This is my first of my regular blogs on www.unholyracket.co.uk. I was busy thinking what I would talk about in these blogs. Obviously, I should introduce the site etc, but it really is simple. Unholy Racket Music Pics is about music pics by Unholy Racket, so not much to discuss there. There is perhaps more of a story to be told about why I have finally got around to putting the site together. I have been meaning to do it for ages, but it has been one of those things I have been putting off right through the summer..... Well what has passed for summer this year.
So it was the rain that did it. Enough rain to keep me from leaving the house with the camera. Enough rain to keep me from going for a walk with my daughter. Enough rain to keep me tied to a computer long enough to get the job done.
The rain has played a significant part in my day. I got a call around teatime asking whether I could make it down to the O2 Academy Leeds to take photos of Richard Hawley. Ed, the regular house photographer was the wrong side of a huge traffic jam caused by a river swollen by the perpetual rain. So I packed my gear and headed for the O2.
The support for the night was Lisa Hannigan from Ireland. She played a captivating set of folk music to an ever growing audience. Not too busy in the photo pit and hardly needed ear plugs as it was an acoustic set. It was well received, but there was no doubt who the main event was tonight.
Richard Hawley was simply breath taking. A man with a huge catalog of top class songs to choose from. Perhaps as impressive as the music was the stage presence, with entertaining tales and quips between songs. From a photography point of view the light was not too shabby for the first three songs. The stage was surrounded by a small orchard, the tress accompanying the band on tour. The security chap informed me that they had been left outside for an hour to save watering them.
A curious thing happened after the third song. I was collared on my way out of the pit and asked to take some more pics from the balcony for Richard's manager. Not entirely sure what passes would be need I had several pressed into my hand and sent on my way. This was almost the exact opposite of the last O2 Academy gig I did in Sheffield when The Cult sent someone to find me to take my passes away half way through The Mission's set. I guess things are balancing themselves out over the gigs....
The only downside of Hawley's set was the dreaded lectern! If ever a device was sent to haunt music photographers, this was it! They are an absolute nightmare especially when the vocalist also plays guitar. I really hate losing bits of instruments in shots, and the lectern almost guarantees the head of the guitar will vanish.
Anyway, it was fitting that a day that had seen solid rain have such an impact on my plans, it was fitting that Hawley finished with a song called 'Ocean'. Beautiful stuff. The crowd poured out of the venue to get the last boat home....