2017

Rosborough: Plec Picks 2018 by Aaron Corr

The GoldenPlec Plec Picks shoot with Rosborough was a last minute addition to my schedule of shoots.  The Derry man was in town to play the Paul McLoone Christmas show in the Workmans Club with Bitch Falcon and Otherkin.  The shoot would have to happen in or around the venue between soundchecks.  I was used to this happening with the GoldenPlec gigs that used to run every month in there, but the need to make the shoot not look the same as all the portrait shoots that has happened there is the tricky part.

I arrived to meet Glenn and set up my usual equipment, Canon 430 EXII Flash on a tripod lit through a soft-box.  I got him to stand and I took some portraits where I’d darken the background so that it is not visible.  There was some reflection of the flash in the doors that I removed or muted in photoshop.  We took some wider shots that takes in the main bar room of Workmans before I made things a little more portable to take photos on the stairway.

I used a portable soft-box, held in my left hand and tested this for a few shots while Glenn sat on the stairs.  I wanted to get a look with the yellow and red steps adding some muted colour to the shots.  We finished up with the same set up on the landing between the ground and first floor.  The look of there has changed since I took Orla Gartland’s portait there so I didn’t feel like I was retreading old turf by shooting there. 

I've seen Rosborough twice now, once acoustic, and the past weekend electric with his drummer.  His voice is incredible, and he really has the potential to have an amazing career.  If you get a chance to catch him live, do it.

Click to read the feature, click here to see my gallery.

The Best Gigs of 2017 by Aaron Corr

Cage the Elephant: The Academy

The year got off to a flying start with Cage the Elephant making their long awaited headline show in Ireland, in The Academy.  Not only was it an amazing gig to shoot, thank you Matt Shultz for being one of the best front-men of any modern band, but also because the music and the atmosphere.  It was genuinely electric.  I've only been a casual fan to this point yet the gig gives me shivers to think of it.  The setlist, fucking hell it was unreal.  I can’t think of how any one person could come out of the gig with anything but “gig of the year” on their lips, and it was only bleedin’ January!!  It could have been all downhill from there, but thankfully not.  

Read the GoldenPlec review and see all my photos here.

Hamilton Leithauser: Workmans Club

I was not prepared for how great Hamilton Leithauser's gig in the Workmans Club would be.  I heard the singles from his current album with Rostam, but hadn’t yet given it a spin.  The Walkmen had always sort of disappointed me live,so I felt like I could potentially take it or leave it with this gig.  This was a completely different ball game to a Walkmen show, the tunes were all fantastic, and I loved his banter and tales in between songs.  He did a stunning rendition of In A Black Out, finger picking the acoustic guitar and holding the crowd in the palm of his hands with his signature voice.  His story about the origin of the lyrics for The Brides Dad was a fun wedding tale ahead of playing said song.  Often singers can bore you by over-explaining but Hamilton nails it, and it makes you pay more attention to the lyrics.  The gig was under an hour and it left everyone wanting more.  I can’t wait until he returns, however long that will be.

See the full gallery here.

The Moonlandingz: Whelans

After seeing Fat White Family early in 2016, and it being one of my favourite gigs of that year, I couldn’t miss Lias Saoudi’s return to Whelans with The Moonlandingz.  They may not have built up the hardcore fanbase of FWF yet but that has changed now that they’ve played our shores.  Their debut LP was released that Friday, so the band and crowd were well up for a mad show.  Lias, aka Johnny Rocket, arrived out with black make up on his face and cling film wrapped around… kitchen roll(?) to his midriff, swinging beers and a bottle of wine.  They started with their three most popular & well known songs, a brave move for any band, and yet the gig got better and better as it went along.  The duet with Slow Club’s Rebecca Lucy Taylor for The Strangle of Anna was both strange and brilliant.  The band barreled towards the end with some b-sides and yet the momentum kept rising, with only one song providing a bit of respite for the crowd before Man in My Lyfe near tore Whelans apart.  They were a band to rival Cage the Elephant for best performance of the year. 

Click here for my full gallery.

Metronomy: Body & Soul

When I took Joseph Mount’s portrait last year it looked there was to be no touring at all for the album.  Thankfully he broke that sabbatical in 2017 for a handful of dates, followed by full on festival schedule in which they came to Ireland for Body & Soul.  It was my first time at the festival and, I must admit, they were the band that swung it for me to go.  They headlined the first night and they were as brilliant as ever.  Photographers managed to be granted 4 songs to shoot, possibly in the confusion of all the initial songs segueing into each other.  They kept the momentum going and barely let it up, even debuting a new song, which is still in my head.  They always look like they are having a blast on stage while lashing out their unique brand of pop brilliance.  I can’t recommend seeing them live enough.  Even my GoldenPlec partner in crime for the weekend, who previously wasn’t convinced by them, was completely won over. 

Click for GoldenPlec's review and click here for full gallery.

HMLTD: Workmans Club

HMLTD were recommended to many of us at team GoldenPlec by Niall, who moved to London last year and has caught them a few times, citing them as quickly filling the top spots for his favourite gigs of the year.  While we may not have got the full London experience, with a half busy but very enthusiastic crowd mixed in with some technical issues for the band, it was still a solid display of their potential.  My GP friends and I all looked at each other and agreed that HMLTD would be the perfect band for a Halloween night.  They are in line with Moonlandingz/Fat White Family for a raucous gig experience, full of showmanship, sweat and catchy tunes.  The unusual twists and turns to songs like To the Door keep things interesting, mixing glam, psych rock and electronic all in one.  Broken guitar strings and faulty PA meant we were denied an encore but the next time everyone in the room will be back with friends in tow to experience them.

Click here for full gallery.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: The Academy

The return of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has to make my list for this year, particularly since they started their first tour in quite some time in Dublin.  I got to see the guys soundcheck some of their new material ahead of the show, in which they played a good amount of new songs from their upcoming album, Wrong Creatures.  Usually a band playing a fair chunk of new material can be off putting when they have an extensive back catalogue of favourites to work through, but I enjoyed hearing the debut of these tracks live.  The gig also had the BRMC trait of being very loud indeed.   The boys & girl are back, Pete might be grayer but they are still sounding mighty.

Click here for full gallery.

BNQT: The Button Factory

BNQT is a ‘supergroup’ consisting of Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Fran Healy (Travis), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses) with Midlake as the core band.  On this date of the tour we were minus Alex & Ben but it didn’t take away from a mighty and fun gig.  Everyone on stage is having the time of their lives, running through choice favourites from each band in between cuts from BNQT’s debut album.  They also peppered the gig with some classic covers of Neil Young, The Beatles and finished with Tom Petty’s Won’t Back Down.  I went in to this gig tired, half thinking of leaving a few songs after I shot the show, but left with a bit of pep in my step and a big smile on my face for what I got to witness.  Their name isn't well known, so it was to a smaller crowd than any of these band members would normally get in their own gig which added to the ‘you had to be there’ vibe of the show.  If HMLTD were Halloween, then this band were Christmas. 

Click here for full gallery.

The best gigs that I didn't shoot this year were...

Interpol: Alexandra Palace

I couldn’t miss Interpol playing Turn On The Bright Lights from start to finish for its 15th anniversary tour.  They announced they were to do the set at Electric Picnic, but I’ve retired from going to EP.  A trip over the water to London was in order to see them play in Ally Pally.  The buzz about the night was great, the weather was sunny and people were handing out Interpol related samples of the book Meet Me in the Bathroom by Lizzy Goodman to those queuing.  Bar someone getting sick beside us fifteen minutes before they were due onstage, the night was a treat.  They launched straight into Untitled, played the whole album and capped the main set off with Specialist, one of their best tracks which just missed being on the album.  They returned to play a ‘greatest hits’ set, even playing a new song which is not in their tendency to do since they toured TOTBL.  I was envious of the photographers shooting the show, the lights were so much better than when I got the chance to shoot the band on their last Irish visit.

Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper: The Olympia

Buying the ticket to Alice Cooper started off as a laugh.  I couldn’t be more happy for that spur of the moment decision because it was one of the most entertaining and fun shows I’ve ever seen.  To think I very nearly could have photographed the show too near kills me.  Missing out on The Thin Air asking for people to cover this show is my biggest regret of 2017.  At least I was there and didn’t let an amazing show pass me by.  He played all the hits I knew, and everything I didn't know entertained the hell out of me as well.  It was a bit cheesey at times watching the guitarists in near competition with each other to throw as many plecs to the crowd as they could, but it's just all a bit of fun and showmanship while they are playing killer leads on guitar.  The pyrotechnics and theatricality of it was a hoot.  Alice Cooper, what a legend.

Depech Mode

Depeche Mode: 3Arena

This was my second time catching Depeche Mode on this tour, the first time being at NOS Alive in Lisbon.  I really hoped to photograph this show and had my name to it but to get into why it didn’t happen would lead to a rant and who needs that, right?  This is about the show, and it was way better than Lisbon and possibly the best show I’ve seen of Depeche Mode out of the four times I’ve seen them. The set list was incredible, while focusing on their more recent noughties and later nineties output through the first half, they showed how after all this time they still have great songs and are not content to stick around as a nostalgia act.  

The latter half was a blitzkrieg of classics which didn’t let up until it was time for them to leave.  Martin Gore’s ‘acoustic’ moments were the best I’ve seen yet, with A Question of Lust and Strangelove getting an airing.  Dave Gahan has more energy now than most front-men under half his age. He controls the crowd like we are puppets and he is the master, no better is this visible than during Never Let Me Down as he  gets the signature famous crowd wave going midway through the song. This always gives me shivers down my spine to participate, and to look around at the view.  God knows how it feels from their vantage point. Once again, they are unreal.  

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: The Academy by Aaron Corr

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club kicked off their new tour ahead of the release of their new album, Wrong Creatures, in Dublin's Academy.  For the I don't know how many'th time they chose to come here on a Monday night.  These guys are in good need to give Irish fans a good Friday or Saturday night gig.  Either way they had no problems selling the place out and making the crowd jump around for them.

The last time I got to photograph the band in this venue they had lights underneath them that gave them a warm glow throughout, even as strobes would go off and when the stage got darker.  That wasn't the case this time around.  They opened with Little Thing Gone Wild, and tore tore the eardrums off of everyone.  They played a great set, debuting many new songs throughout.

The show was at times tricky to shoot.  There were walls of amps/PA at either side of the stage, obscuring a side vantage point to shoot at, Pete had some drums set up to his left which obscured all that one side of him.  Pete was mostly in the dark through the set, with Rob getting the most lighting in waves, hence why most photos are of him in the set.  Leah, doing incredibly well since her brain surgery and having re-learned the drums, was often lit in dull reds and surrounded by smoke for most of the three songs.

Earlier in the day I got to watch the band soundcheck and meet them afterwards, and I brought with me some of my photos to get signed.  I had a photo of Pete framed on my wall and it looks cooler now with his signature on it.  I've long meant to put one up of Robert and Leah so when I move house soon that is very much going to happen.  The photo was taken on my phone and was the only shot in the burst taken that wasn't as blurry.  Rob had just moved position to where they'd let fans pose with them and as I stood a little to the side of him he pulled me in to get closer to them, making me look a tad awkward in the process.    

LCD Soundsystem: Olympia Theatre by Aaron Corr

LCD Soundsystem

This is going to be a lot different from the usual blog posts.  In this one I'm going to vent a little, the kind in which I’ve worn the ears off of many friends in many pubs many a time.  LCD Soundsystem were one of my favourite bands of the noughties.  The announcement that they were to split was expected on their third album cycle, it was an inevitability, but the sadness was replaced with delight in knowing that James Murphy chose to end LCD on a high with three great albums, rather than potentially taint their overall discography later in their career.  Many bands don’t consider this, and their importance & greatness fades with the bland music that they generate long after their heyday.  The decision made a welcome change from legends being made out of death, drug overdoses, or whatever other clichés the rock n’ roll life brings with it.

Some of my best gig memories were from LCD shows, be it their own headline gigs or at festivals, and with that comes my biggest problem with LCD Soundsystem.  They reformed.  Within the time it takes many big bands to follow up an album, James Murphy decided to resurrect LCD.  So much hullaballoo had been made about their final show in Madison Square Garden; Saturday nights out were abandoned to stay in and watch the live stream, we went to the cinema to watch the documentary/concert film Shut Up & Play the Hits, we bought the expensive vinyl package and DVD tie ins.  I knew he would still release music under the LCD moniker, and that was fine, but to go back on this bold move felt like a con.  I like my rock stars and artists to have commitment and integrity, but with this choice I didn't see either.  It detracted from my love of their past glories, and even in Primavera 2016 I couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to just let it go and enjoy the show.  When the songs come on shuffle now I tend to skip them.  I wanted to love them still, but I struggled to rekindle my love for them.

Now there is a new album, of which some songs have been tempting me to come back and join the party.  It’s not perfect, it’s not their best album and it’s nothing revolutionary.  It is simply LCD doing what they do well.  With the new tour off the back of this album I had a desire to shoot their show but it was looking like I’d missed the boat to get my name down for it.  A last week change to The Thin Air roster for their Olympia show was to my advantage and I got to go shoot them.  I looked forward to capturing the hanging disco ball lighting them up as I’d seen many cool photos of this from Electric Picnic.  I had a two song limit, which wasn’t too bad since they’ve long songs.  The issue during the shoot was that the lighting was pretty crap during the first song.  Lighting improved during the second song but the disco ball never was used to our advantage.  It was still tough to get well lit close ups of Nancy Whang, Al Doyle, and to a lesser extent Pat Mahoney.

I stayed for the rest of the show of course, and I did enjoy it a lot more than my experience as “the grumpy one in the crowd” at Primavera.  The band drank far more on stage than I’d ever noticed before, getting wine top ups from roadies mid-song, James flipped though lyric sheets to the side of him.  Things have certainly changed, but they still sound as good as they did pre-split and I guess that should be the most important thing.  Maybe slowly but surely I’m coming back around, but it will never be the same.      

Click here to see full gallery, and to read a better review of the show than I can express check out my mate Bernard's GoldenPlec review.

Green Day: Royal Hospital Kilmainham by Aaron Corr

GoldenPlec sent me to cover Green Day in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.  It was a very wet and rainy night in Dublin, in between all the nice weather we had been having, which was unfortunate.  I had just one camera cover to do me as I used two camera bodies to shoot the gig.  I didn't know which was better or worse, having it to keep one dry, or to just do without it as it kept getting in the way of me accessing buttons.

There was two songs to shoot from the pit but the band gave ample time with these two tracks to catch them in action.  During the first song Billie Joe Armstrong pulled a fan to the stage and got her to stage dive after a bit of singing and hugging.  He moves around so fast on stage that you were constantly having to move, focus and readjust, trying to be careful to not bump into security or other photographers.  When Bille Joe went out to the platform, we couldn't go further out to shoot a nice wide angle of him with the stage as the background from the side I shot at.  The grey/white cloudy skies were also an uninspirational backdrop compared to a sunny day or some cool looking clouds.  

By the time the second song was started into the cameras were struggling even more to focus through the rain.  I've some great shots that are wasted as a result of this, though one or two others had a cool, near bokeh effect but still not worthy of using overall.  Another missed opportunity was the pyrotechnics which went off every now and then when I wasn't expecting, and when Bille Joe was out towards the crowd on his platform.  So because I was shooting him while he was near me I missed those shots.  It was a quick enough shoot and unfortunately I couldn't stay to watch the band, but the prospect of going home, getting dry and going to see Baby Driver in the cinema was just as good an opportunity at that stage.  31 years going and the band have still got it though.

Body & Soul Festival 2017 by Aaron Corr

This festival marked two firsts for me.  My first overnight festival where I'm doing photo coverage, and my first Body & Soul.  I've always wanted to go but it's right in the middle of a holiday blackout with my day job and I hated the idea of ruining the fun by leaving the festival early.  What I've found is I've wasted a few trips there and it's time to make up for it.

GoldenPlec sent me with resident reviewer Bernard and we roadtripped to Ballinlough Castle Estate to be greeted with a quick entry through secutiry and in to the Us & You Eco campsite.  My tent was set up in no time and I was amazed to discover all the relevent bits were still there since I last used it at Electric Picnic and couldn't remember what state it was in.  From there it was straight in to watch some bands, starting with Jafaris in the forest on the Pagoda stage.  I followed up with Talos on the main stage and pretty much kept there for the day, covering Anna Meredith and true headliners of the night, Metronomy.

It's now just over a year since I took some portraits of frontman Joseph Mount, and the release of their fourth album.  At the time he said he wouldn't be touring the album and I was a bit heartbroken.  A year later and a handful of gigs lead into festival season and the band make their return to Ireland.  I can sacrifice a headline show in Dublin to see them again at a festival.  I've only ever caught the band at festivals, since they've rarely played their own shows in Ireland, so this wasn't a bad thing.

They were in flying form and had amazing lights to shoot them on stage.  They segue their first three songs together, the same opening three songs from Summer 08, and as I go to leave I get the nod from our photographer liaison that we have one more tune to shoot.  A cool mistake and one I wasn't going to debate.   This was far better shoot than at Longitude 2015, when they were on a higher stage and where wide angle options were not great.  The Body & Soul stage is a cool one to shoot on, but the little raised bit in the centre does get in the way of a good few wide angle band shots from the weekend.  That gripe aside, it was a great start to a weekend's shooting.

After waiting around for final act of the night, Parcels, the festival organiser came onstage to announce that the band was here but their equipment stuck in Berlin.  They were replaced by Le Cool.  This was disapointing as I was really looking forward to seeing what Parcels were like.  I just stayed for one song as it was time to unburden myself of the camera bag and go enjoy the festival's sights at night.

Saturday began with photographing Loah.  I've seen her twice live since I did some portraits with her for Plec Picks 2015 but never shot either of those shows.  It was great to capture her, bright and colourful on stage on a sunny day.  Next up was Icelandic band Mammút.  I didn't hang around to watch their show, they didn't really do much for me.  I went to explore the festival and get some people shots around the walled garden.

I returned to the main stage again to photograph Lambchop.  There was nothing interesting to shooting them so I moved on during the second song and didn't stay.  The day was redeemed by La Femme, a French new wave band whose only song I knew was the one featured in the Renault adverts recently.  They put on a great show, swapping instruments, vocals, dancing around the stage, smoking cigarettes and looking quintessentially French.  

The day was further improved by Sleaford Mods arrival. This was the first time I've caught them live and they were cool to photograph, primarily vocalist Jason Williamson's passion in delivering the words on stage.  I always have a laugh at Andrew Fearn just standing around the back smoking, drinking and pressing play on the laptop.  

Bonobo were my last act to shoot on the main stage.  At first I thought it would just be smoke and silhouettes until their vocalist came onstage during the second song and saved the day and the photos.  She was beutifully lit and greatly improved upon what I was getting from the camera beforehand.  The night finished with King Kong Company in the Midnight Circus Tent.  I tried to shoot in this tent earlier but it was just DJs, low lighting and heavy on red lights.  Not helped was the extra addition to the stage at the front which made for a tight squeeze in the centre of the pit, and made it a no go area for photographers according to security.  Shots were limited for movement as a result, and the lighting didn't get a whole lot better, with dry ice and heavy yellows and purples washing everything out on stage.

Sunday was a better day, starting with Æ MAK.  This is my second time photographing them, after their support of Warpaint recently.  I nearly didn't make the set as I packed my tent to drop to the car, leaving my camera gear in Bernard's tent and locked with my coded lock.  When we returned the combination wouldn't work suddenly and we were stuck.  I managed to squeeze my hand in what little could be zipped open, reached his bag and he pulled out his swiss army knife from the front of it.  A zip was removed and we were in.  All was well again.  

Ailbhe Reddy followed Æ MAK's performance and later on I returned for Sinkane.  The big clash of the day came in the form of the two bands I wanted to see most that day.  Austra and The Moonlandingz. Due to band cancellations, the Midnight Circus timetable was given a reshuffle and hence the clash.  I had fifteen minutes between Austra beginning and Moonlandingz taking to their stage.  I was not missing them for the world.  I stayed for half a song for Austra, hence how limited options I had from their set.  I took a few shots and ran.

The Moonlandingz were so good they deserved a set all to themselves when I submitted them to GoldenPlec.  Lias, aka Johnny Rocket arrived on stage cling film wrapped to his mother, walking backwards to his microphone.  From there she escaped and he took off, launching to the front of the stage, stalking the crowd, dribbling beer and pulling all sorts of shapes an poses.  They are such a good band to shoot live, and I love the music and attitude.  Like Fat White Family, they are a different beast live to on record.  Unfortunately Rebecca Lucy Taylor was absent for backing vocals and her duet on The Strangle of Anna, opting to stay at Glastonbury it seems.  

The second to last band I shot that weekend was Hundred Waters.  This was another band that just didn't stir me at all.  I found the singer to seem a little shy, sometimes seeing the cameras and turning around.  It could have been coincidence but to me and a fellow tog is had an air of unconfidence.  Maybe we were wrong.  

The last act of the festival, Birdy Nam Nam, cancelled and the headline slot was given to Mykki Blanco, upgraded from the Midnight Circus tent.  This was of much benefit given that stage's set up.  We were advised that we could shoot the whole show as he loves photographers.  I chose to stick with the usual three songs as it was cold, late and I wanted to get home to bed as I had work in the morning.  Unfortunately bed was to wait as he had a DJ play for half an hour before he came on stage.  When he did arrive he was like whirlwind, boucing around the red light soaked stage, picking up props and roaming the stage.  I left my zoom lens in the bag and kept to my 24-70mm for the whole set.  By the third song he jumped into the crowd and got them to form a circle pit.  This was the best part of the shoot and a great way to end the weekend.

So I've talked about the bands a bit, now it's time to show off the people, the festival goers and music lovers.  It's a great festival for people to dress up and not give a damn.  I didn't realise there was so much going on around the site to encourage this, secret parties, raves, masked balls and wine parties.  I didn't see the half of it.  Maybe next year.

Arcade Fire: Malahide Castle by Aaron Corr

I was over the moon to get a chance to shoot Arcade Fire for The Thin Air for the second time when they returned to play Malahide Castle for another big outdoor Irish show.  They are one of the best bands to shoot, helped by the fact that there is so many members in the band and all of them are personalities worth photographing on stage, but I’ll get back to them in a moment.

First off was the support on the night, Bomba Estereo.  I hadn’t heard of them before they were announced as support act and checked them out on Spotify.  They sounded like they could be a good opener for a sunny day but having not been able to view the whole set I couldn’t tell.  According to friends, and people I spoke to after, they seemed to have been considered very forgettable (easy to happen for an unknown act on a big stage) and weren’t given their full attention.  Singer Liliana Saumet was an energetic frontwoman, donned in a very colourful outfit, and barely stayed still long enough to let you get the exact shot I was lining up.   This didn’t matter too much since there was no lighting issues to be worrying about.

This was the first big gig I’ve covered since the strict rules were introduced involving bags at concerts was brought in due to the Manchester bombing at the Ariana Grande show.  This is a fair enough rule, but it wasn’t iterated to photographers in advance that this applies to us too, and that having a ticket didn’t guarantee me entrance unless I had somewhere to store my bag.  There is no on site storage or lockers, so this left us in a bit of a pickle.  Getting to Malahide Castle is not as easy as simply attending a gig in the city centre after all, it is just not feasible for a photographer to journey to a show without the kit in a bag.  It was only for Owen Humphries having his car, and a ticket to stay for the show, that I was able to store away my bag during the shoot, camera gear after the three songs, and then go back in to watch the show.  This was a very long winded process to cover a show and go onwards to enjoy it, and a few songs in the set were regretably missed. 

Cameras had to be carried into the arena photo pit without bags that hold spare lenses, memory cards and any other useful items.  Off of the back of this experience I immediately removed my name from future events that I would be attending the show after a shoot.  Unless I am only there to shoot the band and go home, it wasn't worth it.  To be fair to the promoters though, this was out of their hands and they did let us store our bags in a cabin during the support, it just wasn't possible for Arcade Fire.

The band themselves were in flying form.  It was a gorgeous Summer's day which is a rarity for an Irish outdoor show and it was the perfect light to shoot the band.  They opened with Everything Now, followed by Rebellion and every time Win came near to the front section of the stage that edged him nearer the crowd, he was gone again before you could line up the perfect shot.  As they segued from Rebellion in Haiti I got accosted by someone who showed me the setlist and told me that we were done.  I argued that Everything Slow, as listed on the setlist, was not a song and merely intro music for the band to walk on to.  He was having none of it.  The other photographers got wind of the dispute and came over and he eventually relented.  We'd gone through so much trouble and effort so far, we were not about to be short changed as Regine was taking centre stage to sing.

As Regine sang Haiti she noticed a fan in the front row with the Haitian flag and ran down the stair from the stage in excitement, like a child on Christmas morning.  She ran past me to collect it and proudly sing the final verse & chorus with it in her arms.  This provided a cool opportunity to get some meaningful and great shots of her as she embraced it, injecting more emotion into what is already an emotional, yet uplifting song.  For a second time round shooting the band, I think I preferred this shoot over their Marlay Park show.  At Marlay Park there was air cannons and a bigger distance/height between band and photographer, however they had better backdrop on the stage for the Reflektor tour.  Regardless of the conditions, they are always worth the effort to capture live.

Take That: 3Arena by Aaron Corr

My April was spent getting ready for a work trip that I was extending into a long holiday, taking in Orlando, Miami and the Bahamas.  I purposefully held back from shooting too many gigs in advance, however I did have one gig on the calendar for the day I came back and that was this one.  Take That have always put on huge shows with creative visuals for their fans and I didn’t want to let some jet lag get in the way of what would be a fun shoot.

I knew the shoot would be from the middle of the crowd and that a telephoto lens was pretty much all I’d be using.  This doesn’t matter as much with a show of this nature since it’s all about getting the scale of what is on stage.  What I found out after the show was that the best was yet to come, and the first three songs was essentially an empty stage by comparison.  My sister was at the gig and told me how the show kept getting bigger, busier and better, complete with rain which fell in patterns and shapes, band members being raised up to the rafters.  I was there to shoot the three lads in action and I got that, but given the chance to shoot the rest then it would have been icing on the cake.

Bar the distance from the stage to shoot, the only other obstacle was when the crowd got to their feet by the second song.  This meant a lot of dodging and moving to try get the angle I wanted and without people’s heads, hands or phones in the way.  It wasn’t always achievable and either resulted in a little of them getting in the shot or not being able to capture the image at all as planned.  The band moved around the stage quite a bit and were only in the same frame when zoomed in at a handful of times.  The rest of the time they would be separately wandering the circular stage to see other parts of the crowd and give them some face time.

Regardless of how tired I was from my overnight flight and lack of sleep over the last two days, if I was offered a seat to stay I would have been very tempted to stay and see the rest of the show they put on.  As much as they would have been laughable when I was growing up, listening to grunge, Britpop and everything else, they have aged gracefully ( both as a band as well as musically) and are as strong as a three man group and not showing any signs of losing quality for it.