Mitski: The Tivoli Theatre by Aaron Corr

It’s still a slow season of shooting gigs for me, and this recent spell has been broken by Mitski, who I covered for GoldenPlec. I regrettably didn’t catch the support act, who I heard great things about. The pit was very tight, and busier than my next shoot at Arctic Monkeys.

Once Mitski took to the stage she remained stood in front of the mic, never moving a step, only ever doing the odd gesture during the third song. The stage was hazy, the lights were blues and purples which were a pain to edit afterwards, and there wasn’t a whole variety to get with the shots. Of course as soon as we were done with our three songs the lights were brighter, with some nice yellows lighting the stage, and Mitski removed the mic stand and proceeded to move and dance around the stage.

If you’ve heard her new album, Be the Cowboy, you’ll know the songs are very short. As was the shoot. I swapped out my 24-70mm lens after one song to my 50mm so I could shoot with a faster lens, and with the composition limitations of this in the confined pit space I had no time to switch back again. The gig was good, but it’s not a photo-set I’m very happy with.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Whelans by Aaron Corr

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, all the way from sunny Australia, made their debut Irish show in Whelans, and they brought the heat with them.  It wasn't even a sunny day but the heat was stifling in the venue.  It's been a while since I shot a show, though I've attended quite a few in the blog's downtime.  

 Melts

Melts

Opening up the show was Melts, who impressed me a lot.  After just two songs of shooting them the sweat was dripping down my face, such was the heat in the not-yet-packed Whelans.  They didn't share the same drum kit as Rolling Blackouts, which brought a bit of change to the normal support set up, and gave a real closeness to the drummer shots.

 Melts

Melts

 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

By the time Rolling Blackouts C.F. arrive on stage I was craving one of their beers with the heat.  Mine was long gone, and the place was getting even sweatier once they kicked things off.  The five piece were infectious from start to finish, with some great guitar solos and interplay.

At one point bassist, Joe Russo, broke a string and draped it over his head like an additional guitar strap and ploughed on through the rest of the song.  The band were in jovial form for their last night of the European tour before making their way to the USA.  Lighting wise, it was the usual Whelans set up throughout the night, some overblown colour LED's making editing afterwards a bit of a headache.

The band hung out afterwards to sign vinyl and chat to fans.  I for one went away with a signed record and a promise that they plan to come back again as soon as they can.  Vicar Street no doubt beckons them on their return.

Read the review of the show on The Thin Air, and here for more photos. 

 Melts

Melts

Growing Up Kurt Cobain: Press Launch by Aaron Corr

Nirvana changed my life.  I was 10 years old when they exploded, yet I missed that because we didn’t have MTV growing up.  It was Come As You Are that got on my radar, followed by hearing Nevermind on a trip with my cousins to the Aran islands.  It blew my mind.  By the time I got a copy of it I could remember every tune, there wasn’t a single dud on that record.  In two years’ time Kurt Cobain was dead.  His death still lingers and his influence on me remains.  Nirvana completely changed my mind set, especially for the music I was listening to. 

The combination of Newbridge Silverware hosting items of Kurt’s a year ago jarred me.  Then again I had no idea that they had a Museum of Style Icons.  It began to make a little more sense.  It was funny seeing clothes of Kurt’s nearby to Princess Diana’s dresses, Marilyn Monroe’s clothes and the like.  When the news broke that his mother, sister and daughter were all going to come to Ireland to open a new exhibition, Growing Up Kurt Cobain, I leaped at the chance to cover it for The Thin Air.  I never in a million years thought I would get this close to Kurt.  A few years ago I met Chad Channing and I thought that was my lot.  To meet photograph Kurt’s daughter, Frances Bean, mother Wendy O’Connor, and sister, Kim was a true privilege. 

I photographed the second day of press, which was for Irish media.  The previous day saw the family do interviews with news media, this day they conducted the interview with Dave Fanning for press to take their soundbites from.  I was initially told I could shoot without flash, and that I would get time to take photos of the family after the q&a.  This didn’t get to transpire in the end, and my non-flash photos had to rival press who used flash throughout.  I can’t complain, I have photos that I’m happy with, though a portrait of the family would have been the icing on the cake. 

At the same time I got to listen to them discuss Kurt, his growing up, the effect he had on them and people they meet.  It was very interesting to hear and not something I ever thought to hear his family talk about in person, and then meet them!  Amazing day for me personally, and a great exhibition for Nirvana fans.  I’ll be passing through it again before it’s gone.

Click to see the full gallery for The Thin Air.

Haim: Olympia Theatre by Aaron Corr

I went along to catch Haim for GoldenPlec.  This is the second time I’ve shot them live and this time restrictions were put in place to shoot from the sides of the venue only, when the last time it was a pit shoot as normal.

First up was support from Maggie Rogers who was in constant movement, dancing and flicking her hair around the stage.  When you could get a look at her face she rarely had the microphone lowered, leaving her face obscured for most of the first three songs.  The lighting was great and I loved how animated she was.  There was some great moments to capture, but also many moments that would have looked amazing, but ruined by some motion blur due to Maggie’s constant movement.  

 Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers

The restricted vantage points for shooting Haim proved to be annoying.  It’s very cramped at the sides and corners where seven photographers were allowed to be, a lot of tall people in the crowd, people coming and going from the bar meant you could never fully settle for taking shots.  I mixed it up by taking the lesser chosen side first for one song, then running to the more popular side.  I think I preferred the first side’s results, when I was shooting from the right side of the stage. 

Click here for the GoldenPlec review.

May Photos by Aaron Corr

 Slow Riot

Slow Riot

May began with two Limerick bands playing The Grand Social.  GoldenPlec sent me to cover London based Whenyoung's first Dublin headline show, but first up on the night was Slow Riot.  

 Whenyoung

Whenyoung

Whenyoung took to the stage with quiet confidence and belted out great tune after great tune.  They would later find themselves invited onto the support slot to Nick Cave and Patti Smith in Kilmainham the next month, which is high praise.  They are making great buzz for themselves so the coming year should hold big things for them.

Full gallery.

 Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher

Last year I photographed Liam, and this year I complete the Oasis set with Noel Gallagher in 3Arena for The Thin Air.  Photographers were restricted to one side of the stage at a time, no shooting from the center areas.  I was delighted when he raised the guitar like a rifle and aimed it at me for a posed shot.  He would do something quirky like this if the right photographer caught his eye at the right time, like sticking his tongue out for another.

 Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs finally made a return to Ireland, where they've only played a handful of times in the Republic and never their own headline show since they've become ever more popular.  This night was a double headline show with Beck.  Covering their show for The Thin Air was a massive highlight.  When I arrived at the Arena I was only approved to shoot them, the Beck pass only got confirmed while I was there.

Karen O, as expected, was a legend to shoot.  She wore unique designed clothes and stalked the stage being all kinds of cool.  Brian Chase behind the drums looked like he was having a whale of a time, looking like the happiest drummer on the world I heard someone remark after.  Nick Zinner was just quietly cool to the right, letting the guitar do the talking.  

Full gallery.

 Beck

Beck

Beck's pass arrived just before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs shoot, it was to be shot from the soundboard and a contract needed to be signed.  It literally signs away the rights to the photos which I hated to sign, but I knew in all fairness none of his reps are going to be chasing any of us down to get hi-res copies of a photo(s) taken from a soundboard for promo use.  He arrived very late to the stage, due to production delays I presume, and as a result went past curfew to play the same length of a set as YYYs.  He opened with a storming three song intro and the lights were great given how far back I was shooting.  

 Pip Blom

Pip Blom

The Thin Air kept me busy in May with The Breeders rescheduled show in Vicar Street, with no storm Ophelia to stop them this time.  Amsterdam band Pip Blom opened up that evening and were a great support.  I look forward to hopefully catching them again.

 The Breeders

The Breeders

The Breeders looked delighted to make it back to Dublin after being primed for their last gig but red weather alerts causing everything in the city and country that day to be cancelled.  The lights were quickly lowered and a smokey haze filled the stage, much like the last time I shot them here.  In the brief time between songs the light was at it's best and that's where I managed to snap Kim Deal with a big smile to the crowd as she bantered with them.  This was the type of shot I wanted to get from photographing her.   

Full gallery.

 Ezra Furman

Ezra Furman

It had been a while since I was in the Tivoli.  I put my name down with GoldenPlec to cover Ezra Furman's gig there.  Although my name was on the door to shoot, there was no photopass which caused a little bit of annoyance and confusion with security in the venue, even though there was no pit for photographers.  

Full gallery.

April Photos by Aaron Corr

 Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa

I have been a little slow to update the blog in the last few months.  Between moving house and getting settled, while working and covering gigs, life got the better of me.  Time to get back in the habit.  The first April gig I covered was the first of Dua Lipa's two sold out Olympia shows for GoldenPlec.  Although I didn't stay to watch, the first three songs more than showed that she was a heck of a performer.  The photo pit was busy that night but the lights were so good that it made up for all the bumping of cameras in the pit.  For the first time in a pit I had someone bash the back of my head with their camera.  

Click here for my full gallery.

 Dowry

Dowry

I expected to see more live music on Record Store Day this year but they all began in the late afternoon, the weather was superb and I had a BBQ that needed cooking back home.  As a result I just managed to catch Ena Brenna performing as Dowry in Freebird records.  I'd yet to catch her solo so took this opportunity.  

 Lyla Foy

Lyla Foy

The only other April gig I photographed was Mercury Rev for The Thin Air, which saw the band celebrating the anniversary of Deserters Songs.  Support came from Lyla Foy.

 Mercury Rev

Mercury Rev

The show was a great performance of stories mixed with stripped back versions of their classics, with a Pavement cover thrown in for good measure.  It felt a little like watching a VH1 songwriters show and was very heartwarming.  The songs sound as beautiful as ever, especially in the intimacy of Whelans.

Full gallery here.

Gary Numan: Olympia Theatre by Aaron Corr

My initial thoughts of shooting Gary Numan would be that he would have many a pose and would make for a cool picture.  I didn't factor his heavy use of smoke and strobes on stage when I headed to the Olympia for The Thin Air.  This made things quite tricky, particularly given how much Gary moves around on stage.  He doesn't stop, and when he does the microphone obscures most of his face as you try catch a break between the flickers of light.  Add to this some dark green lights during one of the three songs covered.  

I had my second camera (Canon 7d) on me with a 70-200mm, as usual for an Olympia Show, but this was rarely used for close ups because of his constant movement.  I think there is only one shot I bothered with when it came to editing which you can see below.  Even at that, it is slightly overexposed.  He was still worth shooting, just a tricky subject to photograph.

Sigrid: The Academy by Aaron Corr

Sigrid is a star on the rise, so I made sure to get to her show to catch her on the smaller stage for GoldenPlec before she ends up playing bigger, and less intimate shows.  I only stayed for the three songs I shot so I can't really comment on the gig itself, but you can read all about it here.  I did have a giggle at the set list noting when to talk to the crowd, and what to say.  The crowd were going crazy for her on the night and I don't think the smile once left her face while I was taking photos.