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 7D, 185mm, f/3.2, 1/500s, ISO 400
Vintage trouble in general has a nostalgia feel not only in their music but also in their looks. But while that might be true of the band in general, it’s striking about singer Ty Taylor, a living blend of James Brown and Junior Wells with the energy to live to that legacy. I shot this ages ago, but it went bizarrely unpublished until now.
Canon 7D, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 1250
It’s often said that you can see a man’s soul in his eyes. Well, that’s certainly true of Ian McDonald, guitarist and vocals for the extraordinary funk/soul band Monophonics. This was shot in very bad conditions, the only redeeming feature being that I was literally in the band’s face. Don’t know if they liked it much, but I sure did!
Canon EOS 7D, 310mm, f/3,2, 1/500s, ISO 400
Nalle Colt is the guitarist of Vintage Trouble, a blues/soul revival band that packs a ton of energy. In my early days of shooting concerts I would use a lot of dutch angles, then I stopped doing it. But once in a while, it works quite nicely.
Ron in the Dark
Canon A2, 200mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 3200
Film: Kodak T-Max 3200
I have not had much success shooting concerts with film. It’s given me a healthy dose of respect for all those jazz and rock photographers of the pre-digital era. Occasionally though a few shots came through, and this one is one of those. There is something of that old jazz photography in there that really speaks to me even though most of the shot is completely in the dark.
Ben in the Light
Fuji x100s, 50mm, f/2,8, 1/125s, ISO 1600
I haven’t posted a concert photo in ages. Truth be told, I haven’t been to a concert in ages. This is the last gig I attended in Europe, Monophonics at the Nouveau Casino in Paris. Since the Monophonics band backed Ben L’Oncle Soul (a French soul singer with a pretty decent voice) during his French tour, he paid them a visit during their gig. To be fair, the photos I got with the x100s and the 50mm extension weren’t great overall. 50mm isn’t close enough for most shots, and the AF performance was seriously hampered by the extension, but there are a few good shots, including this one of Ben. Not the kind of shot I normally capture, but I really like the light display here.
The Soul Imp
Canon 7D, 225mm, f/3.2, 1/1250s, ISO 400
There’s something delightfully impish about Vintage Trouble‘s lead singer Ty Taylor. His energy on stage is second to none, and it brings back memories of early James Brown or Junior Wells shows. Fantastic music and fantastic band if you can catch them.
Canon 7D, 32mm, f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO 1600
When I went to see Monophonics at La Java in May, it had been a long while since I hadn’t shot a concert in the truly atrocious conditions that you sometimes face in clubs with limited to no lighting, no stage and no space. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out how to deal with the results of that shoot. And then, perhaps because Monophonics is in France again but I’ll miss them this time, I revisisted the photos and decided to embrace the grunginess of it all instead of trying to erase it or tame it. The clutter I normally do my best to avoid shooting or to edit out, I left in. It’s a different kind of energy, and I’m not sure I’ve got it right, but I’d be interested in your feedback!
JJ in Action
Canon 7D, 125mm, f/4, 1/160s, ISO 1600
Jean-Jacques Milteau is one of my favourite musicians, a paragon of taste and tone. As always with harmonica players, it’s hard to frame a shot that works because you cannot see the instrument and the hands hide half of the face. Here however, I like how the dark-tinted glasses still let some of his decisive expression show through. I’m seeing him live with a new band next Friday, expect some very different shots from that gig!
Monophonics is one of the best soulf/funk bands I’ve discovered in these last few years. This shot is a fond memory of the first time I saw them live on New Orleans’ Frenchmen Street. This is Alex Baky, their sax player.