Posts Tagged ‘Concert Photography’

Firstly I need to clarify which Wayward Sons band I am writing and discussing here. The band is the Wayward Sons band formed by former Little Angels vocalist Toby Jepson and not the American band of the same name. If you would like to see what they are all officially about then head over to Wayward Sons Official Website or their Facebook page at Wayward Sons Uk Facebook. If you like the look of all that then you can always become a member of the Wayward Fans official Facebook page too. There’s certainly lot’s going on around these guys with a very positive buzz from the critics.

My connection with the band started in 2013 when Toby was gracious enough to let me shoot a couple of his tour dates, namely the O2 at Sheffield and Hull Fruit dates. This assisted me greatly with my BA(Hons), when certain teaching elements said it couldn’t be done and I am eternally grateful for Toby’s assistance. Recently he moved back from the solo work to forming a the new said band. This has produced an album, “Ghosts of yet to come”, which is to be released on 15th September 2017. The band decided on a quadrilogy of video’s, to support four singles from the album, for which they decided to use fans and acquaintances as extras. A general request was sent out to which I replied and waited. A couple of emails later and I’m booked to attend the video shoot in Leicester.

Check out the bands video’s –

“Until The end” – Watch here

“Alive” – Watch here

“Crush” –Watch here

“Ghost” Watch here

As part of my BA I had produced a photobook of images from the dates, which I wished for Toby to sign one day. The video shoot was the perfect opportunity, to get it signed, so the book came with me. At the end of the day the book was signed and I asked who would be covering the first live gig a few weeks later. Toby essentially said he hadn’t thought about that and so I jumped on the opportunity and sold myself, to which he accepted.

The 26th July 2017 was the first live date the band were to perform live together. With a four hour drive to get down to Bristol it was an early start to get there when the band did. The gig was to be held at The Louisiana in Bristol. Even with some internet searching I wasn’t able to find much information on the size of room, lighting, stage or basically anything. To say the least images of the place were rather thin in the google searches and this started to fill me with dread. I knew the room had a capacity of 120 so this was going to be small, intimate and a bugger to shoot properly.

My reservations about the room were indeed justified upon arrival. A small rectangle of a room, box stage at one end, mixing desk at the other and to my horror barely half a dozen of the new LED stage lights to illuminate things for me. These lights are a pain for the cameras. Colours yes but those precious lumens lighting the stage where just not in attendance. With dozens of them yes you can quite confidently shoot away but this was going to be hard, very hard.

The room taken on my iPhone upon arrival.

IMG_2770

Now you can see what I mean by intimate. Even the mixing desk is situated in what was a small function room bar to the rear. The daylight is from a balcony fire exit which was opened for some fresh air.

I had a couple of hours to see what suited my cameras and lenses best and it quickly became apparent this was indeed not going to be easy. Low speed, wide open and huge ISO’s just to capture the guy’s setting up were not a good start. A few hours later and we where ready to go. I left the band in the dressing room having taken a group image of them all and made my way to the room. It was almost pitch black, other than those lumen free diet LED lighting units at the stage. They didn’t even face the band as situated on the sides of the stage.

I made my way to the stage, sat on it, placed down my two 5Diii’s armed with grips and 24-70mm f/2.8 / 70-200 f/2.8 lenses respectively and felt the intense wall of heat hit me. I, as was everyone in the room, sweating when things began to roll.

A large roar of approval, and introduction from the DJ, the band step on stage and Boom we are go……..

Wide open at f2.8 the ISO’s where on the limit at 12,500 regardless of 100th sec or 250th sec shutter speeds. The bands front three just never stood still either, which just made things worse. Undeterred I simply wet for it with the 24-70mm wide and 70-200 zooms I had to hand. Being literally sat on the stage I was unable to fit the whole band into any single image. I looked back and saw a young lady shooting away with a DSLR whilst being jostled with the crowd moving. I decided that was not an option so I made the decision to go intimate. I knew there would be 100’s of phone images as upon looking back I could see them all glowing away.

Close up and intimate still gave me a challenge, though I began to like what I saw when quick reviewing the images between bursts. The set was short and before I knew it we were on the last song of the night. For this I made my way to the back of the room and shot over the crowd. Being unable to direct the crowd and band to my vantage point the camera was firmly to my face and finger on the trigger for any opportunity that arose in those last minutes. I grabbed a few and was pleased with the overall results.

Post gig the band made their way downstairs, to the bar area, and mingled with the fans. I took a small selection of fan pics with individual members of the band and then made my way home, arriving back at the ungodly hour of 4am.

So the images taken and how did they turn out? Well to be honest I was actually pleased with a good 75% of what I took. From almost individual portraits to the close up where you could see beads of sweat on their faces I had accomplished what I decided to do. I’d even taken a quick scoot through them upon getting home due to my concerns about the available light etc.

This was my view at 4:11am with a nice cold refreshing beer in hand. Amazingly being up for nearly 21hrs at this point, driving some 400+ miles and done a live shoot I was wide awake on adrenaline. Great feeling.

WS1

The image shows L-R,  Sam Wood, Toby Jepson and Nic Wastell

I have agreed that no actual images from the event will be made public without the express permission of Wayward Sons therefore this blog post is almost anorexic in imagery. One small montage which I can show is below. I compiled this for the fans page as a momento of the evening and it has the bands approval to be published.

WS2

 

The band are L-R Dave Kemp, Sam Wood, Phil Martini, Toby Jepson & Nic Wastell.

The gig itself was superb and the whole band did themselves proud. The enthusiasm, energy and belief on stage was visible to all and received enthusiastically by the crowd. The setlist was a trial run for the new stuff, which is superb, mixed with a few Angels classics thrown in.

The setlist as recovered by Mr Damian Gore –

WS3

Final image here is of Toby and myself just before I left the Louisiana. Taken by an unknown person on my phone my shirt was finally drying out and I was not looking forward to the impending 4hr drive ahead. Smiles anyway.

Toby

Moving forward Toby mentioned me doing some more live gig photography for the band on their upcoming support tours around the UK. I hope he’s good to his word on that, as I love the live gig stuff, and would love to be involved with the band at some level going forward. I think they have a bright future ahead of them.

All images are © to Cecil Paul Studio’s and Wayward Sons Band UK and may not be copied, reproduced or used in any manner without approval.

Advertisements

One of my favourite photography pastimes is shooting live concerts, regardless of size, as I love to hopefully capture the essence and vibe of an evening within my images. I have covered from pubs to full blown outdoor multi band festivals yet sadly not as many as I would like. The reasons why its so hard to get a photographers pass is worthy of a whole new blog.

One rare opportunity did however arise with a group of seasoned musicians, who had not long since released their new self titled album “Colour Of Noise”. I was aware of the lead guitarist Bruce Dickinson, who had previously found fame in the band “Little Angels” and having liked the music offered my services for the last date of the 2016 tour. I had already purchased tickets, kept seeing updates on social media and yet did not see a great deal of imagery to help promote themselves. I sent a speculative email to Bruce and he graciously accepted my offer of covering the event. There was no money involved but just my passion for photography, love of music and the possibility of providing some helpful images to a band on the bottom rung.

The venue is somewhere I have been on too many occasions in my life. Actually that is a lie as some great nights have been had there. By most standards its a small club/venue with three rooms of differing size where bands can peddle their wares to what seems an endless swathe of excited ears. Based in Sheffield UK “The Corporation” is a hot spot for quality live music and has been for many years. With three bands on the night, I was there again, I can only assume things continue to bode well for this musical outlet.

Colour Of Noise where simply superb. With just a single album to draw from you could have possibly expected a few covers in there yet no it was just an onslaught of quality melodic rock music from the album. The whole set was the extremely polished affair you would have also expected. The set was superb, the crowd loved it and all appeared well at CoN towers.

The images were far from the greatest I have ever produced, and when I say far I almost mean fairytale far, far, far away from ……..

The lighting was poor and indeed the young man charged with operating the lighting seemed to have little notion that the crowd actually wanted to see the band. 90% of the evenings light came from behind the band thus giving us all silhouettes to watch whilst listening. This did not bode well for me and the camera. Even with low shutter speeds and whopping ISO’s pushing the boundaries of NASA sensors things were mostly dark. When one of the few front cans did light up land illuminate a band member I pounced to capture something worth looking at. At one point I even stood poised waiting for a young lady to take pictures on her phone. As phones do it gave out a rather long pre flash to eradicate red eye. This gave me a wonderful source of light assistance that I willingly exploited.

I supplied a set of images of which one was indeed used to help promote their proposed 2017 Stark Reality Tour. Little did I know this was not to be.

The bombshell was then announced in March; they had split. I’m sure these guys have their reasons, as all bands do, and I’m sure that reasons will come out eventually. So the frustration of shooting an almost dark concert gig and producing a sub quality set of images turns out to be the only record of their last gig as a band. Nice on the one hand yet extremely frustrating on the other.

The Band –

Matt Mitchell – vocals

Matt

Bruce John Dickinson – Guitar

Bruce

Ben Daniel – Bass

Ben Daniel

Stand In Drummer – Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson

And what was to be their final bow together –

last hurrah

The guys had used this final image as part of the social media tour promo. Easy enough with PSCC2017 though I didn’t spend too long on it as my OCD on image quality told me it would never be used seriously. I still like the idea though.

tour