It’s fair to say that Rob Coons’ initial exposure to live music was a trial by fire.

“My first show was still one of the most memorable, best shows I’ve ever seen—D.R.I. with Dr. Know in Cincinnati, around two hours from my small town,” recalls photographer Coons with a smirk. “It was absolutely bonkers—a million stage dives. It was so wild, the intensity of it and everything. And then towards the end of the show, a stage diver jumped on top of me and hit my head and actually cracked one of my front teeth off. I had footprints all over my shirt from people climbing over me to get on the stage, but I made up some crazy story to my parents and somehow it worked out. That night was a little bit different from when I saw Neil Diamond.”

And so began Coons’ love affair with punk and live music—a liaison that has endured for decades across several continents.

“I went to Tokyo in February of 2020 to see Gauze with Crow, and that was incredible,” Coons says of going to the ends of the earth in pursuit of great shows. “I first saw Gauze on their U.S. tour back in ’96 at Gilman Street, and to this day that was the best punk set I’ve ever seen in my life. So I was obsessed with seeing them in Japan, and I finally had an opportunity to go many years later. And then the irony of it is that it was actually their last show as a full band.”

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