This was the biggest tick off the bucket list. I could try and keep it cool, but Blur are my favourite band of all time. I first saw them in Hyde Park years ago with friends from college. It was the first time seeing them live and the first gig I went to in London, I remember nearly getting into a car accident as we pulled out of the car park going home and I remember the friends I went with, most of which I haven't seen or spoken to in years.Read More
A while back I shot the Legendary De La Soul in Sheffield. Supported by DJ Pete Rock and Renegade Brass Band, ensured a packed O2 that ate up every classic served up to them.Read More
I always enjoy shooting in Sheffield. The City is always great, the other photographers are always cool and the people tend to follow the same trend. There was a mix up with the passes, but the guys at The Leadmill sorted things out for me quickly. The amount of times I have seen people be dicks when their passes are not there is pretty high, but it is a simple thing, be nice, remember it is not the person at the venue's fault and be patient. If you follow these simple rules you have a much higher chance of people wanting to help you out and less chance of people thinking you are a dick.
The Leadmill is up there with Rock City as one of my favourite places to watch a show. The Dandy Warhols came to Sheffield for the first time in a while, supported by Dark Horses. A show that was too good to miss.
The fact that The Dandy Warhols, like The Brian jonestown Massacre, continue to make music that endures and innovates, long after the mainstream media has left the alone is one of the reasons that they are still so captivating as a band.
Now look at the photos below and then go and watch Dig, which is still possibly the best music documentary of all time.
Here is the second part of my photos from Dot To Dot 2015. You can see the first part here.
As always, it was great to catch so many bands I wanted to check out, roll on 2016.Read More
I covered Dot To Dot's 10th Anniversary this for Drowned in Sound again this year. I always love this festival, you get to see new and rising bands as well as having the added bonus of being indoors in case the rain comes out to play. I also know my way around pretty well, which if you knew how bad my sense of direction is, will always count as a bonus.Read More
Back in April I got to hang out with September Girls for a few hours and shoot some portraits, followed by their show in Lincoln.
They played a great show and were great to hang out with. Supported by Ming City Rockers, Elephants & Castles as well as The Percussion Guns & The Unknown Stuntmen. It seemed a shame that some of those in attendance at the start left after their friends band played. The bottom line is, those that did't stay to watch September Girls are the ones who really missed out.
Things have been hectic lately, but finally getting around to putting up some stuff from way back in March. First up of these is The Vaccines live at Rock City. Such a good gig to shoot and the lighting was spot on throughout. The Vaccines have stepped up to Nottingham Arena for their November tour, so catching them in Rock City before the move up in venue size was great. They played a set packed with new material and old classics that had the crowd eating it up. The only thing that put a downer on it was getting hit with a flying glass of mysterious liquid. It made for a good photo though, so I can't moan too much.
Anyway, enough of the words, enjoy the pictures.
March has been a busy one. I am finally getting around to putting some blog posts up, starting with Wolf Alice's sold out gig at The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham. It is easy to see why they are so hotly tipped to be huge.Read More
Kate Tempest has taken 15 years to get to this point. Spoken Word, Sound Of Rum, constant touring and pure determination have seen her finally the critical acclaim she deserves.Read More
"Hello", "Thanks, good night". There you have pretty much every word uttered by J Mascis during his show in Cambridge. Mascis has always been brief with chit chat and his aloofness also becomes part of his charm.
Just after 9pm, Mascis walks on stage, sits in the mic stand and amp shaped cocoon that has been created for him and, after briefly welcoming the audience, picks up a guitar and proves that for all the aloofness, J Masics is one of the best guitarists there is. With nothing more than a guitar, a loop pedal and a board of effects he keeps the crowd captivated for over an hour.
It would be easy to make the bad pun of "he lets his guitar do the talking" but Mascis' croaky, off kilter vocals and guitar solos that somehow know just when to draw back to avoid accusations of self indulgent fretwanking, has a crowd that stare in awe at his ability with a guitar and make the hour plus set fly by despite the lack of stories, movement or acknowledgement of the audience's existence from the man there to entertain.
Dinosaur Jr classics are mixed in with material from Mascis' second album on Sub Pop and neither make the set sound disjointed. There are many highlights. If you asked 10 fans I am sure you would get 10 different answers. Personally, the ability to strip back Not The Same to something that, to my ears, sounded like perfection and had me crawling YouTube for recordings was hard to beat. The night draws to a close with covers of Mazzy Star's Fade Into You and The Cure's Just Like Heaven, both sounding as good as (or dare I say better?) than their originals. After the final "you're" of Just Like Heaven, Mascis says goodbye and leaves.
While waiting for him to take the stage I speak to someone who has seen Masics' twice on this tour and Dinosaur Jr countless times. He said something that, at the time, I thought it would be the perfect way to end this post and sum up the genius of J Masics. Unfortunately I cannot remember what he said and all I am left with is the genius of J Mascis live and a small ringing in my ears.
The end of 2014 saw me in The Rescue Rooms for one of the hottest bands of the year, destined for big things in 2015.
The night before this gig, Catfish had just won the BBC Introducing award at the inaugural BBC Music Awards and tonight's gig, they arrived in a mood to prove why they are set to be huge in 2015. The award takes pride of place on the stage, setting the mood of celebration that the night would become.
A rammed Rescue Rooms saw the band, who had spent a long time building to this, play a set that sounded completely fresh, but somehow familiar. It is easy to picture the sing along choruses transferring from Nottingham's Rescue Rooms to festival main stages next year.
On more than one occasion, frontman Van McCann stops midway through a song to let the crowd take over the vocal duties, all the time wearing a smile that shows he is eating up every minute of what is happening before his eyes, occasionally verging on a look of disbelief of what the band have accomplished with their debut album, The Balcony.
The whole album passes by in a sweaty, singalong with a band full of cock sure swagger. Everyone leaves knowing that 2015 is going to be a big one for Catfish & The Bottlemen.
I don't normally get all fanboy when shooting gigs, but this is Johnny Marr and he is playing Panic while I take photos of him! This was the kind of moment when you stop shooting mid song, look around and think, how the hell did I get here?
Johhny Marr covered more Smiths songs throughout the rest of the show which, as a Smiths fan is great, but a little more disappointing was the reaction from certain parts of the crowd (or some of those I was stood near at least) to anything from Marr's solo career. Many spend time between the classics looking at their phones waiting for the next "proper" tune to come along, which they sing word for word, like a drunk uncle at a karaoke bar.
I also met the front row fan who delightfully told me that "I better not fucking ruin my view or else". I never figured out what "or else" meant, but if you read this, I hope I didn't ruin your night and if I did, I hope you like the photos.
Sophie Ellis Bextor is the most beautiful woman I have ever photographed. Unfortunately the light at The Junction for this show was not quite so lovely. It was a struggle, lots of heavy backlighting and use of colour throughout made things a lot harder than normal.
St Vincent live is mesmerising. Annie Clark starts with a series of dance moves and from that moment on you don't want to look anywhere else but in her direction. An amazing and at times slightly strange show delivers exactly what you would expect.
Lighting for the first two songs was tricky, but OK However, the third was heavy on the green, which made anything but black and white unusable.
This show also saw me again shoot exclusively with the Sigma 35mm Art. It is a lens I love and although I missed the ability to zoom, it made me think a little more about my shots. I was incredibly impressed by the lens though and I am going to keep pushing myself to shoot primes more at gigs. I would love to be able to switch this up with an 85mm and swap through the set.
I will do a review of the 35mm Art at some point, but as a quick preview I will say it is currently my favourite lens. I would love to get my hands on the 50mm to compare and I am hoping an 85mm will be in the works soon for Sigma to persuade me to part with more of my hard earned cash.
So, right now I am meant to be leaving the stage after shooting Catfish & The Bottlemen from the side of it. Unfortunately due to Hurricane Bertha hitting Watergate Bay this morning, I am instead sitting here writing this blog post.
Whilst the weather has taken away day 3, the first two days of Boardmasters were amazing! Click HERE for all the pics from Boardmasters for you to enjoy while you journey home. See you all next year.
I spent this last weekend battling heat exhaustion and my inability to navigate my way anywhere, During the baking hot weekend I managed to get lost frequently and walk about 2 miles longer than I needed to when going between Devonshire Green and The Leadmill. On the plus side everyone was friendly and helped me with my directional plight.
It felt like the whole city came out for the festival, it was a beautiful weekend for sunbathing and chilling with a cold beer, it was not so good for lugging camera gear between venues when the weather was reaching for 30 degrees. This heat made being inside the Corporation almost unbearable. Everyone and everything was sweating, the floor was wet and the ceiling dripping. The crowds didn't care though and no matter what the venue, the crowds were huge and everyone was in the mood to have a good time.
The only thing that put a damper on the weekend for some was the queues that formed for several of the venues later in the day, leaving many on the pavement while the headline acts played at The Leadmill.
It was the first time i have shot Tramlines and strangely, although the venues were spread across the city it didn't feel disconnected. I am looking forward to Tramlines 2015, I just hope the weather is a little cooler next year.
Mark E Smith has never been the most predictable of people, no shows and terrible gigs are part of what makes The Fall a band that can either descent into a car crash in front of you or show absolute brilliance. The Cambridge show brings a little of both.
The show stars with Smith looking through a folder of lyrics through '2014' but soon the show moves into more familiar territory. Then the weirdness starts. For no particular reason, other than the fact he can, Smith walks off stage. The band exchange glances and continue to play then themselves leave the stage. Soon the band return and a roadie collects the mic and the show continues with Smith belting out lyrics from somewhere backstage. The show continues to stop start and the band leave again, only to reappear once more. Smith briefly shows his face again before disappearing back stage never to return apart from the sound of his voice belting over the speakers. Each time the band leave, the bemused crowd are left wondering if that is it? Then all of a sudden it is.
A bizarre show, but it's The Fall, what did you expect?
"You have our permission to take photos as long as you're in costume and riding an inflatable dingy." This is how my photo pass for this show came about. A reach out via Twitter lead to this reply and my favourite show of the year so far.
This was a show that saw Frank Carter move from the stage to the crowd by the end of the first song, followed by the rest of the band, ending with the whole band playing in the middle of the room. It is one of those shows I wasn't too worried about shooting, but am so glad I did. The only downside is that by the time this, the tour will be over and unfortunately so will Pure Love. It is sad to see a band this good split, but it is also amazing to see them say goodbye in such an amazing way. RIP Pure Love.
March saw me back in Nottingham's Rock City. Rock City is the place I grew up going to gigs in as a student and was the scene of my only (and very unsucessful) attempt at crowd surfing at a Reef gig; an experience that left me with my hair stuck to the notorius floor. My quick rise and fall in the crowdsurfing scene cemented in my mind that Rock City has the stickiest floors on the planet. The superglue like floor covering, however, didn't stop the screams of adoration that met Haim as they took the stage in Nottingham.
The screams of 'I love you' from a packed out Rock City prove how big Haim have become in a relatively short space of time and it is easy to see why. They are credible, talented and undeniably cool. Yes, we all know (how could the music press let us forget) that they sound a little like Fleetwood Mac at times but that is not a bad thing and although rooted in the past, the band have a definite air of the future to them.
If my last gig of 2013 proved anything, it was that my sense of direction is still useless and that my ability to enter the correct postcode into a SatNav is also highly questionable.
Setting off to Norwich in the dark, dirty nights of December I managed to find myself heading to the city on more and more remote roads. Knowing my own terrible sense of direction I decided to ignore the road signs and trust the cold, calculating female voice inside the magic box that allows me to actually arrive at places in a reasonable amount of time.
I only started to question her all knowing importance as I ended up going down a farm track and then heard the magical words “You have reached your destination”. It was only now that it dawned on me that I had programmed the Sat Nav to some rural idyll and not towards the Partridge inhabiting city of Norwich. After putting in the actual postcode and driving for a total of three hours twenty five minutes (the journey is meant to take less than two) I arrived at the Norwich Arts Centre to shoot Quasi.
The half full 15th Century church that houses The Arts Centre is a beautiful little venue, but tonight as Coomes and Weiss take the stage the crowd remain towards the rear of the hall, making things seem a little weird and quite awkward as a photographer. As the venue has no pit, I had to walk in front of paying fans, who seemingly did not want to disturb the band by moving to the front of the stage. Nothing like being the only person within ten feet of the band to make you feel self conscious.
Quasi on the other hand seem relieved to be playing in the confines of a small venue. After supporting Kurt Vile in London the previous night, the band regale the audience with tales of equipment failures and a set that simply fell apart, the band are talkative and play a show to a crowd that provide the intimate setting that Quasi thrive in.
The night was bittersweet though, as this was the last tweeOFF! event. As promoters, they managed to put on over 90 bands in the city and will be sorely missed. I can’t think of better words than those of the tweeOFF! themselves to end this with.
Stay passionate, keep caring, try new things and SUPPORT YOUR SCENE.