Fuji xpro2, 52mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 3200
Lettuce is a hard hitting modern funk band whose bass player, Jesus Coomes is nothing short of a stage imp. Not only does he play wicked bass grooves, but he jumps up and down like a madman and wears the silliest socks. Go check Lettuce if you can, it’s a guaranteed evening of fine music and booty shake.
End of the Night
Canon EOS7D, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 1600
Monophonics is a spectacular band to see live. Singer / keyboard player Kelly Finnigan has the kind of stage presence and energy that you don’t expect to see live these days anymore. Saying he ends each gig drenched in sweat would be a lie: he is drenched from the beginning of the third song. For this particular gig I was standing a meter away from the band and eye level with them which gave me some cool opportunities for photos I don’t normally get to do but also proved super challenging. This one of the winning shots from that gig.
Canon EOS 7D, 80mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 800
The fabulous French big band Bigre! has a song on their repertoire called Be Good Bluesy Johnny which is at heart an interplay between barytone sax and blues guitar. There’s a break in the middle of the song when the band suddenly goes 12-bars-ish and the guitar starts wailing. It’s orgasmic. The first time I heard this time was when I went to see Bigre! live for their latest album release party. This is the precise moment when Nicolas Mondon launched into his solo.
Fuji XPRO2, 50mm, f/4, 1/100s, ISO 1600
Because the Ceux Qui Marchent Debout gig in April was a record release party there were many guests on stage. One of these was a trumpet player with a really beat up trumpet (you can’t see it here because of the plunger) but boy did he have a clear and powerful sound (not that Bruno, the official CQMD trumpet player doesn’t!) I’m assuming he was an old band member, but I couldn’t catch his name. So he’s the mystery horn.
Fuji XPRO2, 85mm, f/2.8, 1/80s, ISO 1600
I have a particular photographic fondness for sousaphone players. The bizarre shape and sheer size of their instruments makes for very graphic photos if you can catch their face in the middle of the twisted brass. This is Roufi of the fantastic funk band Ceux Qui Marchent Debout.
Ounsa’s Golden Voice
Fuji xpro2, 85mm, f/2.8, ISO 1600
The launch party for Ceux Qui Marchent Debout‘s new CD Don’t Be Shy was a blast musically. Photographically speaking it was a double challenge: it was the first gig I shot with my new Fuji xpro2, and the New Morning in Paris is not the best scene for photos. It took me a while to get my settings right and get a feel for the camera in low-light. The Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 is a stunning lens in general but its AF is slow, especially in low light (whereas the Fujinon 35mm f/2 performed flawlessly). Anyway, all this to say that I really started getting good shots once the guests showed up on stage. This is the fantastic singer Ounsa Mébarkia, and probably my favorite shot of the evening, even though it doesn’t feature any of the members of the band I was there to listen to.
Paul’s Big Sound
Canon 7D, 80mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 1250
Paul Robertson is big in every sense of the word: big frame, big sound, big groove. He combines a really powerful vibration with very fluid lines when he plays, a fantastic contribution to the Soul Rebels sound. This isn’t a fantastic shot, but it captures him in action, which I guess is good enough on some level.
Julian in Shades
Canon 7D, 135mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 1250
The New Morning in Paris is a tricky club to shoot in. The light is harsh and there’s always something in the background. With the Soul Rebels it’s made even harder by the fact that most of them have one or two microphone stands in front of them. So I was quite pleased with this shot of Julian Gosin in his shades.
Corey on the Bone
Canon 7D, 145mm, f/2.8, 1/80s, ISO 1600
The Soul Rebels Brass Band hails from New Orleans and is undoubtedly one of the most raucous acts I have ever seen. Last Saturday I went to their gig at the New Morning in Paris, and despite this being the third time I see them, it was the most fun I’d had of all three gigs. As usual with the New Morning, photo conditions were rough, but I hope to have enough good shots of them to last the week.
Canon 7D, 80mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 1600
Bigre! is the funkiest Big Band I’ve ever heard. It features a veritable army of trombones, and far be it from me to suggest that one is better than the other, but this guy, Sylvain Thomas, sure sounded amazingly raw! Check out their latest album To Bigre! or Not to Bigre!, well worth a listen.