Arrived back at around 8pm last night and to be honest was a complete Zombie for the whole day from the moment I got up, and then couldn’t sleep, that’s what being overtired does to a body.
As for the Weekend, brilliant, from Joe Lynn Turner to Night Ranger to Skid Row, each day brought some terrific performances, from bands I’d expected to be great like Eclipse, The Radio Sun, Midnite City, Blood Red Saints and more… and then of course there were the wonderful surprised like finally getting to catch Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics and being blown away by the performance, or having a band like The King Lot open up the Friday Main Stage and kicking everyone’s ass into gear from the first song, great stuff and all part of what turned out to be another brilliant HRH AOR weekend.
Lots to write up, just need the head to clear, and let it flow, and a hell of a lot of photos to get sorted through, but will get there, need to get some sleep the rest of the week and go at it again fresh, so far very pleased with how some shots are coming out and a bit disappointed with others…..but that’s the nature of things – will keep plugging away. Have to make sure I don’t get exhausted and bring on an episode, and damn have to hit Sepultura on Thursday and get some other reviews in, busy times.
Very very tired and not sleeping now, but trying to work through the photos, hopefully you will like them when I have the full galleries up, here’s a small taster.
Don’t know what it’s been like in your part of the world, but here in Ireland we’ve been hit by what is for us a very unusual weather event, we tend to get very small amounts of snowfall during the winter months, and even at that it grinds the country to a halt 😉 But from last Wednesday we got hit by a much bigger event, snow for a few days that was very heavy at times and blizzard like, the meeting of a storm and a blizzard decided to dump as much as it could on our little green island, and the havoc caused was crazy, from the near Black Friday frantic scenes as people scrambled to buy sliced pans of bread, literally stripping delivery cages bare before they even made it to the shelves, yes for bread and milk, it wasn’t like the conditions were due to last weeks, a day or two.
But with snow drifts up to 10 feet high it certainly was causing problems, no public transport of any kind, flights in and out of the country completely wiped out, and people told to stay in their homes and not venture out. Well this is Monday night and the reality is most of it is all gone, a thaw for a day and a half and that’s it panic over, the sliced pans are no longer on Ebay for €1,000 😉
The birds weren’t too bothered, they still came to the garden to get their treats from the feeders or try their luck with the frozen ground. It’s all back to normalish now, a couple of days stuck in the house and people were going stir crazy, the supermarkets are still bare shelved, their distribution centers trying frantically to restock. In fairness the snowfall was more than double the previous records, so for her, a place that doesn’t have a reason to invest heavily in infrastructure or equipment for such an event if it only happens every 30 or 50 years, it wouldn’t be that prudent, but maybe when they add up the total cost it might be worth doing more.
But hey we are rolling into Spring now and it’s time to look forward to better weather, more trips, gigs and Festivals, it’s really lifting the spirits, which have honestly been a little low of late. We start this week with the HRH AOR Festival in Pwllheli, North Wales which I will be shooting at for the 4th year running, this year for my good friends at Rockposer.com and will look forward to photographing and seeing some terrific bands and of course catching up with some wonderful friends along the way. This years bill includes headliners Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen), Night Ranger and Skid Row. This is always a great weekend, and handy to be an indoor Festival at this time of year with lots of facilities on-site.
Busy month of gigs ahead, still have Sepultura, Steven Wilson, Cannibal Corpse, Gary Numan, Maverick and Danny Vaughn & Dan Reed to come this month, and HRH Blues in April.the year is pretty full with some great and very varied stuff, going to try and get to shoot more shows.
Another plan this year is to try and get out and get some decent photographs of Butterflies, but natural homegrown ones and some more tropical ones at Butterfly Gardens around the country, will try my very best to get this done. And then onto our holiday in Donegal, more Wild Atlantic Way sights, a different part of Donegal, so we will get to see the beautiful Fanad Lighthouse and area this time around.
So bring it all on, lets hope it’s a great few months for us all and brigher weather brings brighter moods, with a lot of friends struggling through various illnesses at the moment, thoughts and prayers are with them all for speedy and full recoveries, and we all need to live life to the fullest while we have it, have fun out there.
So time for a little update, and have to be honest I’ve be struggling a little, the dizzy spells have not disappeared, thankfully they are definitely fewer, which I’m thankful for. And while typing this I should be on my way in to see one of my favourite bands, the always wonderful Pat McManus Band, but will have to wait until the HRH Blues Festival to catch him again, it just would not be a smart play to go in and risk getting worse. But the guys really are wonderful live, Pat is without any doubt one of the most talented guitarists around today, such a passionate player and loves what he does.
Having said that I’ve already been to 20% of the number of shows I managed to get to in the whole of 2017, and there a a couple of gigs on the cards for this week, so hopefully things will go to plan. WOW!!!! we are almost at the end of February then and rolling into the Festival Season, with HRH AOR VI first up, that’s going to be great. Particularly looking forward to seeing the brilliant Night Ranger again, absolutely blew me away last time at the same Festival back in 2015.
Lots of stuff going on the next few months, gigs, Festivals (shooting and reviewing a couple of those – yeah I know I said I wouldn’t do that much work anymore, but it’s not always easy to get Festival Reviewers, may be a bit lucky this year and have a friend taking some of the load). Then we have a family holiday, staying in the homeland, but can’t wait for that, and will finally get to pay a visit to the stunning Fanad Lighthouse in Co. Donegal. So I automatically think back to last year and getting to see another of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland at Loop Head, Co. Clare, will naturally bring the camera along again and see what we can get.
For the rest of the weekend, will continue to work on some shots of our feathered friends in the back garden if the weather stands up, have some Album Reviews to work on and grab some rest in between. But we have to keep going, march onwards (to a tune or two of course) and keep trying to learn a few things as we go along. After I think I’ve improved enough with static birds it’s time to get to work on Birds in flight again, and that will probably require a replacement tripod, the endless spend of money continues 😉
Went into the garden earlier to get some air and try and clear my head a bit, but still having dizzy spells, since Tuesday so will have to take a trip to the Doctors if they don’t disappear, so didn’t do much for the head, but there were a lot of Birds buzzing around the place, and quite happy today with some of my photos. Right food and see if I’m ok to go out later. If you’d like to see some of the photos just click on the link below or either of the Photos and they will take you to the page 😉
Blue Tits and Robin’s are the order of the day today –
Lots of activity around today, which is really great to see, and a number of Robins just hanging around today, well until the Rescue Helicopter went flying overhead and everything scattered with the noise, the Thrush’s have yet to make an appearance today, nor the Collared Dove, but I’m sure they are around. Need to get a replacement Tripod quickly as handheld with the 70-200mm lens and the Extender weighs you down pretty quickly, but still pretty happy with the results, and know I can get a little clearer and better next time out.
Looking forward to our Family holiday back to Donegal in a few months, will get to check out the stunning Fanad Lighthouse and I’m sure there will be a lot of wildlife around both the bay where we are staying and the cliffs around the lighthouse itself. Assuming we are lucky with the weather of course. That aside, we are planning trips back to the Botanical Gardens and Dublin Zoo in the very near future, so lots coming up.
Well there is no doubt that my productivity as a Music Reviewer hit a low point in the second half of 2017, but in reality it was unavoidable, much less free time to work on stuff and much more responsibility looking after a loved one, such are the ways of life, but still managed to get a couple of reviews a month done, which is probably the average for a lot of people.
So how has 2018 begun, well so far have 2 published reviews, and two being submitted this evening, and a bunch more on the go, so that’s all positive, if I can keep to 4 a month I’ll be more than happy as the year progresses.
First couple of published reviews (Blood Red Saints and Ailafar) are in the AOR/Hard Rock spectrum, but as always there will be lots of variety in genres, styles as I always cover across the musical ranges, it works with my own tastes that are very wide ranging, everything from AOR to Black Metal, Blues, Hardcore, Rock anything to be honest.
Links to any of my reviews for 2018 can be fond on the following page –
We can already see just how much content is coming in during January and it’s at times a little overwhelming, it’s getting more and more difficult for Media Outlets to cover even close to what’s now being released. Plenty of new names on the scene too which is healthy, but there’s always a worry that at some point we get over saturation and and lots of quality releases could get lost in the mix. Lets hope that doesn’t happen and we will work hard to try and get somewhat informed views of albums out there before they are released, at least that’s the plan 😉
So in the first 11 days of the year we have almost hit 10% of the number of gigs in total that were attended in all of 2017, ok the target may not be a very difficult one to hit compared to a normal year, but that aside it’s certainly been a better start.
This weeks show was one of my favourite voices in Rock/Metal playing one of my (if not the top of the list) favourite albums of all time ‘Operation Mindcrime’, and having missed his solo acoustic show in Dublin at the end of 2016 I was even more determined to be there this time around to see Geoff Tate, and the reports of that night were spot on, his voice is in very good shape, he looks like a different man, more relaxed and much happier than when I last saw him fronting Queensryche back in 2011. That all led this to be an excellent show, yes there were some issues that meant there was a long delay in the start of the show and yes musically it wasn’t quite note for note, but I was there to hear Geoff sing the songs, and that brought a massive smile to my face, singing stupidly from the balcony after I’d finished the Photography work.
The set tonight was the album from start to finish plus the added bonus of “Silent Lucidity” and the excellent closing shots of “Empire” and “Jet City Woman”, what a great way to end the night.
Shooting twice in a week in a venue I think of as my nemesis wasn’t all that bad, managed to get through both shows and hopefully managed to get a couple of decent shots out of it, still a little work to tidy out the Galleries from Thursday, but we will get there, haven’t been immune to the many bugs going around the last couple of weeks and sadly feel like I haven’t really had a break over Christmas/New Year, but you gotta roll with it. Should be out at my cousins b’day celebrations tonight, but sick house today, and probably a much needed night in.
Thanks to LOR Productions for giving me the opportunity to shoot one of my favourite singers and mark another off the Photography Bucketlist.
Next up, hoping to take in the first Heat of this years Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses Ireland competition in Fibber Magees next Saturday night, might even bring along the camera, imagine that would make it 3 gigs in 3 weeks and 3 shoots 😉 getting a little ahead of myself there I know, but we shall see, be nice to get in there and meet up with some friends I haven’t seen much of recently.
We were a bit gutted that due to storm Eleanor kicking in on the day we were due to make our visit, the Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo had to be cancelled, really shame as we were looking forward to it and due to their scheduling an extra night couldn’t be added in to replace it, ah well, maybe next time.
But I have at least made a good start to the gig year, attending and shooting at The Dedication (a Tribute show for Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott, and what a great night it was. Each of the bands played great sets, but as with seeing them last August it was Black Rose that just nailed it on the night, excellent band that definitely has both the spirit and the skill to pay homage to the man himself. There were 4 band playing on the night, from Ireland and the UK –
We are lucky to have an abundance of Lizzy lovers and musicians that what to keep the music alive, it’s always brilliant to hear the classics, but even better to hear songs you wouldn’t normally hear anywhere but at home on your stereo. Hopefully next time around there will be a bigger crowd, but as with every event you have to start somewhere in year one. These events seem to suit the Button Factory.
Roll on Thursday night and the chance to see the wonderful Geoff Tate performing the full ‘Operation Mindcrime’ album with his band of the same name. One of my favourite albums of all time, can’t wait.