I’ve been interning at DMNDR for only a week now and last minute was asked to cover Allen Stone at Brooklyn Bowl. Without being given a chance to think, I was given a crash photography course and hopped on the L train not knowing what was in store for me.
I waited anxiously, grasping the camera glancing back and forth from stage to the clock. I patted my media sticker down on my chest, for some comfort and simply reminding myself where I was. At 10:03, a singular shout from the crowd turned into harmonious roars, as a curtain of long blonde hair draped from stairwell above. The stage lights went up and the band charged to their positions, all nine of them.
The trombone player led the members as they ran out to the stage, then the trumpet player, then the guitarist, the bassist, the drummer, two keyboardists, and two singers. Right there, I quickly realized that I needed to ditch any misconceptions I had about the next two hours, because clearly I was not mentally prepared. The blonde haired figure from the stairs stepped into the light with a stupidly large grin across his face, turned to his band, grabbed his guitar, and then I was covering my first show for DMNDR. And also he was playing his show. There was that.
For the next two hours, Allen Stone and his 8 piece band transported everyone in Brooklyn Bowl back to the late 60’s, to the days of real soul. Minutes into the set, you could immediately feel Allen Stone’s influences. Waves of Stevie Wonder, Al Green and even flickers of Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield. Not only was this a special night for me, but also for Allen and his band as their sophomore album, “Radius” was released earlier that morning.
I have never seen a band be so playful, with the crowd and amongst each other. When the singer would solo, the entire band would look at each other in awe of the pure talent of one of their own. Even after any one of the band member’s solos, they would high-five or hug each other in pure celebration of their music and talent.
Even though Allen Stone was front and center, the only thing he seemed to be leading was the non-stop energy that his band was spilling out and secreting into the crowd. He held authority of that energy and even commanded the crowd to sit on the ground, put their phones away, two stage dives, and even split the crowd in half for an impromptu left side vs. right side dance off. Talk about commanding a crowd.
With all of this happening around me, and quick, the feeling of being overwhelmed rapidly became exciting and amusing. I felt myself smiling behind the camera, and even forgetting to take photos at times, just completely under their spell. I left Brooklyn Bowl, with the camera draped over my shoulder, almost feeling high, and just simply looking forward to starting my second week with DMNDR.