Posts Tagged ‘gig photography’

January saw me given the unique opportunity to shoot the band, Steel Panther, in both Dublin and Belfast in January. Wayward Sons were supporting and I’d had the nod that I could cover these dates. Lets face it, I was never going to say no, so organised my travel and accommodation accordingly.

The week before the dates all hell broke lose with the weather and Britain was covered in several feet of snow from top to bottom. Usually I would have looked at the options for this and was it absolutely necessary to travel yet this weather was not going to stop me getting there. A 4am start saw me tip toe for five hours up to the port of Cairnryan in Scotland for my lunchtime ferry to Belfast. When I finally got there it was nice just to not have to grip the steering wheel in an almost constant effort to keep the van on the roads up there. The roads were appalling, travel warnings advised all but essential travel yet I found myself trundling along with hundreds of other motorists, respecting the weather and driving safely. Yes there were the odd idiots out there and one in particular ended up on his roof not several hundred meters in front of me after ludicrously overtaking two side by side articulated lorries by travelling into the uncleared third lane. What happened next is obvious to most and luckily he never touched anyone else with his pirouetting and rolling. Idiot!!

Not my first time in Ireland, though a first for covering gigs. To be fair they both went well, considering they were warm up gigs for the main UK Steel Panther Tour which started the following week. Dublin was small, almost embarrassingly small, for a band of Panthers following yet they roared through their set from start to finish with total professionalism. If you know Steel Panther you will also know that last sentence is a little tongue in cheek. Totally tongue in cheek, the dirty jokes were rife as was the mocking of not only themselves but the crowd throughout the entire set. It was all soaked up by the crowd in the spirit of how it should be and the vibe from the crowd as they left was totally positive.

Wayward sons also gave a 100% performance. They stomped through a half hour of what now seemed to be more crowd aware songs from the album. The album having been out 6 months now is obviously gaining some traction and there were plenty singing along. Nobody would ever have guessed that the lead singer was as green as a goblin having suffered with a rough crossing from Blighty. Add to this a missing keyboard player, owing to a family bereavement, you would not have guessed with the positive response from the crowd.

Belfast, the following night, was almost identical to Dublin for the SP lads, in fact almost too identical for my liking. I’ll not go into how things may or may not be done, by some, these days which certainly made me think. Sadly the more I heard SP on the tour the more they made me start watching certain aspects of the performance, for repetition, rather than just enjoying the fun of it. They are a great bunch of blokes on and off stage so I will leave it at that. Wayward Sons had recovered from the green sea monster and simply powered through their strict half hour set.

The evening was slightly marred by the extremely punctual curfew at 10pm. Steel Panther had barely finished their main set when it was announced that the show was over. Some bemused punters were wondering what was going on, is it part of the show etc? No it was all legit as the Limelight subsequently turns into a nightclub. Thus not an hour after the show had finished there were DJ’s setting up on stage as flight cases were being removed from the building. Steel Panther thus finished on Community Property and not the planned Party All Day, as per the setlist, which is shown below.

Thankfully I had just a short walk to my hotel before a 6am rise to catch my return ferry back to Blighty. A smile which was accompanied by a spring in my step over a job well done. This all before I’d even seen the images taken on a laptop screen.

For all things Steel Panther

Steel Panther live. Images from Dublin & Belfast.

Michael Starr

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Satchel

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Lexxi Foxx

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Stix Zadinia

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Belfast Limelight.

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Setlists.

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I had the privilege of being at this event, in the capacity of photographer, to capture the Wayward Sons Set. It also allowed me to capture some of the other bands on stage too. This is not only good for the portfolio yet, as I found out, also good for networking with other photographers and indeed bands too.

The drive to North Wales was uneventful and as smooth as I could have hoped, arriving around lunch time on the Friday. Booking in and getting laminates was pleasantly easy and the staff were absolutely superb. Odd events have a big “I Am” around who likes you to know it & its really not necessary at all when I’ve found 99% of the bands to be fully approachable and chatty.

The event as a whole went superbly and I met some really nice individuals, some of whom I will be staying in contact with. Photography wise it was a doddle. I had unprecedented access to the band, the entire pit to myself after the first three songs had been completed, and with proper stage lighting I was able to shoot at decent resolutions too.

The Wayward Sons set was superb and they are really starting to gel as a band. The sound was tight and had the entire audience bouncing along with them for the duration. One minor blip was an amp giving up, though that was replaced in just a couple of minutes allowing them to continue. This band can and should go places in the coming year. They certainly deserve to on the album and performances to date.

Not too much on the side of images, as those of you who read this blog will know I have a gentleman’s agreement over images for Wayward Sons. I am however popping a couple from Friday’s headline set on here. Dee Snider, of Twisted Sister, played with his solo band which was a big moment for me. Absolutely loved him in TS all those years ago in my teens yet never managed to see them live. Access to the photography pit and he’s on, see’s me standing there for that first three song opportunity.

Things rounded off drinking a few beers with WS at the after show, kipping on a settee in the bands chalet, followed by an early rising and the long drive back home.

As an experience of work this was fantastic, as an experience of a small festival it was superb and for interaction with other gig photographers it was also fabulous. I just love this side of work and though it pays peanuts I’ll be continuing to slot the gigs in where I can.

Can’t show a Wayward Sons pic so how about an artistically focussed image? I’ve started doing this so I can at least pop something on here rather than repeating the small montage.

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The legend that is Dee Snider

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And you just have to love it when a band member poses for you.

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Firstly I would like to state that all images on this blog are copyright to Cecil Paul Studio’s and we do not give any permission for any individual or company to copy, transfer, alter or amend any image in any known or unknown format without permission. Don’t be a digital thief and pay for the image if you like it that much!!

The above statement comes after one particular radio station robbed an image from here and used it for a promotion. Unbelievably another radio station then robbed that copy for their own radio promotion. The music industry complains about kids downloading songs for free and yet they are thieving when it suits them. Double standards at work which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

So onto September –

Things kicked off for us on the first weekend with the third series of the National Trampoline & DMT League, held at Birmingham University. This was a superb venue and being almost new gave us possibly the best balanced lighting of any event this year so far. When you can have your speed with a nice low iso its almost xmas as a photographer and this place delivered in swathes of light.

The weekend as a whole was manic as expected with some 600+ competitors over the two days. We were constantly busy and without barely time to visit the loo for most of both days. The evening meal and a few cold ones, on the Saturday evening, to wash it all down makes things worthwhile though and helps us get a nice nights sleep.

We took some 8500 images in total and had our usual excellent response to the quality of our image and montage offerings over the weekend. Sadly the organisers hadn’t produced the promised event program and so, with no advert, all things regarding our gallery codes went out of the window which had a knock on effect to the subsequent online sales. You’d think they would learn from this, as we were not the only disappointed sponsor, yet you’ll see in Octobers roundup they never. Incompetence at the highest level.

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One thing can always be said for the competitors though is they have a good laugh when there and will happily pose for images such as this one below.

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Our equestrian coverage also continued with several dressage events over the month, one of which was our own business dedicated event. This was a lovely day not only with the quality of competition shown but we had our own branded rosettes. Manor Grange Stud had commissioned a whole series of garlands and rosettes with our name and logo on which was absolutely lovely to see.

The other equestrian events were, as usual, slick and with no messing about. Thankfully the weather held out and so there were no monsoon days where I end up hiding under the main building canopy to shoot from. Our business from these events continues to grow at a steady rate and thus I believe we will chose to continue providing coverage into 2018 and possibly beyond.

These galleries remain our only open event galleries and can be found here – Equestrian Galleries

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Gymnastics also played a key part in September with two competition weekends hosted by Bridlington Gymnastics. This is proper grass roots stuff and we love it. No big arenas, no ego’s, just lots of enthusiastic kids and parents doing what they do. The competitors start around 4-5 years up to the seniors around the 16-17 age group. We are well looked after by the hosts and have a fantastic rapport with both the organisers, adults and kids alike. We are already booked for the 2018 events and look forward to them as its just a fun set of weekends.

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Back in July this year I did a bit of work with the band Wayward Sons when I covered their first ever live gig down in Bristol. This had come about from my involvement with their promotional videos for the new album which can all be read about in an earlier post.

September saw them out supporting UFO on their 2017 UK Tour. One particular date, the 15th, was also the official release date for the album. Thinking it would be a good idea to capture that night I emailed Toby and he said thanks, yes, pop along and do your thing. The night was superb and in my personal opinion the Sons were head and shoulders above UFO in musical deliver and enthusiasm. The crowd were bouncing along to the music, which noticeably stopped once UFO had taken to the stage. The UFO set was slick and polished though I feel lacked a raw feel. I could honestly say that you could have listened to this on the radio as visually and engagement wise things were seriously lacking. To put it into context I was sat uploading and editing my images in the main hall area whilst they were on. Looked up a few times just to make sure things were still going when the music stopped.

On a working basis the Picturedome at Holmfirth is not actually too bad to work in. Yes it is compact though the fans are all stood on a sloping floor leading upend away from the stage. Tis allowed me to move up and down and simply shoot over the top of those in front of me. Non of the usual clamouring about to secure a gap between heads and phones which is nice. Setting were mediocre as though the lighting operator did give some light it wasn’t nearly as much as that given to the headline act. Thank the lord for full frame cameras and f2.8 lenses.

The night finished, I had a good chat with the band and then it was away home, still damp from sweating in the pit for a nice warm shower and bed.

The images from this event are behind a secured gallery and only for the band to see. Images from the gig will be released as and when they see fit which is sad in a way as I like to see my images out there in the wild. To stop any thieving radio stations or any other publications grabbing images of the band you’ll just have to put up with this montage again. Shame how people spoil things for others.

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The month was topped off with a visit to City Of Leeds Trampolining & Gymnastics to undertake a specific shoot of gymnasts who had qualified for a host of national and international competitions. With all new leotards the head coach wanted a series of portrait images taking to help promote the club within the Yorkshire region.

The whole thing took around 4hrs to complete and with a happy head coach, general coaches, kids and parents I headed home.

That was not quite the end though regarding this as we are returning in January to film a whole series of short films about the club, their offerings and what kids can expect to be doing if they join the club. Really looking forward to that.

This image was a fun pic taken after all the kids had individually paraded in each of their leotards for their portrait to be taken. I know from my school photo experiences this isn’t fun so when the coach suggested a pic in the foam pit, we ended up with this.

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I’ll try not to leave things too long before blogging our October exploits.