The Distillers Fans at Fox Theater, by William Wayland
The Distillers fans (photo: William Wayland)

Words by William Wayland

My favorite photographs of 2018 are tied to the moments and the feelings I had when I was clicking the shutter.

10. Yennie Dee Brecheisen of the Handsome Ladies at Pickin’ on Hate, Ashkenaz, Berkeley on January 27.

Yennie Dee Brecheisen of The Handsome Ladies at Pickin’ on Hate Ashkenaz, by William Wayland

I’m impressed with the bluegrass community in the Bay Area and the way they come together to support important causes. The Handsome Ladies is a national nonprofit organization that supports women in bluegrass, and Yennie Dee is a talented banjo player and an embodiment of a Handsome Lady.

9. Morgan Kessell with Aubrie Arnoux of House of Mary at Peri's Silver Dollar, Fairfax on May 19.

Morgan Kessell with Aubrie Arnoux of House of Mary at Peris Silver Dollar, by William Wayland

Aubrie Arnoux fronts a North Bay band called House of Mary and Morgan Kessell is a sometimes-vocal accompanist to a few North Bay bands. Before getting on Peri’s tiny stage, I could sense that Morgan was excited, and maybe a little nervous, to sing with her friend. When their voices joined, the atmosphere in the bar was electric. I was glad to have captured the moment that helped to define the night.

8. Billy Idol at BottleRock, Napa on May 26.

Billy Idol at Bottlerock 2018, by William Wayland

I was backstage at BottleRock while Billy Idol was performing.  At the exact moment I shot this I was thinking, Wow, no matter what your opinion of Billy Idol, he gives 100%. He’s still got it.

7. Jonathan Russell of the Head and The Heart at BottleRock, Napa on May 26.

Jonathan Russell of The Head and The Heart at Bottlerock 2018, by William Wayland

Whenever and wherever I shoot a show, I think about the person who will ultimately see the photographs. I feel an obligation to give that person a perspective that they couldn’t have with just a ticket. Onstage at BottleRock with the Head and The Heart, I tried to photograph from a vantage point that would give the viewer an idea of what it felt like to perform in front of a large festival audience.

6. Hank Maninger of Nashville Honeymoon at the Starry Plough, Berkeley on June 2.

Hank Maninger of Nashville Honeymoon at The Starry Plough, by William Wayland

In the moment I snapped this photo, I felt that Hank Maninger embodied every country music singer that ever lived.

5. Max Gustafson of Lender at Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley on July 13.

Max Gustafson of Lender at Sweetwater Music Hall, by William Wayland

Before the show I had talked to Max about how some performers pretend the camera isn’t there and some will look right into the lens, andwhen they do the latter, that can be a magical moment. Max took this over the top, and this photograph always gives me a smile.

4. Joseph Arthur of Arthur Buck at The Independent, San Francisco on September 10.

Joseph Arthur of Arthur Buck at The Independent, by William Wayland

Joseph Arthur and Pete Buck had only just released their new band’s debut album and only played a few live gigs before they performed at the Independent. There was still a feeling of shiny newness that’s rare for a band made up of rock veterans. They were still working out their performance and seemed excited to finally be playing in front of a live audience.  I tried to capture some of that in this photograph.

3. The Distillers fans at Fox Theater, Oakland on September 18.

The Distillers Fans at Fox Theater, by William Wayland

The Distillers performance at Fox Theater was motor-driven and the audience fed off it. I couldn’t resist turning my back on the band to photograph the fans that felt equally part of the show.

2. Takaaki Mino of toe at Great American Music Hall, San Francisco on September 23.

Takaaki Mino of toe at Great American Music Hall, by William Wayland

toe’s performance has an emotional range that very few bands have. Angsty and raging, then soft and contemplative in the same song. I felt that this photograph partially captured the quieter side of their range.

1. Cailin Russo of Russo at Cafe du Nord, San Francisco on October 9.

Cailin Russo of Russo at Cafe du Nord, by William Wayland

Dream Wife was the headliner that night, but Russo, whom I hadn’t even heard of before the show, had just put on a dominating performance that was going to be hard to beat. Before leaving the stage, Cailin Russo stopped to appreciate and take selfies with her new fans.

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