November already…….

It’s been a pretty crazy year all in all, yes maybe not crazy from a Lifestyle point of view, but having said that it is hectic if not crazy. As time goes on we continue to learn about situations, seeing what happens when work gets really busy, there are hospital or other appointments for the little guy, your spouse works 4 nights a week and you are also at least partially looking after an elderly parent – well where do you have time for other pursuits or just for yourself. For me it often means staying up later at night, which really isn’t helping, have to manage the levels of tiredness or the Epilepsy will make an unwanted interruption to things 😉

I know I’ve said it before, but where does the balance come, and when different things in life kick in, how can you reorganise things to get it all working better for you and your family, perhaps having smaller more focused bursts of concentration for your hobbies/pursuits might work, but that’s not easy when you are doing music photography, or scale back on everything, definitely a possibility, but I’ve already massively scaled back on the number of things I go to, and somehow other things have taken over that time. One thing is for sure were I driving it would save time visiting my mam, would have more options, could go down after getting home from work some days or at weekends make easier trips. But scheduling is out of our control, need to be down for dinner time, and back home for looking after the little guy. Hope this doesn’t sound moany, it’s not meant to, honestly I have it pretty easy, I know there are many people in much more difficult circumstances – I just wish I can figure out better ways of doing things that could maybe benefit all of us. One thing is for sure, all of the stresses and strains are not good for your Mental Health, and usually just when you think you have a handle on something a spanner is thrown in the works, so always be vigilant, and try where you can not to let it all get on top of you, when you are out of action it’s bad for everyone.

But hey I’m still blessed to be able to get away to a few Festivals every year, just posting up the Galleries from last months AOR/Melodic Rock feast Rockingham Festival in Nottingham, UK – brilliant 3 days, great performances and wonderful friends, and I’m pretty happy with the Photographs in general, Getting to mark a couple more bands off the Bucketlist, and again having the pleasure to meet up with some brilliant musicians I’ve gotten to know over the last few years, good times. This event is one that certainly helps calm the frayed edges of sanity, long may it continue.

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Glass Tiger – Rockingham 2018

We recently went to the Wild Lights in Dublin Zoo which was pardon the pun, very illuminating, the last thing we could take our son too for free before he turned 3 last week 😉   and although we weren’t sure just how much he enjoyed it, there was a lot to see, and we enjoyed it. Can see how it would be very expensive bringing a family with a number of children, so perhaps they could look at Family tickets next year, certainly some of the setups he was more interested in than others, but there was a good atmosphere there and some of the animals were still wandering around in the dim night around there areas.

So yes, bloody hell it’s mid-November, soon be time to work on Top Tens of Albums, Gigs, Photos of the year, and I’m already well into the trip planning for next year, that starts as soon as stuff gets announced, so there are items for the calendar right up to next October, it may sound like madness, but if you don’t plan for it there’s no way you can make it happen 😉 And finding the right times to book flights on deals with different airlines, train companies etc, it’s becoming more difficult all the time as rules change, offers come and go…..would love to travel further afield than the UK at least once in 2019 but we will have to see, I’m already committed to 4-5 Festivals, so that will cover most things, a couple of day trips on top of that and we will be done 😉  So hopefully we will be getting to HRH AOR, Blues, Sleaze, Amplified, Rockingham and at least some of Bloodstock.  Touch wood.

Also coming in quickly is Christmas, our little guy has already had a wheelbarrow full of toys and presents for his birthday so we’ll be keeping the Christmas stuff a little lower key, and introducing him to Santa, but I don’t think that will hit him until next year, but now he’s walking you never know 😉

Rockingham here we come

This week is all about tying up some loose ends and making sure I’m 100% ready for the last of my Festival Shoots for 2018, and it’s going to be amazing. In total we will have 18 bands spanning the AOR/MelodicRock/HardRock genres and just some excellent bands, headliners this year are Vixen, Nelson and Warrant a nice heavy hitting start to things.

Travelling is changing all the time, used to be something I didn’t have to think too much about, check early for cheaper flights, book when it makes sense and done, simple. Sadly things have changed, certainly for people that are involved in Photography. First off we had the changes Ryanair made to Cabin baggage where you had to purchase Priority boarding in order to carry 2 cabin bags, certainly on overnights that was ok, small camera bag and larger backpack camera back and squeeze in a change of clothes or whatever is needed, but that won’t work for a Festival, so then you add the expense of Priority boarding and a checked in bag/case, now you are doubling the price of a ticket. More new rules coming in at the start of November and probably more to come, the other Airlines are making changes too, everyone is charging more for items you would expect to be free, but at this stage the monetary savings with Ryanair are no more, so for someone that me that travels to the UK regularly it’s just about the same price to fly with Aer Lingus or another airline, so flying one way is an option with one airline, and the return with another airline can prove the most cost effective. Next weekend is easy enough, into East Midlands, bus to Nottingham, and then on the way back, train to Birmingham and flight straight back, certainly could be worse.

Something that will be needed this week is some sleep, last couple of months have been a struggle, a very difficult time, have lost a couple of friends and at the same time learnt of some bad difficulties others are currently dealing with, and then there is whatever you are dealing with yourself thrown on top of that. A few days away from everything might be a tonic, hopefully will be, but I definitely need not to come home more tired than I was going 😉

On top of that I also need to make sure I get some rest because I am already overtired, have felt is the last 2 weeks, and being very overtired triggers my Epilepsy, which I have managed really well to control the last few years, even with a pile of stress, sleeping and eating badly, and everything else, a fit would be a most unwelcome visitor, and when you feel you are in a hole that would definitely dig a deeper one, so I’ll slap myself on the head and sort things out, so off to bed in 10 minutes.

 

Once again I have the privilege to shoot this great Festival this year and will be shooting/reviewing for the great guys over at MidlandsRocks

Here is a Preview I put together for this years Festival –

Rockingham Festival 2018 Preview

Lots of stuff to come from next Friday night onwards, but for now here are some of my photos from the last couple of Rockingham Festivals, I’m still looking to improve this year and look forward to the challenge.

 

 

Time is a drifting again……

Well hear we are again 😉

Have been going well with the Photos from HRH Sleaze, and that’s pretty cool, as I have also been quite happy with the way some of them have turned out, and even more pleasing is the fact that some of the bands have liked them too, and well that means a lot to me.

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On the downside, as everything in life has gotten more busy and stressful again the creative side has taken a back seat, and I’m behind again, can’t be helped life does definitely get in the way, sick son and now sick daddy doesn’t help at all, but back to work tomorrow and hopefully this awful week will be nearly done, on top of everything else the world lost a really lovely person this week too, she will never be forgotten by the many people that her heart touched, may she rest in peace.

Moments like this always cause reflection, and a bit of stock taking, but every time I see a photo of the little guy having fun at Preschool everything falls back into place, it just puts a smile on your face.

So the writing and the Photos will come, maybe in a big batch, but that’s how it has to be, and the sickness will pass and then it’s onto the next one, last Festival of the year next month and the one I just can’t wait to see, brilliant lineup and brilliant people, it will be a hugfest for sure…..but until then I will plough on 😉

Shiraz Lane - HRH Sleaze II
Shiraz Lane – HRH Sleaze II

 

It’s quite funny when you are laid low with a bug you end up watching stuff on TV you wouldn’t normally see, and there’s more and more programs on about people changing their diet because they read something on the Internet – bloody hell, that’s scary, go and check it out with a qualified person before following an internet fad, not everything on the Net is true you know 😉

 

Amplified Festival 2019

So here’s the first band announcement for Amplified Festival 2019 which will take place on 19 – 21 July between Northleach and Aldsworth in Gloucestershire, UK. Some great bands in this first announcement, this is going to be another cracking weekend.

Here is the official announcement.

“As the saying goes ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’…can it really be time to announce the line up for Amplified Version 3.0 already?! We’ve endured torrential storms in 2017 followed by blistering sunshine in 2018 so it would be a brave person to bet on what’s going to happen weather wise here at Amplified over the weekend of 19th-21st July, 2019.
One thing is for certain…we are going to continue to bring you the best new acts from the global rock and metal scene. Yes, artists will yet again be joining us here on the hallowed stages of Amplified from all around the world including artists from Sweden, the Netherlands, and as far afield as Japan. With the masked mayhem in the shape of MUSHROOMHEAD joining us from the USA as Saturday’s Red Stripe Main Stage headliners, Amplified 2019 will be here before we know it.
So please read on for the first confirmed acts and stay tuned as we’ve still several other acts to announce over the coming months…it’s going to be a very special weekend here at Amplified 2019!
And as always thank you for your continued support as without you Amplified wouldn’t be the festival it has grown to be and we look forward to welcoming you all again very soon.” Gary – Event Founder and lover of all things rock!
Gloucestershire based AMPLIFIED FESTIVAL makes their first announcement, and it’s a statement of intent as Ohio based Multi-Million selling MUSHROOMHEAD are confirmed to headline the Saturday Main Stage.
Formed in 1993 the band is known for their unique sound. A not-so delicate blend of Heavy Metal and Industrial Rock their theatrical imagery features masks and costumes as well as their unique live shows, which are normally played in more intimate venues. This will be the first UK outdoor festival Headline slot for the Cleveland based band, and it promises to be quite the set. MUSHROOMHEAD are primed and ready for the Cotswolds in 2019.
Joining them on the main stage bill are legendary Thrash lunatics LAWNMOWER DETH, who among their many accolades have played twice with Kim Wilde and are the current theme tune for the BBC Radio 2 segment “Dr. Mosh”. Frontman Qualcast Mutilator said “At our age it’s always nice to play somewhere that we can purchase shortbread in a tin with a picture of a thatched cottage on it. Nothing says metal like a tin of shortbread. South West and Amplified, we are coming”.
The Main Stage line-up additionally features IDIOM, BLOODSHOT DAWN, THE BAD FLOWERS, RYDERS CREED, THOSE DAMN CROWS, ROCKET DOLLS, BLACK BULLETS, LOTUS EATER, ESPRIT D’AIR, MORTISHEAD, TRC, SEETHING AKIRA, HIGHTOWN PARADE and AWAKENING HYPERIA.
 
Announced for the Very Metal Art Stage are bands KRYSTHLA, SEPTEKH, THE MEN WHO WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING, BYZANTINE, THIS IS TURIN, MAGE, COLLIBUS, META-STASIS, WRETCHED SOUL, PRIMITAI, KANE’D, VALAFAR, REPULSIVE VISION, THE KING LOT, TOMORROW IS LOST, MIDNIGHT PROPHECY, CALLUS, DAMAGED REICH and ETHYRFIELD.
In addition, the festival have announced the returning SULPHER and UNZUCHT to play the now legendary “G’s Bar Stage”
Joining them are SISTERS OF SUFFOCATION, BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE, WITCHSORROW, THE MIGHTY WRAITH, DISHONOUR THE CROWN, DEATH REMAINS, BLOOD OATH and SERTRALINE.
Remaining Early Bird Tickets will be on sale until midnight on the 31st October, 2018 via the festival website. For full details visit: www.amplifiedrocks.com/tickets.
Now that we have your attention please stay tuned for further announcements and a few surprises heading your way…these include the final headliners performing here Friday and Sunday on the Red Stripe Main Stage, those acts headlining the Very Metal Art Stage and the final act performing on the legendary G’s Bar Stage on Sunday night…the festival’s ‘coup de grace’ if you will.
You’ll have to keep those horns sharpened and be on the look out for more info coming soon!!!
Band applications are currently open via www.amplifiedrocks.com/band-applications

 

HRH Sleaze Photos on their way ;-)

Just tidying up the review and then I will start adding the Galleries for each of the bands, and I’ve got to be 100% honest, for some of these Band Gallery’s I’m really excited to get them out there, actually very happy with what has come out of the Festival as a whole, and hopefully some of you, the bands and associated parties will enjoy them also.

Over the weekend we had the pleasure of seeing and shooting some legendary bands from the scene such as LA Guns, Jetboy, Tigertailz and Backyard Babies, alongside many different styles of music, Melodic Rock, Hard Rock, even Metal, but the variety made things that bit better. Judging by the faces of those playing on the stages it was a blast all around.

Midnite City - HRH Sleaze II - O2 Academy, Sheffield
Midnite City – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield
Tigertailz - HRH Sleaze II - O2 Academy, Sheffield
Tigertailz – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield

This time around I had the pleasure of shooting for RockposerDotCom, and as always there are plenty of people to thank that make it a brilliant experience, Claire from CentralPress, the HRH Team, all of the Security and Staff at the O2 Academy and naturally all of the bands and fans that go into making  the atmosphere so good, relaxed and fun. For this particular weekend massive thanks go to my good friend Rich for his great company and more than a few laughs along the way, and of course the many other friends and fellow photographers that it’s an privilege and a pleasure to see and work alongside and of course to continue to learn from, the shots that I’ve seen so far from this group of guys and girls have been nothing short of spectacular.

Jetboy - HRH Sleaze II - O2 Academy, Sheffield
Jetboy – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield
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Last Great Dreamers – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield

There needs to be some massive props going out to some of the bands on Stage 2 this year that made a big impact, The Idol Dead, The Black Bullets and Speed Stroke head the list, but any of them could easily have made an impression on the large stage this year (or indeed next year). Either way all bands I’ll be keeping a much closer eye on in the future and with good reason, cracking sets and crowd reactions to all.

 

Wildheart - HRH Sleaze II - O2 Academy, Sheffield
Wildheart – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield
LA Guns - HRH Sleaze II - O2 Academy, Sheffield
LA Guns – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield

The highlights this year were many, from the joy of just watching Tracii Guns play, watching Midnite City continue to grow and know that you got to see them playing in a pub once, because from now on you can only see them on Main Stages, the joy of discovering new bands to you, that quickly become firm favourites, and of course finally managing to see some bucketlist bands like Backyard Babies, or ones you never thought you would ever see – Jetboy, and they nailed it while they loved every second of it.. Until next year where there are some awesome bands on the lineup, should be a cracker.

The Black Bullets - HRH Sleaze II - O2 Academy, Sheffield
The Black Bullets – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield
Toxic Rose - HRH Sleaze II - O2 Academy, Sheffield
Toxic Rose – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield

Travel options to Sheffield from Dublin aren’t always the easiest, with there being no direct flights and the only realistic and viable option is to fly to Birmingham and get a Train up to Sheffield, which is fine, but gets a little more complicated when you are going to a Festival, and even more so when you are shooting one – so setting out from the house (I live beside the Airport in Dublin) 5:00am get in to Birmingham, couple of hours on the Train up to Sheffield, get checked into the Hotel (if you are lucky to get an early room) and then off the the Festival, it’s all go, especially when you consider you won’t be back to the Hotel until maybe 12:30am/1am the following morning, it takes it’s toll on an old man 😉

That was my excuse for forgetting to swap memory cards and camera batteries from my small bag to my main back before leaving the Hotel, so that caused me to miss a little bit of the acoustic sets, but not much thankfully, a quick run up and down the road, makes you focus a little better after you do something stupid like that though. The other problem for me is that controlling your condition (Epilepsy in my case) is a lot more difficult when you are trying to work hard , forgetting to eat and trying to remember to take your tablets at something close to the correct times. This time around we managed to grab a burger before heading into the Festival, so that kept me going, but it’s all too easy to put food to one side when you don’t want to miss any of the action, so this weekend I did manage to shoot every single set, so proud of that, and was able to pop in and out of the 2nd Stage in a way that meant I wasn’t skipping anything I needed to do. One of these days I’d like to take in an extra day or two at one of these City’s and spend some time exploring, seriously I’ve been to Nottingham tonnes of times but never actually set foot in Sherwood Forrest, despite having stayed a couple of hundred yards from the Entrance a few times 😉    Maybe next year. With Sheffield, well I’ve been to many venues around it, but not seen too much, City Center’s can be pretty grim at times.

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Backyard Babies – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield
Falling Red - HRH Sleaze II - O2 Academy, Sheffield
Falling Red – HRH Sleaze II – O2 Academy, Sheffield

Having said it a few times in previous posts, this year has been a big struggle at times, and despite how much I loved the whole weekend, loved working on the Photos and getting time to hang out with friends, I would be lying if there weren’t some really difficult times over the weekend, there were, but sometimes struggles all go to make the effort even more worthwhile, never give up, keep pushing through the bad times, and sit down and talk with your friends.

It’s really becoming an interesting year….

Ok, there have definitely been a lot of downs and far too many things to get organised this year that have had a large impact in what I do for fun/hobbies and just to unwind – but that is life as we know it in the 21st Century. When you add in multiple family obligations, a busy working environment and just general travel around it often leaves very little time to do things. Certainly one thing that has suffered this year is writing, I just can’t get through blocks in my head, more so for album reviews than anything else, but will continue to try and push ahead with what I have left to work on.

On the plus side, I’ve tried to organise myself better to fit around everything else in life and have managed to shoot a decent amount of shows thus far in 2018, and with some more on the horizon it’s great. That’s a positive, HRH Sleaze last weekend in Sheffield and confirmation for Rockinghamm which takes place in Nottingham next month are the two larger things on the Calendar, but hopefully a few smaller shows too. August has been a busy month  for shows and Sept will be the same. Recently got to shoot both the Bash For Philo and the wonderful Mike Brookfield (who was playing in Whelans on the same night)

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Mike Brookfield – Whelans – 18-08-2018
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Graham Bonnet Band – Bash For Philo – 18-08-2018

Was brilliant to get out the weekend before last and shoot the Unleashed Festival in Dublin, two night of heavy music, featuring some of Ireland’s best Thrash and heavier over two nights. So still need to get photos posted for that while working on the HRH Sleaze shots, add in a Review of Sleaze and a couple of Album reviews and that’s the next month done 😉

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Claire Percival – Dead Label – Unleashed Festival 2018

More positives in the fact that I have shot more shows this year than the last couple, and some of the stuff from HRH Sleaze is looking pretty good I think. Lots of interesting bands on show on both stages and some terrific performances, definitely a Festival to have a look at for 2019.

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Tom Wouda – Toxic Rose – HRH Sleaze II
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Tracii Guns of the wonderful LA Guns at HRH Sleaze II

Right lots more editing to get done later – looking forward to publishing the end results and hope some of you like them. The last few weeks have been a massive struggle and stress levels have been through the roof, so happy to get some other stuff done on the photography. Onwards and upwards as they say.

So what do you so when you are running out of time and are laid up sick ?

Some days you just have to scream, there’s nothing left but it, today marks exactly two weeks since the start of the HRH AOR Festival in Hafan Y Mor, Pwllheli, Wales, and I was determined to get the photos and review all done and dusted  and to that end I did set about a lot of work, there were thousands of photos to go through, lots of  writing to be done, scheduling to work though, and of course all of this with some really busy work going on with my full time job, and family work and life 😉   so unfortunately something had to give and I came down with something that smashed my head for pretty much 5 days and I’m just coming out of the transformation to Zombie today……. so I get to scream this evening……… just not so loud as it might hurt my head…

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Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics – HRH AOR 6 – 09-03-2018

 

But as with any other setbacks we have to roll up the sleeves and just get stuck into it again. So this evening I’m determined to get the Day 2 review fully completed and submitted, the Photos have already been sent in, so just a few bands left to complete the writing for and away we go, then it’s onto Day 3, followed by a couple of album reviews and a Preview of HRH Blues 4 which will be taking place in a few weeks. Ah the fun never stops, when does our brain convince us that we are bloody mad to take on so much. Not this month I guess, or next, but maybe at the end of the year when I sit back and look back on the whole year of madness.

 

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CRUZH – HRH AOR 6 – 09-03-2018

 

So hopefully my head will get back into some semblance of normality and I can get it all sorted and out there before long, and avoid hitting the deck and ending up back in bed for another unwelcome break.

The first day review is here if anyone wants to have a look, working for my good friends at RockposerDotCom this time around.

HRH AOR 6 – 09-03-2018

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Joe Lynn Turner – HRH AOR 6 -08-03-2018

Of course if the weather holds up it would be nice to get out and about a bit and capture a little of the beauty of our surroundings. Couple of gigs to squeeze in the next few days too, nearly forgot that – March can be such a busy month, and April is often no quieter, bloody hell TOTO is only a couple of weeks away. So much to look forward to, so time to take a bit of a stock of the abysmal diet, need more energy, less weight on me, and better organisation, and to be honest, need a bit more help with some things, at the end of the day all will work out ok we have the technology 😉   stay safe out there, it’s really easy for any of us to slip into depression spirals, doesn’t take too many situations one after the other and boom……and if you need a bit of help, never be afraid to talk to someone be it a friend, a stranger or a professional, just do it.