Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks: Vicar Street by Aaron Corr

Pavement’s main man Stephen Malkmus returned to Dublin with his band, The Jicks, in support of their new album, Sparkle Hard. I covered the show for The Thin Air and got in early to catch Tandem Felix for my first time.

 Tandem Felix

Tandem Felix

My first portrait shoot after I moved to Dublin was with David Tapley of Tandem Felix, for Plec Picks 2014, & Éna Brennan, aka Dowry, is also in the band and featured in a shoot of mine from the past year, yet I’d never got around to catching them live. They were great too, I can finally say!

I enjoyed shooting Stephen Malkmus. The lights were ok, nothing amazing or bad. It wasn’t a busy pit on the night, and the venue wasn’t sold out which surprised me for a Friday night. Those who missed out missed the Pavement ‘covers’ he threw in at the encore which made everyone’s night.

Negative Gemini: The Grand Social by Aaron Corr

Straight off the back of my long overdue holiday, GoldenPlec offered me two assignment for the day I returned. No rest for the wicked. Shooting this show was the second of the two shoots I had that day, and boy was it a challenge!

The Grand Social can be tricky to shoot in sometimes due to the lighting and this was definitely one of those cases. Lindsey French, aka Negative Gemini, took to the dark stage and leaped around in a black coat and tinkered with her samplers and keyboard to either side of the stage. A screen projected images along to her songs but this largely created a large white light when trying to expose for Lindsey in the dark corners. Focusing was tricky on it’s own, never mind keeping the shot from blurring due to long exposures combined with the high ISO in use.

After the show I approached Lindsey to ask if I could grab a quick portrait with her. With the video projector still in use on the stage I decided to use that and light her with it. I took five quick snaps and said my goodbyes. I love the psychedelic nature of how they turned out.

Check out her interview with GP and review of the show. Click any image for the full gallery.

Julien Baker: Vicar Street by Aaron Corr

GoldenPlec sent me to shoot the Julien Baker show in Vicar Street. They had featured her quite a bit in advance, with an interview on the site ahead of the show. I didn’t manage to listen to her much but I came out captivated by her songs, her voice and her power on stage.

 Becca Mancari

Becca Mancari

Support came from Nashville’s Becca Mancari. She was to be with another guitarist but had to go solo due to a Ryanair issue. She was funny and charming on stage, and the lights were perfect for capturing her performing.

 Becca Mancari

Becca Mancari

 Julien Baker

Julien Baker

There’s not much I can say about Julien Baker’s performance that hasn’t been said in the GoldenPlec review. What I can say was that, much like the support, the lighting conditions were excellent and the spotlights in particular adding to the effect. So much so I made sure to take more wider shots to incorporate them highlighting her on stage. The only distraction was the keyboard set up which got in the way when shooting from the left side. Not a big deal in the overall scale of things. It was a amazing performance by an artist I look forward to hearing a lot more from.

Click any photo or here for full gallery.

Arctic Monkeys: 3Arena by Aaron Corr

The Thin Air sent me to the 3Arena to shoot Arctic Monkeys with support by The Lemon Twigs. Or The Lemon Twig I should say, as only Michael Daddario was available to play due to Brian being sick. It took away from the dynamic of shooting both brothers on stage but Michael still provided enough hair flicks and poses to make things look a little interesting.

Shooting Arctic Monkeys was cool but as lavish and well lit as their stage display was, there was still frustrations to ruin wider shots, hence why my favourite shots are mostly close ups. They opened with Four Out of Five, with Alex taking to the microphone doing his best lounge singer impression, before moving further back to the keyboard.

As they kick into Brianstorm they strobe lights kick into full gear. Looks great but getting a good focus alone never mind framing during it was the battle. The lights were more reliable during Snap Out of It, but then the overhead display was moved upwards and lights off, which took away from the initial set dynamic that was interesting to shoot.

Click here to read the review of the show.

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.