Lil B, The BasedGod. The enormously prolific hip hop artist who has built up a huge online following played a rare live show in Vancouver at FIVESIXTY.
I was there to capture the madness of it all. Full gallery below, just click a thumbnail to start.
Recently I got the chance to take some portraits of Vancouver indie-electro band Humans for the cover of BeatRoute Magazine.
This one’s not for the squeamish amongst you – pig hearts and fake blood make a bit of a mess. A small selection of the day’s shoot can be seen below.
J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph, a.k.a. Dinosaur Jr. came to town to play the whole of their album “Bug”.
First however, Henry Rollins interviewed them on stage. A few more shots can be seen in the gallery below.
OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) – the young, controversial hip hop crew from L.A. sold out the Vogue theatre rapidly, with black market tickets being sold on for 3 to 4 times face value.
Whatever you think of them, they know how to whip up a crowd into a frenzy and are most definitely fun to watch.
The Vogue were well prepared for the show by setting up a security barrier, which gave us photographers access to a pit for those all important first 3 songs.
The lighting wasn’t so bright though, so I was pushing my equipment to its limits to get what I needed as Tyler the Creator, his trademark vans and the rest of his crew bounced around the stage. Full gallery below.
Devo. I like to think of them as quiet legends – much more influential when it comes to modern music than I think most of us realise.
Despite most of the band members approaching retirement age, they put on an amazing show full of costume changes, daft choreography, little gimmicks and of course their trademark “energy dome” hats.
From a photographer’s perspective, the show was a mixed bag. Plus points – A lot of the lighting was bright and white and the video screen provided interesting backdrops for the action on stage. Minus points – No pit, but still the usual 3 song rule meant I had to (attempt to be) at my most charming to be able to muscle my way in to good positions during those first 3 songs. Full gallery below.
I was pretty excited to see that Beardyman was coming to town. The posters around Vancouver were advertising the “World’s best beatboxer” playing at the rather small (but perfectly formed) Fortune Sound Club. As always, the lights in there were a challenge, but with a show that entertaining, I wasn’t too concerned.
Photos of said beatboxer gurning like a champ below.
Tapes ‘n Tapes with support from The Chain Gang of 1974 – Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver – 22nd August 2011
Last month saw Minneapolis indie quartet Tapes ‘n Tapes come to town. They were minus one member though. Their keyboardist Matt Kretzman couldn’t make it due to a family emergency so they had to make do as a trio.
Still, it’s worth looking on the bright side – it gave their drummer (Jeremy Hanson) centre stage which of course meant that he’d be well lit, a rarity when it comes to drummers.
Guitarist/vocalist Josh Grier and bassist Erik Applewick made up what was – for one night – the rest of the power trio. Full gallery after the following shot.
I haven’t spent a summer in Vancouver before. Everyone I spoke to kept telling me how amazing the summer is in this city – the long days, the scenery, the weather…and the fireworks.
It seemed strange to me that a few firework displays in late July/early August could be something that so many people would talk about as a highlight of the summer.
The Celebration of Light is a yearly fireworks competition between various pyrotechnic teams invited from different countries. This year saw the 3 previous years’ winners – China, Spain and Canada – battle it out.
Now I understand why so many people talk about the firework displays. They really are that good – who knew you could do so many things with some explosives?
For more info on the Celebration of Light, check out the website here
The lesson I learned? Just because a venue has a good lighting system, it doesn’t mean that the lighting that night will be ideal for photography. Always turn up prepared for the worst.
Tonight’s support act Unknown Mortal Orchestra…
…left myself and my fellow photographers at the venue bemused by playing with no lighting at all. Just the band on a dark stage. It became apparent that I had to think on my feet in order to get anything without my speedlite in tow. The solution? Catch other people’s bursts of flash during long exposures…and a little panning and zooming to catch multiple bursts of flash.
I’m not sure how to describe what these guys play…at times I thought they sounded like the Stone Roses stuck in a 60s time warp. Whatever it was they sounded like, I thought it was pretty cool (and better live than on record).
Tonight’s headliners – Yuck – from the UK sound like a little piece of the 90s, mixing grunge and shoegaze influences.
Luckily for me, there was some light to work with, perfect for a set of black and white images which I think fits in nicely with the band’s sound.
A few more images of Yuck can be seen below.
Fucked Up with support from Real Problems and The Strugglers – Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver – 20th July 2011
A free show to see possibly the most interesting hardcore punk band in the world? This was definitely one not to be missed.
Fucked Up didn’t disappoint and lead singer Damian Abraham stole the show with his antics (he spent much of the show pretty much anywhere in the venue but the stage). Full gallery below, just click on any thumbnail to start:
Omar Souleyman puts on a simple show. Just him and his keyboard player. For supposedly Syria’s biggest star, he seems like a humble man, responding to crowd admiration individually and with gratitude.
Within a song or two of his set, the low stage was rushed by the crowd who proceeded to dance a traditional arabic “dabke” dance. Despite security’s apparent panic and a slight look of concern on Souleyman’s face, it was all very calm and well meaning, with the occasional fan stopping to pose for a picture with their hero.
The sea of people and the inconsistent lighting (which appeared to become dimmer and redder as the show went on) made this one of the more challenging shows I’ve ever shot. For the most part it was a show for the fast prime lens, but eventually I took the opportunity to try out some off camera lighting at a show for the first time.
Some fans enjoying a traditional style dance.
…and some less traditional. It was refreshing to see how music can bring different cultures together in one big party atmosphere.
Support act for the evening were local band Basketball…I’ll just direct you to their myspace here and recommend that you go check them out. A fascinating and exciting live band.
My previous blog post was a difficult one for me. What I witnessed that night affected me greatly and receiving compliments on those images leads to mixed feelings.
As many of you know however, the people of Vancouver are doing all they can to repair the city’s damaged reputation. I’m so happy to be able to post these photographs.
Below you can see just a few of the people who were helping to clean up downtown Vancouver the morning after the riot, happily munching on cookies that a chef (who seemed to appear from nowhere) had just handed them.
These shots are what I have seen with my own eyes. I must stress that I certainly do not believe that everyone you will see in this gallery is guilty of criminal activity, I believe that some however are – I hope that their actions are dealt with accordingly.
As far as I am concerned, there was no reason for riots to break out. Hockey (like any sport) is only a game…no matter how seriously you take it, there is never any excuse to cause damage to property, people or the city you live in because things didn’t go the way you wanted them to.
This was a night of firsts for me.
Since having moved to Vancouver about a month ago (I’m planning to be here for a year), I was yet to shoot a gig. I decided at the last last minute to head to the Biltmore Cabaret for the first time to check out Guitar Wolf – a self styled “Jet Rock ‘n’ Roll” band that I’d been vaguely aware of for years, but had never had the chance to see.
Now I’ve been to a lot of gigs in my time, but nothing had quite prepared me for experiencing Guitar Wolf. Even before they’d taken to the stage, the crowd was struggling to stay on its feet, with the front row using the stage as a support whilst everyone bopped along to the Ramones.
Although the constantly changing colours were a challenge and the bands’ drummers were almost totally in the dark, I was pleasantly surprised at the power of the lighting – especially considering the size of the venue.
The biggest challenge of all however was staying on my feet. At times I found myself pretty much on stage along with other photographers and members of the crowd as a way to stay in one piece. Occasionally I had to stop to give everything a wipe down, I’m pretty sure that beer, sweat and saliva aren’t ideal for a camera’s inner workings.
To try to put into words what the show was like is beyond me, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking and maybe try to explain what’s going on in captions. All I will say is that to see Guitar Wolf is to be reminded what rock and roll should be all about – the power, the energy, the love of music and, of course, the sheer insanity.
Full, epic gallery of shots below, just click on any thumbnail to start scrolling through.
Having become used to London’s gig crowds who rarely care much for the support acts, I totally misjudged the reaction that the first band on would receive. As a result, I found myself struggling to make my way to the front to shoot Timecopz.
Seems they’re pretty popular on the Vancouver punk scene and I could see why – fast, loud, bouncy, thrashy, fun. I overheard someone say they sound a lot tougher than they look, I’m not sure if that was a criticism or not – decide for yourself. See below for full gallery.
Cheap Time – being from out of town – received a more muted response from the crowd, but still went down pretty well.
Their punk influenced sound was a perfect warm up for the crazed show that was to follow. Gallery below.
24th May 2011 is likely to be remembered for a long time by Vancouverites. It was the night that the Vancouver Canucks won the Western Conference final and therefore reached their first Stanley Cup final since 1994.
I’ll readily admit that my knowledge of the icy kind of hockey doesn’t go far beyond what I learnt playing the NHL games on the Sega Megadrive (a.k.a. Genesis) with my cousins, but it’s difficult to spend time any time here without being swept up in all the excitement.
I don’t think it’s over-exaggerating to say that reaching the Stanley Cup Final seems to mean as much to the people of Vancouver as reaching a World or European Cup final would mean to the English. The cars adorned with flags, the blaring horns after every victory and the all round party atmosphere attest to that.
I went downtown to the CBC plaza where thousands of fans had gathered to watch game 5 of the series which the Canucks were leading 3-1 against San Jose Sharks. Below you can see a gallery of images taken during the game.
GO CANUCKS GO!
I’ve been to the Purple Turtle a couple of times before and knew it could go either way in terms of lighting. All considered, the lighting for Acid King wasn’t too bad, although still not bright enough to get away with using the zoom, so it had to be the 50mm prime all the way.
…but that’s not all…
The Path is Clear were fun to watch, the guitarist’s gurn and stance reminding me of an old friend of mine
…Carlton Melton…LOUD, experimental, crowd interactive, partly grey haired…hugely talented and doing whatever the hell they like. A few shots from the zoom here, but the results were too hit and miss given the lighting.
Some of you who know me might have heard me rambling on about the ProAm Project. What you see to the left is my contribution – or at least part of it. The photo is of Raphy Bliss, a fellow project participant.
Late last year, London based photographer Sonny Malhotra set up an ambitious project to create “a chain of 50 portrait shots taken by photographers who aren’t quite full time professionals”.
Earlier this month I headed over to Raphy’s house and spent a sunny Sunday afternoon with him, taking shots in and around his home.
Below you can see some outtakes from the shoot, including some I shot on medium format film using Raphy’s camera – and an extra shot messing about on the roof of Raphy’s house. Click on a shot to bring up larger versions.
The second part of my contribution – me acting as model for another photographer – is yet to come…watch this space.
More info on the ProAm project can be found at http://proam.sonnymalhotra.com
Some shots of the evening can be seen here, but to see the full set, head over to my new Facebook page and hit “Like”.
Wales’ second city. Supposedly home of the 3rd most violent street in the UK (during December 2010 anyway), but from my experience, everyone seems pretty friendly. It rains pretty much everytime I’m there though.
My day job has takes me there now and then and not knowing many people in the city, there’s not a lot to do in the evenings when staying in a hotel. What else to do but roam around and see what I can make of the free time I have in this seemingly perma-damp city?