By Courtney E. Smith

2012 was, by any measure, a massive success for fun. While last year was marked with huge TV appearances and red carpets, so far 2013 is shaping up to be the band’s year of touring. Starting in July, they’ll be on the road with special guests Tegan & Sara through October.

Between now and then, the guys seem to be getting some well-deserved time off to relax. February 2013 was a big month, with their first-ever GRAMMY appearance and multiple nominations that culminated in a Song of the Year win for “We Are Young.” Just before that landmark event, on February 2, the guys stopped off in their hometown of New York City for another historic event: their first headlining show at Radio City Music Hall.

The band’s longtime friend (and guitarist Jack Antonoff’s former bandmate in Steel Train) Daniel Silbert documented the gig, from backstage to the view you never get from behind the stage, in photographs. He’s curated them into an exhibit of 17 photos, in a pop up gallery on New York City’s Lower East Side, for an exhibit called “One Night.”

“Its interesting because even bands that can sell out Madison Square Garden or stadiums — there’s just this different vibe when you play Radio City,” Silbert said in an interview with “You could tell that it was a special day.”

Radio City is a part of a strip of buildings in Rockefeller Center that were erected by John D. Rockefeller. It was conceived as “a palace for the people.” Since it opened to the public in 1932, hundreds of millions of people have attended shows there. There are many things that make it different from other venues — the art deco style of the building, the lush interior decoration, the soaring entrance hall. And one other thing no other theater can boast.

“Honestly, one level, when you go in the elevator, one level says ‘The Rockettes,'” Silbert said when asked what differentiates the venue. “That something that you never see. From being in a lot of big theaters in the country, it’s just [Radio City’s] rooms are different. The backstage rooms are set up in a different way. There’s not one green room. There are just floors of different green rooms. That’s because the shows that come there are probably such productions.”

Much of Silbert’s exhibit, including the photo here, are in black and white. He says he shoots in color but in post production finds himself changing to black and white. But in his mind, he’s often composing shots in a black and white format.

(Daniel Silbert)

(Daniel Silbert)

“I think in photography I’m really drawn to Herman Leonard’s work with the jazz musicians of the ’60s. That’s all black and white. Probably my favorite pieces [from the Radio City shoot] were ones, this one shot of Jack in silhouette and one shot of Nate — both vertical shots — and you don’t really see the crowd, you just see this bright spotlight on them. That to me was very reminiscent of the shots that inspired me.”

To see more of Silbert’s photos from “One Night” and additional fun. shoots by the photographer, visit his website.


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