I did some photographs a while ago for the singer Toni james which have just gone online in her new website which you can check out here.
Or is it Rat & Brian? Rat Scabies and Brian James were the support for Eagles Of Death Metal in what seems to be a hurriedly put together 'Rat and Brian' go Death Metal project. The largely instrumental duo were stupid loud and I found out afterwards that their amps didn't even go through the main p.a. But they were the loudest things I'd ever heard!?! Introduced to the stage by the headline band's singer Jesse Hughes as being one of his biggest influences, the duo made a massive great big drums and guitar assault on an unsuspecting audience that at times reminded me of Link Wray which of course is a good thing. And if their whole set wasn't noisy enough, the Eagles of Death Metal joined them onstage at the end for a massively distorted version of New Rose!
After hearing the volume coming out of the support band who were just two blokes playing guitar and drums, I decided that last night's Eagles Of Death Metal gig was one of them rare times when ear plugs were very very necessary. And I wasn't wrong! Not heard this lot before but they were well entertaining, through the comforting dulled sound of the ear plugs, and from recent reports I heard they outshone the Arctic Monkeys when they supported them on the opening night of their UK tour at the Echo Arena. This was a proper old school rock'n'roll show with the audience joining in to the point that all the boys were giving it the Sign of the Horns and the girls were giving up their bras! Rock on!
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!!
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!
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.
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!
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!
Took a quick break from the activities of the Irish Village main stage to check out the circular 'out at sea' bar that is 360º. The two floor bar is stunning, DJ Francois Dubois was being broadcast live on Radio One and the young pretenders packing the place out were pretending away and we could have been anywhere in the world. Luckily we had the saving grace view of the Burj Al Arab to protect us and keep us entertained, a view which was worth the visit alone!
It was great getting to photograph The Courteenars in Dubai as usually their UK audiences consist of some of them drink throwing types that seemed to have hit the headlines this week by striking the sensitive one onstage at the Echo Arena. Needless to say beer wasn't about to be chucked about in Dubai due to the fact that it's like 7 quid a pint and the consequences of it hitting the security is a risk I don't think nobody would want to take.
I think the singer looks like Father Ted.
So what were the punters like who attended Dubai Sound City? Obviously the crowd were mostly expat (actually they were expat of many countries though mostly from Europe and then the States and down under) and by and large mostly 25 plus. They're also a pretty straight crowd and you could be forgiven for initially thinking that the organisers had just dropped a bar and a stage into a large outdoor branch of Next but on a second inspection there was actually quite a few cool people in attendance though the bunch of Emo kids I saw hanging out down at the Festival City stage one day were a bit of shock! But the best thing about the audience was the hunger they had for live music and the lack of cynicism and the amount of enthusiasm they had for just about everyone that played, which sort of came in handy when pop disco kids bands like Alaphabeat were nearly playing back to back with psych out Welsh warriors Super Furry Animals.
And away from the live stages there was the aftershow club nights and I saw floors filled by everything from R&B and Hip Hop (defo big out there) to UK house (live on Radio One no less) alongside electro, pop and retro classics with standout sets being by Ladytrons Reuben Wu and The Futureheads who played the best floor filling wedding set I've ever heard at the last night party!.
Quite easily one of my Dubai Sound City highlights was Wave Machines and they're a band that work just as well in a dark sweaty cellar as they do outdoors in daylight in blinding sunlight. It was Friday afternoon and the first day off in the Dubai working week, the beer at the Irish Village was flowing and the dancing had begun and for many it felt like the weekend started here! I was well late in getting onto Wave Machines and if you've not done so I suggest you do!!!