The Fontaines

Franz Ferdinand: Olympia Theatre by Aaron Corr

Franz Ferdinand have a knack for playing Sunday night shows in Dublin.  The last time they played a few years ago I had just returned from a heavy stag weekend in Sligo and was a little worse for wear.  I was in better shape on this February night for The Thin Air and was looking forward to catching Fontaines D.C.  for the second time.  Alex Kapranos later remarked on stage how Hurricane Laughter was one of his favourite tunes of recent times.

Fontaines D.C.

Fontaines D.C.

I had mixed feelings about how Franz were going to play out.  The singles were ok but I hadn’t kept going back to them like singles of old.  Any album b-sides I heard or saw performed live on TV or web were not hitting the spot either.  Somehow it all clicked at this gig and I was won over and digging the newly rejuvenated Franz Ferdinand.  I've already my tickets in hand to go see them again with the Killers this Summer.

It was still not the most brilliantly lit show I’ve ever shot, much like their last show in the Olympia, but it still was enough to get some cool shots of Alex jumping.  They have a cool backdrop that was never well lit at the same time as the band.  The third song, Evil Eye was complete darkness except for the background, with Kapranos’s constant movement on stage it made it not even worthy of a god silhouette shot.  So pretty much all the best results from this set are from the first two songs. 

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The Horrors: Tivoli Theatre by Aaron Corr

As we neared Halloween The Horrors returned to our shores.  I went to cover the show for The Thin Air.  They beat hurricane Ophelia to make it to Belfast the day before but the venue cancelled for safety concerns, making Dublin the only Irish date on the tour.  They brought two support acts to the Tivoli with them, starting with The Fontaines.  These guys were great.  I'd yet to hear their music but had seen their name pop up a lot lately on social media.  It was my first also my first experience shooting in the Tivoli.  The lights were fine for the openers.  However, I knew it wouldn't stay this way for the rest of the night.

Second up to the stage was Baba Naga, bringing with them louder and longer songs.  They were a strain to shoot, and were the midway point between the experience of shooting The Fontaines Vs The Horrors.  The singer/bassist was barely ever lit throughout, the guitarist had the most intermittent lights in his direction, while the drummer was sparingly lit with harsh colours and strobes.  The lights for their set and The Horrors made for some painful editing in Lightroom.

The Horrors came on around 10pm, which is quite late by Dublin mid-week standards.  The sound was a little bit muddy which is what I've come to expect from seeing them a few times.  Faris' vocals could have been a bit louder but they exuded quite a good bit of energy on stage, more than I've seen them do in past tours.  Joshua Hayward and Rhys Webb in particular were in flying form on stage.  

Although I knew what to expect going in to this shoot, the lighting and shooting conditions are best summed up by the band's notes to the venue, which I spied earlier in the night.  "Likes: strongly lit from behind, strong, deep colours, strobes (very important), smoke (not haze: haze is "smoke" for corporate gigs).  Dislikes: too much front light and white light."  The Horrors, ironically, make for a photographer's nightmare, particularly to try capture Faris' presence on stage but I'd like to think the mood of the band is captured in the photos regardless.  They played a good set of songs touching on all albums, bar Strange House, and left the crowd eager to see them return again and get deafened further.