Gig

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.

March In Photos by Aaron Corr

March was one of the busiest months I’ve had in quite a while.  Make hay while the sun shines and while the music is good.  I started with Hamilton Laithauser (minus Rostam, ex-Vampire Weekend, who he had made his new album with) in Workmans Club.  I’d seen the Walkmen a few times before but I never realized how tall he was, it took me by surprise as he came out and towered over the small stage in Workos.  It was an hour set and was brilliant from start to finish.  I’ve always loved his voice in The Walkmen, and his solo songs were a lot more personable, and laced with a bit more story, given a humorous background preceding them.  I made sure to get a vinyl signed by him after the show as he drank a pint of Guinness.

Full gallery here.

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats were on town before St Paddy's Day to play the Jameson Bow Street Sessions in the Academy for competition winners.  The night before they played a private acoustic gig, streamed live on YouTube and other sites, in the newly refurbished distillery.  GoldenPlec had the chance to interview him and have some behind the scenes photos taken.  I had asked if this brief opportunity would afford me the chance to take a proper portrait but it was just to be for BTS shots, so I left additional flash gear at home and shot with the natural light in the room.  

He was a cool and charming guy.  It was nice to mingle with him and the band after the show.  I had won a Jameson prize last year which still was reaping me benefits this year, so as a result of that I was on the list to go see him do his proper show the next night.  They were fantastic, full of enthusiasm and great stage presence from everyone on stage.

Full gallery here.

When I saw that Rick Astley had sold out the Olympia and that the job was for the taking at GoldenPlec I knew I should do it for the craic.  It’s become a funny talking point in chats with friends since, everyone asks “well, how was the tune live?” but unfortunately I opted not to stay since I had 8 gigs to shoot in 2 weeks and many of the others were gigs I would be staying for the full show.  I did hear one hit song of his in my three song shoot so I was happy with that.

It was a busy photo pit.  Light wise he was very well lit, as you would hope and expect.  The frustrating part is that the rest of the stage can’t be accounted for in many shots otherwise I’d risk over-exposing his face.  Rick was the man of the evening so the camera settings had to be dictated by how he was lit, therefore the rest is underexposed.  He moved around a lot, making sure to cover all sides of the crowd.  Once I’d many a nice shot set up he’d move on quite fast.  Still, it was a fun one to shoot and it’s good to see him enjoying it so long after his initial fame.

Full gallery here.

Ride came to the Olympia Theatre the night after Rick.  I've never, ever listened to them, but I decided to do it given the hullabaloo about them reforming and talk from folk online being very excited for them at previous festivals I'd been to.  It was a busy photo pit again that night, many of whom were big fans of the band.  As the pictures prove, there was lots of purple and blue lights (a pain to post process when over-saturated).  Again, because I had a busy weekend ahead of me I decided not to stay on for more of the gig.  The time it can take to edit would mean I'd be behind before the weekend begins if I don't crack on and begin that night.  

Full gallery here.

On the Friday of the week was the big gig for me.  The Moonlandingz.  They brought Goat Girl along for the tour with them.  I had just missed the opening set by Vulpynes, who were chosen by the band when they put out a call for female bands to apply to support on the tour.  

I was looking forward to The Moonlandingz show since it was announced.  Fat White Family played Whelans the year before and it was one of, if not, my gig of year.  It was mayhem, it was a gig that stands out from everything else and this was my hopes for Lias Saoudi's other project, and I was not disappointed.  They opened with three of their biggest songs, the type that you would have expected nearer the end of any other band's show.  Immediately the crowd was going nuts for them.  From a shooting perspective (I didn't shoot the FWF gig) it seemed a bit easier of a shoot than the Fat White's show but it was still mayhem and a mad experience at the front of the crowd, with no photo pit, and battling against the current as everyone moshed.  The lights were consistent, the only time I'd change settings was when Lias jumped into the crowd.    

Lias, or Johnny Rocket as he is known in this venture, was wrapped in cling film, with a roll of kitchen paper tucked inside, smeared with oil/Vaseline and black painted eyebrows.  He writhed around on stage, jumped into the crowd, crawled around the stage and clung to Rebecca Lucy Taylor during their duet on the Strangle of Anna.  It was a spectacle and another gig the likes of which you rarely see these days.  If you've not seen them yet, then what are you waiting for?  Go!!

Full gallery here.

I had the desire to shoot Austra again in the Button Factory but I hadn't got around to sorting it out versus just going as a punter.  The day before the show I got asked to cover it for The Thin Air so the stars aligned perfectly.  I love this band and Katie Stelmanis' voice.  Exhausted from The Moonlandingz show and the late night that followed, and armed with a fractured finger from the night, I again faced no photo pit and a squeeze through the crowd to shoot the band.  I unfortunately missed the support from Pixx, which looked like a great set to shoot.

Full gallery here.

The Sunday of the weekend left no rest for the wicked but at least a more chilled affair to shoot.  Warpaint in Vicar Street with support from Æ MAK.  I'd yet to see them live, so when I saw their name last minute as support I legged it from my apartment to the venue to be there on time.  The duo who front the band danced their way in sync through each song and provided some cool shots in the process.  

I last shot Warpaint from the aisles of the National Concert Hall last year, so now I got to get up close to shoot from the pit (finally a pit this weekend!!) for The Thin Air.  The lighting conditions were not as ideal as the last time, heavy, low lit blues, purples and smoke drenched the stage.  The harsh colours washed over most of the shots that it made editing another nightmare to get through.  The band had some fairy lights draped over potted plants behind them, which would have made a nice background, however this had limited effect in the results.  The band were great and wound down my weekend perfectly over a pint, watching from the balcony.  

Before I had time to get too settled on the couch after work on a Monday evening I had to get back out there and cover the Car Seat Headrest gig in The Academy.  Traams were the support and played a blinder.  The three song shoot was a lengthy one due to how long their songs went.  I ended up with far more photos than I typically do for a support act, mainly because they were cool to shoot.  I far prefer these results to the headliner's shots.

Car Seat Headrest came on to a dimly lit, and more smoke filled stage than what had preceded them and kicked straight into it.  The guitarist was the most interesting band member to shoot on stage but he was in a shadow a lot of the time.  It wasn't too bad a shoot overall but I don't think anything really pops out for me.  As the gig drew on and I took to the balcony to watch, they kept breaking strings and having to swap guitars and re-string where they could.  It still made for a good gig.

Full gallery here.

After a day's rest from shooting I got back to it for Stormzy in the Olympia Theatre.  I had no idea what to expect since he had not toured in six months and this was his first show back in action.  The crowd was very young and chanting ahead of him taking to the stage.  Annie MAc was in the balcony to watch the show.  The anticipation was huge.  

As he took to the stage and kicked into it, he would stride across the stage in the dark, dim reds and blues barely lighting him.  It was panic stations in the photo pit.  Thank god for the few minutes he took to chat to the crowd in between the second and third song.  This was where we could snap away while he was lit.  The third song thankfully had better lighting and provided some further shots of him in action.  Overall it was not the easiest of shoots and I did think I came out with nothing to show from it.

Full gallery here.

The final gig of March was going to be a belter of show.  Run the Jewels with support by The Gaslamp Killer, once again in the Olympia Theatre.  It was hard to judge when the three song shoot would be over, I shot and left within five minutes.  Although he was cool to shoot, there is still not much variety in shooting a DJ.

Run the Jewels were epic.  It sold out in no time and the venue was buzzing.  Killer Mike and El-P were brilliant to shoot, they barely stop moving on stage but at least when one passes you by, the other isn't far away.  The lights were definitely not of the Stormzy variety which was a relief.  The pit was busy with photographers once more, but this time the band had a videographer shooting with a unit to steady the camera, which proved another obstacle to avoid.

I leave a busy March to have a quiet April.  It's been a busy month with personal stuff and I'm planning a big trip with work that I'm morphing into a holiday in which I will be gone for 15 days, my longest trip away ever I'd say.  So with that I may be quiet for a little while but on my return I hope to bombard the blog with pictures from Orlando, Miami and the Bahamas.  Until next time, adios.

Full gallery here.

February In Photos by Aaron Corr

I began February with an Access All Areas for Fangclub's headline show in Whelans for GoldenPlec.  An AAA shoot involves a lot of hanging around while the band loads in, sound checks and hang out backstage.  It's always in the back of my head to keep out of the way as much as possible and give everyone their space to get on with their jobs, and not be in their face too much when it comes to down time backstage.  

I headed in just after the band loaded in and would snap away as they got the stage set up and sound-checked.  The lights on stage were looking impressive and there was a neat backdrop, both of which are rarities to see in a Whelans show.   For backstage shots I tried to use flash as little as possible.  The shot above of Steven and Kev on the couch was one of the only shots I used a flash for pre-gig.

The show itself was heavy on strobes, low lights and harsh red/purple lights.  It was the trickiest part of the shoot funnily enough, given the earlier light tests provided some cool shots.  The lights were now a trickier affair to get the band in the right light at the right time.  I made sure to make my way to the back of the stage to catch Steven crowd surfing during the final song.  I was very tempted to run out to the front of the stage to get a closer shot but as it is a small stage I didn't want to risk being in the way as he was thrust back on to it.  After the gig I finished the AAA with a shot of the three guys ready for some post-gig celebrations.

Sometimes there are gigs you get landed with on the day, the original photographer can't make it for one reason or another so you step in to help out.  Leading up to this show I had thought "Band of Horses would be an alright show to shoot", so luck was on my side courtesy of The Thin Air.  Vicar Street is a 5-10 minute walk from my apartment so I made my way up in good time before the band would take to the stage.  The lights beforehand were great looking but by the time they came on they took a dull turn and the smoke machine was turned on.  This turned it into a tougher shoot than I'd expected it to be but there are some shots that came from this that I'm delighted with, particularly of Ben Bridwell screaming into the microphone while the drummer's hair is swinging in the air behind him.  The first song is where the majority of my shots came from, the other two songs were pretty useless for lighting and a waste to shoot.

The Divine Comedy was a Sunday night gig.  I was in one of those lazy, hungover moods where it felt like a drag to have to go from the couch, walk the cold quays at night and make my way to Bord Gais Energy Theatre to shoot a show.  It was worth it though.  The venue restricts photographers to shoot from the side so the variety of shots is minimal which is a shame.  What made it worthwhile were the two spare seats that were beside me and another photographer as we shot the gig, so we sat down and enjoyed the set after the three song shoot.  I had no notions of staying since it's an all seated show and not something you can just blend into a crowd when done like other shows.  The set provided loads of nostalgic moments with songs I hadn't listened to in years.  

April/May Gigs by Aaron Corr

The one and only April gig I got to shoot was Girl Band in Vicar Street.  They'd been cancelling and rescheduling gigs since their album came out last September so it was great to see them in flying form.  They are an absolute beast to behold, fuzzy, distorted and loud.  I've seen them a few times in the past but not since they've become an internationally hyped band, doing as well overseas as most Irish bands can only dream of.  Dara is an electric front man, he doesn't pander to the audience or play a showman.  He just does his thing, looks confident yet somewhat uncomfortable and on the verge of a full on screaming frenzy at any given second.    The show was fine to photograph, there was no backdrops, no fancy lights, just solid yellow lamps for the most part.  The guitarist and bassist were less well lit unfortunately but that's standard & was not a total loss for taking photos.    For the rest of April there wasn't much on that interested me and I was busy with non concert related things so I kept my calendar clear.   

The one and only April gig I got to shoot was Girl Band in Vicar Street.  They'd been cancelling and rescheduling gigs since their album came out last September so it was great to see them in flying form.  They are an absolute beast to behold, fuzzy, distorted and loud.  I've seen them a few times in the past but not since they've become an internationally hyped band, doing as well overseas as most Irish bands can only dream of.  Dara is an electric front man, he doesn't pander to the audience or play a showman.  He just does his thing, looks confident yet somewhat uncomfortable and on the verge of a full on screaming frenzy at any given second.  

The show was fine to photograph, there was no backdrops, no fancy lights, just solid yellow lamps for the most part.  The guitarist and bassist were less well lit unfortunately but that's standard & was not a total loss for taking photos.  

For the rest of April there wasn't much on that interested me and I was busy with non concert related things so I kept my calendar clear.

 

Kula Shaker played the Academy to a reasonable sized crowd seeking some 90s nostalgia, like myself.  I was a big fan of the band around 96/97 after Tattva came out and had only seen them the once at the Trip to Tipp, supporting Foo Fighters, Manic Street Preachers and The Prodigy.    It was a hit laden set with choice newer tracks from albums later in their career, one or two of which stood out.  Crispian Mills still has the energy of his hey day and made for a good front man to shoot as he would jump from time to time.  The lights were the Academy's usual harsh blues and purples which can be a frustrating time when editing afterwards.

Kula Shaker played the Academy to a reasonable sized crowd seeking some 90s nostalgia, like myself.  I was a big fan of the band around 96/97 after Tattva came out and had only seen them the once at the Trip to Tipp, supporting Foo Fighters, Manic Street Preachers and The Prodigy.  

It was a hit laden set with choice newer tracks from albums later in their career, one or two of which stood out.  Crispian Mills still has the energy of his hey day and made for a good front man to shoot as he would jump from time to time.  The lights were the Academy's usual harsh blues and purples which can be a frustrating time when editing afterwards.

Sadly Jeff Lynne's ELO had to cancel their original appearance to the 3Arena due to his bad throat, luckily it was just put off by eight days to the following Saturday and I was still available to do it.  In one way it's unfortunate to do a shoot from the sound desk, or in this case the lighting desk on the balcony but this concert definitely benefited from being able to take it all in from afar.  The light show is incredible.  The other major gripe I had was that I couldn't stay to watch and listen to the whole show, it was a pure treat for the three songs I was present for.

Sadly Jeff Lynne's ELO had to cancel their original appearance to the 3Arena due to his bad throat, luckily it was just put off by eight days to the following Saturday and I was still available to do it.  In one way it's unfortunate to do a shoot from the sound desk, or in this case the lighting desk on the balcony but this concert definitely benefited from being able to take it all in from afar.  The light show is incredible.  The other major gripe I had was that I couldn't stay to watch and listen to the whole show, it was a pure treat for the three songs I was present for.

I was excited to see Blossoms finally.  Due to getting my pass far too late in the night I missed their Academy 2 show a few months back, where support came from Viola Beach, who had a fatal car accident the following weekend in Sweden.  Blossoms were supporting The Last Shadow Puppets on their three dates in the Olympia.  The let down was that the band were at the very front of the stage with little to no direct lighting on them.  You'd swear it was coming out of their budget I joked to others in the pit.  The odd flash from a strobe helped me catch an okay shot of the singer but apart from that the drummer and one of the guitarists got the best look in for the shoot. 

I was excited to see Blossoms finally.  Due to getting my pass far too late in the night I missed their Academy 2 show a few months back, where support came from Viola Beach, who had a fatal car accident the following weekend in Sweden.  Blossoms were supporting The Last Shadow Puppets on their three dates in the Olympia.  The let down was that the band were at the very front of the stage with little to no direct lighting on them.  You'd swear it was coming out of their budget I joked to others in the pit.  The odd flash from a strobe helped me catch an okay shot of the singer but apart from that the drummer and one of the guitarists got the best look in for the shoot. 

Finally, the last gig of May was The Last Shadow Puppets.  This was the first of three shows, the one show that wasn't sold out.  The lights wer far better than Blossoms but it still was tricky to shoot.  The lights were either too harsh, or once you had focused and composed a shot, dimmed to leave them in shadow.  Add to this the movement of the enthusiastic front men.  I stayed for most of the show, only skipping on the encore when I had my fill of their cocky, over confident, smarmy, and in Miles Kane's case laddish behavior.  Alex Turner has an effortless cool to him but he veers close to being dis-likable.  They have good songs, but not enough to keep my interest for the long set list they had laid out in front of them.  Click any photo to see the full set associated.

Finally, the last gig of May was The Last Shadow Puppets.  This was the first of three shows, the one show that wasn't sold out.  The lights wer far better than Blossoms but it still was tricky to shoot.  The lights were either too harsh, or once you had focused and composed a shot, dimmed to leave them in shadow.  Add to this the movement of the enthusiastic front men.

I stayed for most of the show, only skipping on the encore when I had my fill of their cocky, over confident, smarmy, and in Miles Kane's case laddish behavior.  Alex Turner has an effortless cool to him but he veers close to being dis-likable.  They have good songs, but not enough to keep my interest for the long set list they had laid out in front of them.

Click any photo to see the full set associated.