added. "Just a free ticket."

I was tired. It had been a long weekend that included a whole day and night of photography on Sunday and more photography on Monday night. Would I want to shoot pictures for a friend's friend whom I did not know?

But this might be too good an opportunity to miss. Although I knew nothing of the band, I figured they must be good to be invited all the way from Utah to Singapore for a paid concert in the park. I googled "Neon Trees", watched a YouTube of its performance and decided to garner the energy.

I did not regret one bit... not the uncertain, last minute arrangements, the rushed and lousy dinner before the show, the long walk and climb up Fort Canning Hill... and having to shoot, standing, from the middle of crowd of about 1,000 mostly young people in their 20s and 30s.

At 55, I must have been the oldest member of the audience, even though I was there more for the photography than the music. Thankfully, I had my 80-400 lens that my photo buddies and I dub "super poison". This lens has always been a life saver in situations like this. And it was not until the concert ended that I realised I had been standing in the mud! Oh well....

The opening act, by another band called We Are Scientists, was encouraging enough. But when Neon Trees finally came on stage, it was an entire new level of performance and energy.

Nearly three hours later, I was exhausted and parched from thirst as I made my way, slowly, with painful knees, down the hill... only to find that, shucks, I was short of about 20 cents in coins for a drink from the vending machine. It was past midnight when I finally got home.

Of course, I couldn't sleep. I was too excited to view the photos. Many turned out disappointing because of the difficult shooting conditions that included flashing and weird coloured lights.

But given such colourful and animated subjects like band leader Tyler Glenn - and his pretty wild drummer Elaine Bradley - how could I not have at least several good shots?

I posted the pics first on the local photography forum, and one of my buddies, about same age as I, commented: "During my time, rockers had more hair."

Yeah. Times have changed. I did some research on Neon Trees and found out that they are all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, also called Seventh Day Adventists. Which means they are vegetarians as well. Times certainly have changed.

What has not changed is the energy of the rock concert. It remains exhilarating.

VOTE: Do you like this story?

Tell a friend about this story!

Tell a friend about this story!

  1. or

Hi there!

thought you might like this story!

—The JPG team

1 response

  • Zlata Pavlova

    Zlata Pavlova said (1 Aug 2011):

    Love Neon Tress and We Are Scientists! Thanks for the story and pics!

Want to leave a comment? Log in or sign up!