Really good reply Photoj. That was a real honest and to the point reply. Good constructive criticism is what I like to hear when I ask for input on here. Go find a few of my posts! LOL I would love to hear your opinion.
DD, one thing I have to say about the first photo... It looks like he is kind of picking his nose. lol Im not trying to be funny, but when I first saw the top photo, I thought it was one of those joking pics when people stick their finger in their nose. LOL
I started out photographing bands years ago and was pretty successful at it. I was the photographer to go to for gigs and band photos. Not trying to talk myself up here but I do know a thing or two about this area.
Take it for what it's worth....
You mentioned setting up flashes. In my experience, not a good idea (unless you have a crew). I have photographed bands in places from huge arenas to almost dives (small trashy bars) and I can tell you that in EVERY single place, there will be at least one person that will try to mess with your equipment, whether it be the drunk person being loud or someone just doing it to screw around. Something is going to get knocked over or stolen. You need a crew with you, watching over flashes and other gear that is set up.
I can't stress that enough. Having a crew. At least 2-3 people helping you.
Another thing, I would never ask the lighting tech to "ramp up the lighting" just so you can lower your ISO to get better shots. They are picky about running the lights just like we are about our camera settings. I am also a musician and it gets HOT under those lights, especially in small venues.
I dont know if the band brings their own lights or if the venue has lights set up already with a tech. Even if the lights are the bands lights, it's going to be hard to accomplish any sort of lighting that will remain consistent because it's stage lights.
From the shots that you have shown on here, there looks to be ample light to work with. The high ISO doesnt look like it interfered with anything in my opinion. The isnt much noise in the images.
Focusing seemed to be one of your biggest short fall and like Photoj said, "composition". I know you said that this was a first for you and it's not like you did a bad job.
My final thoughts, because this is getting long.
You said that you know the band, right? If they want good shots of themselves, then tell them that you are going to be onstage shooting them. Get up in the action as much as you can, without being in the way. The band can tell the crowd that they have a photographer there and that you are going to be around doing your job. Every band I worked with would let the crowd know and also let them know that they too would be in the photographs, which would also pump up the crowd.
The band knows you are there to make them look good, so they should be very accommodating to your needs and you to theirs.
I would suggest using mainly primes for a gig like the one you shot.
Flashes take So much away from the feel of a show like this and like you said "motion is good" (to an extent)
I dont know how long this band played. Depending on the band, their sets usually last anywhere from 30 mins to 4 hours. Depends on if they are the opening act or the main act and also how well they are known.
Find out how long before hand. Also get shots of them packing up their gear and also setting up.
Sorry this got so long, but it's finally something I can really contribute to. I wish it wasnt so late though because my brain is a bit fried right now, so I hope that I am making sense.
I have to say it once more.. WATCH YOUR GEAR!
I know that you will.
Oh and the last photo....Looks like it shouldnt even be in the same set. It almost looks like a paparazzi shot.
Good first try.
I hope I was somewhat helpful. If not PM me and let me know. lol
Canon 5D Mark II--Canon 40D 28-135, 24mm 1.4L *50mm 1.2* / 35mmL*/ 85mmL*/ MacBook Pro 17"/ mac G4 / 580 ex II x2/ pocket wizards x2/ *a few more L series primes. **