Monday, 1 December 2008

Simple Plan round-off their second European tour of 2008 with emotional and exciting London show

Above: Watch the video of Simple Plan bassist David Desrosiers speaking out about his sister and why he could not attend the instore signings and fan club soundchecks. The rest of the 8 videos I took at the show in London can be seen on my YouTube page.

Simple Plan treated fans to an explosive, but somewhat emotional finale to their successful European tour last Saturday, November 29th at the Forum in Kentish Town. I had a photo pass for this show, so I got plenty of close-up shots of the band. This was the last tour of Europe for the band in a long time, as the guys said that they intend to work hard in 2009 on the follow up to the self-titled Simple Plan album they released in February 2008.

I had a by chance encounter with David Desrosiers at Glasgow airport the day after their show at Glasgow Academy on November 27th and the poor guy wasn't happy at all, explaining that he was going through a personal family crisis, having just found out his older sister was sick and did not feel like being on tour at that moment. I fully understood and sympathised with him, as it's hard when you're in a band and away from home for most of the year and can't exactly cancel plans at the last minute.

The London show at The Forum was the final show of Simple Plan's second European tour this year and David grabbed the mic and spoke out about the reason why he was abscent from the band's instore signings in Birmingham and London just before the performance of Save You, which is the song lead singer Pierre Bouvier wrote about his brother Jay who survived lymphoma cancer. As well as speaking out about the personal drama, David ended up handing over one of his expensive basses to a very lucky fan who was in the front row! The guy who received the free bass was actually somebody I chatted to before the show outside the venue and he mentioned he played bass and had his own band, so he deserved it!

Fans praised David for letting out his feelings and he felt much better later on when I spoke to him after the show. He also made an effort to make it up to fans who didn't get their cds and anything else signed by him at the signing at Zavvi record store.

Videos can be watched on here:

All photos of Simple Plan I take are uploaded onto these websites:

Photos from the Glasgow show as well as from London can be seen in the galleries.

David did not travel from Paris to Tel Aviv for the show there on Tuesday December 2nd, he remained in Paris with his family. Pierre did mention the reason why David was not there onstage in Tel Aviv. A video of it can be seen on the websites above.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Viva Espania!

I've just returned from a few days in Spain, but not sunny Spain at this time of year, unfortunately. First time in Barcelona and Bilbao and as well as making the most of the time I had to see the best parts of town, I saw Simple Plan and Co. again at their two stops in Spain. Last time I saw the band in the same country was in Madrid for the Under 18 festival back in July. I went to the main tourist area and took some photos of the amazing views on the mountain where there is an art gallery, escalators going up and down and cafes. I can't even remember what it's called, but it was a good, interesting walk and the fountains at night are great to watch.

Again, as always, I managed to get some good photos of Simple Plan at the Sant Jordi Club in Barcelona and at the smaller venue they played in Bilbao, the Rock Star Live club. The Bilbao venue was actually changed at the last minute. It was originally supposed to be at the Pabellon de la Castilla, just five minutes from my hotel, but no such luck! I had to spend a lot more money this time on cabs, a last minute flight to Bilbao (as it was a lot further away by train than I'd thought!) and I just got there in time to catch Simple Plan walk onstage at Rock Star Live! The damn hotel in Bilbao failed to give me a wake-up call this morning and I almost missed my flight back to London!
It was all worth the hassles, though! See all my live photos from Barcelona and Bilbao within the next week on the usual Simple Plan websites.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

First trip to Poland

Below: View of Warsaw from my room window on the 41st floor of the Intercontinental hotel

Simple Plan bass player David Desrosiers after the concert in Warsaw

Below: Ali Tabatabee from California rockers Zebrahead who toured Europe with Simple Plan

Below: Andrew Shay, bass player with Welsh band Kids In Glass Houses

I went to Poland for the first time last weekend, mainly to see Simple Plan perform at Stodola, a venue just outside the city centre. Stayed in a fantastic hotel, the Intercontinental, which boasts the highest leisure club in Warsaw and it was rather nice swimming in the pool on the 43rd floor and seeing spectacular views of Warsaw!
Simple Plan took Welsh band Kids In Glass Houses and California's Zebrahead with them on this European tour. Great choice of support, all bands were brilliant in Warsaw and the Polish fans had been really excited about this show since it was announced. Poland is still a country that often gets let out of major bands' tour schedules, even though more bands are now doing shows in Eastern Europe than ever before.
See the whole set of photos from Stodola in Warsaw here:
AND (with support band shots)

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Halloween with Funeral For a Friend, Cancer Bats and Co.

A pair of friends dressed-up as the couple featured in the artwork for Funeral For A Friend's 2003 album Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation and got the chance to be onstage with the band! Great idea for a Halloween costume!

Energetic hardcore Canadians Cancer Bats are one of the hardest bands to ever get good photos of, because they are always moving around. Vocalist Liam Cormier did his usual thing and crowd surfed while performing. The band looked like members of a voodoo tribe!

It was Halloween last night, and although nothing can beat the annual West Hollywood Halloween parade which I've been to several times over the years, I made the most of it by seeing Funeral For a Friend, Cancer Bats, In Case of Fire and Attack! Attack! at Portsmouth Pyramids. The British weather is getting freezing and last night was a clear example of it! It was relief to get inside the venue and sweat it out in the audience!
Cancer Bats were just as mad as they were when I last saw them on the Radio One Lock-Up stage at the Reading festival. Total onstage chaos and body make-up that made lead singer Liam Cormier resemble some kind of voodoo tribe member ( who'd been dragged through some bushes by the end of the set, because he crowd surfed! ). Funeral For a Friend were stunned when bass player Gareth Davies quite the band during late Summer, due to the ongoing stresses of living in Las Vegas, when the rest of the band remained in the UK. The constant travelling became too much and Gareth was quickly replaced by new bassist Gavin Burrough. Luckily, Gavin fits into the band brilliantly.
Hard to believe that it's been five years since Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation came out and gained the band huge success. Now, almost exactly five years later, the fifth album Memory and Humanity is out.
To view the whole set of photos from the show, go to:
Go to Member Galleries and SophieRockshots.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Even more Fall Out Boy - in Amsterdam!

Below: I actually went along to the meet and greet with selected lucky fans before the show in Amsterdam and all I had to take along for the band to get signed was my hotel keycard! I realized I'd given out all the photo prints I had to everyone else! ( I hid the name of the hotel in this pic, basically because Fall Out Boy were also staying there!)

A fan from the audience threw a mask onstage and Pete wore it for part of the show! He also returned to the stage for the encore wearing it.

How could I not want to return to Amsterdam for a show after having had such a great time seeing Velvet Revolver do their final show with Scott Weiland there back in April...?! It's one of my favourite cities and a very rock 'n' roll kind of place. As soon as Fall Out Boy announced the date at one of my favourite European venues, The Melkweg, I booked the flight and hotel.

I've always loved Amsterdam and have family in the Netherlands (my grandmother is Dutch), so whenever I'm back living in England I try and go back about twice a year. Two of my cousins moved to Amsterdam recently, so I met up with them for drinks the evening before Fall Out Boy played their last show of their short European tour at The Melkweg.

The Melkweg ( The Milky Way ) is a converted dairy and small concert venue in the centre of Amsterdam, right in the tourist friendly Leidesplein area of the city. There are two small concert halls within the venue, a club size capacity room and a much larger room where bigger bands play, but compared to the huge arenas Fall Out Boy played in the UK, seeing them perform at this small venue was a treat.

The full set of photos I took at the show will be on here:

Go to the PHOTOS area and to FAN PHOTOS.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Fall Out Boy and Boys Like Girls at Glasgow SECC in Scotland

Stage backdrops for Fall Out Boy and Boys Like Girls.

Boys Like Girls lead vocalist Martin Johnson.

Martin Johnson and Bryan Donahue from Boys Like Girls onstage at Glasgow SECC.

Pete Wentz and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy onstage at Glasgow SECC. I love this shot, because Pete's shadow made it look cool!

Just how many more different hoodie designs can Pete come up with for the Clandestine clothing line? He seems to wear at least two or three new designs on every tour.

Pete, probably making a point that the new Fall Out Boy album Folie a Deux is out on December 16th, 2008!

Lion man! Believe it or not, it really is guitarist Joe Trohman hiding underneath all that hair!

Above: Bryan Donahue and John Keefe from Boys Like Girls onstage at Glasgow SECC.

Below: Vocalist Martin Johnson and bass player Bryan Donahue.

For video captures from this show, go to the YouTube page here:
Fall Out Boy hadn't done any shows in the UK since the Reading and Leeds festivals in August 2007, so how could I possibly miss out on seeing one of my favourites acts while they were in the country...? On Tuesday October 21st, I flew to Glasgow in Scotland to see the second of three arena concerts that Fall Out Boy did while on their short stop in the UK to promote Folie a Deux, the long awaited follow-up to 2007 album Infinity On High.

Funnily enough, Folie a Deux is actually a reference to a psychotic disorder and is translated as "A madness shared by two", could this be anything to do with Pete Wentz's past manic depression and his surprise showbiz wedding to Ashlee Simpson...? Well, whatever it refers to, the new songs from the album have been worth the wait. Buy the album in stores from December 16th.

I e mailed the record label to request a photo pass, but they never even bothered responding, so I had to go with the flow and try my best to get some crap photos from in the crowd. Better than not even going to the show at all, of course! Besides loads of fans complaining that the meet and greet with the band before the show started was way too rushed, the performances from Fall Out Boy and Boys Like Girls were fantastic as always. I bought a new camera at the airport which has got me some quality shots, but the video quality is not as great, so the sound on the live captures I got of Fall Out Boy are rather crap unfortunately, but they're worth watching if you want good close-ups of Pete Wentz doing his usual talking to the audience and the band in action.

This Saturday, I am returning to Amsterdam for the second time this year, where Fall Out Boy will perform at the cosy Melkweg, a club size venue and considerably smaller and a lot better than Glasgow SECC! Hopefully any photos I take at the show will be much better and close-up. Watch this space!