Oops, I forgot to make an October update. Did anything happen? Let me think. Oh yes! I shot Jean-Michel Jarre and Death Grips, then went on holiday to Berlin and Prague. I may post about the Death Grips gig in its own little blog as it was one of, if not the worst gigs I’ve ever shot. I’ll leave those details til then. Back to now, and by now I mean November. What seemed like a lackluster month of shooting again turns out to be quite great in the end. With everything crammed into one week that bled into December I just had it in mind that these all happened in the month of Christmas, and that ABC would be the only gig I’d shoot that month. Not the case, so let’s begin.
Martin Fry and ABC played the Olympia earlier in the month. It was a finely lit show but the only problem is that Martin walked around loads. Sure, it’s better than a boring front-man standing still and doing nothing interesting, but he’d go to the back of the stage where it wasn’t well lit, then at the front he mostly had the microphone right in his face (he is a singer after all), leaving few clear shots of his face when he was brightly lit. The best band part to shoot was the interaction between the saxophonist and the guitarist.
Later in the month I headed to the double whammy that was the Biffy Clyro, with support from Brand New. Brand New were all over my social media pages when they last played in Vicar Street a while back. It seemed like most people I knew were at it, or complaining that they weren’t. I only really know that one song that was played loads on MTV2 years ago, back when we had music channels that mostly played music. I expected dark stage and intermittent spells of light on the band and that’s what I got. The guitarist on the right of the stage was the coolest member to shoot, as he flailed his guitar and hair around on stage.
I had come for Biffy however. Though I’m not a fan of them, I was looking forward to shooting their show. I knew they’d be energetic, have great lights and leave me with some cool shots to use. They didn’t disappoint. The downside was the band’s own video cameras rigs in the pit, and how extra high the stage was to shoot. It didn’t take a whole lot away from the shoot but the higher the stage, the harder it is to take in a cool shot of the band giving it their all on stage in a wide shot. I expected Simon Neil to be topless throughout so lucky for me, and not for any admirers looking at the pictures, he had a long white scientist/doctor coat on throughout.
Hinds are a band that were on my radar a while but who had yet to play Ireland. I’d see cool pictures of them pop up in my Instagram feed by great photographers I follow so when I saw they were playing I put my name down for it. It was quite last minute as it wasn’t well advertised, or at least nothing stood out to me that they were coming. It was supposed to be The Academy but was moved to the smaller, basement level Academy 2 due to sales. This made for a far better gig as the space was packed with an enthusiastic crowd, something that gets lost in a half empty, bigger venue. The tour manager gave the go ahead for photos to be taken during the last 3 songs. That left me and fellow photographer, Colm Kelly, triying to count the songs out from the napkin set list on stage, a short distance away. The tour manager swung by again and said we could get 2 songs mid set as well. I’d seen in images that they tend to crowd surf and realized only then that I should have brought a flash just in case, though we’re never allowed to use it for the regular first three/no flash shoots. This may have been a different case.
The pit was tiny, which made for awkward to squeeze into position, with the singer, Carlotta, asking if she could grab her drink from the space before I tried squeeze by. The lights never changed and the girls were well lit, but for each time I went into the pit I didn’t shuffle around too much for different angles in case I’d annoy fans at the barrier or the band. We shot the last 2 songs, having miscounted, but the band discussed among themselves and did a three song encore. The tour manager gave us the thumbs up to stay where we were. I needn’t have worried about the flash for any crowd surfing. The band opted not to, maybe because of the tight space between the crowd’s heads and the roof of the room. You could tell they wanted to though, they seemed to like Dublin.
I was looking forward to potentially shooting Primal Scream during the month and thankfully the photo pass came my way. I headed along early to shoot the Japanese support, Bo Ningen. I figured it was going to be a mass of long hair waving every which way. Combine that with dark red and blue/purple lights and it makes for a tough edit in Lightroom afterwards.
Primal Scream on the other hand can teach many a band a few things about stage lighting. It was perfect, for the first and third song at least. Straight from the start Bobby Gillespie was wandering the stage, doing his rock star poses, clapping and doing his thing. It was hard to take a bad shot, though of course I did initially because all my camera settings were prepared for a darker stage and everything was blown out for the first burst of images. That was quickly fixed. I tended to stick with the 24-70mm on the Canon 6D and only used the 70-200mm zoom on the Canon 7D a little for the odd close up. This is my standard practice but in this instance I wanted to capture the full stage and as much of the band as I could. The set was laced with hits and the band were in top form. More bands should take note of their use of stage lights. Then again, that might make the job a little too easy.
Click an image to see the full gallery.