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.

Boy Pablo: Button Factory by Aaron Corr

I headed to catch Boy Pablo for GoldenPlec on a Bank Holiday Sunday befoer Halloween. I planned to stay for just the three songs as I was tired but the songs were short, catchy and with their penchant to throwing a few pop hits in between to get the crowd going further, I figured I should stay. It was a fun gig and I was surprised by the fandom already on display. I’d never heard of the guy a week previous.

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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.

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Sigrid: The Academy by Aaron Corr

Sigrid is a star on the rise, so I made sure to get to her show to catch her on the smaller stage for GoldenPlec before she ends up playing bigger, and less intimate shows.  I only stayed for the three songs I shot so I can't really comment on the gig itself, but you can read all about it here.  I did have a giggle at the set list noting when to talk to the crowd, and what to say.  The crowd were going crazy for her on the night and I don't think the smile once left her face while I was taking photos.

Wild Beasts: Olympia Theatre by Aaron Corr

It was sad to see Wild Beasts call it a day, but boy did they bow out with an amazing show and set list.  The gig was split into two sets, either of which would make any Wild Beasts fan happy if they were to experience it at a festival.  This is the third time I’ve caught them live since the release of Boy King, the first was just for a few songs at NOS Alive in Lisbon, before I legged away to see The Kills (I think).  When I saw them play at Indiependance before the Manic Street Preachers, I had a weird feeling as the crowd thinned and never filled up the tent for their blistering set.  It then came as not a complete surprise when they announced their impending split.  While I can’t say low crowd numbers like this at certain shows would be the reason, it did play on my mind.

As they bowed out with three final UK and Ireland shows they played through most albums equally, their first album perhaps getting the raw deal.  I never felt a lull in either set, and the emotion and adoration in the theatre was high and incredible.  You could see how chuffed the band were on stage and couldn’t help but think “maybe they will change their minds”.  With a show like this, they ended their career on a complete high.

From a shooting perspective I presumed it would be very dark, barely usable silhouette shots from dark blues/purples and pinks/reds like I’ve experienced at their shows in the past, but to my surprise they were pretty well lit for at least a song or two.  The deep blues did arrive but it didn’t completely make things tricky for the shoot. 

HMLTD: Workmans Club by Aaron Corr

I ran from Juanita Stein's show in The Grand Social and made my way in to Workman's Club (thanks to a Twitter win) and took some more photos for The Thin Air.  HMLTD are a band to be reckoned with.  A GoldenPlec colleague highly recommended them to many of us, saying the four shows he's seen (now five) were some of the best gigs he'd seen that year.  He described them to me as a mix of Fat White Family and Moonlandingz in terms of live spectacle.  

Technical glitches aside, they were brilliant and so much energy.  The half full venue all got into it and lapped it up.  There was no standing far back from the stage in embarrassment, everyone was up towards the stage jumping around.  With a pint in hand, I snapped a few pictures from my various vantage points and then took in the show.  Hopefully by the time they return they will have built a bigger audience to make it a gig to rival their English shows look.

Grizzly Bear: Vicar Street by Aaron Corr

My next October assignment was to shoot Grizzly Bear for The Thin Air.  Their support on the night was Liima.  The light was very tricky, lots of smoke and backlight, if any at all.  The camera had to battle pitch dark with the brightest white light when there was any usable light, a tricky combination at a gig with mixed results since you can often be left with what looks like a floating head.  

Thankfully the lighting for Grizzly Bear was better, particularly since they had a cool stage design with a wire mesh smokey/cloud look decorating the stage.  This was their first date of their European tour, and Ed Droste was in the crowd in Whelans the night before to see his friend, Jonny Pierce, at The Drums show, which I blogged about here.  Through Ed Droste's Instagram, it seems the band had a nice few days in Dublin ahead of the start of the tour.  It looks to be their best yet.

The Drums: Whelans by Aaron Corr

The Drums made their long awaited return to Ireland with a stop in to Whelans.  Since they last played they've released two albums, and lost founding member Jacob Graham.  This combined with Jonny Pierce's recent divorce has lead to a new lease of life for Jonny in writing and recording their fourth album, Abysmal Thoughts, and on tour.  I arrived late and caught the last few songs of opening support, Keir.  I took out my camera to take literally two shots, of which the below is one.

With a new live band in tow, Jonny danced and stalked the stage with vigour and even threw in Let's Go Surfing early in the set.  The song has been dropped from most shows I've seen by the band, but now takes pride of place to get the crowd going wild for a Tuesday night.  The show was fine to shoot with mostly consistent light towards the front of stage but darker and deep blues at the back.  For most of my time in the packed crowd I was stuck under Jonny's nose which I tried to make the best of, so as to not get too crazy a perspective when shooting up at him.  

Towards the end of the gig Jonny made a speech to the crowd, opening himself up with a lot of personal details about his strict religious parents and their anti-gay stance.  It was a very heartfelt speech and one you feel he doesn't give at every show but the packed Tuesday night crowd gave him the drive to open up, and the fans lauded him for it.  I've a feeling this show will stay with Jonny as he continues forth with the band.