Down in the grungy section of the East Village resides The Bowery Electric NYC, which is where I photographed up-and-coming singer/songwriter Ella Galvin for her first New York City concert.
Growing up partying in the East Village area during college and my early twenties, The Bowery Electric is exactly the type of venue I envisioned a young artist such as Ella to perform at. Very Lady Gaga-esque during her formative years when she was performing at dive bars around the Lower East Side. The Bowery Electric NYC is “owned and operated by rock and roll ligers and nightlife impresarios” and has an intimate live performance room, ‘The Map Room’ sectioned off from the bar. By intimate I mean practically claustrophobic. The room gets packed easily, and this show was standing room only because of how many people attended. Great for the performer, but a bit of a challenge navigating through the crowd! The audience was great though, and let me weave in and out without any hassle to take pictures.
Ella describes her sound as a mix of soul, pop, and jazz, which was evident in the songs she and her band covered such as the 2010 hit song ‘American Boy’ by Estelle. During this show, Ella was accompanied by her five bandmates: a saxophonist, bass guitarist, electric guitarist, drummer, and an electronic xylophonist. Maybe it’s because I don’t listen to jazz or soul, but I was intrigued by seeing the xylophone in a live setting. As someone who also grew up playing musical instruments (cello and piano), I can appreciate musicians who have confidence walking their big AF cases everywhere. Carrying a cello case around the suburbs with a car was hard enough. Imagine how hard it is to lug instruments through the streets of New York City. On the subway?! Bruh.
One of my favorite things about going to live concerts is witnessing the comradery between bandmates while on stage. They each poured their souls into this performance and the audience was living in the energy! Ella performed her own song about moving to New York City, and there were also standout solos performed by the saxophonist and electronic mallet drummer. They all belted out and went ham during their respective moments.
At the end of the set, the crowd was happily cheering on Ella and her bandmates, even chanting ‘encore’ repeatedly in hopes that there would be one last song. Alas, the show was a wrap as there was another performance afterward to get on the stage.
As always I have to include what camera gear I used. Now that I’m getting the hang of concert photography, one aspect I enjoy is how low-pressure the environment is (at least for me). I like to travel lightly and keep it simple with my full-frame Sony a7iii and a versatile zoom lens like the Tamron 28-75mm, f/2.8. If you want to break into concert photography I wrote more tips on how to get started!
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