Some nights you wonder why you bother leaving the house. When the Maccabees took to the stage it was pitch black. This of course is nothing unexpected. Bands do it all the time – one minute the stage is empty then fade to black and when the lights come on again there they are. Except when the Maccabees took to the stage the lights never really came back on. Pain. In. The. Arse. There’s only one real answer to this – you have to try and ‘Catch a Flash’.
A music photographer cannot use flash. Which is fair enough – you don’t want musicians going blind from snap-happy photographers shooting into their face night after night. However when the lights stay low, you can either lower your shutter speed and get brighter, but blurrier pictures, lower the aperture (usually the first point of call) or crank up the ISO. I tried all of these things tonight – ISO at 3,000, aperture never above 3.2 and a shutter speed constant at 1/80. And they were still dark. So i had to rely on the crowd.
For whatever reason people in the crowd can use flashes – and I had to try to steal that light. It’s not a fun, or easy thing to do. You gotta keep shooting, one-after-the-other, filling up your memory card with picture after picture of pure black photos in the hope that you’ll get ONE that has a decent light on it. Usually you get one or two decent ones. Tonight was no exception.
Truth be told I really liked the one useable Maccabees photo (Pic. 2). The flash only caught his head – it almost looks photoshopped. But given that I took well over 600 images of the Maccabees alone, you can understand why it was a little bit draining.
It wasn’t like that all night though. Two Door Cinema Club were bathed in light. So much so that you could really get creative with the shots. The top image is one Im proud of – I’d been stalking the guitarist for thirty seconds waiting for the light to rest in the right place. He turned his head at the right moment and it turned out perfectly for me. They even had spotlights, illuminating their faces like gods. Pity the Maccabees were so photophobic.
Surely the stars of the show were Funeral Suits. The Irish three piece have been touring relentlessly since I started working for State and tonight was my third time seeing them on stage. They are simply stunning – maybe a little lost on the larger stage at the Academy, but an unquestionable treat for the ear. ‘Only Attack Ourselves’ was a personal highlight – it doesn’t get much better than that. The photos were a bit tame – truth be told I got a little caught up in the music and they were also bathed in a vicious red light, but i couldn’t do them justice anyway. Check them out yourself.