Live Concert Photography: Reeperbahn Festival NYC Edition at Piano’s 6/17/17 feat. Oliver St. Louis and Good Company, Megan Bonnell, Albin Lee Meldeau, Leyya and Carnival Youth
Started in 2006, Hamburg, Germany‘s Reeperbahn Festival has become one of Europe’s biggest club-based live music festivals, presenting more than 500 shows across a wide range of genres, featuring international artists playing shows around the city’s Reeperbahn District. Along with the live music, the festival features a conference program specifically designed for music professionals and creative digital industries, and features sessions, showcases, networking events and award ceremonies, as well as events in the fields of art, film and literature.
Interestingly, the Reeperbahn Festival in concert with the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and the Lower East Side music venue Piano’s have hosted a New York edition of the German festival during Indie Week, an annual convention of the largest network of US independent music companies that attracts close to 1000 members, associate members and partners across the US, Canada, South America, Europe and Australia — with the Reeperbahn Festival delegation featuring members from Germany, Austria, Denmark, Latvia and Portugal.
Last month’s second annual Reeperbahn Festival, New York edition featured a diverse group of artists performing across a rather eclectic array of genres, including Oliver St. Louis, a Washington, DC-born, Berlin-based funk, soul and rock singer/songwriter; Megan Bonnell, a Toronto, ON-based folk and indie rock singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist; Albin Lee Meldau, a Swedish singer/songwriter; Vienna, Austria-based experimental electronic act Leyya; and Riga, Latvia-based indie rock quartet Carnival Youth and others. (Editor’s note: Because the upstairs lounge was packed for most of the early portion of the night, I wasn’t able to shoot a few artists who performed — namely, Portuguese singer/songwriter Nelson Graf Reis, who writes and performs under the moniker of We Bless This Mess and Danish electro pop artist Lydmor, who I think could be one of the blogosphere’s next big things.)
Check out photos from a great night of live music from an eclectic array of artists below.
Headlining the night was Olivier St. Louis. Born in Washington, DC and claiming both Haitian and Cameroonian heritage, St. Louis spent most of his childhood studying at a boarding school in the British countryside. His experience at boarding school helped develop and foster both an an appreciation for other cultures and eclectic music tastes. As a 15 year old, his music collection was a lot like mine, as it featured hip-hop, R&B, garage rock and Brit Pop.
Deciding to remain in the UK, St. Louis studied at the University of Oxford where he earned a degree in Bioscience and for a period of time, he lived a sort of Clark Kent/Superman kind of life, in which he was a scientist by day, recording artist by night. By 2006, St. Louis under the moniker Olivier Daysoul released his full-length debut kilowatt, an effort that put him on the map within the underground/indie electro hip-hop scene, and as a result, St. Louis quickly became a go-to guest singer/songwriter and vocalist, collaborating with a number of producers internationally. With a growing international profile, St. Louis was able to pursue music full-time in 2010, eventually collaborating with renowned emcee and producer Oddisee, electronic music artist and producer Hudson Mohawke, The C2C DJs and others. However, despite those early successes, St. Louis felt that something deeply important to him was missing — a true reflection of his voice and sound.
A hiatus from guest spots and features allowed the Washington, DC-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter a necessary period deep introspection that found him discovering a love of the blues, rock and funk, as well as further experimentation with his sound and songwriting approach. Along with that St. Louis not only decided that it was time to write and record with his birth name, but that he needed to write and produce his own work to achieve the sounds he heard in his head. Ultimately, the result is a sound that effortlessly meshes rock, funk, jazz and the blues in a way that sounds both timeless and contemporary — and with an enormously generous, kind heart.