Pet Shop Boys: Bord Gais Energy Theatre by Aaron Corr

Pet Shop Boys

The Pet Shop Boys played two sold out nights in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on September 5th.  I covered the first of the two shows for The Thin Air.  I honestly didn't think photo passes would be granted, I was told by another photographer that they denied them on their last visit.  I was allowed to shoot the first four songs, which gave me a chance to do two songs from each side of the theatre.  It was to be a Front of House shoot but there is no access to FOH due to the seating set up in the theatre.  

The band had good visuals in the background but the head-wear was a little distracting when trying to get a shot of them at the right time.  By the fourth song Chris Lowe removed his headpiece and this gave me a last minute or two to try and catch him in action.  At that stage they were lit by red lights which is never a favourite.  All in all it was another classic band added to my list of photographed bands, which is never a bad thing.

September Photos by Aaron Corr

Pixie Geldof

Pixie Geldof

The Thin Air sent me on my first trip to The Ruby Sessions in Doyles Pub to catch Pixie Geldof play her first Irish show ahead of the release of her debut album.  I had the expectation that it was just a show case for her and that I would be in and out quickly.  Once I was in, and had a spot in the corner of the room, I was quickly surrounded and unable to move from my spot, even to get a drink.  Contrary to expectations, I was going nowhere until it was over.  



The first support was from Sive, who I had shot live and a quick portrait of previously in the Workmans Club on one of their GoldenPlec nights.  She has a great voice and some good melodies, beginning without her guitar and using only an mbira to accompany her.  It was a great way to showcase her voice.   Sitting where I was I initially was worried that taking photos from there would be quite invasive during these quiet performances, but it wasn't too bad, especially given the amount of American tourists who were now sitting between me and the singers.  I kept my snapping to a minimum, firing single shots as opposed to bursts.  There was little variety to get given movement was not an option.



Next up was Derry musician Rosborough, playing his first solo performance as he is normally accompanied by his band.  I found this hard to believe as he has quite a powerful voice and I can't imagine that he has never showcased it in this way before.  

Pixie Geldof

Pixie Geldof

Due to the heat of the venue and the amount of candles lighting the room, I was parched.  There was only a few minutes changeover between acts and I needed to crouch on the 'stage' and leg it to the bar to get something to drink.  On my way back I saw Pixie Geldof making her way to the stage.  I had to near knock her over to rush back to my spot before it was too late.  The rush was in vain as she was the only performer to have additional musicians on stage with her, a pianist and guitarist, and they were still getting set up.

The lighting was the same as the support so there was barely any changes to the camera settings throughout the night.  Again I snapped at a slower pace to not annoy anyone around me, and could listen more intently to the songs.  She has a really nice, soothing voice and easy going tunes.  I'll be curious to hear more from her when her album drops.

Jamie T

Jamie T

The shooting highlight of the month was Jamie T in the Olympia Theatre.  I was shooting on behalf of the promoter, MCD.  Since his return in the last few years he has got bigger and bigger in the UK.  The adoration he had surprised me as I had mostly forgotten all about him from the days when MTV2 existed, at least in the version of MTV2 in the noughties heyday.  Just as surprising was the fandom that existed in Ireland, especially among younger fans in the crowd.  I should note it was an over 14s gig too.  My friends and I wondered how these young fans got so obsessively in to his music.  It was cool to see.

I digress, it was a decent show to shoot but quite frustrating at times.  He was great at coming out to the front of the stage towards the crowd, the problem being the lighting guy would never light up the front or the crowd as he did so.  This left me with many silhouette shots, many of them of no use because you couldn't even see the crowd when trying to get a wider shot.  When he was behind the microphone he was very obscured by it, more so than many other performers.  The backdrop provided and interesting background though, so when you could get a good shot of him, it was cool to incorporate this in when shooting.  

I stayed on for the rest of the show since I was with a friend and I enjoyed how it was much more rockier show than I expected.  However, given I don't know a huge amount of his music, bar the singles and what I had listened to that day, I found it all a little samey after the mid way point.  It was a long show after all, nearer two hours, which can be tough when you don't know the artist.  The crowd lapped it up and were singing most of the lyrics back to him throughout the night.  

Click any image for full gallery.

Metronomy Photoshoot by Aaron Corr

At the end of June The Thin Air gave me a great assignment to photograph Joseph Mount of Metronomy.  I'm a big fan of theirs and photographed them live on the main stage at Longitude last year.  They do that thing for me that LCD Soundsystem used to do every time I'd see them live, they'd make me giddy with happiness.  I don't know what it is but it's a rare thing for me to get at every show by one band, even with those who are my absolute favourites.

Joe was in Dublin for the bones of a day to promote the release of their new album, Summer 08, jetting in early that morning for a day of interviews before taking off again that night for more promo in Paris.  We had a half hour slot with him, meeting up in the Dean Hotel in Dublin city centre.  Myself and my Thin Air colleague, Eoghain, agreed to split it as 20 minutes interview, 10 minutes photoshoot.  This gave me quite a tight slot, especially when I did not know what I had to work with, where would be best to do the shoot in the location or how busy it would be with people, given the time of day it was happening.  

At the venue I decided upon using the smoking area on the ground floor as it had fairy lights on one wall, a tiny bit of natural light and a fireplace with multi-coloured glass and fire logs behind it.  The door to the smoking area is so close to the bar that you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a staff door, which was to my advantage as it was empty inside, save for a guy on a video conference call on his laptop that left minutes before the shoot.

I tested the natural light with my camera and tried my pocket wizards with the flash, using Warner's very helpful rep as a stand in model, to see how it looked in the room.  Ideally I would have brought a bigger set up (tripod & a soft-box for better portrait lighting) but I sacrificed bringing too much for fear of over complicating things within the time constraints.  To get the natural light in the room I had to use a higher ISO than I would have preferred, combined with a slower shutter speed.  

Joe was taller than I expected.  The fairy lights would have made a nice backdrop for a straight on portrait but they were not high up enough on the wall to accommodate the look I wanted, so I asked Joe to sit on a chair so I could feature them in the background.  The first thing I noticed at this point was that he looked very tired.  This was emphasised more as I looked at the previews on the camera display.  This was completely understandable given all the press he had been doing.  To combat this I asked him to look slightly off camera, over my shoulder, up at lights on the ceiling or through a window depending on where I stood him for the shot.  I used photoshop afterwards to help ease things around the eyes.  I did three quick set ups with him.  

  1. As described above. 
  2. I stood him in a position where the one little gap in the wall that let in natural light, and cigarette smoke out, so I could use it to light him while again keeping the fairy lights behind him.  This is the main shot used for the feature.
  3. In front of the fireplace, making use of the lights overhead and the colours behind him.  This proved tricky in not trying to catch myself in the mirror's reflection, particularly in shots where I tried using off camera flash.

I was told that if I needed the extra few minutes that I could continue but I chose not to keep him any longer as he still had more interviews straight away, and a radio show to go present on TXFM before hitting the airport, so I decided to stick with my allotted time.  He was great to deal with, I chatted briefly with him in between shots about his visits to Ireland and such.  As we were saying our goodbyes I quickly remembered that I meant to ask for a quick photo with him.   I asked this of him & frustratingly said "Can I get a selfie?"  Nooooo!!!  Why??  I hate that word.  He graciously obliged and I took a quick snap on my phone and thanked him for his time.

Click here to read the interview with The Thin Air from that day and click any photo above to see the full gallery I posted.