Gig Review – Sonna Rele and Marsha Ambrosius, IndigO2, 21 December 2013

Sonna Rele captures the moment, IndigO2, 21 December 2013I photographed Sonna Rele back in February when she supported Ne-Yo just after the announcement of her signing to his label. Tonight I was invited by her manager to photograph her set supporting Marsha Ambrosius.

She is one hell of a singer and I’m sure when her album is released next year she’ll do very well.

The set was over all too quickly but it was a lot of fun – the lighting was beautiful and she was having a ball, even stopping before the last song to get some shots of the crowd and a selfie as a memento.

After her set I raced over to the main O2 Arena to shoot JLS and came straight back to catch Marsha Ambrosius’ set. I was the only photographer shooting and because she was already on stage by the time I got back in to IndigO2, the pit security guard was reluctant to let me in but he eventually did and I think I got 2 or 3 songs before I had to finish up.

It was the first time I’ve ever shot two gigs in one night and even though they were in the same building, the timings almost didn’t work out. Having said that it was a nice way to end what has been a very successful year of gig shooting. Here’s hoping 2014 is a good one too.

Gig Review – JLS, O2 Arena, 21 December 2013

JLS, O2 Arena, 21 December 2013Having shot Sonna Rele’s set supporting Marsha Ambrosius over at IndigO2, I raced over to the main O2 arena for JLS’s set. The only way I was going to manage shooting two gigs in one night (albeit in the same venue) was if timings ran like clockwork.

Fortunately, JLS came on precisely on time. We had songs 1, 2 and 4 which was fine, but during song 3 they used the runway and I’m a real fan of getting shots from behind the performers with the crowd and the lighting in the background. As we were brought back in they were talking to the crowd between songs and I was able to get this shot.

Once I’d shot their set I raced back to IndigO2 knowing I was already late for Marsha Ambrosius’ set…

Gig Review – will.i.am, O2 Arena, 5 December 2013

will.i.am, O2 Arena, 5 December 2013This was a gig I was quite looking forward to. Having never caught a Black Eyed Peas show, and knowing what an innovator will.i.am is, I anticipated something really quite dramatic.

Support came from Conor Maynard who struts and gurns so isn’t exactly photogenic but he had some great lighting at least. Then came a very shy Leah McFall, winner (?!) of The Voice, and will.i.am’s latest signing – who coyly performed two songs in front of the curtain hiding the stage before will.i.am’s set.

I’d heard complaints just before the show that at a regional show, some photographers thought they’d forgotten to switch the lights on and as a result they came away with shots they weren’t happy with. Not so! It was clearly his intention to play in either silhouette or dreadful near non-existent light until we left. And indeed he did. Only half way through the second song did he venture forward in reasonable light and even then it was barely bright enough to get useable shots.

I left feeling very flat. I had turned down a ticket to the Royal Premier of Long Walk To Freedom, the film about Nelson Mandela, and as I packed up and left the venue, I regretted not going. Half way home on the train, I saw the news of his sad passing, which was actually announced to everyone at the premier at the end of the film. It rather put my disappointment in perspective. Rest in Peace Madiba.

Gig Review – Avenged Sevenfold, Wembley Arena, 1 December 2013

Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates, Avenged Sevenfold, Wembley Arena, 1 December 2013I missed out shooting Avenged Sevenfold when they supported Guns n’ Roses at Hammersmith Apollo back in 2006 just before the Download Festival. Funnily enough, I couldn’t get a pass, but I did get a ticket to watch the show that night.

I’d seen plenty of shots from previous shows on the tour with promising light so I had high hopes for tonight. Well..!

Support act Five Finger Death Punch played in pretty muddy light which was neither dramatic or bright enough to do them justice in pixels.

For A7X we had the first four songs and once the fourth song started I realised why! The first three were a right off of backlight reds and blues, a sensor’s nightmare. On song four it was like someone had remembered to turn on the lights and for the whole song we got stunning, dramatic light like in the shot above. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a rock band play with such great lighting and for that one song it was an absolute treat. Other rock and metal bands take note, this is how you do it!