When Dear Rouge was in town touring with Phantogram, I had some good hangs with Danielle and Drew McTaggart, and they told me that one of the most mind-blowing parts of watching Phantogram’s show was the next-level lighting.

I’ll have to admit, I was not prepared for what I saw (or felt; those were WARM light beams; something I’ve only ever felt during arena-level light shows) that night: some of the most highly-focused light beams, bounced off of mirrors situated around the stage and, at one point, Sarah Barthel’s mirror cloak. To wit:

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So, how did the Phantogram experience rub off on Dear Rouge? Read on to find out! First, behold Willa, who opened the night:

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Rocktographers caught Willa’s festival debut at Rock the Shores this year, and she was kind enough to come out for a portrait before the show.

The set times at Distrikt were already early, but then moved up half an hour the week of the show, meaning that Willa opened the stage at 6:30 pm. Oddly early, but it was a strong performance from Willa nonetheless, with some amusing banter between her and the sparse crowd.

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Regina’s Rah Rah were next up. A five-piece I’d not seen or heard before, I would’ve initially described their music as happy/indie/party and, for the most part, it was. Songs of love and loss with many vocalists, great harmonies and upbeat (see happy/party above) melodies.

There was also this animatronic cat.

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Oh, and confetti (’cause Distrikt apparently didn’t get enough from the Rich Aucoin show).

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If you know any concert photographers (or, indeed, have read a few posts on this website), you’ll know that one of the main challenges of this discipline is finding light. Or, shall I say, good light.

Dear Rouge solved that problem handily by bringing their own lighting rig, including four Phantogram-like light cannons which shot high-powered colourful beams to the back walls, four panels of light bars for crazy silhouettes (seen below) and even backlighting, and a large box stage left with a single sealed beam inside, pointing straight up . . . its purpose unknown before the show started.

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Well, as you can see, Dear Rouge was a gift to shoot. This level of light makes our jobs that much better.

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Put that together with the levelled-up stage presence of Danielle and Drew, and it was definitely one of my favourite shows to shoot in 2015.

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Inexplicably, Danielle seems to be putting more into her performance as time goes on.

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And that lightbox? Yeah, that was a platform for Danielle to stand and glow upon.

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Songs like Tongues, Black to Gold, Best Look Lately, and I Heard I Had were especially resonant with the crowd, especially the gaggle of coworkers right at the front who arrived to the show wearing black and gold.

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