I generally skip big concerts nowdays, 90% of the times they have ridiculous requests, where you have to sign down some outrageous photo releases where you give all your photos away and you can't even put it on your personal blog, while they can do whatever they fancy, and maybe you have to shoot from the sound desk or from just one specific point in the pit because the "artist" (or the diva I should say) doesn't want any photographer in front of him/she.
So most of the times I don't care about those gigs. But this time was different: AC/DC! Who whouldn't like to photograph AC/DC? One of the biggest hard rock bands of all time!
Plus, there are no photo release to sign, you shoot from the pit, and it was 100 meters away from where I live! How I could not ask for a photo pass?
Now, if you think that Angus Young is 60, Brian Johnson is 67, Cliff Williams 65 and Chris Slade is 68, and the youngest is Stevie Young (who replaced Malcom Young) which is 58 yo, you would think that they are just going to be the ghost of the band who used to be, or a softer version of AC/DC, well you are wrong, damn wrong. They absolutely rock on stage, absolutely brilliant live band, much better than many of band who had half or one third of their age.
Angus young still run from one site to the other of the stage, and it looks like this band didn't age much in the past 40 years, unlike the rest of the universe.
Simply a great band to see, period.
Now, keeping the fan inside me on a side, I have to be more pragmatic as a photographer, but to be honest the only bad thing I can say about this show, is the fact that the stage was really high, I think around 3 meters high, which is quite a lot, but they had to do that simply to allow everybody to see them, and fans are the first priority, so fair enough.
But unfortunately a so high stage made me impossible to shoot the other band members, and already a couple of friends told me ironically if I shoot only Brian Johnson and Angus Young on purpose, but unfortunately not, they were the only two I could see.
So if you are going to photograph them as well, be aware that you need a long lens, a 70-200mm, even if I'm not a big fan of those lenses, would be ideal in this case.
The lights were great, even if there were still plenty of daylight as here in Ireland in July the sunset is around 10pm, but overall a very good show to photograph, even if limited to the two main guys, and for me it was really hard to publish only the best photos, which are still a lot for my standards, as any shoot I took was at least decent or very good.
And as I said earlier, no copyright grabbing release to sign, and taking the fact that this is one of the greatest live band to photograph, the have all my respect for not asking it, and as a photographer it's just fun, fun, fun.
Anyway, as usual, down here some of the best shots I took that day, while on my flickr account you can find a beefy photo set with all the photos.
I don't generally shoot supporter bands, not because I don't like them (well, a couple of times I saw some awful bands), but mostly because I generally get to the venue when it's too late, and most of the times they don't get good lights as the lights are set for the main band, so I tend to skip them, but this time was at the stadium just around the corner from where I live, and I had to be there early anyway to collect the pass.
To be fair I didn't bother check who was the supporter band, and when I heard their name, "Vintage Trouble", I literally had no clue what to expect, I was guessing it was some sort of hard rock band perhaps, as it was the AC/DC's gig, but when a fellow photographer told me that they were some sort of blues/sould band, I was a bit surprised to be honest.
Well, let me tell you, they were damn good. Especially the singer, he was a tornado on stage, moving like James Brown (well, maybe not exactly like him, but pretty close), and I was a bit disappointed they were that far away as the stage was a good 3 meters high, because that guy was very good to photograph, I got dozens of good shots of him and it was really hard to pick the best ones. I would really like to see them in smaller venues, like the Olympia Theatre or Vicar Street, as they would be a cracking band to photograph.
There in the Aviva Stadium, apart the stage height, it was with the bright sunlight, and the stage lights where a bit weak, they add some depth, and some rim light, but that's pretty much it, and because of the stage I could photograph properly only the front man and the lead guitar, really hard to get the drummer and the bass player.
Again, if the band is playing in a venue near to you, go to see them, they are just a great live band.
Anyway, as usual you can find the full set here on flickr, while down here you can see some of the best of the best photos I took that evening.
I want to specify a couple of things before proceeding with this post:
1) I haven't a clue of who the hell was Alden Penner and I went to this gig only because of Michael Cera as I wanted to see if he really plays the bass and in Scott Pilgrilm VS The World it wasn't just acting.
2) At the time I requested the gig it was planned to be played in Vicar St, a very good venue here in Dublin with very good lights generally.
Then things changed, and they moved the gig to the Hangar, which was the very first time I heard the name of that venue, only to discover afterwards that it was previously called Andrew's Lane. After I realized where the gig were going to be played, I felt like Admiral Ackbar:
I said it in the past, and I'll say it again: you never fail with metal bands. Even if I knew just a couple of songs, when I saw there were going to play in the Academy, I just put my name down to request the pass, as I knew it was going to be a cracking gig to photograph. And guess what, I was right.
The Academy recently went under a new management, which decided to spend some money to renew that venue, which with the previous promoter was let down a bit, mostly because they had bigger venues and I guess they didn't care much of that place. Now the Academy it can be a really good venue to see and photograph gigs, and this gig showed all the potentials in my opionion.
I don't think the band itself brought any lights, and I think they just used the venue lights, but there were brilliant. And the band itself was a brilliant band to photograph, really dynamic on stage, and it was a pleasure to shoot this show, really good live band and I totally recommend to go to see them.
Anyway, as usual you can find some of the best photos down here, while on my flickr account you can find a beefy photo set of 59 (!!!) photos.
Hudson Taylor is an irish folk duo, composed by the two brothers Harry & Alfie. The gain quite a bit of popularity here in Ireland and in the UK as well recently, especially because they have a more "pop" approach to folk music, and adding that they are quite good looking, it's not hard to imagine that their main audience is mostly composed by young ladies.
I think they are a quite interesting band, and I was hoping on the 'pop' thing to be a interesting to photograph as well, so I gave them a chance and I asked for a pass, and to be fair the fact that my previous gig was a while ago helped me to take this decision.
But while they are becoming more and more popular, they are still quite new to the showbiz, so while I was expecting a well lit gig, I wasn't expecting much more than the basic venue lights system, and I was almost right. They just added some large but not very powerful lights on the background, something I've seen before with artists like Kings Of Leons (if we can call them artists), which they are nice to see and they added a nice rim of light to the artists silhouette.
Probably this minimalistic approach to the stage lights it was done on purpose, folk music is generally quite minimalistic as well, where everything is just to the bare bones of music, just voice and a guitar, no special effects or "decorations", so I think it was fair enough at the end.
So overall, while the guys delivered a solid performance, photographing the gig was okay, not bad photos, but at the same time they are nothing special, or at least to me, but I'm sure that the ladies will probably have a different opinion.
Anyway, down here some of the best shots, while on my flickr account you can find the full set, and as always, thank you for reading.
When it comes to pick a gig to photograph, the gig must have one of these two requisites:
Well, Europe probably don’t fall in the first option, even though I really liked “The Final Countdown”, which is probably the most hated song by the band itself, but the only one I know of this swedish band (I’m sorry Joey Tempest). I don’t know any other songs by them, just that one, and I know that’s the only song they are NOT going to play at their gigs. But it’s definitely a band that fall in the second area, and when it comes to bands from the 80s, you never fail.
They love lights, they love to play it loud, they love to act as superstars on stage, and Joey Tempest is definitely a master on that. I think he could write a book of how to act on stage, which poses to do, which facial expressions to do, his performances are extremely theatrical, and that’s exactly what a music photographer wants from a rock star.
That’s what I was expecting before the gig started, and that’s exactly what I got on stage, possibly even more than what I was expecting, and obviously the resulting photographs are absolutely brilliant, and I really like the shots I took that night.
Don't take it wrong, I'm not saying that Europe are just good at acting, they are actually a cracking band to see on stage, even if like me, you know only one song of them, totally worth it to see them live if you really want to see a good rock'n roll show as they used to do back in the 80s.
So, as I said, you never fail with 80s rock bands.
As usual down here there are some of the best shots, while here you can find the full set :-)
If this name, Black Star Riders, doesn’t ring you a bell, you just have to know that essentially they are the latest incarnation of Thin Lizzy, and they use this name simply because they didn’t want to write any new songs under the Thin Lizzy name, which is understandable, as Thin Lizzy is an heavy legacy to have, and you just can’t get rid of it easily. Fans will always expect Thin Lizzy’s songs from you, always. And it’s not an easy job for Ricky Warwick to replace Phil Lynott, I presume you will always be compared to the one of the most loved musician in Ireland (and no Bono, you are not in that list), of one of the most important, if not THE most important band came out from Ireland.
But despite the legacy they have to carry around, despite that you will always have to make the fans happy playing some of the old songs, they are still a great band to see live, and even the new stuff is pretty damn good to be honest.
But I’m not here to talk about music, but I’m a photographer, who shoot music. And I have to say that this gig was a really good one to photograph. I’ll never stop saying, the Olympia Theatre is one of the best venues to photograph a gig, great atmosphere and mostly, great lights! And from a band that was originated when the rock was Rock, they are not shy to lights, even if they were the supporter band, which generally gets only the basic venue lights, it was a really good show to photograph, very dynamic band on stage, not statues like Jake Bugg (sorry Jake, but you didn’t move by a notch when I saw you). Plus no bullshits like photo releases to signs, which it’s always great, just pure Rock.
Down here you can see some of the best shots I took that night, while here on flickr you can find the full set.
The Afghan Whigs is one of those bands that I've heard the name about a billion of times, for one reason or another, but I probably know two songs of them. Statistically the ratio of how many times I've heard a song by them with the times I've heard someone else mention their name is somewhere around 1 to 265. So, even if I didn't know this band well, something inside me told me to go, and for some reason I listened to the inner Alessio, even if I realized over the years that sometimes I should just reply to him with "shut the f£$k up".
And probably this one was one of those times.
Bear in mind, that the band was great, if I were just a punter I would not be disappointed by the band performance, but the problem is that I'm not just a guy who paid money to see his favourite band, but I'm a photographer.
And as a photographer, I was really pissed off. But like a lot. Why you asking? Two words: "NO PIT".
While sometimes it's cool to photograph from the crowd, most of the times it's just a pain in the hole, as you are simply stuck there, you have to fight and annoy the crowd, and some people doesn't really take it well, and you see other very depressed photographers with the same deep sadness in their eyes, or at least the most of us. And being stuck in one place, trying to avoid people heads to end up in the frame it's very frustrating, and honestly I don't really see any big advantages on that decision. Maybe the band didn't want to have anyone in the pit, but in that case why you simply not allow photographers? Why, dear artist, you need to piss them off?
Without mention the lights, which were quite crappy, and I had to crank up the ISO to 6400 most of the time, which is kinda grand with the 6D (that's why it's cool to have a full frame sensor), but not exactly ideal.
Anyway, the mix of no pit and bad lights made me so angry that night that I left after 2 songs, I didn't even bother to stay for the last song I was allowed to shoot, and I waited two days before developing the photos.
I even waited a while before writing this post because I wasn't sure to publish the photos, which overall they are not that bad, but they kinda are all the same (boring).
So, down here, some of the "best photos", while if you really see some bad photos from me or you are a fan of the band, you can find here the full set.
I fell in love with this artist with her first album, and when I saw the chance to photograph her in a decent venue, as the previous times she played in very small and very dark venues, I could not simply let this chance go and I asked for a pass.
I think she is pure class, not one of those singers that are good only to scream like a seagull, but she has a fecking dammint good voice and she sure knows how to use it, and her live performance, or at least for the time I could stay there, was simply flawless.
From a photographer point of view it was interesting, a lot of lights, some LED strobes on the sides, plenty of lights from the back and the sides, and a spotlight from the front it made the show a very decent one to shoot, not a very easy one as lights were changing quickly, maybe I would say challenging, but in a good way.
No photo release to sign and no restrictions whatsoever apart the standard “3 songs no flash”.
So in conclusion, a very good show to attend and to photograph, definitely an artist that is worth to photograph.
Down here you can find some of the best shots, while on my flickr account you can find the full set.