Posts Tagged ‘Sheffield’

Church of rock

October 31, 2013


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.

TW BMTH fans

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


The other Tour!

July 4, 2013


WNTWhile Chris Froome and Team Sky were larging it in Corsica last weekend I was on the outskirts of London having le mini Tour moment of my own.Roger Shelton of Lokomotive had asked me to join one of his clients WNT, at the start of their London to Paris, 2-wheel, team challenge.  Unlike the Tour de France this bike ride was off-road (how that works on the ferry I have no idea) on mountain bikes and in a very good cause – the British Heart Foundation.

So it was that I came to be reccying a Kempton Park location in the early hours of Saturday morning, waiting for WNT staff to arrive from literally all over Europe.  Apparently once word on the ride got around everyone wanted in on the action and in the end we had 41 riders assembling on the start line looking suitably fit and sporty.  Sadly there was only one woWNTman but she looked like she could hold her own in the peloton.  [Yes I know they don’t have those in off-roading but I’m angling for a job on the actual Tour when it comes to Yorkshire next year so just work with me OK?!]

For my part I ran around getting as many contextual shots as possible in the flurry of maps, water bottles and MTBs and then we went for the big one, all 41 riders ready to go.  Have I managed to get everyone facing forward, eyes wide open looking suitably enthusiastic? WNT

Against the odds I think I have.  Did they look equally enthusiastic at the end?  I have no idea – sadly they didn’t fly me out to Paris for the final leg.  However, as far as I know they did all make it in one piece (discounting the odd puncture here and there) and made a goodly sum of money in the process.   Thanks to Roger for a great gig.  On yer bike now…


Tracer – really rather good!

June 11, 2013


Aussie rock band, in fact last year’s Best New Band in the Classic Rock, roll of honour awards, Tracer were back in Sheffield at the weekend.  I’d heard a rumour that since they’d sold out the smaller side of Plug they’d been promoted to the main stage.  Sadly, and despite the fact I’m sure they could have filled it, for whatever reason it didn’t happen.  I peered through the fog created for support band Cage the Gods by an over active smoke machine contemplating the prospect of no pit, encroaching fans and a night of shooting  in classic rock, up-the-nose style…. I decided to call for reinforcements in the form of Jules, a regular on the Tracer crew and now a reassuringly familiar face for me.  I waited for him round the back of the venue in a sea of incongruous and empty picnic tables with only a couple of hardcore smokers for company.  He brought news.  I couldn’t stand on the side of the stage (no surprises there I’d probably have ended up in the band) but the sound desk was prepared to give me house room.


It’s no more than a small stone’s throw between the desk and the stage but such was the lighting I actually had to climb up onto it to get anything useful.  No clean shots of bass-man Pat, or drummer Andre (shame, he has such lovely hair) and lead Michael Brown had to be in ‘strike a pose’ mode with his classic flying V to give me a fighting chance.  Still after I’d got some half decent images in the can I ended up staying on longer than normal.  They put on a really great show – tight set, good songs, plenty of audience participation, bags of energy and Brown has a really amazing voice.  Anyone heading over to the Isle of Wight Fest next weekend look out for Tracer in the Big Top, early doors on Sunday.  Bigger venue, same stage as Blondie.  I think you could say it’s all going quite well.


Coffee, cocktails and candyfloss…

June 6, 2013

Forum Bar

Sun’s out and finally, so are we.  Walking, talking to each other…or at least Facebooking in pairs…browsing boutiques and looking for somewhere stylish to snack.  In Sheffield, the Devonshire Quarter has always been the perfect spot for satisfying all those summer cravings and at the Forum Bar they now have a menu that could literally take you from a late morning brunch all the way through to twilight cocktails.

Forum BarSet up with my camera to photograph some of the highlights I was hugely impressed with the range of food and drink they’re delivering and the gorgeous presentation.

I should apologise now if you’re reading this on an empty stomach.  This is one of those blogs where we need an aroma setting so you can get the full experience.  Plate after plate of beautiful food emerged from the kitchen…and slates…and boards. From tea and cake to sandwich platters, noodle boxes and soup bowls it all looked positively lush. Even as a committed veggie I could see the attractions of the towering burger.
Forum Bar Forum Bar

Design and Marketing Manager Patti did a great job of styling the shots and we steadily worked our way through the tasty, the tantalising and the tempting with professional restraint..

Forum Bar

Forum BarSadly, this being the world of photography we were after colour not alcoholic content so the cocktails were actually mocktails but they were still yummy. One in particular is bound to earn Forum bar staff a round of applause.  A cloud of candyfloss in the glass melts into a mist of sugary heaven as the cocktail pours in from a great height.  It’s a performance in itself but blink and you’ll miss it!

Forum Bar

So…get yourself down there and fill your boots.  Talking of which our final blog star is definitely not on the menu.  I’ve been back on Annie’s farm getting down and dirty with the piglets. Happy Birthday Babe…now a whole two weeks old…

Annie's farm

A bigger bite of Whitesnake..

May 23, 2013



Despite the early start, 6.45 so well before the watershed, the Motorpoint Arena was packed for a bumper night of hard rock…Thunder, Whitesnake and Journey. It could just have easily been Thunder, Journey and Whitesnake as the two big names are sharing the headlining along the tour but this time I got lucky as it made life much easier for me that Journey were closing the gig.

There was almost a full house for openers Thunder.The London band started back in the late 80s, split up for a few years but then, in 2011 and by popular demand, they were back and they certainly got us off to a rollicking good start. In between shots I was singing along

RTN_B2865_Thunder with lead Danny Bowes – he didn’t notice but possibly just as well.  The light was great and all was good although we could have done with less agro in the pit.  People always think it’s women who do the bitching but actually put a bunch of boy photographers together and they’ll always find something to harp on about.

Onto Whitesnake and the lovely Mr Coverdale who may look a bit more ‘lived in’ these days but from where I was standing he has definitely still got it.  Talking of which, by this point I had managed to get myself into the furthest end of the pit which worked out rather well.


I got some brilliant long shots and when the band merged song three into song four and security were a bit slow on the uptake I was in fact the last woman standing.  In the end though, despite our protestations that strictly speaking this was still the third song, we were all unceremoniously evicted.


By this time it was getting late.  8.15 to be precise.  I’d had a great evening and Journey I can take or leave so on this occasion I left…home in time for the end of Corrie…apologies to all you Journey fans out there and please..don’t stop believin’…hold on to the feeling…etc..etc…


Saturday night at the Leadmill..

April 23, 2013


Last week I got an invitation from my mate James to cover Saturday night at the Leadmill. James is a roadie with Reverend and the makers. Right now he’s also looking after Sheffield band Liberty Ship who are currently on tour with one of our favourite blog regulars King Charles. I know you love to know how I end up at some of these gigs so there you go – James, Reverend, Liberty Ship, Leadmill, King Charles.


I got there during the sound check and said hi to King Charles.  Over the last couple of years their popularity has grown and grown and when the doors opened on Saturday there was a huge surge for the front spot and people stayed there, through two supports, for the entire gig.

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Liberty Ship turned out to be a lovely bunch of lads, big cheesy grins telling the story that they were so happy to be there.  I was obviously concentrating on getting the shots but it was impossible to ignore the fact that this was literally a family affair with proud mums and dads and even grandparents in the audience.

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Charles clearly has a lot of time for them, showing his support from the side of the stage through the whole of their set.


There was a brilliant atmosphere all night. King Charles got a rapturous reception, and while they didn’t quite get the stage invasion of the previous night at Leeds Cockpit the endless declarations of “I love you” were probably preferable.  Main stage at the Leadmill is still a pretty big deal and as always, they rocked it.

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At the end of the set they got Liberty Ship back on stage for a final number and then went off for an ‘after show’ where parents weren’t invited.  I was tempted but still had work to do so headed home.  5am finish apparently.  I have no regrets.  Cheers James – a brilliant night and Liberty Ship are definitely one to watch.

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Rosie Brown shines a light on Joni

April 11, 2013

Rosie Brown

This week’s story features a French tart, a pair of heels and a Steinway piano.  But no, we’re not on the set of Allo Allo we’re at the latest performance of ‘Where light falls’ with jazz singer songwriter Rosie Brown.

Rosie Brown

The show, Rosie’s take on the life and times of the legendary Joni Mitchell, had already sold out at venues in Sheffield and Liverpool and this time she was back at the University of Sheffield’s Firth Hall playing to another packed house.  As a graduate of the University I guess this was like coming home for Rosie and joining her in the sound check there was an incredible feeling of warmth and family.

Rosie Brown

Rosie’s voice was clearly not itself and she’d nearly pulled the gig.  Throat problems are a nightmare for any singer and where usually she can soar effortlessly through the octaves, here she was treading more carefully.  But everyone was rallying round.  One of Rosie’s sisters was there with her partner on merchandise, the rather lovely bass player had brought an equally lovely, homemade prune and armagnac tart to share (a bass player who can bake – definitely a keeper) and friends kept popping their heads around the green room door with love and good wishes.

Rosie Brown

The band got freshened up and changed including a rare pare of heels for the drummer.  Apparently it’s not easy playing in heels but Firth Hall demands a special effort.  It was great being part of the team and through the evening I had no trouble taking some great shots of Rosie, the band and her partner Mike Jones, who co-wrote the original songs along with Rosie and guitarist Alejandro Sancho.

Rosie Brown

Rosie Brown‘Where Light Falls’ takes you on a wonderful journey through the world of Joni Mitchell.  New songs take stock of key creative elements and events, interweaved with insightful commentary from Rosie and of course some original Joni.  By the end you feel like you’ve really got under the surface behind the headlines and way beyond Big Yellow Taxi.  In fact, Where Light falls is a reference to Joni’s other passion.  She described herself as a painter derailed by circumstances.

Rosie Brown

Thanks to Rosie for inviting me; brilliant music, talented musicians and a lovely venue.  In fact even the university porters were lovely.  Let me park right outside.  And share their kettle.  It’s the little things….

Biffy’s here and Skin’s back!

March 28, 2013


It’s gig night and it’s snowing. So what’s new? Although I do vaguely remember being in short sleeves and shades this time last year. I cadged a lift to the Motorpoint Arena picked up my pass and found my spot early enough to sample the support. City and Colour aka Canadian singer songwriter Dallas Green and his mates delivered a quality mix of folk and acoustic rock which set me up nicely for the main event.


Biffy Clyro also did me a favour by coming on early at 8.30. It’s always nice to make a swift exit so I can get the shots turned around.  Talking of which I was really pleased with my Biffy shots, many of which feature lead Simon Neil’s lacy trues….of course I mean trousers but the band is from Scotland and they were pretty special, with a lace overlay rather like your granny’s net curtains…am I spending too long critiquing Simon’s nether regions…??


RTN_B2865_Biffy_ClyroThe gig wasn’t quite sold out but then people will get another go at Biffy this summer at Leeds Festival when hopefully it won’t be snowing…but who knows!!

Next up Skunk Anansie at Leeds O2.  I wasn’t on the list there, again, much to the amusement of the manageress.  Between her and the tour manager they sorted it (years of working the scene have finally paid off) and I squeezed into the pit, which was packed, again, with eight photographers.


RTN_B2865_Skunk_AnansieLead singer Skin was really giving it some as she worked that Grace Jones look, so much so that in the typically awful light it was difficult to catch her.  As for the audience, well the promoter commented there were more photographers than punters. A bit of an exaggeration I thought and by the time I came up for air they weren’t quite so thin on the ground. And let’s face it, the band are probably just glad to be performing…or alive even.  They survived the hurricane that hit Pukkelpop in Belgium while they were on stage in 2011.   I’ll stop talking about the weather soon. Honestly.

Kerrang hardcore pipe and slippers

February 21, 2013


How rock’n’roll am I.  It’s Sheffield and there’s a blizzard so I’m worried about getting to the O2 for the Kerrang tour gig. Where are those wellies?? My lift wants to go for tea en route and since he’s paying how can I complain?  So I arrive a wee bit later than planned, full of pasta, more ready for the sofa than the pit scrum and with strict instructions to be ready for pick-up at 10pm.  I’ve not had a 10pm curfew since I was 15 and on a school night.

RTN_B2865_ChiodosAnyhow we got there in the end and bearing in mind my last gig had been the Military Wives I was looking forward to some hardcore rock.  Support band  Chiodos are actually described as ‘post hardcore’ but beggars can’t be choosers, I have no idea what that means and listening to Chee-oh-dose, as it’s apparently pronounced, I can’t tell the difference anyway. Lead Craig Owens looks a bit like Kurt Cobain.  Sadly that’s where the resemblance ends.  However, I thought there was a lot to like about them.  They did a great job getting the crowd going and pretty soon everyone’s hands were in the air.


I’d been warned there might be a sizable computer stack and monitor on stage behind Black Veil Brides and sure enough, there it was, lurking beyond  the drum kit. As they got going I wondered if it the stack was actually generating a hefty backing track and sure enough, when things ground to a halt half way through the first song and a worried band gathered round the monitor it was all over for me.  The singer disappeared off stage leaving the drummer to fill and then it was time for me to rejoin my chaperone.  Not your average rock gig then and all things considered it’s a wonder I got any pictures.   Time for cocoa.


ps. Here’s to Kurt who would have been 46 this week.

Pulp – a homecoming gig for Auld Lang Syne

December 19, 2012


Well it was bound to be emotional.  Pulp coming home to Sheffield for their first live gig since 2002.  The Motorpoint Arena was  filled to the gunnels not only with local fans but with enthusiasts from as far afield as the US and Mexico…clearly the likes of Common People and Disco 2000 resonate with ordinary folk the world over.

There was no warm-up act – the band came on at 8.30 and stayed there until well after 11 – but they did get plenty of support.  Richard Hawley returned to the fold for a cameo appearance in a couple of numbers, including the first ever live delivery of Born to Cry.  Jarvis Cocker’s sister Saskia also put in an appearance so it really did feel like a family affair and a watershed moment.


I stayed almost for the whole show – all 24 tracks of it – and what I didn’t see I could mostly hear from the Green Room where I was turning the pictures around.

The reception for the band was absolutely rapturous and Jarvis was clearly quite moved by the whole thing.  Hard to believe they started out way back in 1978 and who knows where they’re heading now – apart from a cruise ship sailing round the Bahamas and the Caribbean for Christmas, I kid you not.  But for one night in December, as the confetti came down and everyone joined together to sing White Christmas it was just like old times.  A fitting last blog of the year.  Have a fantastic festive season and see you for more of the same in 2013.