Alessio Michelini Photography

Disclosure @ Olympia Theatre

20 November 2013

I understand that sometimes my honesty could sound a bit too, well, maybe the correct word is "brutal"? But that's how I am. While in my native langue, italian, I could be way more polite, in english, with my limited dictionary, I tend to be more direct, and I have to say that I like it, being direct it's a good thing for me, I may sound rude to someone, but I like to go straight to the point. Why I'm saying that? Well, simple, I don't like the music of Disclosure, I'm sorry guys, I'm sure that you are great on what are you doing, and I generally like some dance music until it falls in the boundaries of the electro pop, but your music it's beyond these boundaries. Sorry guys, nothing personal.
So why I went there? Well, the promoter asked me if I wanted to go, and as I was free that night, and nobody else wanted to shoot them, I did go. That's it.
So, don't ask me any opinion of how they sound live.
But how is to photograph them? Well, two guys behind a wall of synths and keyboards, and laptops, it's kinda hard to photograph. And the fact that they don't move from there, obviously because they have to play, it doesn't really help, and if someone will complain about my photos saying bullshits like "well but there is a mic in front of their face! That's a terrible thing to do in music photography!", my straight answer will be "Please, stop behing a dick". But in fairness the lights were pretty good, and at the end I took plenty of more-than-decent shots using these lights as the variants of the photos.
I hope you like them, even if some are not technically correct, but I couldn't do any better.
As usual the full set is on my flickr account.

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Jake Bugg @ The Olympia Theatre

19 November 2013

Once again I went to a gig that I couldn't say I like it, but I think it could be interesting to photograph. To be fair it wasn't the first time I saw Jake Bugg live, as I saw him this summer at the Longitude Festival, but I arrived too late to catch the first three songs, so I probably felt like I had a score to settle with him, and when I saw he was doing a gig in the Olympia I put my name down for the photo pass.
For a very young man, if I'm not wrong he's still a teenager, I was expecting a bit more action on that stage. I'm not saying he had to break guitars or set on fire anything, but at least move a little bit more, as he was essentially (no offence Jake) a pole on the stage. Don't get me wrong, he is good, especially for his age, but a bit more action it helps for the photos.
After the gig I still not a fan of him, he is good, but he just doesn't play the kind of music I like, personal taste, and if you like that music go to see him.
To photograph, despite the lack of action and jumps, the lights were pretty great, well, at the moment I thought they were ok, but at the end, once imported and developed in Lightroom, they turned very well, probably way more than I expected.
Thankfully there were no photo release to sign, just the usual "three songs no flash", plus a lot of screaming girls.
Down here you can see some of the best shots of that night, and here the full set on my flickr page.

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KT Tunstall @ Olympia Theatre

14 November 2013

I've never been a fan of KT Tunstall, and I would lie if I say that I've heard more than two songs from the scottish singer, but, despite that, I thought that it could be a good gig to shoot, with a lot of lights and band members, a pop gig. I thought.
Well, I was far from being right.
First thing, it was a seated show. I hate seated show, or, to be exact, I hate to photograph at seated show, I don't care if I'm attending the show, but it's a huuuuuuge pain in the arse if I have to photograph a gig. Why? Well, first thing: no pit. Then you can shoot only from the aisles, so you end up with only two perspectives, which essentially are the same. And for someone who move a lot in the pit finding the right alignment of the artist with the lights, it's really annoying. Some photographers don't care, but I do, a lot.
I've done several seated gigs in the past, and every time was a pain in the butt, every single time, no exceptions.
Then, no band, just KT, no drums, no bass, nothing, just her, a couple of guitars, some effects, a piano and a couple of amps, that's it.
For such minimalistic gig you can't expect anything different than  minimalistic lights.
Having said that, it was a good gig. Dear KT, I dunno if you will ever read this article, but if so, and you aren't already pissed off, you have to know that now you have all my respect. I was expecting a pop singer with not much talent, I found a great artist with shit load of talent, and nobody missed a full band on that stage.
I was honestly blew away from her performance, and I wasn't expecting it.
Anyway, the pictures are ok for me, maybe the best I've done for a seated show, alongside with Chris Cornell's solo tour, but I hope you like them anyway. Full set, as always, is on my flickr page.

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Airbourne @ The Academy

11 November 2013

That's a band I wanted to see from a long while, I missed their previous shows in Ireland for a reason or another, but this time I could miss them again. Airbourne are the only band that makes me appreciate Hard Rock again, and even if some of you are already thinking that they are an AC/DC's rip off, they are not. They are like the young AC/DC that my generation had never the chance to see. And let me tell you, even if you don't like their music, that's a show you must see.
This band on stage is pure energy and rock'n'roll, a type of bands you hardly see on stage nowadays, one of those bands you have to photograph if you are a music photographer, fuck off big arena gigs, that's a gig to see!
Thankfully the band brought plenty of lights with them, and even if the Academy could be tough to photograph most of the times, this wasn't the case. Actually, lights weren't a problem at all, the only problem was to predict what Joel O'Keeffe was about to do next, he can run continuously on the stage, or he can climb the speakers till he reach to ceiling, or he can jump on you in any moment. But that's rock'n'roll kids.
As expected I took a billion of pictures (well, maybe I'm a bit
exaggerating, but I took way more than my usual, as I broke the wall of 1000 photos, and in case you don't remember, in only 3 songs), and it was really, really hard to pick the best ones, and I end up with 52 good shots. I tried to be as picky as possible, but I couldn't leave any of these photos out.
Anyway, down here you can find some of the best of the best photos, but you can also click here to see the full set on my flickr account.

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Travis @ Olympia Theatre

08 November 2013

Travis are one of those bands you go to see just to remember the old good times, with the side effect of suddenly getting that sensation of feeling "old". But I remember this band from their first two albums, back in the late 90s, when I was a teenager and I loved them. So, no matter you didn't listen to this band for at least 10 years, no matter if you didn't even know they did a new album, no matter they got gray hair (and you too), it's a band that I have to see at least once. So I've asked for a pass for their gig in the Olympia Theatre, which I will never stop saying that it's almost the perfect venue for gigs, and I went to see them.
And as I was expecting, they are a great live band, but they have been doing gigs from a while, so you hardly wouldn't expect anything different.
But how was to photograph them? Well, pretty good. They didn't use insane lights as other bands would do, they mainly use the venue lights, and they added some extra bars of lights on the background, simple, but effective.
There were the right amount of smoke, just enough to give tridimensionality to the spotlights, without adding any "grainy" effect on the main subjects (apart from the drummer). They are not a heavy metal band, so they didn't run on the stage like kangaroos with intestinal problems and no toilet on sight, but neither they stayed still like traffic lights, they were just right, maybe I could use the word "classic", as you would expect from a "classic" band.
Maybe I didn't get the best shots of my life, but pretty good shots I was happy with it.
So, at the end, a very good band to see live, and a very good band to photograph as well.
As usual, down here you can find some of the best shots, while by clicking here you can find the full set on flickr.

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The Airborne Toxic Event @ The Academy

06 November 2013

I'm not entirely sure why I went to this gig to be frank with you, dear reader. I liked their debut album, but to be fair I don't remember when was the last time I listened to it. I've photographed them in the past as well, and as far I can remember it wasn't that great, actually it was pretty dark, so the reasons who led me to see them again are obscure. But here we are, again in the pit. To be fair, they are a good live band, not the best and I would definitely not die if I don't see them, but still a pretty good band to see.
To shoot them was exactly like two years ago, some lights, I couldn't really say that it was a dark gig, especially if I think to Mark Lanegan's gig, or Godspeed You! Black Emperor (that's probably the darkest gig I ever been to). But they didn't bring any extra lights, they just used the standard venue lights, but at the end they used them quite well, and pumping my 6D to 3200 ISO (and even if I don't get much noise as I used to get with the 7D, I always prefer to shoot at 1600), at the end I brought home some decent to good shots, nothing to say "WOW THAT'S AMAZING!", but they are more in the "It's grand" area.
So, it's a gig to see if obviously you like their music, and you will hardly get disappointed, and it's an okay gig to shoot.
Down here some of the best shots, but as always you can find the full set here.

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The 1975 @ The Academy

05 October 2013

Some bands sometimes they sound a bit too perfect to be real, especially if they come out of nowhere, and when you go to their gig  you feel like you have rotten vegetables on your backpack ready to be thrown to the stage, as part of your brain is already saying "don't worry, they are going to be another crap band", and when you discover you and your brain were wrong, you feel a bit confused. You start to look around the stage to see if someone is playing a cd, but it's not, and they are actually good. Well, the 1975, they sound really good in studio, and they sound even better on stage. I was actually surprised by their performance, and thankfully, I was really glad to find out they brought their lights, a lot of lights, for their show. They have a frame made by neon lights in the center of the stage, and an insane amounts of lights on the back of the stage, or at least insane for the venue, which from the past two years has been quite dark, and for me was a pure pleausure to shoot this band, especially if you consider that I was expecting a not that good show with not that good lights, but as I said, I was extremely wrong!

So, the 1975 are a great band to see live and to photograph. Anyway, I hope you like these pictures and as usual you can find the full set on my flickr page.

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Soundgarden @ The O2

21 September 2013

I have a list, not written, but which is pretty clear in my mind, of band that I HAVE TO see or photograph, at any conditions. There aren't many names in that list, but one of these is Soundgarden. It's one of the symbols of grunge generation, my generation, alongside with bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. Older generation thinks that they (Soundgarden) were a simple rip off of Black Sabbath, and to be fair it's quite true, but you could say the same of Smashing Pumpkins, and these bands never hide the fact they were inspired by that band, but to say that they are just a rip off it's a bit silly, they took inspiration from the hard rock from the 70s, but they created something new from that base. You can say the same to any bands, as anyone gets their inspiration from the past, if you listen any modern band they sound like a rip off of bands from the 80s, and bands in the 80s were inspired from the music of previous generation, and you can keep going until you reach a guy in Egypt, back in 5000 BC, who played some silly instrument made out of some dead animal skin, and you see how pretty useless is to compare a band to previous generations.

As well for younger generation, they probably don't know any other songs than Black Hole Sun, the same people who complained because they didn't play at their gig in the O2, last monday. But, if you are from my generation, and you had the chance to listen Spoonman, My Wave, and other songs that are way better than Black Hole Sun, you probably were pretty happy, as you don't really give a shit of this song, because we loved that band since Badmotorfinger. And they are not a Karaoke band, who plays only their "hits", but they play whatever they want.
That's a pretty long introduction from this band, way longer than usual, but I hope you get the idea of what this meant for me. I love this band, and their live performance was simply superb for me.

Now, these are all good words for them, but I have to be objective, and while as a live band they are just amazing, and while the teenager in me was pretty happy with it, the old grumpy photographer which is also part of me wasn't that happy.
Let me say two words: photo release. It wasn't the worst I've seen, as they technically don't claim any ownership on my photos, and I can use my photos for my portfolio, or for my blog at least, but apart from the reason I was there, I cannot sell or even give for free my photos to anyone else. I would generally walk away when I see these contracts, but as you can probably imagine, I couldn't just say no to Soundgarden, they might split tomorrow or worst, and I could miss my only chance to see this band.
So for once I closed an eye to my moral principles, and I signed that bloody contract.

Then, lights. They were "meh", not a very dark stage in general, but pretty dark for the O2, and nothing spectacular, or at least not for the first three songs, as we left the pit, the lights exploded on stage, obviously. Thankfully I was able to stay for a while, and I was really tempted to take my camera out of the bag and take some shots from the crowd, but I have a pretty strong ethics, and the three songs rule is really something that I don't want to break, even if nobody will ever notice, I just couldn't do it.
Anyway, the photos turned out OK, nothing amazing, but decent shots.

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From the Archive: Steve Vai @ Vicar St

13 September 2013

I have to admit that I'm not going to that many gigs as I used to do in the past, but while I've started this blog this spring, I've shot gigs for years, and I have a pretty big archive of artists, as you can see from this collection on my flickr account. So why not talk about the gigs I did in the past? Does it really matter if I talk about a gig I went an year ago instead of last weekend? This is not a music magazine where the article has to be done just after the event, it's a photography blog. So from now on, I'll start to pick some of the best gig I photographed in the past, as you probably don't wanna see awful pictures of awful gigs, and the first on the list is probably one of the best gigs I've seen last year, the master of insane guitar solos Steve Vai.
Years ago, when I unsuccessfully tried to learn how to play guitar, was one of the reference, his white Ibanez was like the guitar of God at that age, but to be honest last time I've listened one of his song was probably 5 years ago, at the very least. But the inner teenager in me forced me to go to see this guy, but the old man outside me didn't have any expectations.
And I was wrong, extremely wrong. That gig turned out to be one of best I've seen last year. Still, after one song of him I get bored now, but as a live performer, you can't really say anything against this guy, it's pure fun, despite his not very young age, he runs on the stage like a teenager. He is not someone that want to show off his guitar skills, he is someone who wants to make a great show to his audience, and he does it extremely well.
Now, what about lights? Well, while most of the times we, music photographers, complain about how bad are lights, how fuckin dark was the stage, and so on, that was the exact opposite. Tons of lights, never seen so many lights on a stage, for a second I thought I was going blind. Again, it's definitely one of the best shows I've seen in 2012.
Bear in mind, fellow photographer, that apparentely he takes a camera from one of the photographer and he takes a picture of the crowd, he did here in Vicar St, and he did the same in Italy, so I presume it's his thing, so if you are the lucky one, remember to set your camera in Auto mode!

As you can easily imagine, I've a billion of photos of this gig, down here some of the best ones, but here you can find the full set.

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Alkaline Trio @ The Academy

02 September 2013

Yeah, I know, where have I been in the past 10 days? Well as an excuse I can say that I had to work like hell, but in fact I've been a bit lazy with the blog. Sometimes I post like a squirrel under caffeine, sometime I'm more like a lazy bear.
Anyway, as I refused to shoot any major festivals here in Ireland (apart the one day at the Longitude) and with the festivals season there is nothing much to see in town, so this month I went to only one gig. The band was Alkaline Trio, a band that I knew only because they were in a soundtrack of a video game I played a while ago.
I have to say that I generally don't like punk-rock, at all. Maybe I'm too old for it (but I never really like it, even when I was too young for it), maybe I don't understand it, say whatever you want to say dear punk-rock friends, but I don't like it. And to be fair I went to this gig more because I thought it was good to photograph, that's it. So I'm not going to give my opinion on this band, the maximum I can say it's the word "grand" in the very irish meaning.
But maybe lights were good, no? Well, unfortunately they were grand as well, not terrible like Mark Laneghan or Godspeed You! Black Emperor (which they mark my very low point of bad gigs to photograph), but definitely not good.
The band itself didn't bring their lights, which is understanable as they come from the states, and if you have to across the ocean, unless you are very rich, you bring just the essential. But I know that lights could be better in that venue, but they didn't want to use them all, that's it.
And the band it's not that dynamic, in the three songs I was in the pit (which I had to say it was a pretty short time), I didn't see too much movement on stage, or at least not as much I would expect from a punk-rock band.
At least this time they didn't turn the stage into a London in the Victorian Era, which is something that a photographer should appreciate sometimes.
Anyway, these are some of the "best" shots I took that night, I hope you like them, because I don't.

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