These were shot in the summer for a series of releases by the part local, part german band Alice Klar. Check them out here.
Just came across this whilst searching within Lightroom for something quite unrelated and it's of Sure Is Pure, shot in Stoke in 1990 on my favourite old medium format camera, the Mamiya C330. Sure Is Pure were made up of Candy Flip's Danny Spencer and legendary house DJ Kelvin Andrews and they went on to work together on other projects including Sound 5 (brilliant but overlooked and lost in time) and Soul Mekanik as well as writing songs for that other Stoke legend Robbie Williams. Kelvin also continues to DJ and will be back in Liverpool in the new year for the irregular Altiplano events. Watch this space as they say!
I don't know what's happened with this week and where it's gone because every time I sit down to write a blog I end up getting sidetracked and not posting anything. And just in case it happens again I'm going to post a quick photo from last night's Christmas street entertainment in Liverpool. Hopefully more will follow later.
Josh Weller's got big hair and a big stage presence. Supporting Paloma Faith at O2 Academy last week, he walked onto the usual indifference that a support acts gets but within 2 seconds (well, 2 songs) he'd converted most of the room into being fans. Check him out here.
Starting last Saturday and finishing this coming Saturday is the first ever Liverpool Folk and Roots Festival which has been lovingly put together by the wonderful Random Family who also run the regular Family Folk Up nights at St.Bride's Church. I'm going to be out filming/photographing some of the events later in the week and yesterday I was lucky enough to catch a brilliant Sea Shanty workshop in the foyer of The Bluecoat whilst other venues include Company Store at Zanzibar on Friday, Sefton Park Palm House and a closing gig at St.Brides. The photo is of Sixteen Tonnes who are hosting and playing at the Zanzibar. For more info check here.
My last blog featured a photo taken in 95 degrees of heat two weeks ago in Dubai and this was taking in rather cold drizzling rain last Thursday in Liverpool! It's the official start of the late night Thursday shopping run up to Christmas, the lights are on and the street entertainers are out between 5 and 8 every week. This is Titan The Robot!!
As soon as we got off the plane, after an overnight flight via Amsterdam, and having checked into our hotel at 7am we decided to have a wander into town and our first port of call was the fish and veg markets which are always good for an early morning wander. We'd decided this was a better idea than sleep due to the fact that within only a few hours it might be too hot to go outside in the heat and it was our last chance to see something before we melted! Needless to say it was a surreal introduction to the city but one which I can highly recommend especially if you get talking to the traders themselves who we had great conversations with like 'where in England you from?', 'Liverpool', 'Liverpool? Yeah, Kenny Dalglish!'.. However, I didn't really take many photos due to the fact that I could barley keep my eyes open so I went back on the last day for another quick look 'round before I came home. By this time as I was quite getting used to the heat and these were actually taken in the mid afternoon when the fish market and stopped trading for the day.
Paloma Faith is one of 2009's success stories, with her debut album 'Do Yo Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful', and the packed out O2 Academy loved her on Tuesday night. You can see from the photos that the girl makes an effort on stage thought it's not without a bit of local help! Apparently the pipe cleaner headdress creation she's wearing was made by a Liverpool designer who's name escapes me but over on backing vocals is future legend Jetta who is the daughter of the incredibly talented Jennifer John. Also, locally linked though not from Liverpool herself is bass player Andrea Goldsworthy who was previously part of Ladytron's touring band for a while and who I last saw when the I photographed Ladytron in Budapeast when me and Andrea killed some time in the afternoon by visiting the Marzipan Museum which is a bit of a surreal place to say the least! Support for the gig, with Paloma watching from the side of the stage, was by Josh Weller and I'll post those photographs on another day!
Madinat is the brand new shiny Arabic style souk that's virtually it's own mall though it's no doubt got a hotel within it's grounds/resort because as well as the shops, fake creek, boats to take you from one side to the other and all kinds of places to eat, you can also drink along the waterfront and being able to drink somewhere in Dubai means that somewhere within the business there's a hotel as that the rules of the drinks license. The preconception before going to Dubai was that you could only drink in hotel bars but the reality is that you can drink in bars all over the place but they are always in the grounds of a hotel and hotels can have numerous bars and clubs in close proximity which you can wander between without actually feeling like you're in or near a hotel. There was even mention of 4 room hotels opening in the city with a bar attached!
For the photo enthusiasts out there, this is an 8 image 180 degree handheld panoramic photograph stitched in CS4 which is amazing at stitching images. Geek moment over!
A few years ago whilst working on a fashion shoot in Puerto Banus, I was having a late drink in some dodgy cocktail bar full of plastic gangster expats, with make up artist friend Jayne Moore, when we encountered a man wearing black leather gloves. We couldn't see him as he was sat behind a large pillar and could only see the reactions to him from his over glamorous friends who fawned away and laughed at his jokes and then every now and then as he reached out his hand from behind the pillar to pick up his drink we caught a glimpse of the black leather glove . Anyway, since then I've never been able to take anybody serious who wears them and when Kasabian took to the stage at the Echo Arena last night for the closing night of Liverpool Sound City it was the first thing I thought of!
Aside from that it looked like the audience were in for an evening of showbiz entertainment in a Spinal Tap stylee with stage hands dressed in white coats and all kinds of props and accessories being at hand to the band, which sadly for us photographers in the pit didn't get used during the first three songs! However, I quite enjoyed being back in an arena for once as it was all quite close up and in your face, the lights were incredible and photographer friendly, the band look great and Tom Meighan pulls a good Joan of Arc pose every now and then.
Anyway that's 'sort of' the end of Liverpool Music Week which although has had it's closing party and final gig actually has another late event on November 28th at O2 Academy with Gallows.
After 6 days in Dubai you start to get the feeling that nothing is real or at least nothing is natural. We were even in confused discussions as to who had been to the real souks as there is a replica brand new modern Arabic style shopping mall souk with a creek and boats as well as an original 'old' souk (could go as far back in ancient history as the 1970's) which is less 'authentic looking' but it also has a creek and boats. The point being that they seem to be getting rid of anything pre 1990 and building a nice new shiny modern version of it just along the road like history has to be gotten rid of and replaced with a fake history 'cos tourists like it.
These flamingos, possibly to be replaced with plastic ones in the not too distant future, are just on the current edge of the ever expanding city and they're well worth getting lost on the motorway for just to realise that nature does exist somewhere on the edge of madness.
Having been spoilt and worn out by Dubai Sound City, as well as having new commercial work to do, against all good intentions regards getting out and covering more I've made myself a bit thin on the ground with Liverpool Music Week(s) but here's Calvin Harris from the University last week. I'm also doing the last gig of the event which is Kasabian tonight at the Echo Arena.
I've also been asked quite a bit over the last few weeks as to whether I'd covered two of the biggest recent gigs with the first one being Morrissey and did I get a photo of whoever did it (nope, I was in Dubai) and secondly the Arctic Monkeys who I'd completely dismissed out of mind (even though I like them) due to the fact that they have one of those really over the top rights grabbing contracts.
Regards Morrissey (who also has a terrible photographer's contract), I was talking to somebody on Friday night who was trying to tell me the theory going around that Morrissey has a stooge in the audience and if he ain't feeling too good or wants that get out clause then a quick wink and he's hit with a very light cup of water to give him a excuse to pull the gig. And one of the main backups for this story is that if it was just a 'light cup of water' then it must have been close range and if it was close range then somebody must have seen who threw it etc etc. Anyway, it's my favourite musical conspiracy theory since me mate Gilly tried to convince me that the Arctic Monkeys were, in a similar way to The Monkees, a complete record company creation mostly due to the fact that nobody of the age of Alex Turner could have written songs as insightful and at times as cynical as he was writing.
Anybody got any others?
After being chilled out by Nitin Sawhney and horrified by Alphabeat, it was left to The Wombats to be my last favourite band of the festival. Big catchy tunes and a silly amount of energy, The Wombats have got it all and in a proud Liverpool sort of way it was great seeing the Dubai crowd sing along!
And so that's it and I've blogged nearly all of the bands I photographed at Dubai Sound City with a only a city view or two left to upload over the next few days!
For those who don't know, like me before they took to the stage, Alphabeat are some sort of high octane Eurotrash camped up trance band and it was the worst thing I personally saw all weekend. However, the audience loved it, sang along and danced away on the last day of the festival whilst 2 grown men in their 40's ran out the VIP area and towards the stage shouting 'quick, quick, it's Alphabeat. Let's rock!'. Each to his own! Click here to decide which side of the Alphabeat fence you're on.
I only managed to see one band down at this stage, which is a floating one at the back of the Festival City mall, and it was the Paris based band Slutterhouse and they were the perfect band to be playing in front of the most incredible sunset as people chilled out on bean bags in front of the marina. What more could you want? I went down here on my own on the third day as people were starting to flag from the post Happy Mondays party madness and it was the best thing I could have done and was perfectly timed!
'Son I'm 30, I only went with your mother 'cos she's dirty'. The Mondays opened with one of the best opening lines ever, from Kinky Afro, and the place went nuts. It was a late night on what would be their Saturday night and the up for it crowd were as drunk as could be in a country that doesn't really tolerate being drunk! The set was amazing though Bez didn't make it and according to Shaun Ryder, 'They wouldn't let Bez out the country, they wouldn't let him out his mind!'. Hallelujah!
Next up is The Whip and this one's a change of venue as it was a nightclub (yes they do have nightclubs in Dubai!) called Chi which was a partly roofless place next to a fairground so behind the stage was the giant silhouette of a ferris wheel! Nothing is real. The Whip were another highlight for me, check them out here.
With a 5 day shoot ahead of me I'm attempting to put up all of my final Dubai Sound City photos by the end of today and first up is Doves from the first night. As there's still quite a few more to go I won't get into talking about the bands though more show details can be found here.
On the last day of `Dubai Sound City I went down to Festival City which is a massive mall (one of many!) and this is the view at the back of the centre looking back towards Burj Dubai. Festival City was also the site of another stage, a floating stage no less, and I'll post some photos of that one tomorrow.
If you've been sitting up in a hotel room drinking cheap Scotch 'til 5 in the morning with plastic Arabs, I can guarantee that the best time to arrive at a festival the following day is when Nitin Sawhney is playing. This was the best Sunday afternoon wind down music I've heard only it's actually only Saturday as the weekend in the Middle East starts early but if there was anybody I came back from Dubai wanting to see again then I reckon it was Mr Sawhney!