Best Of Concerts featured

Best Concert Photos of 2013

Drake Performs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

2013 was a great year for me, personally and professionally and was my most successful year ever as a photographer. In addition to my regular concert workload for the Washington Post, I had a few magazine spreads over the course of the year, took on a number of new clients like Red Bull and Levi’s and did a ton of event work. I was also named one of Complex Magazine’s Top 50 Concert Photographers Right Now, which was quite a thrill. 2014 is already off to a good start and I’m excited to find out what the year has in store for me, but for now, here are my favorite photos from the past year.

WASHINGTON, DC - December 10th, 2013 - The Hives, the world's greatest rock 'n roll band, perform at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / www.kylegustafson.com) (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

1) The Hives @ 9:30 Club, December 2013 – When you’re shooting The Hives, you’re basically trying to keep up with the band and hope you nail something like this. By far my favorite show and favorite assignment of 2013. I could easily make this list solely of photos from this show, but I won’t.

WASHINGTON, DC - August 17th, 2013 -  Rapper A$AP Ferg crowd surfs during his performance at the 2013 Trillectro Festival at the Half Street Fairgrounds in Washington, D.C.  (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

2) A$AP Ferg @ Trillectro, August 2013 – I have so many mixed feelings on Trillectro. It’s such a fun and unique event, but it’s unorganized and horribly run (mostly due to the incompetent venue security staff). I seriously feared for my safety a few times that day, and not because of the acts on stage, but because of hazards in the photo pit. Still, this shot’s a keeper.

Nine Inch Nails in concert in Washington, DC

3) Nine Inch Nails @ Verizon Center, October 2013 – My first time seeing NIN in concert and I was totally blown away. Easily the best (and most challenging) concert light I’ve shot at the VC.

WASHINGTON, DC - October 14th, 2013 - Grammy Award nominee Janelle Monae performs at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, D.C. Monae's performance included a cover of The Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" as well as her singles "Tightrope" and "Q.U.E.E.N." (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

4) Janelle Monae @ Lincoln Theater, October 2013 – My muse. I love her. My two favorite acts to shoot in concert are The Hives and her, so I am lucky to have been able to shoot both in 2013.

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs  (Kyle Gustafson/Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

5) The Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Sweetlife Festival, May 2013 – The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (and Karen O specifically) are just so much fun to shoot. I wish they’d tour more.

WASHINGTON, DC - October 31st, 2013 -  Drake performs at the Verizon Center in Washington,D.C. as part of his "Would You Like A Tour?" tour. Drake's latest album, Nothing Was The Same, was released in September and debuted at at number one on the US Billboard 200 album chart.  (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

6) Drake @ Verizon Center, October 2013 –Β I’m still not sold on Drake as a performer and I hate his lighting guy with the intensity of 1,000 suns, but I quite like this shot.

No Age perform during the Station to Station tour, an artist-driven public art project made possible by Levi’s. (Kyle Gustafson/Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

7) No Age @ Station to Station in Pittsburgh, PA, September 2013 – For me, personally, 2013 will be remembered as the year I finally “got” No Age. They blew me away with their performance in Pittsburgh and could very well be my favorite band on the planet right now. A total kick-ass show that obliterated my expectations. Just perfect.

WASHINGTON, DC - March 14th, 2013 -  Pink performs at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. as part of her "Truth About Love" tour. She began the show with an acrobatic display during "Raise My Glass," using bungee cords to twist and flip high above the capacity crowd.  (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

8) Pink @ Verizon Center, March 2013 – Another show that I didn’t expect much from and over delivered. I still can’t get over Pink’s Cirque Du Soleil opening. Good stuff!

COLUMBIA, MD - June 6th,  2013 -   Matt Berninger, Bryan Devendorf and Scott Devendorf of The National perform on a rainy night at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.  The band just released their sixth studio album, Trouble Will Find Me, which debuted at No. 3 on both the US and UK album charts. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

9) The National @ Merriweather Post Pavilion, June 2013 – I was happy to finally get to shoot The National in some decent light and come away with an image like this. This shot was one of the last five frames I shot that night, so always keep shooting until the song is over!

WASHINGTON, DC - March 15th, 2013 -  R&B crooner Bilal performs to a capacity crowd at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. His latest album, A Love Surreal, was released in late February and recieved high marks from SPIN, USA Today and many more. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

10) Bilal @ Black Cat, March 2013 – I love The Cat, but the lighting is a challenge (to put it nicely) and good shots there are a definite challenge. So this capture was a nice surprise.

By my count, I had 110 assignments in 2013 (that’s concerts, events and sports) which is the perfect number for me. I like to be out shooting every third night or so. I hope to continue that this year. I have a number of ideas I’m hoping come to fruition this year and if/when that happens I’ll be sure to loop everybody in. Thanks so much for stopping by my little corner of the internet and taking an interest in my work. Here are all of my favorite photos from 2013.

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