Shinedown’s 2013 Carnival of Madness tour truly has me at a loss for words.  If I just throw around superlatives, they lose meaning… right??  I’ll use them anyways.  They deserve it.

Brilliant. Stunning. Amazing. Unsurpassed. Surprising. Consummate.

These words do not just apply to one facet of what Shinedown brings; These words describe the performance, visual presentation, lyrical content, musicianship, showmanship, creativity, character, and even their supporting crew.  These guys are masters of their craft and the performance thereof, master entertainers – and they truly focus on delivering an amazing experience for their audience.

I’ve known this for a while, and Shinedown’s sold-out Carnival of Madness performance in Cincinnati, OH on August 17th, 2013 only reminded me of these things.

I highly recommend catching this tour – and highly recommend taking a look through this slideshow of concert images.

I’ll let a massive pile of images speak for me at this time.


p.s.  Fire dancers, circus performers and more.  Wow.   More on that in another post…

Rockstar Energy Uproar Fest headlining act Shinedown absolutely killed it in Atlanta on September 12th, 2012.

Nearly 15 opening bands, including Staind, Godsmack, and Fozzy (Sadly, Papa Roach had to drop off of the tour due to a medical emergency).

Monstrous amounts of pyro, massive sound, beautiful production, and Shinedown’s always amazing performance, featuring some material from their awesome new album Amaryllis.

With such an amazing production, a tremendous amount of passion for their craft, and the ever helpful All Access & waived restrictions on photo limits, I found myself being unable to trim my photo selection below the triple digit mark!   In a break from tradition, I’m going to post a handful of photos here – as well as a slideshow…  As I just couldn’t possibly cut this down to just 5 images.

Among my peers, I speak about my long-time heroes often: BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Michael Jackson, Buddy Guy, … and someone a bit more modern, my cousin Jesse Leach.

Jesse and I grew up in the same neighborhood – on the Eastern half of Cranston, RI.

I’ve been following him since he picked up the microphone for heavy, tearing band Corrin in the 1990’s. Corrin was followed by somewhat more melodic Nothing Stays Gold.

Nothing Stays Gold split and, as usual, I was anxious to hear what Jesse would get into next.

In 1999, Jesse, along with Mike D’Antonio, Joel Stroetzel, and Adam Dutkiewicz formed a monster of a band – Killswitch Engage. Soon after, Jesse and I were living together. Rough demo tapes of early Killswitch material ended up being a perk of close quarters.

A few years later, Jesse left Killswitch. Pete Cortese, former Killswitch guitarist, contacted me soon after, saying he was forming a band with some buddies and that he wanted Jesse’s contact info. I threw the info over – and an amazing straight-up rock band called Seemless soon formed, also featuring Derek Kerswill.

Seemless ran its course, and Jesse has since formed a couple more amazing bands, currently two of my favorites – Times of Grace and The Empire Shall Fall.

Jesse has been a lyrical, vocal, rock, music, faith, and human rights champion hero of mine for years. It has been an honor to know him, to photograph him, to see his rise, to watch from early on…

With Jesse recently returning to Killswitch Engage, he has been a focal point in rock music news again recently.

Here are just a few casual photos from a visit we had in Austin, Texas in February of 2011.

Jesse Leach by Will Hawkins
Jesse Leach by Will Hawkins

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Americana Music Association award winning Justin Townes Earle performed on day 2 of Orlando Calling in Orlando, FL on November 13th, 2011.

Justin set aside some time for him and I to work together. This was a quick shoot, but I am happy with the result! No flash, no bounce – just sit & shoot! Canon 5D Mark II & Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS.

Justin Townes Earle by Will Hawkins
Justin Townes Earle by Will Hawkins

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  • Scott Ryden says:

    Good work. And I am a fan of Earle and his father. Harlem River Blues rocks.

    (July 11, 2012 at 8:13 pm)

Blink 182’s Travis Barker, Mark Hoppus, and Tom DeLonge headlined a 12,000 attendee concert in Tampa on September 24th, 2011.

Here are some of my favorite shots from that night!

Blink-182's Tom DeLonge by Will Hawkins
Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge by Will Hawkins

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Best known for being the front man of multi-platinum rock band Fall Out Boy, Patrick Stump now is on tour with his expectation-breaking, genre-defying solo project.

When Red Jumpsuit Apparatus drummer Jon Wilkes was telling me about Patrick’s new project, I, like most people, assumed it would be a rock band. Jon told me “It is pop… R&B… Robin Thicke…meets…energy. Just listen to it.” Days later, I was off to Lollapalooza in Chicago, where Patrick would be playing. Unfortunately, I was booked with shoots during the beginning and end of his set, but did manage to catch “Cute Girls” as well as a medley of various R&B covers featuring Patrick on drums & vocals, before running off to my next shoot.
The 5 to 10 minutes that I witnessed… absolutely locked me in. I was sold. I was in. I wanted more.

Just a couple of weeks later, Patrick Stump played at the Orpheum in Tampa, FL. Not only was I anxious to be there to watch the show, take some photos, etc., but I was also excited to be working with Patrick’s touring drummer, Skoota Warner. (See my photoblog from my shoot with Skoota Warner by clicking here)

Skoota introduced me to Patrick before sound check. We chatted for a few minutes – he left an impression… What a nice guy!!! He was incredibly polite, fun to chat with, and seemingly completely unaware that he is a big time rock star! The guys in the band only had great things to say about him! A couple surprising facts: Patrick, who is pretty much paying for the tour, album, everything on his own dime, shares his bus with all 3 bands on the tour. Sometimes all of the bunks are full – and Patrick is the first one to volunteer to sleep on the floor!

Sound check rocked. The concert… was absolutely awesome. Really great. Patrick and his entire band put 100% of what they have into it, 100% of the show. Patrick, during the show, sang & played guitar, trumpet, drums, and piano.

Patrick’s first full length solo album, Soul Punk, comes out October 18th. I strongly suggest checking it out!!

Here are some photos from that great evening!

Patrick Stump by Will Hawkins
Patrick Stump by Will Hawkins

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Skoota Warner is one of those drummers that you’ve seen play with artists spanning all genre’s – Ra, The B-52’s, Hot Tuna, Cyndi Lauper, Santana, Matisyahu, and other artists of all types of musical styles. He also happens to be a friendly guy! What were the odds?!

Right now, Skoota is tearing it up as the beat on tour behind Patrick Stump’s awesome new pop/R&B new solo project. (See my shoot with Patrick Stump here)

I spent some time with Skoota one recent afternoon in Tampa before a performance at the Orpheum, grabbing some fresh photos for Promark & Evans. We were blessed with the presence of the spectacularly talented Zekeshem Parsons of Blue Lane Studios, who was able to give a hand! Here are some shots from that day!

Skoota Warner by Will Hawkins
Skoota Warner by Will Hawkins

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  • Shem says:

    What a great shoot, and a great guy! That was so much fun, thanks for having me along!

    (October 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm)

Cage The Elephant is a band that has been around for a good 5 years or so, but has really broken out in the past year and a half.

Their first big hit “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” caught my ear the very first time I heard it. Picking up their album immediately, I loved every song.
Seeing them for the first time last year at Club Firestone in Orlando, I enjoyed their show.
Seeing them in the pouring rain at Lollapalooza – completely rocked my socks. Cage The Elephant really tore it up. Spectacular performance, amazing energy, great interaction with the crowd… and the downpour only served as fuel for their fire!

Here are a few images from their performance that day:

Cage The Elephant at Lollapalooza by Will Hawkins
Cage The Elephant at Lollapalooza by Will Hawkins

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Muse is one of my favorite bands. They are absolutely some of the most creative and talented groups out there… They are one of the few bands whom I can appreciate every single creation by.

When I learned that Muse would be one of the headliners at Lollapalooza, I was thrilled! Having worked with them closely (see Muse: Dominic Howard photoshoot, Muse Concert, and another line off of my bucket list! ) and seen them twice before, I knew that they would be a highlight not just for me, but for all music fans attending Lollapalooza.

Here are some photos from that evening in Chicago…

Matthew Bellamy of Muse at Lollapalooza 2011 by Will Hawkins
Matthew Bellamy of Muse at Lollapalooza 2011 by Will Hawkins
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  • Shem says:

    Awesome pics, as always!! I especially love the blue, backlit image of Dominic…very cool!!

    (September 23, 2011 at 7:47 pm)

My Morning Jacket performed in front of tens of thousands of fans in Chicago at this year’s Lollapalooza on the Bud Light main stage. Here are some shots from that evening!

My Morning Jacket at Lollapalooza by Will Hawkins
My Morning Jacket at Lollapalooza 2011 in Chicago by Will Hawkins

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OK GO is a band that I’ve been following since their first viral video hit. Just a few months after OK GO was becoming massively popular through viral means, DDRUM called me up to shoot the cover of their catalog featuring OK GO’s Dan Konopka. We nailed the shoot and I got to see OK GO perform live. It was a great day!

Fast forward to now – OK GO was out on a headlining tour, hitting Orlando the same day I’d be in town. I expect a great performance from OK GO, but still managed to be blown away!
The level of talent, creativity, passion, and just plain FUN these guys bring to their shows is really spectacular.

Not only did OK GO play all of my favorite songs and thoroughly please the crowd, they involved hand bells, lasers, fuzzy guitars, programmed LED light-up jackets, and $500 of confetti! (Seriously… 2/3 of the show, their confetti blower was making it rain!)

Great show from OK GO! Here are a few pics from that night:

OK GO by Will Hawkins

OK GO by Will Hawkins
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One recent Friday in Boston, I had the pleasure of working with drummer/writer/producer Keith Harris again.

Keith is best known for playing drums for Black Eyed Peas, as well as writing & producing some of their songs. Keith has also worked with Michael Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Nicole Scherzinger, Mary J Blige, and other huge stars.

The Black Eyed Peas were headlining the TD Garden in Boston on their “The E.N.D.” tour. Ludacris opened up.

With rock star photographer Nique Prokop ( in tow, we met up with Keith’s drum tech Keith Schubert several hours before the show. Keith S. gave us a tour of the backstage area and brought us up to the *3rd story* of the BEP stage, where the band members perform.

We checked out the space, I picked lenses, and Keith S. got the lighting engineer on radio to dial in lights for the shoot. Moments later, Keith Harris joined us.

For the next 10 minutes, we had a badass photoshoot with Keith… check out the photos below!

Big thanks to Keith H and Keith S for being awesome to work with! Big thanks to Nique for being my voice-activated light stand 😉

Keith Harris of Black Eyed Peas by Will Hawkins
Keith Harris of Black Eyed Peas by Will Hawkins

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This has been an incredible year for concerts already! Buddy Guy, BB King, Shinedown, Killswitch Engage (3 times!), Galactic, and Muse!

Muse is a band that I have loved for a while. They are a band that only releases strong albums – masterpieces from creative geniuses!

Muse is comprised of 3 members – Matthew Bellamy on Vocals & Guitar, Christopher Wolstenholme on Bass, and Dominic Howard on Drums.

Each member contributes to the songwriting process. Each member brings huge sound to the album, and the live show.

The show was absolutely amazing. Incredible stage, stunning light show, spectacular performance of songs, great set list, and a variety of musical compositions played in addition to their songs.

Promark Drumsticks arranged for a 1 on 1 shoot with Dom Howard.
We got to the venue a few hours before the show. met with Muse’ security, and were immediately escorted to Dom Anderson, Muse’ long time tour manager.
Muse has a huge production and a massive crew – every member of which was *incredibly* polite and helpful. Muse’ crew is comprised of some of the most professional and kind crew members I’ve ever met.

Soon after meeting with Dom A., we were linked up with Dom Howard. Muse’s stage was already configured for the show, kabooki in place – so we needed to find another place to shoot.
Dom had a separate room with a full drumkit set up. A perfect, private little white room w/white ceilings.

I took a couple of minutes to set up 2 Canon 580EX speedlites on pocket wizards, pointing at the ceiling corners, and the shoot began!

Check out the photos and video below!
(Note: Many more photo to come! This is just a teaser for now!! )

Dom Howard of Muse by Will Hawkins
Dom Howard of Muse by Will Hawkins

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  • wendy says:

    wow so lucky, having taken photos to dominic, must have been an incredible experience, and fact is that Dominic is also very friendly and cute hahaha, i hope someday to run with your own luck
    And I can photograph dominic ,and all these artists that you’ve photographed,(dream worth :P)
    really that amazing, good for you!!

    (March 14, 2011 at 7:01 pm)
  • Excellent shots and video!

    (January 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm)

Buddy Guy opened up for BB King at MGM Foxwoods on Valentine’s Day this past year.
There was no better day to sing the blues 🙂

This was the best blues performance I’ve ever seen in my life. That’s all I can say.

Buddy Guy by Will Hawkins
Buddy Guy by Will Hawkins

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Dave Matthews Band by Will Hawkins
Dave Matthews by Will Hawkins

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Korn. This is a band I’ve watched evolve from the time I was in high school. One thing has never changed – they are always maximum intensity, maximum emotion, huge sound.
With the addition of Ray Luzier on drums, the onstage chemistry and power is even greater than before!

Here are some photos from when Korn hit Orlando earlier this year:
Korn by Will Hawkins
Korn by Will Hawkins

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  • Wendy says:

    Great photos of my fav band, Korn!! I love the hair movement you’ve captured!

    (July 14, 2011 at 8:16 am)

Shinedown rocked the UCF arena in Oviedo, Florida (outside of Orlando) this July with their Carnival of Madness Tour. Chevelle, Sevendust, and Puddle of Mudd supported the tour.

Shinedown’s musical performance is ALWAYS a high energy, passionate, emotionally charged event. Of the nearly 10 times I’ve seen them live, I’ve been disappointed precisely zero times.

Not only did Shinedown perform with the full intensity that I’ve come to expect, but their stage, light show, and video production blew me (and 5,000 other fans) away.

Here are some moments from the night:

Shinedown by Will Hawkins
Shinedown by Will Hawkins

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There are a handful of bands where I feel that every time I see them….is the best time. Muse, Shinedown, Buddy Guy, Black Stone Cherry…. and Papa Roach.

Papa Roach has explosive onstage chemistry and powerful riffs.
Here are some photos from a recent show in Orlando, FL:

Papa Roach by Will Hawkins
Papa Roach by Will Hawkins

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The Rev and I had an opportunity to work together on a Promark Drumsticks shoot soon before his untimely passing. We did a brief shoot at his kit before the show as well as a shoot during the performance.

Here are a couple of photos from that night.

The Rev by Will Hawkins
Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan of Avenged Sevenfold by Will Hawkins

The Rev by Will Hawkins
Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan of Avenged Sevenfold by Will Hawkins

  • Matthew McNaughton says:

    I really miss this guy… not only was he my idol and my biggest hero, but he also inspired me to play the drums. R.I.P. Jimmy :'(

    (August 16, 2011 at 10:17 am)

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2009.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is one of my favorite bands. I’ve been lucky enough to see them a dozen times over the years, shoot many shows, and spend time with the band.

They put on a GREAT show! Personality, musical talent, and just plain enjoyment of performance is shown by each member of the band, every single show.

Back in 2004, BBVD released a spectacular live CD/DVD combo that featured my photography of the band. I’ve been looking forward to working with them again since!

Be sure to catch them at this year’s Epcot Food & Wine Festival!

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy by Will Hawkins 0793
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy by Will Hawkins

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