Tag: Photography

Live: Hamilton Loomis @ 100 Club

I really like the 100 Club. I like the history that’s embedded in its DNA. I like that you can practically touch the ceiling. I like that there are tables dotted around the periphery looking less trustworthy under load than the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. I even like there being a view-sapping pillar with the conspicuity of a Brachiosaurus that resides smack bang in front of the stage. Get stuck behind that and you’re in for a fun night – it pays to arrive early. I like the music they put on and I like the punters that go there....

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Live: Blissfields 2015 Review

It never rains at Blissfields is quite a boast given this year’s event comes just a week after a notoriously changeable Glastonbury. But it held true, and despite huge thunderstorms soaking most of the South East of England, this corner of a Hampshire farm a few miles from Winchester did indeed stay dry all weekend! Now in its 15th year, the 3 day Blissfields event has remained refreshingly under the radar but it’s also had an enviable ability to attract those “just about to break big” acts over recent years including Mumford & Sons, Bastille, and Sam Smith. And...

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Live: Mavis Staples @ Clapham Grand

If ever there was a singer who could take a rock song and make it her own it has to be Mavis Staples. With her tight as tight band she put her distinctive mark on a few songs that you would not usually associate with cover versions. Of course the opening song had to be one of  the famous Staples Singers numbers, If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me). The spiritual and soulful opening grabbed everyone in the Clapham Grand Threatre in South London immediately and you could feel that gospel vibe, I mean it really bit you. The...

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Live: Tristan MacKay @ St Pancras Old Church.

This is the second time I’ve seen Tristan Mackay; the first was in support of Dan Patlansky at the Borderline a few months ago, and I recall thinking how easily he managed to silence what was a fairly raucous crowd. The songs and their lyrics are poetry in their own right, but his ability to engage with people through his storytelling, honesty and humour really set him apart. And the intimate setting of St Pancras Old Church on a warm summer’s evening is the perfect location for him to showcase his second album, Wire And Wood. This is certainly...

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Live: Suzanne Vega @ The Anvil.

Hammersmith Odeon. Wembley Arena. Wasn’t it nice when these venues could just be called what they’re called without being obligated to have the name of a multinational conglomerate inelegantly crowbarred into their title? I mention these places not out of nostalgic respect to times past, but because it was upon their stages that I first saw Suzanne Vega perform in the late 1980s. Indeed it’s testament to the explosive impact her first two albums made on the UK music scene that she was booked to play in such iconic venues, with such large capacities. In 2015, Vega has returned...

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Live: L7 @ Electric Ballroom.

Camden’s Electric Ballroom was the venue for L7’s triumphant return to London. With shows at Download festival and Glasgow already under their belts (the latter being their only other UK headline gig), the Californian four-piece grunge punk pioneers hit the stage in London to a raucous reception. Having disappeared from the scene in 2001, it’s been a long wait to see Donita Sparks, Suzi Gardner, Jennifer Finch and Dee Plakas back on stage and, indeed, for much of the audience it was their first L7 gig, having been too young to catch them the first time around. The band...

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Live: Death Cab For Cutie @ The Empire

Pacific Northwestern alternative rockers Death Cab for Cutie played the first of a trio of sold-out shows at West London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire in support of eighth studio album Kintsugi, which refers to the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using precious metals. Following 17 years as four-person outfit, the dynamic has shifted for this tour as founding member, guitarist and producer Chris Walla departed the band last year following completion of Kintsugi. The touring line-up has expanded to five in order to fill in the void. Kintsugi track No Room In Frame opened up proceedings followed quickly by Crooked Teeth from...

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Live: The Replacements @ Roundhouse

The Replacements took to the stage at London’s Roundhouse for the first of two reunion shows – their first UK performances in more than two decades. The band were in fine form, kicking things off with the Ramones-inspired surf-rocker Takin’ A Ride then segueing into such classics as Waitress In The Sky, Kiss Me On The Bus (substituting ‘bus’ for ‘tube’ in true London reverence) and Color Me Impressed. Featuring original members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, and including new members Dave Minahan (guitar) and Josh Freese (drums), the band managed to rock without sounding too polished and maintained...

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Live: The Rifles @ Electric Ballroom.

“I’ve got Joel’s autograph tattooed on my bum” is one of the strangest openings to a conversation I’ve had from within the photo pit. However, it’s this devotion and loyalty in their fans that sums up why The Rifles can sell out the Electric Ballroom three nights in a row, and why this series of 10th anniversary concerts is so special. There’s a real sense of history and experiences shared by the crowd who seem like a big “Rifles family”. And the lady with the tattoo wasn’t alone; I met people who’d travelled across Europe to be there and...

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Live: Virgil & The Accelerators @ 100 Club.

Following the Autumn 2014 release of their critically acclaimed second studio album Army Of Three, there are few bands in the blues-rock arena that are currently stirring up as much interest as Virgil And The Accelerators. Support slots with veteran acts such as Uriah Heap and Michael Schenker have helped build an audience and the band are now headlining venues as they strive, seemingly inevitably, towards bigger things. Now then, is perhaps the best time to catch them in the intimate surroundings of a space such as London’s iconic 100 Club, a music venue that has history dripping off...

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Live: Ben Poole @ The Maltings.

Last month I was lucky enough to photograph the Ben Poole band in the expansive surroundings of London’s Shepherds Bush Empire. Ben was the support act on the UK leg of Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s spring tour. I say ‘photograph’ and not ‘see’ because the ‘three songs and out’ rule at larger venues meant that after around 10 minutes I was escorted to and shown the wrong side of the stage door whilst waiting for Shepherd’s performance. My experience of Ben Poole prior to 21st May then primarily consisted of watching dusk envelop a dingy Shepherds Bush alleyway with a...

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Live: Masters Of Reality @ The Garage

On the road since 1981, the Masters Of Reality swapped the city of New York for the desert. Chris settled in Joshua Tree, California, becoming the “Godfather of Desert Rock”, but he doesn’t want to take all the credits to himself, as he stated in a recent interview “I can’t make any claim at all to inventing desert rock, or stoner rock, or whatever you want to call it. I make rock n roll records, and hopefully try to make the listener feel like I did when I heard my favourite music.“ The Masters entered the stage surrounded by the...

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Live: Larry Miller @The Borderline.

Larry Miller once played guitar in my front room. Around 20 years ago, he answered an ad in Melody Maker (for anybody under the age of 30, an ‘ad in Melody Maker’ was something that existed before the Internet) for a guitar I was selling and had come round to check it out. I’d never heard of him, but when he picked up my instrument, it was soon apparent that I was in the presence of guitar greatness. In the end, he never bought it. He advised me that to save me from myself he couldn’t buy it from...

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Live: Beth Hart @ The Barbican.

I have arrived a bit late to the phenomenon of Beth Hart. For me, that’s a shame because after tonight, I’m hooked and I feel like I’ve missed out. Tonight’s performance felt like a proper journey through life experiences, heartaches, families, love won, love lost and even a broken down old house in LA. And all driven along by Beth’s unbelievable voice, which lifts you up, and in the next moment, twists your heart and puts it through a mangle. It’s emotional stuff. But before that, we had the delight of Dubliner Miles Graham who gave us a lesson...

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Live: Social Distortion @ Empire Shepherds Bush.

Al Capone is in town…. No, wait a minute, its Social Distortion, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1990’s self-titled album, on the last day of their European tour. The night promised a revival for those who lived in the nineties, mohawks, jackets and beaten jeans invaded Shepherds Bush Empire on a Sunday evening just before a lazy bank holiday. Although  punk had thrived in England in the middle of the seventies, it did spread to the USA too, arriving at Social Distortion’s door in California. They learned from hits of Ramones, Sex Pistols and The Clash, creating the...

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Live: Wilko Johnson @ Shepherds Bush Empire

I first saw Wilko Johnson play guitar when I was 16 years old. He was guest on a BBC show called *Rockschool that taught impressionable teenagers such as myself how to play in a band. The programme aired in the mid 1980s – long after the peak of interest had waned in his band Dr Feelgood (a band I was only aware of peripherally anyway, and I’d certainly never heard of Johnson). He explained his technique – a technique that famously made him sound as if he was playing rhythm and lead guitar at the same time. He made...

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Live: Dan Patlansky @ The Borderline.

South African born blues guitarist Dan Patlansky is comparatively unknown in the UK, although he has an extensive back catalogue of material and has certainly attracted the attention of music critics worldwide. His latest recording Dear Silence Thieves was voted Number 1 Blues Rock Album in the World by Blues Rock Review USA. Beating out competition from artists such as Joe Bonamassa and Rival Sons, there must be something about him. Patlansky’s talents were obviously recognised by Bruce Springsteen too when he received the honour of being asked to open for the New Jersey institution during his recent South...

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Live: The Wombats @ Brixton Academy.

The Wombats released their long-awaited new album Glitterbug on 13 April. To celebrate they held a party in Brixton and invited 5000 people to it. The band, who met at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, might not be particularly prolific writers (Glitterbug is only their third Long Player, with A Guide To Love, Loss And Desperation debuting in 2007 and This Modern Glitch following in 2011), but they have a manically loyal fan base that insured their solitary London performance sold out in short order. There were two supports in the form of COMPNY who were playing their...

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Live: Kenny Wayne Shepherd @ The Empire.

It’s a balmy, unseasonably warm night in west London. Shirtsleeves abound on Shepherds Bush Green but at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire across the street, the temperature outside won’t match that in the auditorium. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band is in town and headlining a night of potent blues-rock. In his past, Shepherd has been accused of being too derivative, a Stevie Ray Vaughan clone running on auto. This strikes me as a little unfair. The blues scale contains six notes only (hexatonic) and no matter how you string them together, a degree of cross-pollination is surely inevitable. The...

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