The Divine Comedy live in Birmingham

The Divine Comedy at the o2 Institute

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Neil Hannon has been on my list of musicians I want to photograph for a long, long time. Last night across town Alice Cooper was playing and my lovely mates at Birmingham Live said surely I would want to apply for Alice. But for me the chance to shoot The Divine Comedy was the one and the gig was one of the best I’ve seen this year. 

That rich voice and massive stage persona make Neil a delight as a performer.  The crowds were queuing early outside the o2 Institute as being near the front to see the gig is part of the fun.  The gig was in support of the new album Office Politics with the stage complete with desks, in and out doors, phones, CRT monitors and a giant clock all of which featured.

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Most gigs are three songs and leave the pit. Occasionally you see a gig like this which has so many more elements as it progresses that three songs is nowhere near enough!

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Support was from Man and the Echo. On a first listen I wasn’t convinced but decided to be early, live they were good and worth being early to see. 

The full review and more images are on Birmingham Live!

Richard Hawley and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly at o2 Institute

Richard Hawley live in Birmingham 

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I love being at the o2 Institute in Birmingham, but for some unknown reason its been a while since I was last there.  Last night was the opportunity to photograph Richard Hawley who is out on tour in support of his new album…….  The last time I photographed him was four years ago… which was a surprise to me as it feels to be much more recent than that!

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When I saw him before it lead to a quick back catalogue assessment as there were albums I had missed and shouldn’t have.  In reality he is somewhat distanced and far gentler that my “regular” love of indie bands but there is a deep quality to his musicianship and the band who surround him.  This coupled with a touch of humour works a treat. 

In support last night was Sam Duckworth the excellent talent who is Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.  Sam is out on his own supporting Richard, not with the band for this tour.  His political tunes and earnest delivery went down well. 

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The Peaky Blinders fans were out in force last night and Richard was well supported by an enthusiastic crowd.  I still need to give this new album more listens but the songs I wanted to hear again were all there too.

The full review and more images are on Birmingham Live!

Wedding Photography at The Iliffe, Coventry

Laura Ashley Hotels, The Iliffe in Coventry Wedding

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When we first met Marie and Craig we really hoped we would be photographing their wedding.   We met at a couple of wedding fayres and their rapport with us soon began.

Over the last two years we’ve stayed in touch and we met up for their engagement shoot a few weeks ago.  This was followed by their beautiful August wedding at Laura Ashley Hotels, The Iliffe in Coventry. 

Their plans were in place when we met, with The Chace Hotel in Coventry booked for an August Saturday.  Now two years later The Chace has become the stunning new Laura Ashley Hotel, The Iliffe.  The Iliffe is a wonderful transformation.  The staff provide the personal touches and attention to detail a wedding needs.  The hotel offers a combination of beautiful interiors and easily accessible grounds, which makes for a wonderful wedding day. 

The day was all about perfect planning, Marie and Craig did everything to make this a relaxed wedding for family and friends to enjoy.  For us natural photos and a mix of both indoor and outdoor images for our couple.  

When we arrived Marie and her bridesmaids were already in the swing of a wedding morning with Bride to Be balloons and the wine flowing. Friends arrived to help Marie into her exquisite dress from Lisa Rose Bridal, whilst downstairs Craig and the guests arrived.

Marie was escorted down the aisle by her son and her father. I’m not sure who was most proud as they arrived.  Following the service, the weather was perfect, sunny with a gentle breeze which allowed time for family photos and for the guests to enjoy themselves.

After the speeches and wedding breakfast we had to time to walk in the grounds for some photos before the first dance and the party started. 

A gorgeous wedding for this special couple.

Thank you to all the other suppliers: 

Dress: Lisa’s Bridalwear 

Florist and Decor Artist: Your Big Day Events   

Cake: The Little Yellow Patisserie  

Suits : Moss Bros, Solihull

DJ and Dancefloor: Bossman Karaoke Disco   

Hair: Beth Carter

Makeup: Lauren Smith 

PIXIES live in Birmingham

Pixies and The Big Moon at o2 Academy

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At the weekend I visited Crystal Palace a place I’d only been to once before…to see Pixies. (turns out it was 1991) and although I’ve seen the band a fair few times before they split and when they reformed I’d never photographed them.

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Last night was that opportunity as they played the o2 Academy in Birmingham.  Support for the evening was The Big Moon. I saw this band a couple of years ago and liked their enthusiasm and music all of which was on show last night.

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Pixies were Pixies. Loud, like really loud which was emphasised by being in  the smallest venue I’ve seen them in.  As for the photography, one of the nights where putting the lights on happened just as the photographers (and there were a lot) left the pit  - so moody silhouettes is what we are allowed to take, ah well its Pixies.

Full review and more images are on Birmingham Live!

Inner City Live in Birmingham with Doves, Johnny Marr, The Coral and The Twang

Music Photography with DOVES, Johnny Marr, The Coral and The Twang at Perry Park.

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Following on from the blistering heat of last week the one day Inner City Live Festival in Birmingham promised to be a sunshine special.  The festival offered a brilliant line up which was to consist of Doves, Johnny Marr and The Coral and even better I had a pass to shoot.  

Cue Sunday and constant rain (rain seems to be inevitable in my outdoor shooting this year). It was as if those from the north brought their own specific weather system with them.  The crowds were not deterred, more like determined to have a great time and so their enthusiasm created a really good one day event.  

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It was not the easiest shooting conditions when its raining but with Doves and Johnny Marr on the same line up, well that’s a gift, music that I listen to regularly and love. 

The crew were sweeping water off the stage when we arrived and both The Twang and The Coral were set up nearer the back of the stage for this reason.  I like The Coral the more I see them…they’re consistently great.  By the time Johnny Marr came on there was a break in the weather and he was front and centre, complete with that aura he brings to the stage.  He played a festival friendly set including his latest material and a smattering of Smiths songs with all of his signature moves on show.   

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It started raining again, the crowds were ready and Doves took to the stage.  Opening with Fire Suite followed by Snowden which is a wonderful experience, it’s the way their music envelops you.  Three songs with Doves and I was out of the pit and in the crowd.

The crowd loved them, many had travelled miles to be there and rain wasn’t going to slow anyone down.  Black and White Town, Kingdom of Rust and Pounding really hit the mark in terms of activity for a tired, soaked audience.  The encore was The Cedar Room and There Goes the Fear then a surprise..well at least for me Space Face…which had me surrounded by guys throwing shapes!

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I trudged in somewhat wet already thinking it would be a tricky day to shoot.  I left elated that images with rain spots are not the end of the world and that the bands gave it everything.

A few images from the day are enclosed.

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The full review and more images will be on Birmingham Live! soon.