One of their songs is titled "You can't judge a book by the cover", and they probably did that song to all the people, like me, who tend to see only the surface of this band. It's a silly miscalculation I did, thinking that because they are young (very, very young) they can't be good. Yeah, on the record everyone can be good, but on the stage? But as the guys from MythBusters, I love to be wrong sometimes. In fact the band is incredibly good on stage, probably too good, I can't believe they are still teenagers, and this makes me feel very, very old. So you kinda get that I really like the performance of these guys, but how is to photograph them?
Well, just great! They sound like someone freezed them for 40 years or more, and they you have the feeling that you are actually shooting a band from the 60s, they are really camera-friendly on stage, they do all the moves you expect from a band of this genre. Again, I still can't believe they are 18yo. The entire show is really well lit, even if the Academy in the past years hasn't been a very photographers-friendly venue, this time was just spectacular, and the band itself brought some extra lights which it definitely improved a good base.
I highly recommend to photograph / see this band, they are simply great, and I'm not even a fan of that kind of music.
Anyway, down here you can find some of the photos I took that night, while on my flickr account you can find a very beefy set (51 photos!).
After two gigs of punk-pop-rock-whatever I went to photograph something different, still pop, but with a much different mood: Paolo Nutini.
To be honest I didn't know a single song about this artist, I knew the name, I knew it was some sort of pop singer, and I thought he had good chances to have good lights and to be a good gig to photograph. I just heard a few songs a couple of hours before going to the gig, and while it's not exactly my cup of tea, I definitely can't call him a commercial "product", even if it's music it's pretty popular (especially between the gentle sex) he is a proper Artist, with capital A.
Light wise it was a bit less bright than what I expected, but still a very good gig to shoot. Obviously the main lights were pointed on him, but I can't say that the rest of the band was left in the shade, they were pretty well lit as well, maybe the only problem I can say is the fact that Paolo Nutini had two very warm spotlights pointed at him and I had to play a bit on Lightroom to make him less "warm" (I know that all the girls would like to say "hot").
Anyway, overall it's a really good artist to photograph, decent lights, and no photo release to sign, despite his popularity, which is always a really good thing.
Down here you can find some of the best shots, while here you can find the full set.
I could possibly copy and paste most of the text I wrote for Fall Out Boy, as the two bands share a lot of similarities, and once again the formula (pop-rock bands = loads of lights) is confirmed. What is different maybe is the attitude of the band, with All Time Low the fact that these bands sometimes are mostly like a bag of chips, a product to sell to a specific range of customers AKA fans, even if these subjects think, in my opinion, that they are "alternative", they do as a can of Pepsi is alternative to one of Coke.
Anyway, that's the show business and I'm not here to talk about the (lack of) ethic.
So, as a photographer it was a really good show to photograph, possibly they had even more lights of Fall Out Boy, as at some point I could shoot at f/2.5 and 1/1000 of a second as an example, which is pretty bright in my opinion, and I think a few times I set the shutter speed at even faster speeds, like 1/1600, and this doesn't happen often at gigs.
But even if the numbers of four stars photos (where 2 stars is decent, 3 is good, 4 is extremely good and 5 is perfect, but I probably give 5 stars to my pictures once a year) were more than the Fall Out Boy, I still think the other gig was better in some way.
Anyway, All Time Low are a very good band to photograph and if you can take the chance to snap them, even if you don't like their music, but if you are 25 yo or older like me, unless you are a priest, be prepare to feel extremely old compared to average age of the audience, which is around 12 yo, and a good 95% were girls, which can scream way louder than the band.
So, down here some of the best photos I took that night, but as always you can find the full set on my flickr account.
Thanks for reading.
After three gigs shot almost in the dark, last week I finally saw the light with Fall Out Boy!
Ok lets make it clear from the start: their music is not my pair of socks, I'm probably too old for that kind of music, and I felt very old at the venue as the average age of the audience was probably 18. But, despite the fact that generally I wouldn't listen more than two songs of these guys, they are a really good band live, and what's more important for me, they are great to photograph.
In fact the reason I went to this gig was primary because I knew it couldn't be a dark one. Young (well not that much as the bassist is one year older than me) bands that play pop music is a guarantee of good lights, and I wasn't wrong as I got tons of lights.
I also have to say that last week I shot three gigs in a row, and they were all well lit, but I had to say that the Fall Out Boy ones was probably the most interesting to photograph for me.
There's nothing else to add from the photography point of view as it was a top notch gig for lights, very well lit, the band members move a lot on stage and they are pretty dynamic on stage, and it was just perfect for me.
Also there were no photo release bullshits to sign, which is another bonus, especially for bands of this level.
So, down here you can find some of the best photos I took that night, and on my flickr account you can find the pretty populated set (45 photos!!).
A couple of times in the past I've mentioned a few venues where I don't like to shoot, just because it's a big pain in the arse, and essentially these venues has one or even all these problems:
- No pit
- Awful lights (or the lack of lights)
- No room to move if it's sold out or very crowded
And a week ago I've been asked to photograph a band, Corner Boy, in one of the venues that has all these three point: Whelan's. Last time I shoot a gig in that venue was in 2011, almost 3 years ago, and if I didn't shoot in that place for a long time there's a reason.
I don't want to sound like someone that completely hates that venue, which is not, as if you are just a punter, someone who just want to see a good gig, that's a great place, you can see great bands and at the same time have that sense of intimacy that sometimes bigger venues don't have. But I'm a photographer, and for me the (lack of) the points mentioned above are crucial.
Now lets talk about the band: Corner Boy.
I didn't know them at all, and while I can appreciate their music genre, I think that type of music is a bit oversaturated at the moment, and when they (not the band but who paid me for the gig) asked me to stay for the whole gig, something that I don't do very often, which is an euphemism for "practically never", adding the fact I was shooting on a venue I don't like to shoot, I wasn't exactly thrilled about it. But while it was terrible to shoot, I have to say that these guys are great, I really enjoyed their show from start to end, and they made me hope they'll become the next big thing, because otherwise would be a big waste in music, as these guys has tons of talent to sell.
But how was to shoot them? Well, not easy. Essentially whelan's has this light setup: two LEDs lights for each side, some spotlights on the back of the stage (which they never used for this gig) and four spot lights pointing at the same point on the stage, and the fact that the lead singer was in that place and at the same time he was wearing a white shirt, it was like when you shoot at the sky at night, and you have the full moon that kills all the stars around it.
I could only choose to expose for the other members or the lead singer, and then hoping to recover what I could with Lightroom.
So I did enjoy shooting back at Whelan's? No at all.
I did enjoy to see this good band in Whelan's? Definitely yes.
Down here you can find some of the photos I took that night, and as usual the full set on my flickr account.
There are some gigs where you already know how they are going to be far before you even get to the venue, like pop bands 99% of the times you know they will be well lit. And that was the feeling I had before going to photograph Metronomy. Well they are not that pop obviously, but I was pretty sure it was going to be a great gig to photograph, but unfortunately I was wrong this time.
And Metronomy were one of the bands I really wanted to see this year, I had high expectations from their live show, and while I can certainly say that they are a really good band. If you spent money to see this guys on stage, you will definitely not going to be disappointed for that, and to be fair if seen from your bare yes it looks really good, it's visually interesting, but if you have to photograph them it's a problem, especially because we have only the first three songs to shoot them, and let me tell you, on the first two songs, apart from some initial spotlights on the frontman while he was playing the piano, I thought someone forgot to turn on the lights, or at least there were some technical problems. Things got better on the third song, but just by a notch.
At the end of the day I manage to bring home only 19 good shots, which is a low number for my standards, and nothing with that "wow" factor that I got from other gigs like Chvrches or The 1975.
So, really good live band, but just okay to photograph for me.
Down here some of the "best" shots I took that night, and as usual you can find the full set on my flickr account.
I can say that 99.9999% of the times I go to see a gig I'm always objective, even if it's a band that I love, if they do a terrible performance I've no problem to say they are shite, or the other way around, for example I used not to like Foals, and then when I saw them live I fell in love with them. But there is a 0.0001% of times where my objectivity goes to hell, and one of these rarity statistics is Nina Persson. I loved her since I was a teenager, Gran Turismo is still a great album, and on the stage she could sing like a frog with a bad cold and I would still say that she has a great voice (thank God that's not the case). I never had the chance to photograph her, and once I saw she was playing in Dublin, even if it was in one of venues that I generally avoid, the Button Factory (terrible lights and often no pit), I still wanted to see her.
And thankfully, she rocks. She still one of the most beautiful woman on this planet, and she is still has a great voice. I wouldn't go further than this as it would be just a declaration of love to this artist.
So, how was to photograph her? Terrible. Did I say that the lights in the Button Factory are terrible? Well that day they were even worst. Essentially there were just a few very blue and red spotlights, but it was dark like the bat cave, and the fact that there were no pit it didn't help at all. I had to shoot at 3200 ISO, and almost at full aperture and with not that fast shutter speed, thankfully my Canon 6D is a beast in low light performances, but I can't say that I was happy with the results.
Still, if you ask me if I would go again, I say yes. I don't care about the photos in this case. Anyway, here some of the best photos, they are pretty bad, but she is still beautiful, and that's what matters (full set is here).
That's another band I really wanted to see in 2014: Chvrches! I really liked their debut album, and I was really curious to see them live, to see how they perform on a stage. And I have to say that I wasn't disappointed when I saw them last week, they are just a really good band, full stop. But how was to photograph them? Well, I have to say it was very good as well. Yes, it was mostly back-lit, but to be fair it kinda reflect their mood, and I wouldn't lit their gig differently, plus they have plenty of interesting lights, like a giant logo on the back, and more lights on the boys tables. For me was just great to photograph this band, that's it. There were only one very odd thing I can say. We (the photographers) have been asked to leave the pit at the middle of the third song, which is kinda odd honestly. Someone in the pit was mentioning the fact that the singer doesn't like cameras, and while I can see that she never looked down to us, and I'm pretty sure she was looking at a blank spot in the venue, just over the crowd, which is a very common technique if you are scared by the audience, and it's perfectly understandable, I bet most of you would be terrified to sing in front of a thousand or more of fans, and I would definitely be. What I don't understand, why 2 and half songs? What's the difference for them from 2 and half and 3 full songs? I would really like to know the answer, not because I'm upset about it or else, just for curiosity. Again, they had all the rights to do so, it's their show at the end, but this 2.5 songs really bugs me.
Anyway, down here you can find some of the best photos I shot that night, while the full set is on my flickr account as usual.
Fitz and The Tantrums are not one of the band I generally listen to, but for some reason I cannot explain I like them. And when I saw they were playing for the very first time here in Ireland I couldn't miss the chance to see them. And despite the fact that the singer kicked me in the face accidentally in the pit (yeah, if you are going to see photograph this band bear in mind that this guy kicks a lot, and you will probably end up dodging some flying feet), I still like them. And their live performance, even if I could see them only for three songs, it confirmed that they are a live band too.
Unfortunately for them the venue was half empty, simply because, while they started to be pretty famous overseas (a friend told me that one of their songs was one of the main theme for the Academy Awards this year, and I take this information for granted as I don't watch this events, actually I don't watch any events, not even the telly), nobody knows them here in Ireland.
But how was to photograph them? Well, to be fair for a "pop" band I was expecting far more lights, or at least more consistent lights, as at the end a part few moments, it was for most of the time back-lit, and while in places like the Olympia you have plenty of space to play with back lights, in the Academy the pit is pretty tight, same for the average distance between the subject and your camera, also after being kicked in the face, I thought it was wiser to not stay just in front of the singer (safety first!). So overall, while it was a pretty good live band, it wasn't that great to photograph, some decent shots, but nothing amazing.
Anyway, down here as usual I'll post some of the best shots, but as usual you can find the full set on my flickr account.
P.S.: Don't worry Michael, I'm not mad with you for the kick, shit happens.
I wanted to photograph Annie Clark, better known by her stage name of St. Vincent, from a while. I really liked her debut album "Marry Me", and I always thought she was a really interesting act to see on stage. And as a matter of fact she is really good, a bit crazy maybe, but it's a good crazy, and actually she outperform my expectations.
But it wasn't really easy to photograph her. Funny that it was essentially a specular gig compared to The 1975 who played the day before in the same venue. While the 1975 were essentially backlit, St. Vincent was mostly lit from the front, with very little or not very interesting lights from the back, and the problem is that they were hard lights as well, so you had tons and very contrasty lights on her face while the rest was comparatively underexposed, so you have to choose, in a very extreme way, what do you want to expose. Thank God you can do miracles if you shoot in RAW nowdays, but this gig was a bit too much extreme for my taste, and according to other fellow photographers I heard before the gig, it's her standard lights for all her show, or at least in Europe.
Another little problem was the pit a bit overcroweded than usual, as here in Ireland you don't often see 10 photographers in the same pit, but it did work well at the end, a few bumps, but that's it.
Am I happy with the photos? Well, so and so, she is a really good subject to photograph, but I think those lights it does ruin a bit her show, or at least from my point of view, which is not absolute. Anyway, down here some of the best photos, but as always you can find the full set on flickr.