Posts Tagged ‘Concert Photography’

December started on a positive note and with my biggest shoot to date. I was off to the Manchester Arena with passes to shoot and review a favourite band of mine, Nightwish.

Regardless of band changes the group have continued to appeal with their excellent fusion of rock and opera style lyrics. I have to fully admit to being a little giddy at the thought of shooting them live. Once through the thorough bag & ID checks I found myself  waiting to be allowed into the pit.

The first three songs were a no go for the togs, owing to the amount of pyro being used. Safety is paramount and I asked why we could not have been offered the opportunity to shoot from the sound desk to capture the spectacle. The blanket blame of security was used and I was in no mood to rub anyone up the wrong way so patiently waited. One tog however took things further and argued the “Security” point which, as I expected, simply ended up with him leaving the venue with immediate effect and driving home ……… allegedly to Scotland. Not sure of the publication he was there for but you have to respect those that work there and the information and rules they are asked to work too.

Regardless of how silly and ineffective some rules can be at times, I am old enough and worldly enough to know when to keep quiet. Keep quiet I did.

Our three song limit in the pit was more than adequate and the band also helped those of us there with some nice posing. Nightwish are no three minute song producers and thus composition and settings are better quality, thus benefitting publications and the band alike. Pictures aside, the sound of 12,000 people behind you cheering at the end of each song is a real spine tingler. Just as you focus on your chosen band member hoping for an end of song pose this wall of sound simply ploughs its way through your body.

All too soon I am back at the side of the pit and packing up my gear. I’m happy with the opportunities given and a quick check of images tells me there are some nice images. At this point the real downer hit home. I had a pass to review the concert too and thus asked for access to the seating point allocated for me. I was told that I had to take my gear out first and thus I politely asked where I could securely leave this roughly £12k of gear. “It has to go back to your vehicle and then we let you back in to the venue” was the reply. There were only five of us there and we all gave the same look, the same answer and were all soon on our way home.

Many venues will give you an allocated room or area to store gear for this additional reviewing task. At smaller venues some allow you to continue shooting, whilst you are taking notes etc of the gig. I fully understand the MEN Arena’s plight here, owing to the previous horrendous event that happened there, though having been through a two stage security check this is where a blanket policy fails. This is where being the bands own photographer, should they have one, is a huge advantage and something to aspire to on this scale.

As always my review and publicised images can be found at Down The Front Media and a full set of images can be found on my website at Cecil Paul Studio’s.

A few of my favourites –


More gig photography that week though almost back local, well Sheffield, at the Corporation for German band The New Roses. In the medium room, at this three room venue, the band are showcasing the One More For The Road album.

The album is solid and so is tonights set. A packed room of punters soak up the music and atmosphere alike. This is a band making waves within the current scene and they appear to have the ability to go far. As always Lady Luck will need to play her part for global domination.

As always my review of the evening, along with a full set of images can be seen on the Down The Front Media. The entire set of images, including the support band, The Brink, can be found here at my website Cecil Paul Studios.











The live music coverage requests continued to roll in for November and again I found myself in Manchester with cameras in hand. This time at the popular Rebellion Bar I was covering the well known American band Nashville Pussy. This was loud, raucous and completely over the top and delivered with a superb passion to such a small venue.

You sometimes see bands simply touring for the sake of touring yet these guys where on fire for the whole evening. Add to this mix a healthy, on stage, diet of Jack Daniels and what could possibly go wrong.

As always my review and selection of images can be found at Down The Front Media. For all things Nashville Pussy related give this a click here – NP

As always a few from the set –











The next gig on my calendar was a band which I had no knowledge about yet they completely blew me away.

Mostly Autumn are a relatively local band, hailing from the York area and have a somewhat large following. This is testament to their quality as they remain, by choice unsigned and do everything themselves. If you want to see a band that genuinely do it on their own, have a huge following and several albums out then Mostly Autumn are one of those rare bands out there.

The band is several strong and full of multi instrumentalists. The sound is simply sublime and rather than me trying to describe them just pop and listen to them on the likes of Youtube etc.

The Welly stage isn’t the biggest so things were a little cramped for the band yet they nailed the whole night. With no support band, they simply played two large sets, with a short interval between and completely filled the evening with the most wonderful music. This was super prog with angelic voices to boot.

Again my review and all images can be found on the DTFM website – Here

Here are a few images from the night though –








Next up with this months work was covering the band Riverside for pictures and a write up.

Again, this was for Down The Front Media with the gig being held at the Manchester Academy 2. This venue is around an hour away from home and so nice and easy once you get parked. I say this as it’s on the widely expanded University grounds and so parking anywhere near the building is totally pot luck. The council don’t make things easy for anyone reference parking. It appears to be the blanket, get public transport to the venue, which is of no help to people like me in my situation. Well luck was on my side and as I drove into the University area a vehicle moved off and I plonked my van in the now free space.

The staff were fine with directions and assistance getting my pass and I was soon in the main hall ready to shoot.

Support band Mechanism were on first and excellent. Part of the DTFM policy is that we also cover all support bands were possible. It’s sometimes a close thing with traffic, parking and getting in etc but they are part of the evenings entertainment and should be suitably mentioned in reviews and pictures. It’s also worthwhile that every now and again the support band end up being better than the main act of the evening.

Finally the mighty Polish Prog Band Riverside begin their set and it is truly a light and sound show of considerable proportions. Sadly it is also a smoke fest and so with just three songs to shoot them things are rather difficult. Add to this I’m supposed to be reviewing the set, things take a turn for the worst when the over zealous security people escort us from the room after the third song. They are expecting us to descend all the way down to the foyer, grab another pass, lose our equipment and bags and then come back up two floors to review. I ask what are we supposed to do with our bags and they explain there are lockers in the foyer. Well thats not happening and so the review is completed from what I saw in the first 3 songs.

Catch this fabulous prog band here – Riverside Band

Some of the Riverside Images –









Beyond parts one and two of October 2018 were the final couple of things that topped the month off.

First up was my first job for Down The Front Media, which was to cover a local, quarterly music event called Rockzilla. I had joined DTFM the month before having been recruited by their head of Photography, who I had shot alongside at a few music events previously.

Rockzilla is a hull based music event showcasing up to four bands. The bands are all of the same rock genre for each individual event, so you can have a prog night, a doom night, a thrash night etc etc so hopefully you get it. Held at O’Rileys in Hull, promoted and organised by the very amiable Shane Outhwaite it still amazes me that certain local critics continue to complain that the Hull Music Scene is dead. Dead it is not, people just need to get out and support venues, other than the big two council carbuncles in town.

Tonight we had Weird Wolf, Phoenician, Xiii and Voodoo Blood all ready to showcase their talents to the small yet appreciative crowd.

The night is a roaring success and there have been others since, which I will pop on here as I catch up with life and jobs in 2019.

A full review of both evenings including complete galleries of images can be found via the DTFM site here – Down The Front Media

Second up was to shoot an old hero of mine from the 80’s Ross The Boss. Guitarist in the mighty Manowar rock / metal band, he is now out touring with his new band. The chance to capture him was too good an offer so off to the Corporation in Sheffield I went. Now the C3 room holds around 100 people max, has a small bar to one side and a smaller stage. Lit by just a couple of alternating lights this is no picnic for a gig photographer, indeed its almost as bad as it can get.

Anyway Ross and his band did the business and I managed a few pics that were publishable. It was interesting that another photographer gave up after just one song and trudged away complaining about lack of light. Why venues won’t, or don’t seem to want to, invest in lighting is beyond me.

A pic of each band from Rockzilla –

Voodoo Blood – Voodoo Blood


Xiii – Xiii


Phoenician – Phoenician


WeirdWolf – WeirdWolf


And one from Ross The Boss –


Firstly a polite notice – All images are subject to copyright and no permissions are given, in any capacity for any media, for usage beyond this blog. Please contact Cecil Paul Studio’s for commercial usage rights and pricing structures.

My final band of the day was to be the Graham Bonnet Band. Whilst there was still The Quireboys, plus headliners, Skid Row to come I had seen both of those bands recently and photographed them both too. Add to this the thought of the early rise in the morning for a whole day of gymnastics photography and that extra time in bed won over shooting those two final acts.

I did hear that both were superb and indeed some of the images I saw, portrayed excellent sets by both. 25 years ago I could burn the candle at both ends on a regular basis. These days common sense steps in when it comes to driving long distances at either end of a days work.

Anyway Graham Bonnet and his band put on a spectacular show and graced us with some classic hits mixed with some more modern opuses he has been involved in. No issues with the voice and time seems to have been kind.

So as he finished his set I was away to the van and on my way home for a cuppa, quick shower and bed. 6am the next morning felt like I had barely got to bed and my alarm had gone off. Later that day I was glad I’d made the decision to leave early as the old tired eyes set in.

All in all a fab weekend at a festival I would wholly recommend. Organised by rockers, run by volunteer rock lovers and a fabulous atmosphere too. Long may it continue.

Find what he’s up to here – Graham Bonnet Band






Firstly a polite notice – All images are subject to copyright and no permissions are given, in any capacity for any media, for usage beyond this blog. Please contact Cecil Paul Studio’s for commercial usage rights and pricing structures.

Next up were a band that I had yet to see. I had seen their lead singer, Blaze, in his Iron Maiden stint, though had never managed to catch Wolfsbane on tour over the many years they had been regularly active.

The set was monstrous and the band were just on it from the word go. Blaze is the consummate frontman and really doesn’t care who he upsets whilst on stage. Meet him off stage and you chat with a most humble and kind chap who even gives you two minutes whilst he’s tying up his stage boots.

It’s been great to hear that they are continuing as a band and have some live dates pencilled in. Blaze of course also has a solid solo career too which has spawned some quality material over the last few years.

If they play near you I’d certainly recommend them.

See what they are up to here – Wolfsbane





Firstly a polite notice – All images are subject to copyright and no permissions are given, in any capacity for any media, for usage beyond this blog. Please contact Cecil Paul Studio’s for commercial usage rights and pricing structures.

I missed the Massive Wagons set owing to commitments with Chrome Molly, though arrived back at the side of the stage just as the band were finishing. Not to be outdone I grabbed this one image at the very end of their set.

Oddly, people who have seen this image think its superb and whilst I’m happy with capturing the scissor kick, IMO the image would be far better had I been square on to the stage.

That’s one short entry lol.


Firstly a polite notice – All images are subject to copyright and no permissions are given, in any capacity for any media, for usage beyond this blog. Please contact Cecil Paul Studio’s for commercial usage rights and pricing structures.

Hand Of Dimes were next up on the bill and though I was not entirely up to speed on either the band or their music I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

The band were down one member and had brought in a rock guitar legend, from my youth, for the day. Oh yes Mr Bruce John Dickinson of Little Angels Fame was to be found setting up his infamous “Eat My Dust” Gibson guitar backstage and was kindly posing for pics too. I politely asked for one too, for which he pleasantly obliged. Many a band could learn a thing or too from the likes of Bruce.

The set was excellent and I would say that I captured my favourite image of the day and possibly to date too. Bruce just looked straight at me, smiled and I took the shot.

The Band –

Neville MacDonald, Neil Garland, Colin Edwards, Mark Maybry, David Stephenson.

Substitute guitarist for Stonedeaf – Bruce John Dickinson

Find them Here – Hand Of Dimes

Pics –






And that favourite of the day……….