On the evening of Friday 28th July 2023 I attended the debut gig of Lodestone Pirates at The Donkey on Welford Road, Leicester. I have been a friend of drummer David “Max” Millgate for more years than I care to remember so I wanted to be there to support him and his new band. I said I’d bring a camera along if that was ok with the band.
The band’s tag line on Facebook says “4 piece band covering everything from classic to modern rock… and doing it LOUDLY!!” and they’re not wrong.
They played two 45 minute sets and they rocked! You wouldn’t have guessed that this was their first gig or that they’d only been together as a group of musicians for a few months.
I only took photos during the first set as by then I felt I had plenty to work with and I’m also conscious of getting in the way of other audience members and blocking people’s view.
I was pleased to get the above photo of Dave giving it a twirl of the drumstick. I had been hanging around the side of the stage hoping to pick up a few photos of drumstick blur. I had to reduce my shutter speed to 1/15th to get this degree of blurring. I was leaning against a speaker stack but was shooting handheld with a 90mm lens at this point so I was grateful for the I.B.I.S provided by the Fuji X-H1. Dave’s hand is obscuring his face but at least I caught the moment.
As usual I was shooting in raw to give me maximum flexibility during post-processing. I did process a few as colour renditions but moody, high contrast black and white is my “thing” and tends to be what I have in mind whilst shooting.
I was fairly happy with my results. A couple more photos from the night can be found below.
Looking forward to future gigs from this four piece.
On Friday 24th March 2023 I got back to something I have long enjoyed doing – taking photographs of musicians playing live at small local venues.
This was the first time I’d taken my camera to a gig since pre-covid days and it felt really good to get back to it. I headed down to The Soundhouse in Leicester where a variety of artists were performing that night (auditions for Leicester’s Western Park Festival this summer) .
It was also the first ever time I’d visited The Soundhouse. I’ve been following the Leicester music scene for around 35 years so this seemed something of an omission. I’ve haunted The Musician and The Donkey frequently and go back to the days of The Royal Mail and the folk club upstairs at The Spread Eagle. I really enjoyed my visit to Soundhouse and I’m looking forward to returning.
I shot using my Fuji X-H1 and a variety of lenses. The 100-400mm to get right in close, the 90mm f2 for slightly wider shots (and I enjoyed using this lens in combination with the IBIS provided by the X-H1) the 35mm f2 for something a bit wider and even the 10-24mm for much wider “whole stage” shots.
I love contrasty lighting so venues which employ spotlights make me smile. And at The Soundhouse they really put on an interesting light show for the size of the venue.
Why do I enjoy this so much? Many reasons. Of course, I love to hear the music and on an evening like this you get to hear a variety of styles. As I said, I like contrasty lighting. Not all venues employ a lighting rig like the one at The Soundhouse of course but when they do I like to take advantage of it. I’m also hopeless at posing people. When a musician gets up on stage they take care of posing themselves and then produce a variety of expressions invoking a range of emotions. Of course we no longer have smoke filled basement jazz clubs, but that’s the kind of venue I love to shoot. We still have the jazz clubs, just not the smoke filled ones since the indoor smoking ban came into effect in the UK in 2007.
I’m hoping I’ll be doing more of this soon. For personal reasons I’ve been absent from many things which I enjoy so much and it feels great to finally be getting back to some of it. I’ve added this post to several blog categories including “projects” as I see shooting live music to be an ongoing, life-long project.
More photos from the evening below. I ended up taking over 700 shots so just a small selection!