Lovehammers at The Key Club, West Hollywood

Lovehammers at the Key Club // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

I’m a little late blogging about this, but it’s only because I had so much fun, that I didn’t want it to end – and blogging is definitely an after-the-fact activity! A little over a week ago I went to a great show, spent loads of time with some great friends, shot all kinds of amazing images, ate some great food, and spent way too much money on parking in LA. Just a fabulous weekend!

But about that show, since it was definitely the high point of the weekend… It was Lovehammers – direct from Chicago – and more like a party than just a show, since it was their West Coast CD release for their latest work, Heavy Crown. There were a lot of fans that flew in from other parts of the country – including a whole bunch from Chicago – and that fed the party atmosphere. I met so many, it’s kind of a blur, but it was great to meet so many people face to face that have sent me sweet notes in the past about my images of the band. They love that band, no doubt about it, and by extension I get a lot of love, simply because I’ve shot that band. It’s great!

First up was soundcheck! The venue had sold VIP tickets that included a CD, a shirt, and a meet and greet after soundcheck, so quite a few of their fans got to experience it as well, and it was SO good! I always love soundcheck, since the emphasis is on the sound, not on the performance, and sometimes you get to see, or rather hear another side of a performer or band. It’s just different than the actual show – and that can mean lesser, or it can mean something totally different and wonderful – in this case, we got wonderful. And because I wasn’t shooting, I got to just enjoy the music and the sound. So I was already totally happy, and in love, when they broke out my latest favorite song, Neverfall. Now I didn’t expect to hear it live, I hoped, but was not expecting. They’ve done several shows since the new CD debuted, and I’ve read the reviews, and I knew they hadn’t done Neverfall live – so it was a BIG wonderful surprise when they started to play it. Honestly I screamed, like a 12-year-old fan girl! I could not have been happier and it totally lived up to my expectations. It wasn’t as slick as some of the other songs they did, but it more than made up for that in raw sexy power. If I had to pick one perfect moment from the entire weekend, it would be hearing that song, my favorite song, live, in my favorite city. Just perfect!

And there was another really fun moment during soundcheck that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it… There’s a line in one of their new songs, “Last night she was on fire…” and yeah, it’s a sexy line. Even just seeing it written it’s sexy, so imagine it in the middle of a really hot song, and well it’s even sexier! But at soundcheck there was this little pause, and a breathe, and it was the single sexiest thing I’ve ever heard or seen onstage. If you saw the show, you know it was great then, but during soundcheck it was mindblowingly sexy. I turned to my friend, and I couldn’t even verbalize how blown away I was. It was a really good moment!

And the show itself was amazing! But I’ll let my images tell the story there…. Check out the link at the end of this post, or click on the image above!

The next night Lovehammers hosted a listening party in Hollywood at Ink Kandy Tattoo – with discounts given if you got a LH tattoo – I didn’t participate in that aspect, but I had fun hanging out with a couple of friends that I don’t see nearly often enough. We also checked out a place I’d heard of, but never been to before, the Beauty Bar – which is totally cute, and kitchy, and fun.

The last time I’d seen the Lovehammers live was at Hammerfest in Chicago in March 2008, so it had been way too long, and I was really ready to hear the new material – and it seriously exceeded my expectations! What can be better than a really great band, in your favorite city, on a really HOT summer night?

So check out my slideshow, and if you get the chance, go see Lovehammers live!

Falling in Love at First Listen

I have an admission to make. As much as I love music – and I really really love it – I don’t pay much attention to the lyrics, and I almost never fall in love with a song on first listen. A musician once told me that he’d been the same way, once upon a time, but he grew out of it. I never have, so I guess that makes me a bit unsophisticated, and I guess I can live with that!

It doesn’t mean I don’t listen to the singer – I do! In fact, it’s the voice that draws me in – I never quite connect to pure instrumentals – I want a singer! It’s just that while I may be able to sing along to every word, if you ask me the name of the song, or what the song is about, or to repeat even one line of lyrics, I won’t be able to. I can love the voice, but the words won’t always register with me.

As for almost never falling in love with a song on first listen, I think that’s more common. And when I do fall in love the first time I hear a song, I know I’ll love it forever and it’s bound to become one of my all-time favorites.

I’m telling you all that to set up this – I fell in love this week on first listen – to three songs! And I actually know some of the lyrics…

Lovehammers' Guns on iTunesLovehammers released their latest CD yesterday, Heavy Crown, and yes I was really looking forward to it – and I knew I’d love it. How could I not? Especially since it has several songs on it that I already knew and loved – Driving Blind and That’s Life are fairly new, but Eyes Can’t See and Velvet are acoustic versions of songs that appeared on previous Lovehammers’ CDs and Guns was released a couple of weeks ago – so I already knew five out of the thirteen songs. Plus, this is a band that I fell in love with before Rock Star: INXS even started. I was doing research on the singers on the show, for ROCKBAND.COM, and found clips of all their songs – and I fell hard.

But even with that kind of love built up for years, you never know? And even though I’d been hearing through the grapevine that it was their best work yet, still, you never know. New music, new direction, maybe I’ll love it, but not REALLY love it?

Then I heard it! And the first time through Neverfall, Oh My Baby, and Honest I’ll Wait just nestled into my heart and head, blissfully…

Honest I’ll Wait soars, beautifully. It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard from this band. It’s a new direction for sure, but it feels so right, it feels meant to be.

Oh My Baby is hot! The lyrics are a total turn on! Yes, the lyrics! Plus it’s fun to sing along with. My favorite line, “Oh my baby’s so extreme. She’s exactly…. just like me.” Love that moment! And the guitars on the chorus are beautiful – so beautiful.

But my big initial love was and is Neverfall. It makes me want to put down the top on my car, blow a kiss and slam a door, and take off. I haven’t quite figured out the lyrics yet – and I may never – it’s one of those songs that makes me feel. It’s an anthem, for sure and I have a feeling the song will always remind me of summer, of right now. At least I hope so!

And one last song I have to mention – Black Angel didn’t hit me initially, but it’s hitting me now, big time. It has a really retro feel to it. Makes me want to go to a concert and see it done live. And the bridge? Hypnotic, for sure!

And the best part? Falling in love at first listen is only stage one. I have so much more to discover in these songs. Good music is like that…

On iTunes, Lately…

Lovehammers released their latest single today on iTunes – it’s the first single off their upcoming CD, Heavy Crown. It’s been so long since we’ve had new Lovehammers’ music, I’m very very happy to have something new from them!

And Ryan Star released his long awaited EP, Last Train Home, earlier this month – you can hear a snippet of one of my favorite of his songs, Right Now, during commercials for the new NBC show, The Philanthropist. The full EP is only $3.99 on iTunes and features four songs and two videos.

And finally, I’m linking to Tamar Kaprelian‘s A New Day, just because it’s been my favorite song this summer and she deserves more exposure, so pass it on!

Lovehammers' Guns on iTunesRyan Star's Last Train Home on iTunesTamar Kaprelian's A New Day on iTunes

PS: Happy birthday and happy traveling to my brother Michael today!

ETA on 7/7/2009: Guess this should be PSS maybe? But Dino from the Lovehammers posted on over the weekend about the single…

Hammerfest 2008 in Chicago

When I interviewed the Lovehammers back in early 2006, I remember being impressed by the way they talked about their fans and the huge shows they put on in their hometown of Chicago. And I sort of decided then that if I ever got the chance to shoot one of those big shows, I’d take it! I’ve always wanted to go to Chicago…

The opportunity came last weekend – two years after that interview – some things are worth waiting for! Hammerfest is a big deal and this year it was at the House of Blues in downtown Chicago. Great venue! All brick, two balconies that circle around the floor, and it feels small and intimate yet holds a LOT of people. I went with five friends – two who live in Chicago, and three others that flew in for the weekend. We spent the whole weekend together, but they were good sports when I abandoned them during the show.

Shooting any show is always intense – but the Lovehammers multiply that intensity by ten. Their shows are incredibly passionate and vital, and there’s movement and color and action everywhere. It’s an amazing thing to see live – and capturing some of that magic in a still photograph is one of the most satisfying things I can think of to do. They create magic onstage, and I tired to tap into that vein, and mine some of their magic in my images. It was a blast!

This image is one of my favorites because of the orange and violet lighting – the colors of RockBandLounge – and to see Marty Casey, our RBL Ultimate Rock Star bathed in those colors was great fun!

To see more images from the show, go to:

Marty Casey & Lovehammers



These have never before been seen in public – but they’re fun, so why not share them?! I was going through some old work last night, and found these, and decided to share them in the discussion thread for our Rock Star: All-Stars – more on that later! But for now, just enjoy the Lovehammers, circa 2006…

And if you’re wondering where the inspiration came for these shots, take a look at Harry Benson’s shot of the Beatles in the middle of a pillow fight is one of the most iconic images in rock photography – and a personal favorite!

More Love, More Lovehammers

Wanna step back in time? Check out this photo essay shot earlier this year while Marty Casey and Lovehammers were on tour with INXS. These photos have never been seen before – consider them a holiday gift for hungry Lovehammer fans!

View the rest of the photo session…

Or read my interview with the Lovehammers, from March, 2006.