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Hinder performing a live set during the Kansas City Throttle Fest as part of Michael Ballard and the Full Throttle Saloon experience.

Hinder live at Michael Ballard’s Throttle Fest 2012 Kansas City.

Hinder “Full Throttle Saloon” presents “Throttle Fest Kansas City” Berkley Riverfront Park, Kansas City, MO August 24th, 2012   In 2012 and again in 2013 I had the extreme luck of being one of the few, the chosen­••an official Full Throttle Saloon photographer for owner Michael Ballard in Sturgis, South Dakota. Let me tell you, South Dakota plus Casey Drahota and tons of band photography equals a LOT of fun and some really entertaining rock portraits and commercial shots. At the end of a rockin’ week, the other photographer and I were asked to be part of Throttle Fest, a music festival designed to bring the Full Throttle Saloon Sturgis experiences to Kansas City, MO. The idea was simple but sure to succeed—tons of bikes, hot women, cold beer, and loud music from noon to two in the morning. My answer was a resounding “Yes!” Throttle Fest Kansas City 2012 included a talented performance by Hinder. I’ve always enjoyed Hinder’s energy as a band. You can’t help but get pumped up by the in­your­face tempo of their music, especially in songs like “Use Me,” one of my favorite numbers of all time, from their 2008 album “Take it to the Limit.” Hinder is a widely popular rock band; they’ve gotten tons of airplay with songs like “Lips of an Angel,” […]

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Nice crowd taking in the Mike Zito and the Wheel set at the 2013 Blues From the Top music festival located in Winter Park, Colorado. 6/30/2013 © Casey Drahota

Blues From the Top in Winter Park Colorado June 27th-30th 2013

Blues From the Top Winter Park Colorado June 27th-30th 2013   I have always been a huge Blues music fan, Stevie Ray Vaughan started it for me back in the day. I was always fascinated by how Stevie could make noises come out of his guitar like very few others could do. Blues fan or not I don’t know how anyone could deny that he was absolutely amazing as a musician and a showman. Stevie and other great musicians who are no longer with us live on through other fine blues men and women and that was on display in a big way at the 2013 Blues From the Top. In 2013, Blues From the Top rolled out some of the best in Blues Music during the 4 day event held in the pristine mountains of Winter Park, Colorado. Its near impossible to attend a music festival in a setting more beautiful than Winter Park, I highly recommend attending the Blues From the Top music festival if you get the chance. With top acts like Rick Estrin and the Night Cats, the Mud Morganfield band with Kate Moss, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Kara Grainger, Joanne Shaw Taylor,  Albert Castiglia, Southern Hospitality, Sena Ehrhardt featuring Reese Wynans, the Zac Harmon Band, Lucky Peterson, Shawn Kellerman as well as Mike Zito and the […]

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Rockfest Kansas City main stage with Staind and Aaron lewis performing live.

Staind – Live images and concert review. 2014 Rockfest in Kansas City Mo.

Staind Rockfest Kansas City May 31st, 2014 Well-known rock band Staind has been going strong for two decades. The group was formed in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1994. Lead singer Aaron Lewis plays rhythm guitar alongside lead guitarist Mike Mushok and bassist Johnny April. Jon Wysocki was the band’s drummer for 17 years until in 2011 Staind took on drummer Sal Giancarelli. They self-released their first album, Tormented, in ‘96. After Staind garnered the attention of rock artist Fred Durst of the band Limp Bizkit, the famous musician co-produced their label debut album, Dysfunction, which was released in ‘99. From 2001 to 2011 Staind released five more records, steadily developing their sound and style, pushing themselves as artists. The band then took a hiatus from the music scene from 2012 to 2014, so it was especially gratifying to photograph their live performance at Kansas City’s Rockfest this year. Aaron Lewis, talented front man of Staind, is one of my favorite live performers given his amazing voice–he is a skillful and dynamic vocal artist. I have taken in several of his live acoustic solo performances, and it is the type of show that I highly recommend seeing. Lewis is one of very few who can spend an hour and a half on stage with just a microphone and an acoustic guitar and […]

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Aaron Lewis of Staind performing at 98.9 the Rock's Rockfest 2014 located in downtown Kansas City.

Signs that you might be a Concert-Attending D-Bag.

  Aaron Lewis’s profanity-laced rant at Rockfest 2014, Kansas City’s famous all-day music festival, went absolutely viral after he called out male Rockfest goers for inappropriately touching what appeared to Aaron Lewis to be an underage crowd-surfing female. Aaron Lewis, frontman of the hard rock band Staind, stopped their set at 98.9 the Rock’s Rockfest to publicly humiliate the violators in front of the 50,000 plus others enjoying the rock show. My hat is off to Mr. Lewis for caring about his fans’ well-being and chastising those ungentlemen. We will from here on out label such disrespectful live-show-experience-ruiners as Concert-Attending D-Bags.   “Who qualifies as a Concert-Attending D-Bag?” you might be wondering. Fortunately, if you have to ask, there is a good chance that you are not one of the dreaded D-Bags. However, just in case you might be unknowingly wrecking live concerts or festivals for your fellow rockers, let me give you some of the signs that you might be, probably are, and definitely are one of the unwelcome Concert-Attending D-Bags. If you have done any of the following things, it is time to seriously reassess your show etiquette, also known as don’t-harass-others-while-you-enjoy-the-shrediquette.   WARNING: You might be a Concert-Attending D-Bag if…   …you weigh 200 pounds or more or are wearing hard soled combat boots and think it’s […]

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Papa Roach performing at Rockfest 2013 in Kansas City Mo.

Papa Roach live concert images from Rockfest Kansas City 2013

Papa Roach Rockfest Kansas City May 11th 2013 Rockfest in Kansas City is a music festival that has been held every year for as long as I can remember. The festival is put on by local radio station, 98.9 the Rock and consists of 12 hours, 15 bands and around 60,000 people; it’s considered the largest one day music festival in America. Rain or shine, Rockfest Kansas City is an event to be experienced. I love live music and a great music festival. I love going to see live music because it proves who has the talent to back up a stellar studio album; and performing a live concert also demonstrates what bands have talent and what bands just have a talented studio production! I hate nothing more than really getting into an album and being excited to see that band perform live, only to hardly recognize that band when seeing their live show. The band Papa Roach will not leave you with that experience! I have been following Papa Roach for 10 years now and have seen them about every year since. Jacoby Shaddix is a like a mad man with an ass kicking mission while on stage! Jacoby Shaddix is a fire ball of take no prisoners energy that gets the crowd fired up, and I for one […]

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Sevendust acoustic Midland Theater Kansas City

Sevendust performing live at Midland Theater in Kansas City Mo April 24th 2014

Sevendust- Midland Theater- April 25th, 2014- Kansas City, MO- It was Friday, March 24th of the year 2000 when I had my first taste of the band, Sevendust. They were the opening band for Creed in a sold out show in Ames, Iowa. I was not prepared for the heavy metal I was about to witness. Sevendust came on stage and proceeded to rip into a head banging heavy metal frenzy and instantly got everyone’s attention. I remember thinking that Sevendust might have been a little bit heavy for me but I have followed their career from then on and have become a real fan. I have had the good fortune to have photographed Sevendust once before. It was last year during Rockfest, 98.9 the Rock’s music festival in Kansas City, MO and Sevendust showed up ready to whip it’s ass! They performed an intense, no holds barred 50 minute set with emotion, heart and a whole lot of energy. I remember thinking to myself that I actually felt sorry for the band Seether who had to come out next and play on a stage that Sevendust had just dominated; I wouldn’t have wanted to follow that up. This tour, Sevendust is changing up their show to promote their newly released acoustic album, “Time Travelers and Bonfires.”. I knew I […]

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Train at Starlight Theater

Train at Starlight Theater in Kansas City Mo. July 20th 2013

Train- Starlight Theater- Kansas City Mo- July 20th 2013- Train is one of those bands that have a lot of really good songs. Even though I don’t really care much for pop music I consider myself a big fan of Train. I first stumbled upon Train with their live music dvd “Midnight Moon” back in 2001 or 2002 and was absolutely amazed with frontman Pat Monahan’s voice. His range and ability to hold notes was just amazing! Trains cover of the Led Zeppelin song “Ramble on” is absolutely amazing, absolutely one of the best cover songs I have ever heard, I was instantly a fan! I have seen Train perform live many times over the years and have always very much enjoyed their performances. With hits to perform like “Drops of Jupiter”, “Free”, “Calling all Angels”, “Meet Virginia” and “Hey Soul Sister” just to name a few, Train has a large catalog of music to perform live. Every time I have seen Train perform they have always put on a real solid performance, Pat’s vocals are always just phenomenal! Even though I can’t say that I and super excited about Trains latest music I did find myself excited to see them as it had been more than 5 years since my last Train show. I was very curious to see […]

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Blackberry Smoke in Sturgis SD at Easy Riders Saloon 2013

BlackBerry Smoke at Easy Riders Saloon in SD Aug 7th 2013

BlackBerry Smoke- Easy Riders Saloon- Sturgis Sd- August 7th 2013- I am a huge old school country fan of the legends that made country cool yet dangerous. It was the outlaws of country, guys like Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams jr and guys like the great Jonny Cash that made me a fan of that era of music. Now country music is populated by talentless hacks that sound more like Britney Spears with a twangy guitar then the legends of country music’s past. Thankfully for me there is the great BlackBerry Smoke to make up for what’s lacking in country music today. I was on the Rock Legends Cruise early in 2013 to see one of my favorites the great Paul Rodgers of Bad Company. During set changes, Paul’s stage crew had the new BlackBerry Smoke album, “The Whippoorwill” blasting over the pa. I had to know what band this was but of course with no Internet on the cruise ship I had no way to figure out what band this was. Once I found out who they were I purchased all of their albums and found out that some BlackBerry Smoke is good for the soul! Fast forward to Sturgis and Full Throttle Saloon this year, I was photographing for Micheal Ballard and ran into front […]

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Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach

Papa Roach at Carnival of Madness 2013 Kansas City Mo Berkley Riverfront Park

Papa Roach- Carnival of Madness- Berkley Riverfront Park- Kansas City Mo- August 24th 2013- 2013 is a milestone year for Papa Roach, 1993 was the year it all started for the band from Vacaville California. To be in a band that is still going strong after 20 years is a pretty impressive accomplishment and its hard work, large amount of talent and a little bit of luck that has allowed Papa Roach to be able to achieve such a milestone. 2013 has proven to be a big Papa Roach year for me as seeing them at Carnival of Madness in Kansas City marked the third time I saw them live this year. Papa Roach and Carnival of Madness was in Kansas City in conjunction with Michael Ballard’s Throttle Fest. I absolutely love these guys live, they bring everything that makes for a great live performance. High energy, check! Awesome crowd interaction, check! Large catalog of hits, check! A band that truly seems to appreciate their fans and enjoys being on stage earning fans one at a time, double check! Papa Roach is a band know to bust their ass and tour pretty relentlessly and 2013 has been no exception. Currently on tour with the Carnival of Madness tour in support of their album “The Connection”, Papa Roach took the stage […]

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Brent Smith of Shinedown

Shinedown at Carnival of Madness in Kansas City August 24th 2013

Shinedown- Carnival of Madness- Berkley Riverfront Park- Kansas City Mo- August 24th 2013- Shinedown is a band that is at the top of their game. With four studio albums producing hits like “Crow and the Butterfly”, “Save Me”, “Second Chance”, “If You Only Knew” it is no wonder Shinedown has sold more than six million albums worldwide and fills huge venues wherever the play live. Bottom line, Shinedown always delivers a quality experience! I first saw Shinedown in 2004 in Kansas City at 98.9 The Rock’s annual a Rock Fest. Shinedown was touring in support of the debut album Leave A Whisper which already had several charting songs like “Burning Bright” and the acoustic cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Simple Man” Brent Smith had an amazing voice capable of hitting and hold notes that most singers couldn’t dream of. I remember thinking Brent wouldn’t be able to continue to strain his voice like that and continue to still sound great however this many years later he would still be proving me wrong. With supporting acts like Papa Roach, Skillet, In This Moment, We As Humans, Shinedown was the perfect headlining act for Carnival of Madness 2013. Carnival of Madness was in town in conjunction with Michael Ballard’s Throttle Fest and was a perfect fit. With large explosions, jumbotron screens with […]

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