guitar

Pip Blom: Whelans Upstairs by Aaron Corr

I first caught Pip Blom earlier in the year supporting The Breeders earlier in the year in Vicar Street, and thought they were a deadly band. 8Radio championed them after that point so they kept in my mind, and I kept up to speed with what they were up to and awaited another Irish show. This finally came with one of the final dates of their own European tour.

Shrug Life

Shrug Life

Support on the night came from Shrug Life. Normally a three piece, this time Danny Carroll performing solo, and then a portion of the set with backing vocals by Naoise Roo.

Initially it looked like it would be a case of loud band playing to quiet crowd but people soon relaxed and got really into it. There may not have been moshing, but there was dancing by some, and enthusiasm with the whole room.

The lights were the same throughout, and were the usual pain in the arse to try and calm in the editing. After the show I hung around to try get a portrait with the band after they sold some merch. They were lovely and gracious in doing so. I took the portrait in the hallway between the room and backstage, using the ambient light. In shooting gigs I don’t bring flash with me, so you make do with what you got.

Click here for full gallery.

Kurt Vile: Vicar Street by Aaron Corr

Kurt Vile can be a tough cookie to photograph at a show. With his hari covering his face for the most part, it’s like trying to photograph cousin IT from The Addams Family in a foggy haze. The last time I shot a show of his it was in Whelans on his solo acoustic tour. This was quite a different experience and was tricky during the first song or so.

Kurt managed to show his face a little and from there it was just a battle with the low lighting and dry ice. Some of the colours were really washed out when editing but converted really nice to black & white.

Slaves: The Academy by Aaron Corr

It was a busy photo pit on the night of Slaves return to Dublin. Opening up the show was Murder Capital. It was my first time catching them and I was taken by how animated they were onstage. With the narrow pit and photographers brushing past each other, I kept thinking I’d get hit on the head by a wandering bass or guitar head. They are ones to watch and I’ll be seeing them again this very night opening for Shame.

Murder Capital

Murder Capital

Slaves were great to shoot, given how animated Laurie and Isaac are on stage. Laurie is easier to shoot given he is not surrounded by standing drums, and he takes to leaning over the stage to meet the crowd. There were a lot of strobes through the shoot time but it was still manageable to catch some good action in a burst of snaps. They were the complete opposite of the cheesy tunes they played for the crowd as their stage was set up, but the crowd lapped it all up.

Read The Thin Air review here.

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.

First Aid Kit: Olympia Theatre by Aaron Corr

This is the second time I’ve shot First Aid Kit in the Olympia Theatre, this occasion was for The Thin Air. Opening up for the band were The Staves, who I had also shot previously in Whelans. First Aid Kit had a curtain covering most of the stage, so the Stave sisters were very much set up towards the front of the stage. With the height of the Olympia stage it very much felt like most vantage points led to shooting ‘up the nose’ as they say, which isn’t the best angle or flattering. Combine this with the mic stands and equipment they had set up for sampling their vocals, the angles were narrow and tricky and I can’t say there is a photo I particularly like from this set.

The Staves

The Staves

First Aid Kit’s set I thought would be a better shoot. The hindrance was the colours used on stage, which can be a frustration when editing, particularly when they are used as low light while the Soderberg sister’s hang towards the back of the stage for a portion of the first song. They are a great band to shoot but if I was to compare, my first experience with them in the Olympia was a better experience.

The other frustration during their set was that they were lit well for a good portion of the set but the lights that were lighting them from front on were causing lots of microphone shadow on their faces, as seen of the next photo of Klara. I ended up focusing on her less because her mouth and chin were lost in the photos as she stood singing. Johanna sang less during those songs and therefore was standing back a little more, making her a better performer to photograph.

Their set was good and their singing perfect, however I did prefer their set and energy on stage at All Together Now in the summer. Their latest album is one of my favourite albums of the year.

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.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever: Whelans by Aaron Corr

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, all the way from sunny Australia, made their debut Irish show in Whelans, and they brought the heat with them.  It wasn't even a sunny day but the heat was stifling in the venue.  It's been a while since I shot a show, though I've attended quite a few in the blog's downtime.  

Melts

Melts

Opening up the show was Melts, who impressed me a lot.  After just two songs of shooting them the sweat was dripping down my face, such was the heat in the not-yet-packed Whelans.  They didn't share the same drum kit as Rolling Blackouts, which brought a bit of change to the normal support set up, and gave a real closeness to the drummer shots.

Melts

Melts

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

By the time Rolling Blackouts C.F. arrive on stage I was craving one of their beers with the heat.  Mine was long gone, and the place was getting even sweatier once they kicked things off.  The five piece were infectious from start to finish, with some great guitar solos and interplay.

At one point bassist, Joe Russo, broke a string and draped it over his head like an additional guitar strap and ploughed on through the rest of the song.  The band were in jovial form for their last night of the European tour before making their way to the USA.  Lighting wise, it was the usual Whelans set up throughout the night, some overblown colour LED's making editing afterwards a bit of a headache.

The band hung out afterwards to sign vinyl and chat to fans.  I for one went away with a signed record and a promise that they plan to come back again as soon as they can.  Vicar Street no doubt beckons them on their return.

Read the review of the show on The Thin Air, and here for more photos. 

Melts

Melts

Paul Draper: Workmans Club by Aaron Corr

I was a big fan of Mansun back in the day, still am.  Attack of the Grey Lantern was an album I came around to a couple of months after its release, and then Six blew me away and remains one of my favourite albums ever.  A desert island disc for me.  I had seen what turned out to be the band’s last ever gig, in Dublin in 2002.  It was a half-hearted run through ten songs, half older, half new, and guarantee of no encore.  I missed seeing them in their hey-day as a live band because they never came to Ireland properly.  Paul Draper’s eventual return as a solo artist was good to see and a date in Workmans Club where he was to play solo material, followed by a second set of Attack of the Grey Lantern in full was a must see.

The gig was packed, very sweaty and had loads of singing along from the crowd, even throughout the solo material.  I shot the show for MCD and came out nearly having to wipe sweat off the lens, it was that hot in the venue.  The lights were consistent and not too dim compared to the usual Workmans standards.  The constant promises to return to play Six in full had me leaving even happier than I would have been having just watched the gig itself.  Roll on Paul’s next visit here.  He can no doubt get a bigger venue next time around too.