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.

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.

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.