Tag Archives: live music

The Heartbreaks, The Lexington 5th November 2014

The pointy end of the year is almost upon us, which means that, as always, there are a shedload of gigs occurring in November. I didn’t get around to buying The Heartbreaks tickets when they were released as there were so many other gigs going on around the same time, and I’d pretty much seen these guys every time they had toured London.  After much thought on the morning of the gig I decided that I would most surely regret it if I didn’t go along, so tickets were bought and I started to get really, really excited.

Of course after the gig I thought that, had I known how brilliant they were going to be, I WOULD have regretted not going.  The Lexington didn’t feel packed to the rafters up the front, but that’s probably because of your standard ‘Lexington bottleneck’ at the stairs, whereby everyone is too English and too polite to move further into the crowd and therefore stand awkwardly in front of the bar, getting in the way.  We were right up the front so no problems with dancing like a maniac, and everyone was just lovely – singing, laughing, dancing and having a great time.

Call of the night came from a guy standing behind us who shouted “Lovely ol’ job!”.  It was indeed.  The crowd down the front managed to pull out some choreographed dancing during Absolved, and some people were having SUCH a good time that Matthew had to comment on it at one stage – females screaming and all sorts!

I know I say this every time, but it’s shocking that these guys aren’t more well known in the UK.  They have released one of the best albums of 2014 (if not THE best), and I still spin their debut album every few weeks.  They’re all so bloody lovely as well, no airs and graces, humble and very witty.  If I could recommend any band from this year (or the last three years even) that you should listen to right now it’s these guys.  Do yourself a favour 🙂

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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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Teleman, Islington Assembly Hall, 20 May 2014

My first time shooting at Islington Assembly Hall last week, and in fact the first time I’d actually been there for a gig.  Gorgeous venue, and one I hope to go back to at some stage.  They’ve been putting on some great acts recently so I’m sure I’ll be back there before too long.

Teleman were great, very chilled.  For some reason I was disappointed with the shots I took after I left the venue, but when I processed them they seemed to turn out alright.  I’ve been playing around in Lightroom a bit more recently and have come across much easier ways to remove red lighting from pictures where the end result does’t make the artists look sallow skinned and ghost-like!  I had to apply this to some of the Teleman photos and I’m pretty pleased with the results, compared to the originals.

The pics on Shout 4 Music are here, or check them out below.  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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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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The Twang, Village Underground 13th February 2014

Ahhh The Twang.  I can’t say I’m their biggest fan, and I would only know a few of their songs if I was really pushed to think about it.  But nevertheless, I applied to take photos of them at Village Underground earlier in the week and found myself heading along.  I’ll be honest with you, I was worried about getting a plastic pint of piss thrown at the back of my head whilst in the pit, or being yelled at, or slipping over someone’s vomit… but none of that happened, and I had one of the best times shooting at a gig that I’ve probably ever had.

The crowd were so incredibly into it!  Yes, there were some very drunk people, but they were all just so happy and singing along and cheers-ing each other throughout.  At one point Phil Etheridge had a proper go at a security guard who had angrily pushed his way through the crowd to pull a guy down who was sitting on another guys shoulders.  “He wasn’t doing anything wrong mate, he was just having a good time.  If you’re going to do shit like that all night then everyone’s going to have a boring time of it”.  Ouch!

Great night, great fun band and took some great shots.  Would take photos of them again in a heartbeat.  Village Underground has shot to the top of my favourite venues to shoot at list, lovely high ceilings, brilliant lighting and awesome exposed brickwork.  More please!  Keep an eye out for the pics on Shout 4 Music, but a few are below for your enjoyment.  Cheers 🙂

 

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The Wytches, IC1s, a bit of this and a lot of that

Good day giggage readers!  Last few weeks have been super hectic with photog work, club nights and live music, and it looks set to continue at least until mid-December.  I am NOT complaining!  Here’s a quick roundup of what’s been going down in giggage-town lately, and what’s coming up soon.

One of the best new bands I’ve seen in a long time I saw twice in the last two weeks – The Wytches.  Get onto these guys if you haven’t already, noisy guitars, dark vocals and gloomy bass lines.  Bring on an album next year (crosses fingers).  Here’s my review on Shout4Music, and a few ‘unseen’ photos below.

I also caught IC1s recently, at both Heaven (supporting The Family Rain – love those guys) and The Macbeth in Hoxton.  They’ve been kicking around for a couple years but starting to get a buzz around them after supporting a few big name bands.  Another review on Shout4Music here, and more photos below!

Keep an eye on the blog in the next couple days/week for photos of The Courteeners (shot them at O2 Shepherd’s Bush last night – AMAZING – Liam Fray is a delight to photograph!), a band with some history, The Damned at The Roundhouse, and a band you should all check out, Damn Vandals at The Dublin Castle (lotta ‘damn!’-ing coming up).

After that, looks like a bit of a break in transmission for the Christmas/New Year period.  What are we all doing?  Anything exciting?  For me, the only place to be on NYE will have to be Nuis@nce, upstairs at The Enterprise in Chalk Farm.  Bound to be a fun evening of Britpop, indie and pop rock tunes.  What could be better?!

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Deap Vally, Bitterzoet, Amsterdam 16 November 2013

Lucky Jen took a trip to Amsterdam last weekend, mainly to see the fabulous ladies that are Deap Vally play at Bitterzoet, but also to see some canals, push bikes, and LOTS of Heineken.  Could have happily spent another few days in Amsterdam but the day job unfortunately doesn’t offer enough annual leave days (sigh), so it was a flying visit.

First time in Amsterdam meant first time at Bitterzoet.  It’s kind of in/near the red light district, and close to a couple of other bars that we wanted to check out while we were there.  Very convenient.  Bitterzoet was ace – the staff were nothing but friendly and efficient (take note London pub/club staff), the stained glass windows with naked ladies on them were gorgeous (they were!) and the venue had may vantage points to take photos, although most of the time I was up the front and to the side, as you can see from the pics (as they’re mostly of Lindsey).  We were lucky enough to get a signed poster off them personally at the end of the night, and had our photos taken with them (CRAZY FANS KLAXON).

I used my Canon 7D with 17-55mm lens, and was considering using flash but really didn’t need to.  Check out the pics below, enjoy!

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Filthy Boy, Old Queen’s Head Islington, 26 September 2013

Anyone who knows me would know that I’ve been quite the fan of Filthy Boy for the past year or two – I bang on about them enough on twitter!  Finally they’re starting to get the recognition that they deserve, recently winning Steve Lamacq’s Rebel Playlist with their single ‘That Life’, gaining a lot of 6 Music airplay and picking up a few fans in the process.  It’s great seeing them headlining a sold out gig (tickets on the door lucky for me) and watching people sing their (usually quite filthy) lyrics back at them.  The set was short, but the tunes were there, even a couple new ones to get us excited about the next album, whenever that might be.  Bloody love Filthy Boy, such a fantastic band who deserve more recognition.

Caught the whole of Towns set as well which I was glad about.  Patiently waiting for a debut album from them at some stage, but happy to see them live as much as possible in the meantime!  Watched a bit of Men’s Adventures as well but they weren’t really my bag.  Not a fan of English guys singing in American accents… but to each their own.

Photos could have been much better had I bought my flash, but these things happen!  Here’s a few, enjoy.

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Jacco Gardner, The Social 11th June 2013

I’ve become quite a fan of The Social in the last few months.  The first time I went there to see a band (Sharks) it was packed and I was up the back and couldn’t see a thing.  Hated it and didn’t want to go back.  Luckily the next gig I went to there (The Heartbreaks as it so happens) wasn’t as packed, and after discovering where to stand for a good view I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more.  Earlier this week I went to see the lovely Jacco Gardner at The Social, expecting it to be packed (it was a free gig after all), only to find that when he(/they?) took to the stage there were only around 30 other people in the room.  Jacco Gardner is brilliant, so I’m a bit confused as to why there weren’t more people there?!  Whatever the case, it was a great gig.  Oh, I have to talk about the support band first though.  We managed to catch all of Ming City Rockers’ set before the main event.  I wouldn’t say that they’re ‘my’ kind of music, but they were awesome.  Bit of an F-you attitude, long hair, shouty, 70s Americana punk/rock all topped off with super fun outfits.  I don’t think the crowd were too interested but I thought they were ace.  Highly recommend seeing them if you can!  Jacco Gardner’s set was much different to Ming City Rockers’, a lot more laid back and dreamy, with perfect harmonies and musicianship from his band.  Jacco seemed like such a lovely guy, quite shy and thankful for everyone for coming along.  The drummer.  Oh my word THE DRUMMER.  Mid length shaggy unkempt hair, huge beard, sunglasses and a fag hanging out of his mouth (unlit of course) the entire time.  He was the dog’s bollocks!  Didn’t manage any decent photos of him but his awesome face is etched in my memory anyway.  Check them out when you can, doubtful you’ll get to see them for free again, but I would have paid anyway.  Take a listen to the album if you haven’t already, gorgeous stuff.

Luckily The Social doesn’t appear to have a camera policy, so was able to take in whatever I wanted with no hassle.  The lighting is a bit too bright in some places, and too dark in others, so it was difficult to get it quite right in a lot of the photos.  Managed a few decent shots though, see below and as always, enjoy!

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