The Pack A.D. live at Red Bird Brewing

Pack A.D. live at Red Bird Brewing

Photo credit and copyrights to Shane Collins & Gonzo Okanagan

The final hours of summer waned in a yawn as the autumn air hugged the crowd that had gathered in front of the stage at RED BIRD BREWING this past Thursday.

Patrons packed themselves in for yet another top notch night out for an evening of live entertainment. This has been an epic year to see a show here in Kelowna, despite the loss of so many live music venues. From houseboats to back yards. From small gigs to epic festivals, the summer of 2022 will go down in the history books as a wild return to live music. After two years of the pandemic and its lockdown’s, I’m thrilled to be back at it again. 

Walking into the crowd, Josh & Bex were finishing up their set. Bex sings with an angelic grace and after finishing a song, she informs us that soon, The Pack A.D. will come on the stage and destroy us all. After their set concludes, Maya Miller sits down at the drums and starts smashing away. Becky Black starts tearing into a thick, heavy guitar riff that silences anyone trying to continue their conversations.

Big sound explodes through the speakers. Big enough to bulldoze the soundscape. The senses are pummeled and I get to work. The Pack A.D. have taken the stage and sure enough, Bex was right. My senses are disassembled one by one as I stand way too close to the speaker. 

Maya Miller

Photographing here at Red Bird is wonderful when the ambient light is still full in the sky but as the seasons change before my eyes, the night, no matter how on time it is, to me, it feels like it’s arrived a little early. I rely on the balance of light that illuminates whoever takes the stage. It’s a tricky balance photographing all this motion without it being a blurry mess. Photographing a live show gives the photographer a few choices of how to approach the shoot.

For me, I like the gritty, raw image. Especially the black and whites. I select my lenses like a soldier might choose their weapons. You can be a sniper and use a long lens and fire from far away. You can be a part of the infantry and fire at mid range or you can be the assassin and shoot them at point blank range. I love getting as close to the action as I can and for this performance, I am so close I can smell the smoke of the nylon strings burning atop the frets of Becky’s guitar. 

Becky Black

Before I know it I’m swarmed by the influx of attendees taking to the floor. Like mosquitos swarm to a blinding light, they push forward and I have to take a wide stance in case of collision. The smashing of symbols. The pounding of the snare drum. Guitar strings erupt in the distorted prowess of power cords. The barking scream smashes through my ear drums like a rampaging bull smashing itself through a beauty salon. 

This kind of thrashing sends quivers through any kind of glassware within close proximity. It’s a glorious assault and it’s perpetrated by one of Vancouver’s finest duo’s. 

One patron bangs her head in rhythm and yet she spills not one drop of her beer. Hands pump in the air as the darkening night swallows the dim light of summer’s last day and to be out here, dear reader, I am once again grateful to be in the crowd with all these lovely, happy people enjoying a night of music.

Out here in Kelowna, back at it, full fucking turbo, life has returned to this fair town and with such a high caliber of satisfaction upon the evenings conclusion, it’s no wonder Kelowna still has a shot at being one of the best for a night out on the town as one season changes hands for the other, so too are we seeing the resurgence of the live show. One show at a time. Any time of the year.  

Smoke coming off them strings
Previous articleHodgePodge: Great Advice From Kurt Vonnegut
Next articleLocal woman asks you to donate blood & plasma
The Okanagan’s been my home since I was born. Life has taken me across the planet several times and through that transient lifestyle I developed a journalistic style to my photography and to my writing. My influences would be that of James Nachtwey, Annie Lebovitz, Ashley Maile, Hunter S Thompson, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Tom Robbins, Wes Anderson and Charles Bukowski. The world outside this incredible valley, its cultures and its mystery is what’s kept me working and trying to save my money, so I can keep getting back into the world. That’s the way it used to be. Covid has opened my eyes to the land I call my home and there are so many tales to tell right here in BC. From tales of the impoverished to the neglected to those who overcome adversity, to the spirit to overcome fear, the power of storytelling has never been more relevant. I’ve always been a storyteller. There’s a tale worth telling in every neighborhood. I just happen to write about what happens to me along the way and I’ve kept them close to my heart, hoping one day I’ll have an outlet so I can tell those stories the best way I know how; by writing them down. From adventures of long ago, both here or maybe far away, future interviews with musicians, artists of all kinds, the coverage of events, the people I meet along the way, whatever I get up to I intend to have you as my guest as I go back in time and dig up the bones of those old adventures or chase down new ones. Through the alchemy of storytelling, you can come along with me if you like. Before Covid-19 I was really coming into my own photographing live shows; punk rock bands, hip hop showcases, tattoo portraits, rock climbing adventures, Femme Fatale burlesque performances you name it, the phone was finally beginning to ring. Then Covid showed up like a hurricane and I guess it wiped us all out in one way or another. I have a real bone to pick with Covid-19 and if I can share some stories for our readers to enjoy, I’ll do that and when we can return to live music and to foreign travel and we can safely get to working on mending what’s been damaged I tell you I want to be ringside like Joe Rogan commentating on Covid getting its ass whooped. I want to see it tap out and watch us overcome this hardship, raise our collective hands triumphantly and move on into whatever new normal is waiting for us. I’ll be there and through my eyes, just like the boss man, Hunter himself, I’ll do it in Gonzo fashion and bring you kicking and screaming along with me. So hold on tight and dig in. It might not always be pretty but I won’t call it all ugly, neither. That’s for you to decide. My name is Shane Collins and I hope you’ll read along with me and our team here at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.