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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.

Sam Fogarino DJ Set: Tower Records by Aaron Corr

Interpol’s Sam Fogarino made an appearance in Tower Records in Dublin on the day of their third, and final show in the Olympia Theatre to spin some tunes. I made it to the set and brought my camera along for the sake of it. His set featured Tame Impala, Beach House, Rocket From the Crypt and Faith No More to name but a few.

I brought along a print from their show two nights before to get signed. He was delighted to see him so well lit as he joked that drummers often get overlooked, especially for lighting. They have a new lighting guy on the Marauder tour who clearly appreciates the guys further back on stage. I’ve met Sam a few times and he has always been one of the most easy going guys to meet and chat to, especially within Interpol.

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.

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.

July Gigs - Popicalia Returns by Aaron Corr

July was another quiet month for me shooting gigs.  I took a week off work at the start of the month to travel some of the Wild Atlantic Way which I'll blog about in another post, but he rest of the month seemed to just be more festivals.  Festivals I wasn't attending as sad as that is.  One gig I had on my radar to cover for The Thin Air was Popicalia Returns, the 22nd Popicalia gig after an absence of  2 1/2 years, featuring Squarehead, Land Lovers & Ginnels.  I'll not rehash what was said in the review so you can click here to have a read of that.  It was my first time in Bello Bar so I was glad for a change of scenery from my usual haunts.  

Click the any image to see the full gallery.

Non photo related, I ventured over to Leeds to see The Cribs in Leeds Millennium Square.  Danny Payne has great coverage of that gig that I'm very jealous of.  It was an epic gig, with support from local acts plus... Thurston Moore!!  Other gigs I  went to but didn't shoot were Pixies in Iveagh Gardends & Longitude.  I headed along the Sunday to see Christine & the Queens, Kurt Vile and The National.  Christine is someone I have to try photograph when she returns.

Ginnels

Ginnels

Land Lovers

Land Lovers

Squarehead

Squarehead

Metronomy Photoshoot by Aaron Corr

At the end of June The Thin Air gave me a great assignment to photograph Joseph Mount of Metronomy.  I'm a big fan of theirs and photographed them live on the main stage at Longitude last year.  They do that thing for me that LCD Soundsystem used to do every time I'd see them live, they'd make me giddy with happiness.  I don't know what it is but it's a rare thing for me to get at every show by one band, even with those who are my absolute favourites.

Joe was in Dublin for the bones of a day to promote the release of their new album, Summer 08, jetting in early that morning for a day of interviews before taking off again that night for more promo in Paris.  We had a half hour slot with him, meeting up in the Dean Hotel in Dublin city centre.  Myself and my Thin Air colleague, Eoghain, agreed to split it as 20 minutes interview, 10 minutes photoshoot.  This gave me quite a tight slot, especially when I did not know what I had to work with, where would be best to do the shoot in the location or how busy it would be with people, given the time of day it was happening.  

At the venue I decided upon using the smoking area on the ground floor as it had fairy lights on one wall, a tiny bit of natural light and a fireplace with multi-coloured glass and fire logs behind it.  The door to the smoking area is so close to the bar that you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a staff door, which was to my advantage as it was empty inside, save for a guy on a video conference call on his laptop that left minutes before the shoot.

I tested the natural light with my camera and tried my pocket wizards with the flash, using Warner's very helpful rep as a stand in model, to see how it looked in the room.  Ideally I would have brought a bigger set up (tripod & a soft-box for better portrait lighting) but I sacrificed bringing too much for fear of over complicating things within the time constraints.  To get the natural light in the room I had to use a higher ISO than I would have preferred, combined with a slower shutter speed.  

Joe was taller than I expected.  The fairy lights would have made a nice backdrop for a straight on portrait but they were not high up enough on the wall to accommodate the look I wanted, so I asked Joe to sit on a chair so I could feature them in the background.  The first thing I noticed at this point was that he looked very tired.  This was emphasised more as I looked at the previews on the camera display.  This was completely understandable given all the press he had been doing.  To combat this I asked him to look slightly off camera, over my shoulder, up at lights on the ceiling or through a window depending on where I stood him for the shot.  I used photoshop afterwards to help ease things around the eyes.  I did three quick set ups with him.  

  1. As described above. 
  2. I stood him in a position where the one little gap in the wall that let in natural light, and cigarette smoke out, so I could use it to light him while again keeping the fairy lights behind him.  This is the main shot used for the feature.
  3. In front of the fireplace, making use of the lights overhead and the colours behind him.  This proved tricky in not trying to catch myself in the mirror's reflection, particularly in shots where I tried using off camera flash.

I was told that if I needed the extra few minutes that I could continue but I chose not to keep him any longer as he still had more interviews straight away, and a radio show to go present on TXFM before hitting the airport, so I decided to stick with my allotted time.  He was great to deal with, I chatted briefly with him in between shots about his visits to Ireland and such.  As we were saying our goodbyes I quickly remembered that I meant to ask for a quick photo with him.   I asked this of him & frustratingly said "Can I get a selfie?"  Nooooo!!!  Why??  I hate that word.  He graciously obliged and I took a quick snap on my phone and thanked him for his time.

Click here to read the interview with The Thin Air from that day and click any photo above to see the full gallery I posted.

June Gigs by Aaron Corr

My first gig of June was the beloved hip hop group De La Soul.  The guys were fun to shoot, animated, walking the length and breadth of the stage and giving some good poses for the cameras.  The lights were consistent, the only problem often being when a band member was too close to the front, by the sides of the stage and were in shadow.  The most confusing part was when all the photographers would look at each other in between a song wondering if we had covered the first three songs or not, because everything bled into one another early in the set.  Overall they were a great band to shoot.

My first gig of June was the beloved hip hop group De La Soul.  The guys were fun to shoot, animated, walking the length and breadth of the stage and giving some good poses for the cameras.  The lights were consistent, the only problem often being when a band member was too close to the front, by the sides of the stage and were in shadow.  The most confusing part was when all the photographers would look at each other in between a song wondering if we had covered the first three songs or not, because everything bled into one another early in the set.  Overall they were a great band to shoot.

I had other photo shoots, music and non music related, during the month of June as well as a holiday, I didn't get shooting another gig until the end of the month.  Luckily a fellow photographer was double booked for Sigur Ros in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham so I got to take his spot once it was free.    I tried to make it up in time to shoot James Vincent McMorrow supporting but after a long day shooting in the rain at Hell and Back in Bray, (in which my Canon 6D suffered the effects of the rain and found itself housed in a bag of rice for the next two days) I was left facing a packed Luas with no room to get on, more rain and little time to make it to the venue and register for my pass.  I retreated to home, thankfully only a street away from the Luas stop.  Due to my 6D being out of action all I had on the night was my Canon 7D and having to swap lenses between or mid song, which I've grown out of the habit of doing when I've got two camera bodies at a show.  For Sigur Ros we were granted five songs to shoot, however three of which they would be at the back of the stage behind a screen for most of that time.  My fellow photographers and I stood around in the pit, waiting as they played, wondering was there any shots that could be got from this portion of the shoot but it was a waste of time, not helped by the stage being incredibly high for a smaller scale outdoor show.  This left us with two songs to shoot but thankfully Sigur Ros aren't exactly fast paced with their tunes.  There was just the three members of the band touring and the drummer was obscured for the most part.  As standard, singer  Jónsi was the main focus during the shoot.  Capturing him playing with his bow is a nice change from a standard guitar band and he's very expressive when he sings and made for some great shots.

I had other photo shoots, music and non music related, during the month of June as well as a holiday, I didn't get shooting another gig until the end of the month.  Luckily a fellow photographer was double booked for Sigur Ros in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham so I got to take his spot once it was free.  

I tried to make it up in time to shoot James Vincent McMorrow supporting but after a long day shooting in the rain at Hell and Back in Bray, (in which my Canon 6D suffered the effects of the rain and found itself housed in a bag of rice for the next two days) I was left facing a packed Luas with no room to get on, more rain and little time to make it to the venue and register for my pass.  I retreated to home, thankfully only a street away from the Luas stop.  Due to my 6D being out of action all I had on the night was my Canon 7D and having to swap lenses between or mid song, which I've grown out of the habit of doing when I've got two camera bodies at a show.

For Sigur Ros we were granted five songs to shoot, however three of which they would be at the back of the stage behind a screen for most of that time.  My fellow photographers and I stood around in the pit, waiting as they played, wondering was there any shots that could be got from this portion of the shoot but it was a waste of time, not helped by the stage being incredibly high for a smaller scale outdoor show.  This left us with two songs to shoot but thankfully Sigur Ros aren't exactly fast paced with their tunes.  There was just the three members of the band touring and the drummer was obscured for the most part.  As standard, singer Jónsi was the main focus during the shoot.  Capturing him playing with his bow is a nice change from a standard guitar band and he's very expressive when he sings and made for some great shots.

Two nights after Sigur Ros I got to cover another band to cover for another photographer who couldn't make it.  Rain prevented me from going up early again to cover support from Vince Staples.  I just checked my Canon 6D ahead of the show and it was backing working as normal and I was not taking the risk of bringing it out while it was heavily raining, regardless of me using a rain cover.  The band were behind their big units that hold their keyboards, synths, laptops, drum pads etc and given the already high stage, this made for little variety in the style of shots you could get, especially given there is only two band members and no touring guest singers.  They opened with White Noise and I've never experienced a bass volume like it.  The PA were right in front of us across the front of the stage and the vibration from the deep bass caused me to fear the brown note would become a thing of reality at any second.  It was very disorientating and we all looked at each other with similar glances, everyone with a look of "I've never experienced this before".  Ear Plugs did not help the effects it had on the ears either.  By the third song I was bored of shooting the two lads in the band and turned my camera to the very young crowd and tried to get some shots of the front row's enthusiasm or people on shoulders, singing in the crowd.  Though boring to shoot, the results weren't as bad as I thought they would be as I made my way to the show.

Two nights after Sigur Ros I got to cover another band to cover for another photographer who couldn't make it.  Rain prevented me from going up early again to cover support from Vince Staples.  I just checked my Canon 6D ahead of the show and it was backing working as normal and I was not taking the risk of bringing it out while it was heavily raining, regardless of me using a rain cover.

The band were behind their big units that hold their keyboards, synths, laptops, drum pads etc and given the already high stage, this made for little variety in the style of shots you could get, especially given there is only two band members and no touring guest singers.  They opened with White Noise and I've never experienced a bass volume like it.  The PA were right in front of us across the front of the stage and the vibration from the deep bass caused me to fear the brown note would become a thing of reality at any second.  It was very disorientating and we all looked at each other with similar glances, everyone with a look of "I've never experienced this before".  Ear Plugs did not help the effects it had on the ears either.

By the third song I was bored of shooting the two lads in the band and turned my camera to the very young crowd and tried to get some shots of the front row's enthusiasm or people on shoulders, singing in the crowd.  Though boring to shoot, the results weren't as bad as I thought they would be as I made my way to the show.

Bonus:  I mentioned I went on holidays in June, this was to Primavera in Barcelona.  How could I turn down a line up with Radiohead, PJ Harvey, LCD Soundsystem, Tame Impala to name but a few.  It was different from the last time I attended two years ago, heavily giving VIP ticket holders easy access to pits in front of the main stages and leaving the rest of us to watch from farther away.  Something I am not used to doing at most festivals as I do like to get a closer look when I can.    I brought my little point and shoot, nothing fancy and snapped what I could.  Radiohead were possibly the highlight of the weekend, delivering an incredible set that had it's fair share of classics while also covering a good portion of the new album.  The audience around where I stood were so respectfully quiet throughout which was a delight, given how much people talked during sets like Brian Wilson during the weekend and pissed me and others off.

Bonus:

I mentioned I went on holidays in June, this was to Primavera in Barcelona.  How could I turn down a line up with Radiohead, PJ Harvey, LCD Soundsystem, Tame Impala to name but a few.  It was different from the last time I attended two years ago, heavily giving VIP ticket holders easy access to pits in front of the main stages and leaving the rest of us to watch from farther away.  Something I am not used to doing at most festivals as I do like to get a closer look when I can.  

I brought my little point and shoot, nothing fancy and snapped what I could.  Radiohead were possibly the highlight of the weekend, delivering an incredible set that had it's fair share of classics while also covering a good portion of the new album.  The audience around where I stood were so respectfully quiet throughout which was a delight, given how much people talked during sets like Brian Wilson during the weekend and pissed me and others off.

PJ Harvey gave Radiohead a run for their money with her long awaited return.  She is just mesmerizing every time and never one to just phone it in with a retread of how she has hosted a tour before.  Her new album is brilliant and even better live.  Click a photo to view full galleries.  P.S. I'm conscious of the lack of continuity with no watermarks on the Primavera photos but as they are just "fan shots" from the crowd I didn't see the point.  P.P.S. I got to shoot my first portrait shoot of the year with the highest profile act I've got to cover yet.  That will be unveiled in the coming months.  

PJ Harvey gave Radiohead a run for their money with her long awaited return.  She is just mesmerizing every time and never one to just phone it in with a retread of how she has hosted a tour before.  Her new album is brilliant and even better live.

Click a photo to view full galleries.

P.S. I'm conscious of the lack of continuity with no watermarks on the Primavera photos but as they are just "fan shots" from the crowd I didn't see the point.

P.P.S. I got to shoot my first portrait shoot of the year with the highest profile act I've got to cover yet.  That will be unveiled in the coming months.