This morning at about half past seven I got a call from a Hong Kong picture desk asking if they could use a photo of Henry Winkler, from the Liverpool Empire's panto Peter Pan, as they wanted to also run a story printed today in the New York Times. So obviously I had to check out the NY Times online and found a great story that has a selection of UK panto photos with one of mine running as the main image. Which is very nice!
Anyway, it reminded me that I still haven't posted my panto photos so here's the first of two blogs. This is the 2nd year on the run that I've covered the panto and it's a brilliant job because there's like about 20 people in the whole theatre watching the full dress rehearsal. It's also a bit surreal. The show itself runs until January 3rd, is worth checking out for the sets as much as the show itself (though it is a great show) and you can get more details here.
The full New York Times feature is here.
Just wanted to let everyone know that I've now started a Facebook Group page so click here if you're on Facebook and fancy signing up. I'll be using it to announce archive updates and new exhibitions/projects etc. I will not be emailing you all in daily spam like way!
Babyshambles at Liverpool's O2 Academy was my second to last gig of the year as I don't think I'll make Happy Mondays on New Year's Eve as I think it's a late night set. Introduced onstage by Lee Mavers who just walked up to the mic and shouted 'shut up will yeh', it was like the blind leading the blind 'cos in a typically Babyshambolic way, Pete Doherty wandered onto and around the stage looking a bit lost and worse for wear. He messed about on the guitar, kicked something back in to the audience that they'd thrown at him, gave them a pint of something which they fought over to drink and did just about everything but play and then out of nowhere came an anthem and suddenly they sound incredible. And that's sort of how the night went along. A fair bit of stopping and starting and getting around to things but when they did they were amazing.
Or at least tonight is the last chance to do late night shopping in Liverpool city centre whilst being entertained by the likes of giant robots, ladies on skates dressed as Christmas baubles and a wandering mobile disco duo. The entertainers are out on the street from 5-8pm tonight!
Oh and if you are Christmas shopping in Liverpool then my book is still available in Waterstones!
I mentioned these photographs the other day when I posted the ones of Dragonforce and as much as I like them, they're also quite odd in that they look like any other photographs of the band that I've shot over the last 6 years when they were the first band to play at O2 Academy or Carling Academy as it was known then. Actually I'm wrong, that first gig saw singer Michael Head wearing sunglasses for the duration of the gig as he'd gone and got himself a black eye a few days before in some incident in a London hotel with another band! But apart from that the only real difference of photos of Shack taken at this venue over the years is that the lighting's got a lot better!
Musically this is my idea of hell on earth, though of course the place was full of people who thought it was heaven, but visually it was one of my favourite bands ever to photograph purely for the poses. Oh and the hair of course! Last night I photographed Shack and as great as they are and as much as I love them , the photographs are just the same as every other Shack photo I've taken. Mick'll sit on the floor for a bit at some point, looks up with eyes shut, he always wears a similar hat and John nearly always has his eyes shut when he sings. Though I was happy enough with last night's shots as the lighting was better than the last few times I've seen them, they just look like old photos, so I'm left with an out and out power metal band with big big hair, at the beginning of panto season, to keep me visually entertained! Welcome to Dragonforce, there's more to follow. You just couldn't stop me!
This is the second single release from Alice Klar and this was shot in the summer!
This is General Fiasco who supported The Answer last week at the O2 Academy in Liverpool and next up will be the main act themselves. Just noticed that O2 are listed as also running shows up at the University of Liverpool which means more work and another venue for me to shoot for next year!
Been to both a retro rock and a metal gig this week and I think the bands hairiel displays are worthy of a mention alone. First up is The Answer and the second photo is from last night's Dragonforce gig. Musically not my cup of tea but I loved covering both of these gigs. More photos from both to follow!
Thanks to Art In Liverpool for pointing this article out from Friday's Guardian which runs with one of my photographs taken earlier on this year at the first In Harmony concert at The Phil. In Harmony (as the article explains) is a music education project which gives primary school children access to instruments and the chance to learn how to play classical music. This photograph which features one of the children with Julian Lloyd Webber was taken at the concert in July and on Friday, when this article was published, I also got to go and photograph a Christmas concert by the children in a packed out church in West Everton and the amount the kids had improved alongside their enthusiasm for playing was incredibly impressive and I'll post some photographs of the event over the next few days.
The full Guardian article is here.
Quick photo of the Bombay Bicycle Club from last Thursday at O2 Academy, Liverpool. I only managed to stay for a song as I was also in the main venue to photograph The Answer! There's been big bands in both venues quite a few times this week but it's not easy to get them both when they're both on at the same time and the rule is as ever first 3 songs only!
It was a busy night on Wednesday and this girl girl duo were supporting Goldie Lookin' Chain. I only caught a quick song or two as I wanted to get back up to see Urban Voodoo Machine (see previous post) and I presumed from the in between song banter that they were local but their MySpace page says they're from Buckinghamshire! They sort of look local though!
I was hoping to shoot both Goldie Lookin' Chain and New York Dolls the other night but as they were on at exactly the same time I opted for the Dolls having shot GLC a few times in the past. So I got the first three including the opening Looking For A Kiss (classic!), watched a bit more from the side, and then headed downstairs for a bit of hip hop from the valleys which I stuck out until they got to the new stuff. Still I got to see them do Half Man Half Machine (another classic!) so I was happy and then decided I was tired as I had another night of ridiculous contrasts lined up for the following night!
I usually blog support bands at some later date than the main act but this lot were so good they needed bringing to the front of the queue! They swaggered onstage dressed in red and black and stormed into a set that can only be described as gypsy tinged storming whiskey fuelled rock and roll voodoo swamp music blues. And probably loads of other stuff too! This was their first visit to Liverpool and I hope they get to come back cos they probably got one of the best receptions I've ever heard a support band get. Check them out here, they had a new single out Monday, but I'm also going to post a couple of videos after these photographs!
Tonight I'm possibly shooting both New York Dolls and Goldie Lookin' Chain at Academy O2. The 'possible' is down to the fact that if I'm shooting first 3 only and if they start at the same time then I'll just be photographing New York Dolls as I missed them last time around and I've photographed GLC on a few occasions. This was taken just before they broke big and was shot on Parr Street in Liverpool. You knows it!
I'd say it feels like yesterday but December 8th 1980, the day that John Lennon was murdered, feels like a long long time ago though obviously I have very accurate memories of the day. It was a school day and I got up quite excited to find back to back Beatles records being played on Radio City until the run of three songs ended and they gave out the news that John had been gunned down outside his home in New York. It was a horrible day but I still had to go to school and I remember the rockers in the school laughing at the Beatle fans and I never liked them anyway 'cos they liked Rainbow and Judas Priest, wore crap patches on their coats and they stunk of Patchouli oil. Later on in the evening it was Granada Reports with Tony Wilson being, from what I remember, not being quite complimentary about John and the clip that seemed to be getting played and played again on TV was the Let It Be rooftop session. And those are my main memories of a sad day. Radio City playing back to back Beatles hits, the smell of Patchouli and John Lennon in his fur coat on the roof of Apple singing Don't Let Me Down.
It would be good to hear what other people remember.
Needless to say I never photographed John Lennon so we'll have to make do with some fake ones.
I recently got a copy of The Phil's annual review, designed by Smiling Wolf, of 2008/2009 in the post with this first image spread across the front and back covers which I was made up with. And understandably enough the whole brochure was full of images I'd taken over the last year at the Phil itself as well as trips out including The Albert Hall, Summer Pops in Southport and the visit to the Houses Of Parliament not to mention the Queen and Macca's visits to Liverpool! The Phil over the last year have put on an incredible programme and things are still on the up with the recent announcement that the orchestra along with Vasily Petrenko are to play out in Shanghai later on in 2010 as part of Liverpool's presence at the World Expo! Fingers crossed I get to go with them!
Underwater themed children's concert.
OMD with The Liverpool Phil.
Bryn Terfel and Vasily Petrenko with the orchestra and choir.
Vasily Petrenko, February 2009.
In Harmony children's concert.
Conductor Clark Rundell and Elvis Costello in rehearsals.
Sir Simon Rattle with The Phil