Hey, this article you are about to read is by my friend Daniel White. Daniel is one hell of a photographer and a good friend. You know when you meet someone and instantaneously feel good about them, they feel like an old friend in a few quick moments of laughter and conversation, well that is how I felt the first time I met Daniel. Fast forward and I see Daniel shooting the John Rivera memorial show with the biggest smile I have ever seen on anyone’s face. Seeing Daniel truly enjoying every moment of using his craft to document something he loved filled me with joy. I thought in that moment that I needed his perspective on this night and his experience being there. Before you move on to the article, I want to take one quick couple of sentences to thank John Rivera. I wrote about it when he passed but John supported everything I ever did, and that encouragement meant the world to me. He was genuine, kind and supportive of his friends and the hardcore and punk scene. John had an enthusiasm for music that was infectious. I am so fucking glad we crossed paths in this life, I am better for knowing him. John Rivera Forever. – Editor / Danny
Before I share my thoughts on shooting John’s memorial show I need to pay respects to John Rivera himself, a giant in the North Carolina hardcore/metal/punk scene. I started going to hardcore shows in Greensboro around 2008 and met John and Caroline soon after. I remember seeing John filming bands sets all the time and he was always such a pleasure to talk to about the bands and their music. I didn’t start shooting shows myself until 2010, and with doing that John and I formed a solid friendship talking about camera gear and music. I was always inspired by John and how he documented and archived shows for everyone to look back on. He shared so many amazing stories with me about the shows he attended, and I always looked forward to seeing him, Caroline and sometimes Penny at local shows in and around Greensboro. He came to gallery showings of my photography when I had them and supported my career as an artist until the day he passed, and I will always remember that. So, thank you John, for everything.
Fast forward to 2022, I get word of John’s passing at a friend’s house and was shocked. I know John had been battling some medical issues for years but I didn’t see his passing coming so suddenly. I think the whole hardcore community felt that like an earthquake. A few months later I have a sit down with Caroline at a local coffee shop just to catch up and that’s when she told me about the show. I agreed to shoot it without hesitation and didn’t even know who all the bands playing were. She did say that there may be another big surprise band, but it was not confirmed quite yet. At that time, I shot shows from time to time but was more focused on personal projects and other creative endeavors but still had a love for shooting hardcore and punk shows from my connection and friendship with John. A few days go by and Caroline sends me an email that it’s now confirmed, Prayer for Cleansing is going to be performing! I couldn’t believe what I was reading, on countless occasions I remember friends older than me from the hardcore scene talking about having seen Prayer for Cleansing and Undying. Since I started going to shows after these bands had broken up, I didn’t think that I would ever get a chance to see them, let alone photograph them! I knew a show like this would bring so many people back together again and would be one of the most special nights that I could ever be a part of. I was honored and excited to be a part of it.
On the day of the show, I was quite nervous, I’ve shot so many shows but this one was different. I felt a lot of pressure to capture every band perfectly. I wanted to create images that could and would be looked back on for years to come by the bands, the people who were at the show and the ones that couldn’t make it. I know all these bands were very important to John and wanted to do the show justice.
PRAYER FOR CLEANSING
Shooting the show was just an overall amazing experience to say the least. The energy from each band was great. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Riot Stares and Funeral Chic a few times over the years and It was great documenting them. As for the last part of the show other than Codeseven, whom I had seen at the Beloved reunion, I had never seen any of these now mythic bands perform live before. That’s when I felt it, the pressure was on! I’ll never forget maneuvering around the photo pit and onto the stage for all the bands, making sure I capture each member of every band in the best light. I couldn’t help but look out into the crowd between taking photos of Undying and Prayer for Cleansing while they played. Two bands that were pinnacles for North Carolina and metal in general and seeing the crowd in disbelief and excitement that this was happening! This show, these bands and love for John Rivera had brought so many old friends together and the energy in the building was unmatched. It’s a night I will never forget, and I hope my photos did it justice. The sets were all phenomenal and I know the spirit of John was in the Ramkat.
DANIEL'S CURATED SHOTS FROM THE SHOW...
CAROLINE AND PENNY
PRAYER FOR CLEANSING