Queensrÿche at Slim's, by Carolyn McCoy
Queensrÿche (photo: Carolyn McCoy)
Words by Carolyn McCoy

What can I say? Writing about and phtographic live music I find myself having some amazing experiences, and this year was pretty awesome. One of the perks of being a music photographer and writer is that I get to go to a ton of shows, and having a camera strapped to my body gives me license to do things I never thought I’d get to do.

These last 12 months of immersing myself in the Bay Area music scene have been just as wonderful as last year’s experiences. My confidence is growing in what I do as I further understand the importance of what I provide for bands: reviews. My words are utilized in a manner that expresses all the positive and wonderful things about shows I attend. I am not a critic, as who am I to judge the music that someone works so hard to create?  I take the stance of “major fan” instead and provide words of love and justice to the acts I see.

2019 started off with, literally, a BANG! as drum-centric rockers Kongos blew my mind. Terrapin Crossroads darling Elliott Peck’s album release party was inspiring, and it was another chance to see Phil Lesh sitting in during her sets. There was that epic show with the Sam Chase and the Untraditional that left me smiling from ear to ear for days. The white-clad angels of Zepparella rocked me and the boys in old-school rock band Queensrÿche took me backto when I was a teenage metalhead. I fell in love with Sonoma County soul rockers Royal Jelly Jive and I saw Billy Bob Thornton prove he was more than just an actor with his band the Boxmasters. I celebrated with the Marin County hard-rock band Flanelhed as they honored 25 years together. And there were epics nights with Nicki Bluhm, Monophonics, Green Leaf Rustlers, Morcheeba, and so many other amazing players as they fed my brain with songs and fine-tuned my soul with their music.

The prized moment of 2019 was bringing my teenage daughter to see Seattle indie-rock band the Head And The Heart at Bill Graham Civic, where she had her first glimpse of her mom working in the photo pits while her friends and the people around her said, “That’s your mom? She’s sooo cool!” (Of course, she knew that already.) Witnessing live shows with my kid is an amazing experience, and the Head and The Heart did not disappoint. With their gorgeous performance the band had us singing and crying along with the songs together. One way to bond with your children is to take them to hear live music with you. Do it, trust me.

Overall, it’s been a WOW! kind of year for me. Every time I am privy to live music it makes my heart sing and my soul squeal with glee. I plan on continuing my journey in music journalism with great pride in what I do as I offer joyful words to new and old bands that inspire me. It’s a dream come true to be doing this work, and what I get out of it is worth every moment I put into it.