Opening up with Do The Dog and closing with You're Wondering Now, The Specials gig launched Liverpool Music Week in a big big way last night and the gig is the best one I've seen in a long time and ranks up there in my top 5 ever alongside The Jam at the Royal Court, Patti Smith at Carling Academy, Black Lips at Liverpool Sound City earlier this year and Portishead in Blackpool's Empress Ballroom in 1995. It was my first gig at the Olympia and the first time I've ever seen The Specials and both were amazing! The venue is a proper old theatre and is mostly used for cage fighting but the place looks stunning as well as being a very easy venue to watch a band. And the band themselves? Well, The Specials only had like 2 albums and half a dozen singles but last night was 2 hours of hit after hit with a brilliant support band that I don't remember the name of and a reggae soundsystem and I've never seen such a happy up for it middle aged audience since the David Byrne gig earlier on in the year at The Phil. Do the do the do the do the Dog!!!
More photos to follow......
Victoria Christina Hesketh came out last night to the O2 Academy sell out crowd through dense dry ice, dressed in a silver hooded cloak and preceded to sit and play a keyboard at the back of the stage behind a giant black skull which had beams of light projected out of it's eyes and for a moment I thought I was at a Hawkwind gig. Three minutes later and it was all back to normal. This is Little Boots.
After a quiet couple of months of gigs partly down to the fact that I did my ankle in just before the August Bank Holiday, which meant that the Mathew Street Festival and Creamfields were knocked on the head straight away, the next few weeks are going to be music music music with gigs at my regular haunt O2 Academy as well as some on the Liverpool Music Week calendar. And on top of that I also get to go to Dubai for Dubai Sound City as the official photographer which is great news. The Dubai Sound City is being ran by the same people who've done the Liverpool event which has taken the city by storm over the last two years and both events have left me in a right state due to working day and night and trying to fit in as much as possible. Take the event outdoors and into 90 degrees of heat and I might even lose a bit of weight! Aside from the fact that I'm going to see loads of great bands in somewhere new to me it's also great just seeing how a local festival has been invited to work on an event in Dubai and I can't wait to see some of Liverpool finest bands playing out there. They're gonna sweat!!
Going with me on the trip is Peter Guy, Liverpool's finest musical scribe and together we should be posting back on a daily basis so watch this space. Check Peter's blog out here.
I've already posted this slideshow but for those tuning in from the UAE, this is what Liverpool Sound City was like for us in 2009!
Enter Shikari live last night at Academy O2 in Liverpool in what was probably the hottest gig I've ever witnessed. I was in the venue at the front for only about 15 minutes before stage time and although I thought my cameras could take the heat, they couldn't and I spent most of the gig wiping condensation off the lens! Next up will be the audience!
Over the next few days there's going to be a slight diversion from the world of soul music with a few random shots of the QM2's first ever visit to Liverpool. I was lucky enough to make a brief onboard visit of the ship yesterday for a plaque handover ceremony but was also alongside when she arrived to the sounds of Gerry Marsden and the theme from the Liver Birds!
Deniece Wiliams' biggest hits were 'Free', look it up because you WILL know it, and the 80's classic Let's Hear It For The Boy. She performed both of these at David Gest's Philharmonic show but at Liverpool Cathedral on the following Thursday she sang like I don't think I've ever heard anybody sing and in that setting it was incredible. Like many of the people who performed that night, her singing started with the church and on the night she sang some old Gospel song I'd never heard before but she sang it like it was the last song she was ever going to sing. Trivia note, Deniece started out on her career as a Stevie Wonder backing singer as part of Wonderlove alongside Minnie Riperton and Syreeta Wright!
Freda Payne's Band Of Gold is one of the greatest records ever made and has always been a massive record in Liverpool to the point that I think everyone in the city must have danced to this tune at some point in their lives. Although Freda Payne is sort of seen as being one of the greatest one hit wonders ever, she also recorded some other great records with Unhooked Generation and Easiest Way To Fall being somewhat overlooked classics and on top of that she does a mean jazz standard as she proved in last week's Cathedral concert. This photo was taken backstage at The Phil during the David Gest gig.
I don't think I've calmed down yet since last night's concert in Liverpool Cathedral so I'll just post a couple of my favourite photos and write up some more later.
In descending order :
Jane Russell sings in Liverpool Cathedral!!!
Peabo Bryson with the Temptations Paul WilliamsJnr singing Ain't Nobody.
Billy Paul, The Temptations, Percy Sledge and William Bell.
Liverpool's own Connie Lush singing for Dorothy Moore, Freda Payne and Dennis Edwards.
As well as a whole host of US superstars of soul playing at the gig last weekend at The Phil there was Liverpool's own blues singer Connie Lush who had been asked to play by David Gest after seeing her get up and sing at a previous event. Last Saturday's gig saw Connie covering Clydie Kings 'If You Were A Man' which was apparently chosen by David and it was a perfect choice but if you've not seen, or more importantly heard, Connie than check out some of the videos on her site which is here.
It's impossible to make a decision on who was my favourite performer on Saturday night at The Phil but Dorothy Moore's performance of Misty Blue was just stunning. Misty Blue was a massive hit for Dorothy Moore in 1976 though it had taken nearly three years to get the records out there in the first place after Dorothy had recorded her vocal in one single take back in 1973! The song was originally written for Brenda Lee in 1966 and has been recorded by many artists and has been given both r&b and country treatments by artists that include Billie Joe Spears, Joe Simon, Mary J Blige, Sheena Easton and Ella Fitzgerald!
Click here to see a performance of the song on the 70's!
I spent yesterday afternoon mostly trying to contain my excitement whilst photographing some of the greatest names in soul music who were performing at David Gests 'My Life' show at the Philharmonic. I was lucky enough to watch the evening show and it was a great night but during the afternoon I got to photograph all of the performers and I will be posting up photos throughout the week. I'll also be posting some photographes of David's 'helpers' but first up is 70's legend Billy Paul who last night sang 'Let 'Em In' and of course 'Me & Mrs Jones'. Got to admit I've never dug much deeper than the obvious hits of Billy Paul but today I've been listening to his early albums and can highly recommend them with Ebony Woman coming out on top.
Lots more to follow!
Just been having an early morning sort out of new images to go up online at my stock agency and I came across these two photos from Chavasse Park. One was taken about 5 years ago when 'it was just fields 'round here' and the other was taken a year ago.
Anybody checking out the agency won't actually find any images online at the moment as all are being replaced and I'll post the link back up when everything is up and running again!
Today was supposed to be about meetings and sorting out locations for shoots this week until I got a call from Resurrection to say that Marina & The Diamonds were doing an in store performance ahead of the NME Radar Tour gig tonight at the Stanley Theatre and could I come down and get some photos. Anyway it was a nice surprise and Marina (if that's her real name) was incredible, especially due to the fact that she was playing in a shop window on Bold Street on a Monday lunchtime and belting them out like it was Saturday night!! And then about 20 minutes after the band had left the shop to head off to a soundcheck, the one and only Dennis Edwards of 'Don't Look Any Further' and The Temptations fame came in shopping so I'm reckoning that Resurrection is where it's at right now. Photos of recent visitors who also happen to include The View will be online soon at the shop's new website which is .....here!
So I photographed a band and met one of The Temptations and it's only Monday evening! Here's Marina.......