Tag Archives: music photography

2014 – The best of the best

Another year has nearly come to a close so it’s high time I got sorted and posted my ‘best of the year’ lists.  This list is MUCH easier to do with the help of Last.fm – if you don’t have an account then I suggest you get one!  I’m a big fan of stats and music, so I’m on there regularly checking which bands I’ve been listening to more than others.  The ‘top artists/top tracks’ isn’t exactly a true reflection of what I like the most, but it’s a pretty good guide.

So without further ado, here’s the listicles.

TOP 25 ALBUMS OF 2014

  1. The Courteeners – Concrete Love.  I was never a big fan of these guys until photographing them at Shepherd’s Bush last year.  Found it hard to not listen to this album at least twice a week since it was released.
  2. The Heartbreaks – We May Yet Stand a Chance.  Another corker from these guys, just missing out on the top spot (it was a REALLY tough choice).
  3. Interpol – El Pintor.  Did not expect Interpol to be in my top anything this year!  They’re back and as good as they’ve ever been (as good as their early stuff anyway).
  4. The Wytches – Annabel Dream Reader.  Finally got to listen to an album from these guys after banging on about them all through 2013.  Did not disappoint.
  5. DZ Deathrays – Black Rat.  These guys make me proud to be an Aussie 🙂
  6. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
  7. Eagulls – Eagulls
  8. Johnny Marr – Playland
  9. The Orwells – Disgraceland
  10. Morrissey – World Peace is None of Your Business
  11. The Family Rain – Under the Volcano
  12. Maximo Park – Too Much Information
  13. The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads
  14. Manic Street Preachers – Futurology
  15. Sleaford Mods – Divide and Exit
  16. Wampire – Bazaar
  17. Bass Drum of Death – Rip This
  18. Liars – Mess
  19. Howler – World of Joy
  20. White Lung – Deep Fantasy
  21. Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
  22. Temples – Sun Restructured
  23. Hookworms – The Hum
  24. Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love

Honorable mentions: Meatbodies – Meatbodies and Cheatahs – Cheatahs

TOP 25 TRACKS OF 2014

  1. Absolved – The Heartbreaks.  An easy number one this year.  Incomparable.  These guys know how to write a pop song.  If they had a bit more exposure it could have been a Christmas number one!
  2. Leave This Island – Maximo Park.  Another band from the 00’s coming back this year with some brilliant stuff.  This track will always remind me of my birthday in Edinburgh at the start of the year.  Lovely stuff.
  3. How Good It Was – Courteeners.  Summer in one song.  Hard not to sing along to.
  4. Continental Shelf – Viet Cong.  This is why you don’t do your end of year lists until at least mid-December.  Only heard this track about three weeks ago and it’s been an earworm ever since.  Formed from the ashes of Calgary band ‘Women’ (who were also brilliant), no doubt their album is going to be in my top 10 next year.
  5. Easy Money – Johnny Marr.  Is this not the most catchy song you have ever heard in your life?!  Pretty much.
  6. Anywhere – Interpol
  7. Reflective Skull – DZ Deathrays
  8. Where’s Your Car Debbie – Slaves
  9. Come on Over – Royal Blood
  10. So Now You Know – The Horrors
  11. Mess on a Mission – Liars
  12. XXX – The Bohicas
  13. Money – Life
  14. Tied up in Nottz – Sleaford Mods
  15. Trainwreck 1979 – Death from Above 1979
  16. So Oh – The Charlatans
  17. Here it Comes Again – Amazing Snakeheads
  18. Nerve Endings – Eagulls
  19. Dirty Sheets – The Orwells
  20. Let’s go to War – Manic Street Preachers
  21. Istanbul – Morrissey
  22. Cockeyed Rabbit Wrapped in Plastic – Slug
  23. Bad Attitude – Wapire
  24. Lawman – Girl Band

Honorable mentions: Wanderlust – Wild Beasts and Drown the Monster – White Lung

TOP GIGS OF 2014

  1. The Orwells – The Fleece, Bristol.  Expect little and be surprised.  Could not believe how good these guys were live, pushed it as far as they were physically able.  Super entertaining.
  2. The Heartbreaks – The Lexington, London.  Hard not to enjoy a gig by these guys these days.  They have such lovely fans as well – learning the dance moves to the ‘Absolved’ video clip, much to the delight of the band.
  3. Eagulls – Electrowerkz, London
  4. Amazing Snakeheads – Electric Ballroom, London
  5. The Courteeners – Brixton Academy, London
  6. The Cribs – East Village Arts Club, Liverpool
  7. Her Parents – The Monarch, London
  8. Menswear – Queen of Hoxton, London
  9. Manic Street Preachers – Huxley’s Neue Welt, Berlin
  10. Twilight Sad – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London

FAVOURITE PHOTOS OF 2014

This blog wouldn’t be complete without a list of my favourite photos that I had taken at gigs in 2014.  Still pinch myself that I’m lucky enough to get in the pit at gigs these days.  Long may it continue!

Enjoy your holidays if you have any, and I’ll see you in the New Year!

Jx

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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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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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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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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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Cheatahs, Birthdays 12th February 2014

The gigs are starting back up again, huzzah!  I was sent to Birthdays (my first ever visit) in Dalston to photograph and review Cheatahs for Shout 4 Music earlier in the week, which was pretty enjoyable.  My review is up on the Shout 4 Music website here, and the photos should be up soon.  Not the wildest of nights or best gig I’ve ever been to, but it was a pleasant evening I guess you could say!  Better than sitting at home staring at a screen for the evening in any case…

Super easy to get around and take photos inside Birthdays, even though it was busy, as the crowd were standing a couple of feet away from the front of the stage.  Too close to even try my 35mm 1.4 which I bought along for an airing, so stuck to my 17-15mm 2.8 for the whole show.  Really need to upgrade my glass as I’m getting bored of the 17-55!  Must start saving.  Here’s some pics of the gig, enjoy.

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We Are Scientists, Barfly, 5 February 2014

And we’re back!

Long time no blog, mostly because of the lack of gigs to go to over the last month or two.  This year’s first gig came courtesy of free tickets to see the wonderful We Are Scientists at Camden Barfly earlier in the week.  So hilarious, so attractive, so fantastic.  Not sure of whether I’d be too close to the front of the stage I decided to take my 50mm 1.8 instead of anything more wide, partly because of the distance but also because the lens is much lighter than any of my other ones.  With the ongoing tube strikes I didn’t want to be caught on a tube carrying anything too heavy, so that was my excuse!  Mates Jill and John came along with us and we politely (always) walked through the crowd to a spot at the side close to the front.  I’m short, so excuse the crowd head shots – it had to be done.

More gigs to come in the following weeks so keep your eyes on the blog as things are expecting to ramp up again.  Have also been busy photographing the lovely people at both Midnight A Go Go and Ice Cold which are both always a fun night.  If you’re in the area come down to The Waiting Room and have a boogie!  Some of my shots are on the facebook pages, check ’em out.

Enjoy We Are Scientists!

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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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