concerts

David Byrne: 3 Arena by Aaron Corr

This will not only go down as one of the best gigs of the year, but on of the best gigs 'I’ve ever been to. As a life long fan of Talking Heads it was a delight to finally see, and photograph David Byrn in the 3Arena for The Thin Air.

I got to shoot the show from the left and right entrance points on the ground floor. This meant having to avoid all the people coming in with their pints to get to their seats, getting in the way of shots. But this didn’t matter. The lights were solid and perfect for shooting, especially at long range. There was barely any photos deleted from this set, they were all so sharp and lit well.

David started on stage with a table and a brain for the first song. I shot from the left side for this and the second song before legging it over to the right hand side for the third song, I Zimbra. When I was done shooting the band began to play Slippery People and I rushed to get my camera lenses detached and packed away so I could run back to my seat and enjoy the full song on time. The show was a joy to watch from start to finish and I want to see it all over again. Let’s see if it goes to Broadway like the stories suggest.

Click here for full gallery.

Negative Gemini: The Grand Social by Aaron Corr

Straight off the back of my long overdue holiday, GoldenPlec offered me two assignment for the day I returned. No rest for the wicked. Shooting this show was the second of the two shoots I had that day, and boy was it a challenge!

The Grand Social can be tricky to shoot in sometimes due to the lighting and this was definitely one of those cases. Lindsey French, aka Negative Gemini, took to the dark stage and leaped around in a black coat and tinkered with her samplers and keyboard to either side of the stage. A screen projected images along to her songs but this largely created a large white light when trying to expose for Lindsey in the dark corners. Focusing was tricky on it’s own, never mind keeping the shot from blurring due to long exposures combined with the high ISO in use.

After the show I approached Lindsey to ask if I could grab a quick portrait with her. With the video projector still in use on the stage I decided to use that and light her with it. I took five quick snaps and said my goodbyes. I love the psychedelic nature of how they turned out.

Check out her interview with GP and review of the show. Click any image for the full gallery.

Julien Baker: Vicar Street by Aaron Corr

GoldenPlec sent me to shoot the Julien Baker show in Vicar Street. They had featured her quite a bit in advance, with an interview on the site ahead of the show. I didn’t manage to listen to her much but I came out captivated by her songs, her voice and her power on stage.

Becca Mancari

Becca Mancari

Support came from Nashville’s Becca Mancari. She was to be with another guitarist but had to go solo due to a Ryanair issue. She was funny and charming on stage, and the lights were perfect for capturing her performing.

Becca Mancari

Becca Mancari

Julien Baker

Julien Baker

There’s not much I can say about Julien Baker’s performance that hasn’t been said in the GoldenPlec review. What I can say was that, much like the support, the lighting conditions were excellent and the spotlights in particular adding to the effect. So much so I made sure to take more wider shots to incorporate them highlighting her on stage. The only distraction was the keyboard set up which got in the way when shooting from the left side. Not a big deal in the overall scale of things. It was a amazing performance by an artist I look forward to hearing a lot more from.

Click any photo or here for full gallery.

May Photos by Aaron Corr

Slow Riot

Slow Riot

May began with two Limerick bands playing The Grand Social.  GoldenPlec sent me to cover London based Whenyoung's first Dublin headline show, but first up on the night was Slow Riot.  

Whenyoung

Whenyoung

Whenyoung took to the stage with quiet confidence and belted out great tune after great tune.  They would later find themselves invited onto the support slot to Nick Cave and Patti Smith in Kilmainham the next month, which is high praise.  They are making great buzz for themselves so the coming year should hold big things for them.

Full gallery.

Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher

Last year I photographed Liam, and this year I complete the Oasis set with Noel Gallagher in 3Arena for The Thin Air.  Photographers were restricted to one side of the stage at a time, no shooting from the center areas.  I was delighted when he raised the guitar like a rifle and aimed it at me for a posed shot.  He would do something quirky like this if the right photographer caught his eye at the right time, like sticking his tongue out for another.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs finally made a return to Ireland, where they've only played a handful of times in the Republic and never their own headline show since they've become ever more popular.  This night was a double headline show with Beck.  Covering their show for The Thin Air was a massive highlight.  When I arrived at the Arena I was only approved to shoot them, the Beck pass only got confirmed while I was there.

Karen O, as expected, was a legend to shoot.  She wore unique designed clothes and stalked the stage being all kinds of cool.  Brian Chase behind the drums looked like he was having a whale of a time, looking like the happiest drummer on the world I heard someone remark after.  Nick Zinner was just quietly cool to the right, letting the guitar do the talking.  

Full gallery.

Beck

Beck

Beck's pass arrived just before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs shoot, it was to be shot from the soundboard and a contract needed to be signed.  It literally signs away the rights to the photos which I hated to sign, but I knew in all fairness none of his reps are going to be chasing any of us down to get hi-res copies of a photo(s) taken from a soundboard for promo use.  He arrived very late to the stage, due to production delays I presume, and as a result went past curfew to play the same length of a set as YYYs.  He opened with a storming three song intro and the lights were great given how far back I was shooting.  

Pip Blom

Pip Blom

The Thin Air kept me busy in May with The Breeders rescheduled show in Vicar Street, with no storm Ophelia to stop them this time.  Amsterdam band Pip Blom opened up that evening and were a great support.  I look forward to hopefully catching them again.

The Breeders

The Breeders

The Breeders looked delighted to make it back to Dublin after being primed for their last gig but red weather alerts causing everything in the city and country that day to be cancelled.  The lights were quickly lowered and a smokey haze filled the stage, much like the last time I shot them here.  In the brief time between songs the light was at it's best and that's where I managed to snap Kim Deal with a big smile to the crowd as she bantered with them.  This was the type of shot I wanted to get from photographing her.   

Full gallery.

Ezra Furman

Ezra Furman

It had been a while since I was in the Tivoli.  I put my name down with GoldenPlec to cover Ezra Furman's gig there.  Although my name was on the door to shoot, there was no photopass which caused a little bit of annoyance and confusion with security in the venue, even though there was no pit for photographers.  

Full gallery.

April Photos by Aaron Corr

Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa

I have been a little slow to update the blog in the last few months.  Between moving house and getting settled, while working and covering gigs, life got the better of me.  Time to get back in the habit.  The first April gig I covered was the first of Dua Lipa's two sold out Olympia shows for GoldenPlec.  Although I didn't stay to watch, the first three songs more than showed that she was a heck of a performer.  The photo pit was busy that night but the lights were so good that it made up for all the bumping of cameras in the pit.  For the first time in a pit I had someone bash the back of my head with their camera.  

Click here for my full gallery.

Dowry

Dowry

I expected to see more live music on Record Store Day this year but they all began in the late afternoon, the weather was superb and I had a BBQ that needed cooking back home.  As a result I just managed to catch Ena Brenna performing as Dowry in Freebird records.  I'd yet to catch her solo so took this opportunity.  

Lyla Foy

Lyla Foy

The only other April gig I photographed was Mercury Rev for The Thin Air, which saw the band celebrating the anniversary of Deserters Songs.  Support came from Lyla Foy.

Mercury Rev

Mercury Rev

The show was a great performance of stories mixed with stripped back versions of their classics, with a Pavement cover thrown in for good measure.  It felt a little like watching a VH1 songwriters show and was very heartwarming.  The songs sound as beautiful as ever, especially in the intimacy of Whelans.

Full gallery here.

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.

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.  

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.