Tag Archives: gig photography

Bass Drum of Death/Crows/Yak, The Shacklewell Arms 13 November 2014

Once again The Shacklewell rolls out three incredible bands in one night – how do they manage to get it right so often?!  (I suspect Bad Vibrations had a big part in all of this…)

My main purpose of heading to the gig was to see Bass Drum of Death but decided to head there early to catch Yak.  Knew nothing about them until they started playing, and I still don’t know anything about them apart from the fact that they are remarkable live.  Definitely seeing them again at some stage.

Seeing as Yak were so fantastic, odds on the next band, Crows, would have to be crap, SURELY. Nope, another remarkable band and another remarkable performance.

And then there was Bass Drum of Death.  By that stage the crowd was packed in like sardines and the mosh pit was like a whirlpool, sucking everyone in.  Almost lost my balance up the front a few times but couldn’t stop laughing because everyone was just having way too much fun.  Not the best shots of these guys due to no flash/being jostled constantly, but I gave it a red hot go.

Managed to not break the camera and the 24-70 survived to tell the tale… just.  Black and white shots again because red lighting is just NO FUN when you’re trying to take photos without a flash.

If you can, check out ALL the bands in this post, live.  It’ll be worth your while!

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Menswe@r at Queen of Hoxton, 9 August 2014

Just between you and I, I was a big fan of Menswe@r in the 90s.  They were easily in the top 5 of my most favourite Britpop bands ever (because everyone loves a list) and I religiously collected their (very snazzily designed) CD singles on import in Australia when I was a teenager.  I never understood the flack they got back then, and I was always proud to say I was a fan.

I guess people say it’s a nostalgia thing going to see your most loved bands from when you were a teenager and to some extent it is.  When the band you’re seeing has been revived with a new line up and fresh energy, it’s all about going to see a bloody brilliant gig.

The only thing that marred the night was a few ‘lads! bantz! pints!’ guys in the crowd who at their age should really know better, but fortunately that didn’t take away much from the overall experience.  Johnny Dean and the new Menswe@r line up clearly love playing together as they put on a fantastic show and seemed to really enjoy themselves.

My only regret is not bringing a zoom lens with me (for fear of it being confiscated by security!) and having to make do with my 50mm 1.8, which I hid in the arm of my jacket on the way in (don’t try this at home kids).  The shots were all quite close as a result… live and learn!

If you were a fan of Menswe@r in the 90s, or even if you weren’t, I can highly recommend you go check them out if you can.  If you don’t get a chance though, here’s some pics so you can pretend you were there.  Enjoy!

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The Crookes, Dingwalls 29 April 2014

For some reason I forgot to post this and it has been in draft for the last month!  So cast your mind back to late April…

I’m in two minds about Camden’s Dingwalls, after one crappy experience on my first venture there (Tribes – horrible crowd, oversold, no chance of getting a drink at ridiculously packed yet understaffed bar etc.) and one brilliant experience following that (The Heartbreaks – amazing crowd, great space for photos in various spots around the venue, brilliant lighting and meeting the band afterwards). It could have gone either way with The Crookes earlier in the week but luckily it fell mostly into the latter category.

Difficult getting a decent shot of the guys from from front of stage as there were two rows of teenage girls forming a rigid barricade that none could pass through – their fans are staunch! I released myself from the throng after a couple of songs to discover that it wasn’t too busy from the side, and the lovely sound guy let me pop through the barrier to get closer to the stage. Nice one.

As I said, the lighting at Dingwalls is pretty decent, so no need for flash. I don’t know why I bothered to bring it really! I used ye olde faithful 24-70mm f/2.8 for the whole gig. Had my 50mm in the bag but didn’t bother using it. HANGING to pick up a 70-200mm f/2.8 in the coming weeks. My time will come, save save save…

Pics of the evening below, enjoy!

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The Twilight Sad, Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen 1 May 2014

Never would have thought that a band I don’t know too much about would manage to impress me so much in a live setting. Don’t get me wrong, I know of The Twilight Sad, and I bought their first album Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters when I first moved to London in 2009 (I’m an Aussie for those of you who don’t already know!). Never really kept track of what they were up to until having the opportunity to photograph and review their gig at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen last week for Shout 4 Music.

Oh. My. Word.

Haunting. Intense. Bleak. Yelling. Dark. Austere. THE LOT. Complete wall of sound from start to finish. This was their second sold out London date, playing Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters in its entirety and it was bloody lovely. Almost forgot to take photos at some points because it was hard to look away! Just brilliant. I saw on twitter afterwards that the sound up the back wasn’t that great, but from where I was standing it was perfect.

Flash stayed in the bag (it would have completely drowned out the ambiance/highlighted the dry ice too much) and 24-70mm f2.8 was a permanent fixture. Had a great spot up the front and almost couldn’t get out of the gig because it was like sardines up the back. If I were a big fan of the band I would have rightly been in heaven after that gig.

Review on Shout 4 Music here, and pics of the evening below, enjoy!

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Traams/Crushed Beaks, The Lexington 30 April 2014

Well well well, Traams eh?  2014’s dark horses!  Gig and a half on Wednesday night, one that I wasn’t expecting to be so blown away by (why? I have no idea…).

Their album “Grin” has been one of those very few albums this year that I’ll continue to revisit when I’m bored of whatever new treasures I’ve recently added to my iPod.  Always a great listen, but live they really put some magic into it.  More live bands like this please!  Energy in buckets and stage presence like no other (the bassist especially, just too bloody cool) .

The gig was wedged between two other gig nights for me (both of which I was photographing and reviewing – hectic) so I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did.  Glad we arrived early as Crushed Beaks were also fab, with yet another ridiculously cool bassist. I wasn’t really intending on taking many, if any photos, but I’m really glad I took my camera along.  It’s always the times when you least expect something awesome to happen…

As I was only taking photos for myself I just popped my 50mm f/1.8 on my camera as it’s light and easy to throw in my bag.  I should use it more often really as it’s a lifesaver in low light conditions, which The Lexington can be at times.  So, SO glad I bought the camera with me!

Pics below for your entertainment, enjoy!

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Johnny Foreigner/Electric Soft Parade, The Borderline, April 2014

It’s been a busy few weeks recently, not so much on the gig photography but more on the day job side of things.  I’ve been looking to move jobs recently and have just landed a new one, so no more running to interviews on my lunch break or before work, all sorted!  Now I can focus more on blogging, facebooking, instagramming and tweeting – the important stuff.

As I mentioned previously I’ve been offered an in-house photographer position with MAMA venues, which I’ve now started.  I’ve recently shot a couple of bands at The Borderline which has been much fun – a nice small venue in an easy location with early stage times – what’s not to like?!  Plus the bands there have been great so far, so I’m hoping to do some more in the coming weeks.  A couple of weeks back I shot Johnny Foreigner there, and just last week Electric Soft Parade.  I’m keeping my eye on upcoming gigs to see what takes my fancy and will grab what I can!  If you know of any bands playing there coming up who would be good to photograph let me know and I’ll see if I can pop along.

A couple weeks ago I had a photo shoot with a lovely band from Southampton called Welcome Pariah, while they were up in Camden for a gig.  We traipsed around the back streets (and telephone boxes!) of Camden on a Friday night and took some group shots of them in various places.  Really easy to work with and just lovely guys all around.  The photos are being used as press shots to accompany their upcoming single (June release date), so will share a few pics of the shoot when that’s all come out.  Exciting stuff, for both the band and me!

Starting my new day job tomorrow (eep!), but honestly have loads and loads of gigs coming up in the next few weeks/months, so keep your eye on my twitter/instagram/blog etc.  Photos of the recent Borderline gigs below, enjoy!

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Life/The Heartbreaks/We Are Scientists, March 2014

Busy week last week with a couple of really decent gigs (amongst day job duties).  Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky to be able to do this so often!  Going from small venues like The Garage upstairs, to next day shooting at O2 Shepherd’s Bush, and being able to photograph some of my favourite artists is just the best.

Wednesday night saw me popping along to shoot Life at The Garage upstairs for Shout 4 Music.  I stupidly left my phone at home on charge (well done Jen) but luckily managed to find The Garage as it was right on top of Highbury & Islington station.  Don’t get me wrong I’d been there before, but that doesn’t mean anything – all venues look the same in the dark!  Was really looking forward to seeing Life as I’d been a fan of theirs since they were The Neat a couple years ago and had seen them a few times in that guise.  So much energy and brilliant playing, it’s a shame this wasn’t their own headline gig!  Horrendous red lighting and the guys moving around a lot proved a challenge but managed to come away with some decent shots.  Keep your eyes on these guys, one of the better ‘new’ bands around at the moment.

Then Thursday night I was shooting The Heartbreaks at O2 Shepherd’s Bush for London in Stereo.  I LOVE The Heartbreaks.  Not sure if you are aware of that already (probably…).  Not just from a music point of view but they’re also just so easy to shoot – they look great, they pose (unintentionally) wickedly and they always look like they’re enjoying themselves.  Pity there weren’t more people at the O2 at that time of evening to see them.  Managed to say a quick hello to the boys in the stairwell after their set and luckily got to stay for the other two acts – Superfood and We Are Scientists.  Took some worthy shots of both bands, but Keith and Chris are just so charismatic that taking a bad photo of WAS was virtually impossible – apart from the constant jumping around resulting in blurry shots!  Stuck around for the required three songs and had a giggle at some of their banter.  Funny guys.

Met yet another photographer (Jeff Moh) who I recognised while I was at the gig, but only after I got chatting to him about leaving cameras in the back room and he told me his name.  Cool guy, LOTS of stories to tell as he’s been in the business for quite a while now.  Will no doubt bump into him again soon.  I used my 24-70mm 2.8 for all the O2 Shepherd’s Bush shots, and a combination of that and my 50mm 1.8 for the Life photos.  That 24-70mm 2.8 is just the cat’s PJs.  I am truly in love!  Wondering why I didn’t buy it sooner really.

Shots below, enjoy!

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Bombay Bicycle Club, O2 Brixton Academy 14 March 2014

Gotta love a gig that’s so close to your house you can leave home about 10 minutes before you have to be there!  First time shooting (properly) at Brixton Academy so had to go through all the awkward “do I go this way?” talk with security at the back of the venue.  Got told off for attempting to take a test shot of the support act because I wasn’t physically in the pit yet – no professional photos AT ALL at Brixton Academy unless you’re in the pit for the first three songs.  Yeesh!

Despite that, had a fantastic first three songs for Bombay Bicycle Club.  There were around 7 other togs in the pit, plus another four video guys and around four security so it was a tad difficult moving around without hip and shouldering someone.  Didn’t fall over though (bonus) and managed to take a few good shots, huzzah!  Security shooed us all out once the third song ended and sent us out the back (no going into the crowd after that to enjoy the rest of the gig – booooo).  Managed to meet and have a quick chat to Nathan Barnes, a fellow photographer who shoots for The 405 and who I follow on twitter.  He approached me and I was surprised that someone actually knew who I was!  Check out his work here.  No doubt we’ll be bumping into each other at a gig again soon.

As alluded to a few blogs ago, I have been saving up for a new lens and – drumroll please – it has finally arrived.  These shots were taken with my new Canon 24-70mm f2.8 Mk II.  Bit nervous about taking pics with a new lens at such a big gig (well, big for ME), but judging by the results it seemed to work out just fine.  I am completely in love with it, and get the feeling I’ll be taking it to almost every gig from now on.  My 17-55mm f2.8 will soon be gathering dust… Pics below and up on the Shout4Music website here.  Enjoy!

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Eagulls, Electrowerkz 5th March 2014

First ever visit to Electrowerkz on Wednesday night, and I sure as hell wasn’t disappointed.  Did you know they do £3 large cans of Red Stripe there?  THREE QUID!!  I had four!  Secondly, the stage there is quite raised so shorty me could see everything, all the time.  Amazing.  Thirdly, the staff were all lovely.  Location?  Brilliant.  Dingy and dark?  You betcha.  Why I’ve not visited Electrowerkz before I have no idea, but I’m hoping to go back there sometime soon.  No camera policy from what I experienced either.

But the location aside, what a gig.  Autobahn were a solid support for Eagulls, eerie dark rock with a charismatic frontman.  We like that.  Looking forward already to seeing them again, and hearing more of their stuff.  I’d seen Primitive Parts before supporting Franz Ferdinand earlier in the year.  They were a bit uninspiring this time to be honest, much less aggressive than Autobahn, but had a couple of decent tunes.

I did doubt whether there would be any kind of mosh for Eagulls after what I’d heard of their music, as we all know what London crowds are like.  Yup, I was wrong.  Beer flying, shouting, pushing, cameras almost getting smashed – brilliant!  But pretty glad I was up on the ledge at the side of the venue rather than up the front trying to take photos, my camera would have taken a beating/beer coating.  Cannot wait to see the pics from one of the photographers up the front who was right in the mosh through most of it, taking photos of the crowd as well.  Brilliant work, I do salute you.  Eagulls themselves were fantastic – so intense, loud and heavy.  Bassist Tom Kelly is a bloody machine.  Like Hooky but much harder.  The whole band were insane for that matter.  Catch them in a small venue while you can.

Didn’t take many pics but see below a few taken with the 7D/50mm 1.8.  Enjoy!

 

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Wild Beasts, XOYO, 26th February 2014

Last week I was lucky enough to score a photog pass to the sold out Wild Beasts album launch show at XOYO for London in Stereo.  The place was PACKED.  And sweaty.  Album number four and I’m still loving Wild Beasts.  Probably one of very few bands who have released more than two albums that I’ve actually remained a big fan of.  The new album is a corker (was to be expected though) and the gig at XOYO was brilliant.  Hearing their stuff live and up close is such a pleasure, and they seem like genuinely thankful and lovely guys.

As it was so busy at XOYO it was difficult to get a decent range of shots throughout the gig – I was mostly stuck up on a ledge one side of the stage, so my zoom lens came in handy.  I took the 35mm 1.2 for a spin as well, really loving that lens right now.  New glass will be coming soon though I hope (after a bit more saving), watch this space!

Pics of the night below, and here on London in Stereo.  Enjoy!

PS – have just been offered an in-house photographer position with MAMA venues (Camden Barfly, Borderline, The Forum, The Garage etc. – ALL THE AMAZING VENUES!) so expect a LOAD of blog posts in the coming months!

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