Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip was my first gig of 2014. Having shot them several times, I knew my first gig after the January lull was not going to be easy. They didn’t disappoint, it was hell.
Support acts Sarah Williams White and Itch were lit pretty badly but nothing that was too challenging. I blame them for what happened next. Their lighting lulled me into a false sense of security. I should have known better, I have shot Dan & Pip on most of their tours and have never had simple light to shoot in. When Dan & Pip took the stage, it went dark, then it stayed that way.
The first song was dark, I’m not talking ISO 6400 dark, I am talking Marilyn Manson style dark, no point trying dark. My 5DIII simply could not focus and ISO 6400 was bringing up images like this:
The dark abyss was only broken by massive flashes of backlighting. It left me standing there, shaking my head, thinking “What the hell am I going to do here?”. The only thing that made it better was that I could understand it. The lighting from the audience's point of view was amazing and I was just going to have to battle through it.
It stayed heavy on backlighting throughout the first three. There were moments, but they were few and far between, you had to be ready for them when they arrived. Then song four came and, as I left the pit, the clean light arrived.
I shot a few frames from the crowd during the next couple of songs just to make sure I had some cleaner images then stayed and enjoyed the gig.The gig itself was what you wanted. New stuff mixed in with classics and on stage banter that kept everyone laughing throughout. They even added a little equipment failure for some dramatic tension.
Shooting Dan & Pip is always a nightmare, but it is an enjoyable nightmare. It makes you think and have to work hard to get a photo. No shooting a fish in a barrel here. I am sure I will be catching them when they roll into Nottingham in May. You should too.