Saturday, 31 October 2009

Billy Talent with support from Cancer Bats in Southampton

Thursday October 29th I headed for Southampton Guildhall to see a double dose of proper Canadian rock from Toronto based bands Cancer Bats and headliners Billy Talent.
Although hardcore punk rockers Cancer Bats were their usual energetic selves, frontman Liam Cormier still madly head banging around in between vocals and leaping around the stage at every opportunity, they weren't as great as they were when I saw them live on the Lock-Up stage at the 2008 Reading festival, a fantastic performance which a lot of people who saw it said it one of the best sets of the whole weekend. 2008 album release Hail Destroyer saw Cancer Bats gain more popularity in Europe and becoming the hardcore music media darlings of Kerrang and Rock Sound magazines, receiving rave reviews of live shows and records. However, despite a slightly disappointing support this evening, they still show a lot of promise for 2010's new Cancer Bats record, titled Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones. A couple of new songs from the new album went down well with the crowd, but it was rather obvious that more than half the audience were just letting time pass in time for their fellow Ontario buddies Billy Talent. The two bands have actually been close friends for many years now, having known each other from the Toronto music scene.
A sold-out Southampton Guildhall, as well as all the other UK tour dates, just goes to show how far the Canadian rock quartet have come, now gaining a big fan base in Europe following festival appearances and an Australian tour. In their native country, Billy Talent are used to selling out venues the size of the 02 and Wembley Arenas, so these venues are small and more intimate for them. Having formed in Toronto in 1993 and first known as Pezz, they became Billy Talent ten years ago in 1999. Most of the songs performed were from this Summer's release Billy Talent 3, opening the show with the 4th track from that album Dead Can't Testify. I enjoyed this gig more than expected as it had been a while since I last saw Billy Talent. They were on the Lock-Up stage at Reading at the same time as Faith No More were performing on the NME stage, so I was determined to make the most of watching this show in Southampton.
Frontman Ben Kowalewicz explains to the crowd that Southampton means something sentimental to him, as his mother first boarded a ship to Canada from the Southampton harbour. He talks and jokes around with the audience at every opportunity, blasted out popular songs from Billy Talent 3, such as Devil on my Shouler, Rusted from the Rain and Saint Veronika. Slower and more melodic track Surrender from 2006 release Billy Talent 2 gets an even bigger applause. My only disappointment of the night was Ben not taking his shirt off as he's often known for doing during shows, but what the hell! Later after the show was over, I got to chat with Ben, bassist Jonathan Gallant and guitarist Ian D'Sa who all praised the British audiences and said that the tour was going very well, despite having to prospone the first two dates due to illness. Poor drummer Aaron Solowoniuk was apparently feeling feverish and had a cold in Southampton, but his illness didn't effect his live drumming skills. I will definitely be seeing Billy Talent again before too long.
Me with Ben Kowalewicz and Ian D'Sa after the show in Southampton, October 29th.
Ben signing autographs for fans after the show.

Lots more photos of Cancer Bats and Billy Talent can be seen at:

and on my MySpace photography page as usual.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

New online store set up so fans can buy prints of my photos

Sorry for the lack of updates, but I've been so busy working.

Fans have asked me whether they can buy prints of my best band photos, so I've set up a new online store for glossy prints of my favourite band photos here:

Next show I will be photographing will be Billy Talent and Cancer Bats at Southampton Guildhall at the end of October. I am trying to save money for February, when I will be returning to Australia for the first time since 2006 for the Soundwave festival and Faith No More separate headline shows (they are also on the line-up for Soundwave).

My live photos and a review of The Used's brilliant performance at the Electric Ballroom in Camden can be viewed here:

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

My 18th year in a row at the Reading festival

Yet another Reading festival is over and it marks the end of the Summer for me and most music fans in the UK. This year was my 18th year at the festival and apart from the miserable (and unusually cold) weather on Friday and Sunday, it was as great as always. My highlights from Friday August 28th were watching Faith No More, who were even better than they were at Download a few months ago, Placebo, Alexisonfire, Fall Out Boy and The Deftones. I was annoyed that three great bands I wanted to watch were all on different stages at the same time, whose dumb idea was it to put Billy Talent on the Lock Up stage at the same time as Faith No More on the NME stage...?! So not fair! I obviously watched Faith No More, because Billy Talent are coming back for a UK tour soon anyway.
I managed to get some photos. Lots more are on the MySpace page in the Reading Festival 2009 gallery. The Prodigy and The Blackout were the best on Saturday. God knows why Arctic Monkeys were headlining the main stage after The Prodigy, as I only recognized around two songs they played when I saw their performance on TV in the bar at the hotel I was staying in. Sunday was dull up until The Gaslight Anthem were on the NME stage, followed by Gallows, AFI and Lostprophets. I suppose I did an okay job on getting photos of the bands I saw considering I didn't have a photo pass.
A couple of face-painted festival goers. The neon face paint was seen around the site a lot, like last year.

Batman and The Joker!
Guy in a "nude" bodystocking!
Ian Watkins from Lostprophets
AFI, NME stage Sunday August 30th, 2009.
More AFI
Brian Fallon from The Gaslight Anthem
Thursday vocalist Geoffrey Rickly
Matt Caughthran from The Bronx
Mike Patton from Faith No More
More Faith No More
Dallas Green from Alexisonfire in the NME signing tent indicating to fans making too much noise!
The Gossip's Beth Ditto in the NME signing tent
You Me At Six
Ian Brown
Enter Shikari
More of Mike Patton
Brian Molko of Placebo on the main stage, Friday August 28th.
Pete Wentz
Fall Out Boy
The Deftones on the main stage (with Dallas Green from Alexisonfire watching at the side!)
Jordan Pundik from New Found Glory on the main stage

The Deftones and AFI in Amsterdam

I've had a busy past week, travelling to Amsterdam to see The Deftones and AFI at own small venue shows before their Reading and Leeds festival appearances. I didn't manage to get any live shots of The Deftones at The Paradiso, as I was late arriving from having dinner with my cousin who lives in Amsterdam, but I got a photo pass for the AFI show at The Melkweg.
It had been two years since I'd seen AFI live and at least four years since I'd seen The Deftones live and without bass player Chi Cheng who is still in hospital receiving treatment following a serious car accident in November 2008 which left him in a coma. Chi is now out of intensive care and according to the band, his condition has improved. Despite the worries, the band were on top form in Amsterdam with replacement bassist Sergio Vega. I managed to chat to the band outside the venue after the show and they were all in good spirits and look forward to playing Reading and Leeds.
All the shots I got of AFI will (hopefully) be featured on the official AFI fan club site Despair Faction and you must be a member of the Despair Faction to log onto the site, but I have uploaded a few photos on here and in my MySpace galleries.

Deftones lead vocalist Chino Moreno after the show at the Paradiso in Amsterdam on August 25th and pictured below, drummer Abe Cunningham.

Friday, 21 August 2009

The Used successfully return to London after almost two years

The set list from the show at The Garage in London. August 5th, 2009.
Drummer Dan Whitesides holding up a t-shirt hand designed by a fan who travelled all the way from Sweden to see the band!
Jeph posing with a pen to make it look like a cigarette (he was just goofing around!)
Quinn looking suave

One of the most successful bands to come from Utah, The Used, returned to the UK for the first time since International Taste of Chaos 2007 and performed what frontman Bert McCracken described as,
"Probably the best show we've ever played in London yet". The band performed on Saturday August 1st at the first annual Sonisphere festival at Knebworth Park, then enjoyed the party at the Kerrang! Awards, before doing their own more intimate show in The Garage in Islington, London. I managed to get some shots of the guys hanging out after the show, where they signed autographs and chatted with fans about their eagerly awaited new album Artwork.

Bert making a silly face at me! (well, he was definitely in a great mood that night!)