Gig Review – Vintage Trouble, Kentish Town Forum, 17 November 2015

Ty Taylor, Vintage Trouble, Kentish Town Forum, 17 November 2015Vintage Trouble is a band I would struggle to tire of photographing. Their music is fabulous, their shows have a feelgood vibe to them which is genuinely uplifting, and they are an absolute treat to photograph, mainly because Ty Taylor has the most unbelievable stage presence.

If there is a downside to tonight’s show, it is only the poor lighting. When I say poor, I mean to photograph in. To watch it was great, but when you’re shooting at ISO 6400 and still only getting 1/125th of a second, it’s tough to capture a front man who leaps and struts around the stage with boundless energy.

We shot three songs from the pit and then were allowed to stay and shoot the rest of the show, which is a rare opportunity. Paloma Faith came on as a special guest and Ty came in to the crowd twice. Once to walk all the way up to the balcony to serenade audience members and a second time to have a sing song crouched down on the main floor, which by sheer fluke he happened to do right in front of me.

Having last shot them at Wembley Stadium supporting AC/DC, I think their show is much more suited to a venue of this size because of the way they engage and connect with the audience (literally in Ty’s case with his crowd surfing and singing in the balcony). At the end they all leapt in to the crowd and walked through to the merchandise stand where they spent the next hour at least signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. It felt more like a celebratory family reunion than a concert. The stand out moment of the night was when Ty spontaneously asked for silence to remember the victims of the Paris attacks. The entire hall fell silent instantly and it was a heartfelt and moving moment which I’m sure all those present will remember for a long time.

Gig Review – Motley Crue, Wembley Arena, 6 November 2015

Tommy Lee on the Cruecifly drum kit, Motley Crue, Wembley Arena, 6 November 2015Motley Crue are basically a pain in the backside to photograph. We have to shoot from the mixing desk, usually only getting one or two songs. Despite Nikki Sixx being a photographer himself, they seem to have no interest in giving photographers an opportunity for great shots. This is, allegedly, the Final Tour, and tonight at Wembley Arena was their last ever in the UK and the stage set up was fantastic – not that it got used at all during the first two songs that the photo pass covered.

You’d have thought that with this being the last ever show they might have stuck us in the pit for the measily two song we got, but no, we were 80 feet back at the mixing desk, barely able to see them over the crowd in muddy, dull light. We were lucky they’d torn up the hideous copyright grabbing contract they’ve forced upon photographers for years.

This being their last ever UK show, I bought myself a seat and deliberately chose an elevated view from the back corner. I knew they were bringing Tommy Lee’s insane drum kit rollercoaster, the Cruecifly, with them, and that’s what you can see in this picture. In fact, that’s Tommy up at the top of it, flying over the crowd during a drum solo. It’s the shot I wanted, which meant sneaking out the camera at my seat to get the shot but it was worth the wait. All the dots are camera phone screens and camera flashes in the crowd and I knew this was an absolute one-off opportunity to capture an epic moment.