music

Del Amitri and Trashcan Sinatras at The Symphony Hall

Del Amitri in Birmingham

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Well that was a bit different, again.  Having promised a good friend and an excellent reviewer that I would photograph Del Amitri if ever the chance happened, then last night I had to step up and shoot them.  Our Birmingham Live reviewer Alan loves the band and created a brilliant review previously for a Justin Currie show in Birmingham, I missed a treat that night and this time I wasn't going to lose out.

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The Symphony Hall was busy for the Trashcan Sinatras, more gentle than I remembered and a lovely 45 minute set.  Then came the wonderfully self effacing Del Amitri.  Opening with acoustic numbers then ramping the concert straight up to full power there was no stopping them.  I love a band who are on time then deliver a slick performance, both for the ears and the eyes, all the elements you would ask for were covered.  Their crowd loved it. 

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I adore the Symphony Hall as a venue, great acoustics, great staff, but a tricky venue to cross (or run out the back doors and round to the other side) when the band are quiet and its hot.  So its not always straightforward to shoot from both sides of the audience. 

On one of the hottest nights of the year the Symphony Hall was packed.  It took a little time to get everyone on their feet but when they did the whole place rose, all the tiers in unison.  Hits, obscure b sides that delighted diehards and new songs flowed.  The encore was a masterclass in a stylish finish, winding the audience down and connecting the band members as neatly as they started the evening, the combination of experience and pure class. 

Del Amitri absolutely worth seeing if you get the chance.

The full review and more images are on Birmingham Live.

Gary Barlow and Starcrawler my latest gigs covered

Starcrawler in Birmingham gigs don't get much better than this

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I promised myself this year that I would shoot a wider variety of music, as it would be both interesting for me and would push my photography further.   So the last couple have been a complete contrast in so many ways.

Recent nights out have included Gary Barlow on his theatre tour at the Symphony Hall.  Which was a shoot from the back of the venue, through and across the crowd.  Definitely not something I’d normally do, long lens work is ok but I much prefer to be able to make more of a connection to the people I shoot.   The place erupted when Gary appeared and confetti showers and banner waving ladies made it a fun/challenging experience.

Starcrawler last night are exactly the type of exciting band I want to see and shoot more of!  They played the o2 Academy. Billy Idol was playing next door in the main room which meant the contrast of old and new couldn't have been greater.  

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Starcrawler sound good.   They delivered a fast paced, slightly unnerving gig and the combination of mesmerising front woman and shining guitarist was brilliantly contrasted with the understated bass and drummer.  

They were so good I wanted to see the whole gig and stayed to do so.

One of the shortest most dynamic sets I’ll likely see this year which ended with lead singer Arrow dripping fake blood (of course) and rampaging through the audience, followed by guitarist Henri giving a floorshow.  The impact on the crowd was immense.  

This is a gig that will be talked about for weeks locally.

The full review for Starcrawler is here on Birmingham Live and as Arrow grabbed our reviewer when in the crowd it makes interesting reading.

The full review of Gary Barlow is here on Birmingham Live

Bryan Ferry at the Symphony Hall Photography

Bryan Ferry in Birmingham

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Continuing my current run of gigs in seated venues last night was the chance to shoot Bryan Ferry at the Symphony Hall.

The audience were a real mix of generations, those who had seen him in Roxy Music those who joined in later.  I met some lovely people who going to lots of the shows, they were simply loving the experience.  

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The man has charisma and presence, every suave and sophisticated description I've ever read he personifies, his voice is perfect he can still take you on that journey and his audience were with him from the start.  The question of a mirror in the attic should be addressed, he looks good, no scrap that he looks great.

Support for the evening was Juanita Stein who was as lovely as she appeared on the videos I've watched, and well worth seeing in her own right when she returns to Birmingham.

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For a kid who first saw Bryan Ferry on Top of the Pops in the 70's he remains as impressive and striking as my initial impression. 

The full review and images will be on Birmingham Live.

Joan as Police Woman at Town Hall, Birmingham

Joan as Police Woman in Birmingham 

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A quick trip into Birmingham last night to photograph Joan as Police Woman at the Town Hall as we were covering this for Birmingham Live.

Support was from Birmingham’s own Fyfe Dangerfield who I hadn’t see for years but as was as lovely as I remembered.  Joan has an incredible voice, our reviewer was starry eyed within a few minutes, the full review with more images is here. 

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I seem to be shooting at more seated venues for the next few gigs I’m covering too.  Pits and flying drinks will have to wait a few weeks.

 

Lisa Stansfield at Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Lisa Stansfield in Birmingham

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After a few weeks, which have allowed time for some of the additional technical aspects I want to create, adding more techniques and working further on my photoshop abilities I’ve another run of gigs starting.

Last night I stepped in for a friend to shoot Lisa Stansfield.  I remember her well, superb voice, great 90’s hits, one of the best signature songs ever and I got a big surprise when I arrived.  Often for concerts I take images and leave, last night I had been given a seat and what a treat that turned out to be.

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Support for the evening was Irit, who is a multitalented singer. Complete with band, her music is a combination of a kind of folk and jazz.

Lisa is better live than I imagined, I’m still wondering why didn’t see her years ago.   Her vocal ability is as strong as ever and in the Symphony Hall she had the venue to value it.  She is perfectly toned and super fit giving her the capability to perform with ease for a full hour and half.  A beautifully paced show, with real highs and those gentle moments when the tempo is taken down and her voice is showcased.  

The crowd loved it, the band were tight and Lisa shone. 

The full review and images are on Birmingham Live.

 

 

Mark E. Smith

Mark E. Smith 

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When I first met my other half an essential part of getting together involved a joint love of music. The Wedding Present, Magazine and The Fall were essential listening on his part after all I loved The Smiths and Morrissey how could I have missed out on these greats?

That was soon put right.

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The first time I saw The Fall live I was well aware of the anything can happen aspect...but I watched a brilliant gig and MES mesmerised.  Maybe I just remained lucky but I've seen The Fall a fair few times and each was an event, with a crowd that loved the gig.

The music of The Fall often accompanied me on long car journeys as I had a job (previously) that required me to be “on the road” for a majority of my time.  I played them before heavy duty meetings - lyrics that would make me inwardly smile always helped.  

On a personal level I wanted to photograph them, MES could sparkle but small gigs could be tricky if MES started flaying the mike stand about. 

 

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My chance came at a festival in 2010 but from the safety of the barrier, by getting down the front early and shooting on the barrier, in the crowd.   The regulars who piled in were great, lots of big lads but they looked after me, maybe they got how important it was to me - the place bounced.  It was tricky but I look at the images now (still early in my live music shooting) and I still get what the younger me was aiming for - the character. 

Our reviewer noted that The Fall produced “the defining set of the weekend” which said it all and they were amongst some stern competition.

Close friends and my other half feel they’ve lost family. Mark E.Smith created music thats touched their lives for decades. Many had met him and are sharing great stories. 

I have photos which are my memories,  so I’m sharing those.

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Author: Stephanie Colledge 

2017 a quick look back

My favourite images from 2017

Well its all about looking ahead now, its 2018 and lots of things are happening already!

I’ve met some lovely people last year, at a whole range of events and I’m looking forward to photographing a wide range of engagement shoots, people and creating wedding photography for my couples to treasure.

So before I start talking about that, a quick look back at some of my favourite images from 2017.  

As a wedding photographer providing photography is a real pleasure. Thank you to my couples for letting me share your day.  Shooting couples who deeply love each other, just makes the whole experience even better. I love watching the telepathy between people who are so in tune, it is a delight. When there is lots of laughter and the pure enjoyment of just being with each other is the most important thing, it really shows and helps me create natural photographs that show how you are together. 

Character shows in all sorts of ways and furry character is fun to capture.  In  2017 I met a few fabulous dogs to photograph.  I’m hoping a few more may be at the weddings and engagement shoots I’m doing in 2018 (good behaviour permitting).

Live music has been a passion for a long time and in 2017 I had some great opportunities to shoot and see bands and musicians that put in stunning performances and expanded both the types of images I shoot and my listening.  These included Queen and Adam Lambert (I've still not recovered), Elbow, British Sea Power, Richard Ashcroft, Rag 'n' Bone Man, and Public Service Broadcasting,  A first for me in shooting a jazz orchestra, the NYJO  and country music courtesy of  Keifer Sutherland whose gravelly tones made for a different type of gig .   My personal favourites, The Cribs,  Dutch Uncles, The Wedding Present and Sparks are bands I love which means shooting them is a combination of challenge and enjoyment at the same time.

2018 is lining up to be an interesting mix of subjects again, weddings, relaxed portraits, more dogs and of course live music - I can't wait. 

 

 

Queen and Adam Lambert in Birmingham

Queen and Adam Lambert

This year the opportunities have kept coming and I was delighted to gain a pass for Queen and Adam Lambert on their first night at Arena Birmingham.  

The combination of Queen with Adam gives a whole new life to the music live. It was a delight to have the chance to hear and see some of those great songs performed.

The mini review and images on Birmingham Live!

 

Bananarama!

Bananarama - the original line up Birmingham 

I was in pinch myself territory when the announcement was made that the original line up of Bananarama, Siobhan, Sara and Keren would be touring at the end of this year.

Fast forward a few months and I'm at packed out Arena Birmingham with the chance to photograph.  Party night was in full swing as soon as the group appeared.

The full review and photographs are here on Birmingham Live! 

 

James Blunt live in Birmingham

James Blunt 

This year I set myself all sorts of photographic challenges one of which was to get out and  shoot bands and musicians that were not "indie bands with duelling guitars".   It's good as it makes me work in different ways, learn and try new techniques, plus I listen to lots of different music!

James Blunt at Arena Birmingham Stephanie Colledge Photography_ copy.jpg

Last night I ventured into Birmingham to see James Blunt and if any of you are surprised, I know he is a marmite choice for some,  but hey  - I was impressed and so was our reviewer  (the full review is here on Birmingham Live.)

The man has talent, charm, humour and that voice. For gig photographers it is often the case that you leave the venue as soon as you have shot the allocated songs, often 3 (in this case only 2).   Often thats fine, but sometimes like with this one I'd have loved to have seen the whole gig (next time I will). 

 

 

 

SPARKS live in Birmingham

Sparks, yes Sparks!  

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I’ve been lucky enough to see them a few times over the years and 5 years ago had my first chance to shoot them on the Two Hands one Mouth tour, which was a sheer delight.

Last night was Sparks in full band form and they were breathtaking.  As a child of the 70’s watching them on Top of the Pops I was intrigued, later on (as in you grow up) you realise just how impressive they really are.  

In a live setting they are a stunning and last night wowed and charmed a Birmingham audience.  That impressive vocal, the intense love of the crowd, yes simply beautiful and emotional.   My editing day will be spent listening to more of Russell and Ron. 

The full review and images are on Birmingham Live

Rag ’n’ Bone Man in Birmingham

Rag ’n’ Bone Man @ o2 Academy

There are those nights when you go to shoot a band or performer and you are just stunned as they are better than you expected or even considered.  Last night was one of those as I went out to see and shoot Rag ’n’ Bone Man at the o2 Academy. 

He has been on a major tour, with lots of venues being heavily upgraded.  In Birmingham he had moved from the Institute to the Academy - and it was sold out rapidly.    I knew the album was doing well but to sell out the Academy on a Monday night, the guy must be special!

The train in to Birmingham told me he was a big deal, people were travelling to see him - always a good sign.  With two support bands Gi3mo who were ok but not my thing and Dan Caplen who I’ll be catching again when he plays near here the Academy filled up quickly with a really mixed crowd.  It reminded me of a Seasick Steve gig a real combination of people all to see one rather different performer.

As for Rory Graham, blimey that voice is big and there is a warm personality with it. I’m off to listen to the album a lot more.

I shot this for Birmingham Live! and our reviewer must have been up half the night writing to get this live before noon today, our combined full report here