Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis

Rebel Rousers

Posted in photography by Jason Gray on April 11, 2009

Recently, I was hired to shoot some publicity shots for the Chicago band, Rebel Rouser.

They are in the process of making a big push to expand their visibility, and this year should be one of huge transition for them, as a result. I was there at their first gig, at the Blue Note in Chicago, and I had this funny little blurb to write after that performance:


Are you Roused? Music has seasons, nothing new there, and just as in real life, there is sometimes a chrysalis that lies in wait, brooding for the desolation of winter to end before it hatches. The past decade of music has been a season of winter; in it, we have witnessed the sputtering death of grunge, the climax and denouement of emo, and the resurgence of the proto-punk/pop of the nineteen-eighties (that has been, somewhat unfortunately, filtered through a wide net into the candy-coated, no-nutrition, feel good songs that are struggling for our attention even as I type). No more, on Tuesday, 23 January, 2007, at the Note in Chicago, Illinois, the chrysalis has cracked wide open, and Rebel Rouser has emerged breathing new life, like fire, over the barren fields. For a band playing their first gig, Rebel Rouser seemed remarkably well at ease, effortlessly shuffling feet and turning all ears toward them. Lead singer, Jaspar Nila, swaggered through a powerfully short playlist (they were one of three bands on the bill that night), stopping only to swipe an occasional sip from his pint of Pabst Blue Ribbon. In a day of no-nutrition mainstream music, this band is caloric. Rebel Rouser is the meat and potatoes of classic, American rock fused with more modern tastes that run an amazing gambit, from Bowie to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Wipers to Wolfmother, Clapton to Muse. After they had practically incited an encore from the riled audience, the Rousers even rocked out a cover of Cream that lit up the room. If you see one show this year, do yourself a favor and witness the revolution as it unfolds. This band is guaranteed to rock you; in the words of frontman Nila, “I think it’s safe to say that you have been Roused!”


The night that I shot these, I had Jaspar and the guys fanned out across four lanes of a very busy street (in a viaduct), and had them scale a wall (illegally) to access an abandoned, elevated, railroad track. And this was while I was lugging around three DSLRs, five lenses, a tripod and a lighting kit. Needless to say, it was a good time.


Frontman, Jaspar Nila:


It was a pleasure to take these pictures, and hopefully you’ll be hearing more from this band in the future!



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