Article and photos by Melodie Yvonne Ramey
BLOOMINGTON, IN – On March 28 I had the pleasure of photographing the Strong Roots Records Album Release Party at The Bishop in Bloomington, Indiana. I had been invited to shoot the event courtesy of one of my favorite people in the world, Black Eddie aka Rashaad the God. I’ve had the luxury of seeing him perform on a few other occasions with Cut Camp, so I knew it would be a phenomenal show.
I could tell by the eagerness of the fans before the first performance that Strong Roots had picked a spectacular opener. As I edged up to the front of the crowd to try and find a good point of access for shots they had already started chanting for the performance to begin. I stepped to the front not noticing much of my surroundings, and I heard, “Bitch!” I immediately looked backward, and stepped to the side to get out-of-the-way of the person I had wronged. Just as I made eye contact with the girl behind me that had shouted the obscenity, Stakzilla began his set. The first word out of his mouth was, “BITCH!!!” loud and strong into the mic. I nodded, and smiled knowingly at the very pretty and very apologetic girl. I knew from that moment on I had come to the right place. I began feverishly recording every moment with my camera, and enjoying every second of Stakzilla’s sensational set. His powerful musical poetry set the tone for the night, and I know next time I see him perform live I’ll be right there with that wonderful young lady with my, “BITCH!” at the end of my tongue waiting to break-dance out.
The hardest part about shooting concert photography has to be trying to hold the camera still while I’m dancing. I made it through the first set without getting too carried away, but I knew I was in trouble the minute the Strong Roots Records guys hit that stage. Before the first song ended my heart had picked up the rhythm and began pulsing to the beat. I could spend hours talking about their strong individual talents, but let me just sum it up by showing you…
I was also very excited to use the video feature on my camera for the first time at a show. Of course, once again I committed one of the biggest photography sins there is, meaning I didn’t pack my tripod, so if you keep that in mind the videos are surprisingly steady 🙂
The Magmatix came on last to finish out the evening with their powerful instrumental funkalicious melodies. This is the second time I have got to enjoy this marvel live, and, not to ruin the ending for you, but I ended the evening just as energized and exceedingly happy as before. If my photos can even convey a tenth of the bliss that my ears experienced than each and every person joining me here today should have a helluva good day!
The Magmatix began winding down their set preparing to call it a night when suddenly we all got served an extra special surprise. Stakzilla jumped on the stage, and joined them for an endearing rendition of Lean on Me that raised the love level of the crowd higher than stars outside in the cool night sky.
This last photo really is the epitome of what this wonderful evening was to me. These guys are musical passion personified. It wasn’t just an album that was made and released at The Bishop in little old Bloomington, Indiana that night. A little piece of hip-hop history was created that night, and I’m forever blessed that I got to be there to witness it. My final word… this girl says 2 thumbs and 8 fingers up!!! 🙂
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Photo and video footage shot for Photographic Melodie by Melodie Yvonne Ramey. Shot with Nikon D800E
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