Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Boomtown Rats…not quite like Clockwork!!

November 5, 2013

TW rats close

TW rats standing

Well they may  not like Mondays but I don’t like gigs that start way before they’re supposed to!!

The legendary Boomtown Rats were in town, touring following their big reunion at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival.  Leeds O2 and they’re on at nine, allegedly…! I rock up at eight to catch the support and think – that’s interesting, they sound very like the Boomtown Rats.  The penny drops, I dive in, pass in hand, no time to worry about the wide angle lens and fortunately I’ve only missed half a song.  My only consolation is that the house photographer is only just ahead of me and has also missed the support.

Not the best start, the light was shocking and I was concentrating so hard that I couldn’t even tell you if one of the first three songs was Clockwork, or Mondays or any of the other hits that carried the world through the seventies. What I can say is that at 62, and in his now trademark fake snakeskin, Bob Geldof has most definitely still got it.  He was in a happy smiley mood  and there was no ranting at least while I was there…not that we ever mind that. And judging by the audience there is still clearly a huge appetite for what the Rats have to offer.

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As for punk poet Patrik Fitzgerald, well I can only apologise for completely missing his set.  Apparently Patrik is oftentimes credited as the originator of ‘folk punk’ and his current album is called ‘subliminal alienation’ so like Bob he clearly remains a man with a message.  Just a pity he was delivering it at tea-time really.  If any of you did happen to catch the show  maybe you could send us a couple of snaps and a quick review…??

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Church of rock

October 31, 2013

TW BMTH Kelly

TW BMTH playlist

It’s not often you find me banging on a church door trying to get in but on Tuesday night there I was outside St Mary’s, Sheffield, waiting for divine intervention to grant me entry to an exclusive Bring Me the Horizon gig. In the end the powers that be turned out to be the saintly tour manager and I took my place in the hallowed hall, which fortunately has long since dispensed with pews.

Just 200, hardcore fans were allowed to join the party. Most had won their golden tickets via Facebook and the remainder who spotted the “secret gig” onTwitter queued up for one of the final slots.  The set list was just six songs – note the odd biblical reference in there – and the whole thing lasted 30 minutes, just long enough for digital channel Vevo to get what they needed for the latest Bring me the Horizon video.

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It wasn’t an easy job but the light had to be limited to get the projections to work and the whole thing looked and sounded really amazing.  The verdict on my first rock gig in church – slightly surreal but incredibly atmospheric.  Thanks for getting me in guys – can’t wait to see the vid!

TW BMTH projection

Bouncers and Babyshambles

October 22, 2013

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This week we’re in Sheffield for Babyshambles and even before they arrived (they are notorious for their lateness) things were kicking off down the Leadmill.  Next to the pit a row of girls lined the front barrier and I’m not sure if there was some issue over territory or there was something more personal going on  but pretty soon there was a huge scrap in full swing with proper punches and lots of hair pulling.  It’s daft I know but I’m always a bit taken aback by girl-fights.  Anyhow the bouncers waded in and duly evicted the two main culprits before there was actual murder on the dance floor. Fortunately in the pit things were a lot more civilized and we settled down for a nice, convivial evening.

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The band showed up, only half an hour late, and needless to say they got a brilliant reception from the packed house. The Leadmill’s a good venue for Babyshambles, warm, intimate and you can get nice and close to Pete Docherty as he sways in your direction.  On the positive side he does tend to stand on the one spot which is good but on the other he is a bit all over the place..on the spot..which is not so good.  I’m guessing he’d had a few pre-gig beers but who knows, could be a problem with his inner-ear.  Either way getting the shots was a wee bit tricky and the red lighting didn’t help much.  Nice mac and trilby though Pete – stylish and strategic when the beer is raining down.

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While I may not have recognized any of the three songs I got to hear they were certainly entertaining and dare I say, catchy.  So…overall, worth the trip over but I then made a swift exit avoiding any altercations with angry young women on the way out.  I like my hair.

Big guns of the horsey world

October 15, 2013

Horse of the year show

Horse of the year show

When Annie suggested I join her lot at the Horse of the Year Show I don’t think she ever thought I’d get accreditation as an official photographer at the LG Arena.  But here I was in Birmingham, official red armband at the ready and just feet away from the creme de la creme of glossy, groomed equine talent. On the way down with Annie’s friend Jackie, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but the scale of the show, and the atmosphere was really amazing.

We were chiefly there to watch Poppy, aged ten, riding Egypt in the coloured, ridden, non-native pony class (navigating all the categories is tricky) and she did brilliantly. Egypt didn’t put a hoof wrong and Poppy held her nerve through all the required manoeuvres. She didn’t ‘place’ but even being there puts Egypt in the UK top 20 and it was a brilliant experience.Martin clunes

It’s always good to celebrity-spot at these things and it was no surprise to see Martin Clunes enjoying the heavy horses. He famously sent his own Clydesdales, Ronnie and Bruce to hoof camp, describing them as “loveable but uncontrollable teenagers”. It was hugely entertaining watching these giant beasts of burden being paraded around the ring by chaps in bowler hats, with legs flying as they stretched to keep up. They looked almost like ants and one minder was so diminutive he swapped his bowler for a top hat to give him a couple of extra inches.

Horse of the year show

Luma the Lion caused some controversy. Luma was actually a Shetland pony dressed up like a lion, led by a girly gladiator and performing tricks involving a circus style podium, a jump cane and a ring of fake fire. I thought it was harmless fun but Jackie felt it was deeply demeaning for one of Britain’s noble, albeit miniature breeds and I’d say our divide of opinion was reflected across the audience.

Horse of the year show

The pony club team events were a frantic affair with riders flying here there and everywhere and their trusty steeds doing there best to help them mount, dismount and race around obstacles in a flurry of beanbags and other paraphernalia. Everyone was screaming at this bunch of kids, I guess about 10-12 years old as they hurtled round and there were floods of tears and squeals of delight in equal measure as the dust settled and the victors emerged.

Horse of the year show

My personal highlight was probably the Royal Horse Artillery – teams of six perfect horses each pulling a gun weighing several tons with speed and pinpoint accuracy as they delivered a choreographed display with skill, trust and huge commitment. The sheer power was incredible and you could imagine that in battle it would be hard to stand your ground in the face of such a charge. We covered our ears as the guns were fired…I’m guessing not with real canon balls…’elf and safety and all that.

Horse of the year show

So, have I any plans to pursue a new career at Horse and Hound? Well not quite yet but…equine photography does feature on my new website and I am looking forward to more close encounters with these amazing creatures. At this rate I might actually have to invest in some new wellies.

Carpe Diem for Alvarez Kings

October 8, 2013

Alvarez Kings

Alvarez Kings

Over the years I’ve got to know Sheffield indie rockers Alvarez Kings pretty well but since I moved to Leeds I’ve been pretty busy and, perhaps more significantly, they’ve been touring here, there and everywhere in their quest for world domination.  OK maybe not world domination but at least making a dent in a decent part of it.  They’re currently in the midst of the Vans Warped Tour which has taken them all over the US and now the UK so when I heard they were making a pit stop in Leeds I thought I’d best make time to see them, especially as the venue they were playing in is called Carpe Diem.

Come Saturday night a decent crowd of followers had found their way down into the cellar bar and on the face of it the band haven’t changed much in the way they perform. Still loads of energy and enthusiasm, great sound but keeping things interesting with the addition of backing tracks to a couple of the newer songs.

Alvarez Kings

I hopped onto the side of the stage to get in there with the action – when they’re all drumming its great to see – but got a bit more action than I bargained for. Paul does have a habit of swinging around  and as I looked up from the camera my face found out what slap bass actually feels like.  I thought it was hilarious but Paul was mortified and hugely apologetic.  Such are the risks of being a stage invader.

Alvarez Kings

It was great to have a proper catch-up in the pub and needless to say I stayed for the whole gig. With our Facebook connections sorted they were on their way again.  Next stop London and the ever so slightly grander Ally Pally.  Here’s hoping they get a warm welcome. Carpe Diem London!!

Alvarez Kings

Alvarez Kings

 

 

Three cheers for Thrift!!

September 24, 2013

Festival of Thrift

Festival of ThriftI met designer Wayne Hemingway a few years ago and we’ve vaguely kept in touch, he keeps tabs on me via my newsletters and I’m always interested to see what he’s up to. Projects are always worthwhile [sustainable housing in London] and never dull [brand guidelines for Beano and designing the Beanotown Museum] and now he and wife Geraldine have been working their curatorial magic in Darlington with the UK’s first Festival of Thrift.  So it was that me and my mate Patti made a swift trip up the A1 to join what promised to be a  “chic celebration of creative common-sense living featuring upcycling, recycling and finding the fun in sustainable living.”  It also promised to be “life-changing and life-affirming” and bearing in mind entry was completely free that already seemed like a bit of a bargain.

Festival of Thrift

The Lingfield Point site for the festival is itself a great example of recycling, with buildings from the 1940s era of Patons and Baldwins enjoying a new lease of life as a contemporary complex of offices and workshop units.

Festival of ThriftThe festival branding and style took inspiration from the vintage site and despite the size and variety of stalls and entertainment the whole thing felt really cohesive from the Choose your Cheese DJ at one end to Paul Henri’s Chapeau Magique at the other which elevated paper hat making to a whole new level.  Fully grown men were desparate to have a go at the millinery mayhem but elbowing your way through hoards of small children wasn’t really in the spirit of Thrift.

Festival of Thrift

Miss Contance Irkles Hula workshop was however, fun for all the family, as was Tunaversity Challenge.  Sadly Jeremy Paxman wasn’t the one in the giant yellow waders quizzing the teams on all things fishy and when they ran out of tuna prizes they had to fall back on Pilchards (far more vintage!) but like everything else on site it was just brilliantly eccentric fun.

Vintage camper vans housed bijoux eateries and micro workshops including the little Artivan and up-cycling from Tabby Textiles who run weekly knitting cafes at Lingfield Point.

Festival of Thrift

Festival of ThriftIn amongst the vintage paraphernalia I was met with a cheery “Hiya Tracey – how’re you?” from Wayne and after the press had moved on we had a quick catch-up.

Meanwhile, working the crowd was a man wearing a serious veneer.  No, not the metaphorical kind, more like some kind of suit crafted from offcuts of Formica. He came with a wardrobe on wheels, dressing unsuspecting victims in all kinds of pre-fabricated outfits with support from a side-kick covered entirely in living cress which he would tear off in handfuls to finish off  the look.

Festival of Thrift

Indoors were more thrifty workshops, advice and exhibits.  I paused to admire a wool felt sleeping bag, only to find it was actually a coffin.  If you prefer to leave the world nice and snuggly, safe in the knowledge that you haven’t taken half the world’s rain forest with you this is definitely the way to go .

Festival of Thrift

Vintage tea club ladies toured the site by bicycle..or possibly tricycle…one of them looking rather reminiscent of Tony Curtis in Some like it Hot, and “Please play on the grass” was the order at the bee hive garden

Stalls offered everything from antique tea sets to cutlery jewellery; there were a million and one ways with buttons and heaps of hand printed textiles including one of our old favourites Kettle of Fish who’s on the Folksy website along with a host of other makers.  (www.folksy.com).

Festival of Thrift

Visitors were invited to design and create their own thrifty tips – which I duly did and of course I also did some serious shopping coming home with some beautiful bowls, some Yorkshire Ale and a rather lovely bracelet.  But I have to say the biggest thing I took away was a hefty dose of happy.  Of course the glorious September sunshine brought its own feel-good factor but overall the Festival of Thrift did deliver something special.  So here’s to Wayne and co and here’s hoping we’ll back at Lingfield Point to do it all again next year. I’d best get knitting…

Festival of Thrift

Festival of Thrift

Festival of Thrift

Perfect pitch in Ramsbottom

September 17, 2013

Ramsbottom Festival

And finally in this year’s tour of the music fests, we arrive in picturesque Ramsbottom which would do pretty well as a location for Midsommer Murders.  Rolling hills, the perfect village church, with a steeple just visible from the campsite, stone cottages, a horsey shop, a cricket pitch for a festival ground and lots of lovely art.

Ramsbottom Festival

Ramsbottom Festival

The bar was open in the pavilion which also operated as a second stage and Crabbie’s were there to add to the civilised English perfection.  On Friday evening Public Service Broadcasting got us off to a similarly vintage start. Their archive American 40s style commentary harked back to days gone by and every now and again they’d throw in a “Thank you Ramsbottom” in politely comedic fashion.  You could happily stretch out on the manicured green carpet and enjoy the music and the old school, black and white TV presentations as if you were in your very own living room.

Ramsbottom Festival

I am Kloot successfully stood in for advertised headliners The Futureheads and pretty soon the older element of the audience were happily singing along.

Ramsbottom Festival

On Saturday, I have to confess the unexpectedly perfect weather led to a lazy breakfast and a later arrival for the music but  we made it in time for Swedish band Junip who delivered a lovely, languid mix which definitely fitted our chilled out mood.  Talking of which by the time Richard Hawley arrived on stage there was a bit of a nip in the air.  Some heart felt audience participation helped keep out the cold until we could retire to the pavilion for a nightcap.

Ramsbottom Festival

On Sunday the weather had most definitely turned and we headed home through the torrential rain and force 10 gales feeling like we’d had the best of Ramsbottom.  Family friendly, no argie bargie in the pit and really rather super.  I’ll definitely be back next year.  Next weekend we’re up in Darlington for a rather different kind of fest – the UK’s first Festival of Thrift.  So if you’re a re-cycler, an up-cycler, or a free-cycler then join us. Appropriately enough – it’s free….

Ramsbottom Festival

Elton John gets the party started at Leeds Arena

September 10, 2013

Elton_John

Leeds Arena finally, officially opened its doors last week and looking rather less like a candle in the wind and more like a rhapsody in blue national treasure Elton John blew in and well and truly brought the house down.

The Arena was literally packed to the rafters and it did take a very long time to get those 13,500 bums on their spanking new seats but the atmosphere was amazing and while I may not be Britain’s biggest Elton fan I have to confess I was quite excited to be there.  Big show, sparkly set, grand piano and a living legend about to rock up; definitely not your average Wednesday night. Well maybe yours but not mine.

Standing between the fans and their idol a trusty security guard sat alone in the pit scanning the sea of faces for any issues until he was rudely mobbed by a horde of paparazzi and hastily got to his feet kindly allowing me to pop a knee on his chair for a bit of stability.  What a gent.

Elton_John

What I’d thought would be more of a family show kicked off with a pole dancer video for the opening number The Bitch is Back.  As the only girl in the pit I tried not to take it personally but I was slightly relieved when the pole action was replaced with a rather more comfortably vintage ELTON backdrop for classic B-B-B-Benny and the Jets.

Elton_John

And that was it, two songs and we were out on our ears but still I went away impressed. The performance, the presence, the incredible rapport with the audience and the fact that Elton John can still belt them out after all these years. A truly fantastic opening gig for the arena and glad I was there to see it.  Hope it will be the first of many.

Bingley…getting bigger

September 3, 2013

RTN_Bingley_Music_Live

So, is bigger always better? I contemplated this as I perched on my fold up stool on a platform craning to get a decent view of the now seven foot main stage at Bingley festival.  Not that there was much time to think.  Around 30 photographers had been given passes so there was a kind of raffle ticket allocation system in place and for some bands this translated into ten of us at a time for one song only.  What larks!  Still, as always at Bingley the line-up was pretty good and almost compensated for any logistical niggles and despite everything I got some really lovely shots.  Here then are my personal highlights…

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Nile Rodgers with Chic was certainly looking the business as he paused to admire the view.  He really could have done with swapping his zoom for a wide angle lens but who cares, even after all these years he has definitely still got it.

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This is a rare sighting of Ryan Jarman from The Cribs.  At Y Not? he was permanently in the shadows so nice to finally get a decent shot in..

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I love this one of the Neville Staple Band.

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B2865_The_Human_League

And I managed to get to the side of the stage for the Human League to get a decent look at Neil and Phil.

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It was brilliant to see Wilko Johnson of Dr Feelgood fame.  He did a farewell tour last year after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer but has now made it into another round of gigs.  Fantastic stuff.

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Over on the other stage the Struts were a really lovely surprise and very funny…

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I haven’t seen the Fratellis for a while so great to catch up with them again…

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Catmen, featured Stray Cats Drummer Slim Jim Phantom who, entertainingly, does it standing up.

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Last but by no means least and another of my favourite shots, Primal Scream.

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Lots of good stuff going on then and a bonus to see many more girl photographers on the scene – we had a really good laugh, which, when you’re hanging around in slightly dodgy weather, trying to work with security and PR people in less than perfect circumstances is what it’s all about really.

Another year another Leeds…

August 27, 2013

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Photographs are great.  They can create a completely rose tinted impression of an event.  Here we are then in a lovely field with blue skies, sun shining.  But then there’s this one….

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I could claim they were professional mud wrestlers…but then professionals probably have cleaning facilities beyond a single wet wipe.

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And in reality we both know that the rain had been absolutely hammering down on Friday night leaving behind a sea of soggy campers.  Still they seemed happy enough and as ever the mud did nothing to dampen the spirits, even for those who’d chosen to turn up wearing white…

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Waterproof and disposable though so no washing to worry about. Apparently they’d brought a new one for every day.  As for the official line-up of entertainment, these are some of my favourites.

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Bring me the Horizon front man Oliver was sporting some rather lovely face paint…all part of his Drop Dead clothing company image.  A good sturdy crew chappie helped boost the marketing effort..

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The last sister based band we saw was possibly the Corrs but I definitely prefer today’s incarnation Haim.  If you’re going to be in a rock band this is definitely the one to go for girls.

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I didn’t get to see Jake Bugg do his stuff but we did find time for a quick back-stage natter, reminiscing about how it doesn’t seem like five minutes since we first met at YNot a couple of years ago. Happy days and fortunately he seems the same as ever – friendly and as his tour manager says, “keeping it real”.

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More girl power, this time from Kate Nash…

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There’s a lead singer in here somewhere from the Deftones…he didn’t do the whole show from that position…

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As ever Biffy Clyro  and Green Day rocked the main stage…

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RTN_Leeds_Festival

RTN_Leeds_Festival

As did another old favourite the Editors.  Other bands making an appearance at Leeds this year…Hadouken, 1975, Fools and Nine Inch Nails.  Join us again next week folks for all the indie pop action from the smaller but perfectly formed Bingley fest.

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RTN_Leeds_Festival

RTN_Leeds_Festival

RTN_Leeds_Festival