Rockin' the Carousel Lounge

SXSW just wrapped up in Austin, TX. It's a huge 10 day festival that features technology, film, and a whole bunch of music. I have to admit that I'm not a fan of big festivals like this and I generally don't go near the downtown area while it's here. I hate to miss out on the great music though, especially when I have friends playing gigs down there. I was delighted to hear that my buddy's band, The Mooks, was doing a non-SXSW affiliated gig at Carousel Lounge, a bit north of the mayhem that was going on in downtown Austin. Now that I was down for!

The Mooks rocked this place with a great set. The lighting was pretty dim and funky colored (common theme in Austin bars) and I initially shot in black and white. I prefer monochrome, so I probably would have done that anyway. Lately I've been tweaking my in-camera settings on the Fujifilm X-T1 to get a look that is closer to what I'd post process. I decided to go with a very noir look and cranked up the shadows and boosted the highlights a little. These are camera JPEGs that I adjusted for a bit more contrast yet in Lightroom. For Fuji folks, this is the base B&W film simulation with shadows at +2, highlights at -1, NR at -2 and sharpness at +1. This is ISO 6400 and I even added some grain in Lightroom. I wanted some gritty shots to go with this crunch rock n roll! Hopefully y'all know this already but just in case, click the images to make 'em bigger.

Once I got some decent B&W shots I decided to switch the X-T1 to a relatively new film simulation I've been playing with, Classic Chrome. This simulation tones down the color a bit and after having some success with it on some nighttime urban landscape outings, I decided to see what it would do with the funky bar lighting. As it turned out I was quite pleased with the result. Classic Chrome seems to help tame weird color casts and render things naturally, although slightly muted. I kept the in-camera contrast cranked up and I liked the contrasty crushed black look I got. For Fuji folks, the following JPEGs used the same settings as my black and whites except for the film simulation. I didn't do anything to these in post other than crop as needed and boost the mids a slight bit.

I arrived a little early to the show and got to check out a set by a really awesome new band, The Frightened City.  This all instrumental band had a great sound - rock, punk, surfer...not easy to categorize but I thought they had a fresh sound with a driving edge. Their high energy set got the place going and I enjoyed getting a few shots. Grungy, grainy B&W photos seemed to suit their style.

If you're in Austin and looking for some great music, look around for either of these bands. Good, good stuff.