Another year on my way home with the Blues from missing the Blues ;-)

This weekend it was the turn of the Blues, with me shooting and working on some Reviews of HRH Blues 4 at the O2 Academy in Sheffield, as it has been the last couple of years. The lineup this year was once again a mix of really well known and loved Blues/Blues Rock legends alongside some of the cream of the UK’s up and coming Artists, and as always with Festivals it was some of these that will now live long in the memory.

 

Headlining each night this year we had the legendary Bernie Marsden and the blinding King King, both were fantastic and among the top sets of the weekend, but where do we start when assessing a weekend like this, wonderful music, great friends and like minded music fans, what more can you ask for…….well a new pair of feet would come in handy right now, it was a hard working weekend at the end of it I’d photographed all of the Sets on both stages and have reviews to get written too, could do with a couple of days off, but that’s not very likely is it 😉

IMG_2449
Matt Long – Catfish – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

 

Of the acts I was seeing for the first time there is something a bit magical about the delivery of frontman Matt Long, you can see he puts everything into his playing, there was more than a few that mentioned being close to tears during the haunting “Make It Rain”. To watch any artist dig so deep into themselves to deliver their music is truly a pleasure to be present to see.

IMG_2583
Pontun Snibb;s Wreck Of Blues – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

 

There was a wide range of artists and styles, be it Blues/Americana, Rock, straight out Blues and some bands that probably don’t fit into the genre too well. Was great to see Pontus Snibb (Bonafide) with his alter ego and the Wreck Of Blues and although didn’t get he chance to see their full set they sounded great. It was a shame that with only a few acts on each day that the sets on the 2nd stage overlapped their mainstage counterpart so closely, made it very difficult for people to see both.  But it’s always difficult to co-ordinate these things.

IMG_1170
Danny Giles Band – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

 

On both days there were some bands that really did blow me away, absolutely loved Danny Giles Band, superb guitar player, Rocking band with a great groove, damn I enjoyed these guys, and how I’ve missed out on them up to now is beyond me.

Closing out the evening after Bernie Marsdens set was the amazing Pat McManus Band, not only did they play a blinding set but they also managed to keep a large, and tired crowd up dancing and awake for that little bit longer, great set and as usual Pat was on fire.

IMG_2016.jpg
Pat McManus Band – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

Pontus wasn’t the only one stepping over from their more familiar roles with Rock bands, we also had FM’s Jim Kirkpatrick with his Blues band Heavy Weather.

IMG_0993.jpg
Jim Kirkpatrick Heavy Weather – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

And we also had my friend Peter Scallan (Moritz) playing his first gigs with Brian Rawson Band, and they sounded great in both their Acoustic and Full Electric sets.

 

IMG_1214
Brian Rawson Band – HRH Blues 4 – 2018

 

There are tonnes of other highlights, photos and ramblings to come from me on the whole weekend. Will leave this post with a quick shot of another massive highlight for me, the excellent Stevie Nimmo playing guitar again and sounding amazing on the big stage Sunday.

_MG_4676
Stevie Nimmo – HRH Blues 4 -2018

Wonderful rewarding weekend, but also very tiring, very little sleep (and not from partying may I add) will have to catch up on some sleep for sure, but was never going to happen tonight. Back to work in the morning, and a quiet night tomorrow is the plan………….

 

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…

IMG_1868
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.

 

IMG_0673
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

IMG_0319
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.

 

HRH AOR 6 has definitely destroyed me ;-)

Well I’m home safe but definitely not sound 😉

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.

 

 

 

 

A little bit more productive….Review wise

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 –

Reviews Albums/Gigs 2018

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 😉

January 2018 – 2 weeks, 2 gigs, 2 shoots ;-)

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.

IMG_7555
Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime, Button Factory, Dublin – 11-01-2018

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.

IMG_7214
Kamila Barber of The Truce, supporting Geoff Tate at the Button Factory – 11-01-2018

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.

 

First gig of the year – The Dedication 2018.

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 –

Shades Of Lizzy (Irl)

Still Dangerous (UK)

The Truce (Irl)

Black Rose (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.

Starting 2018 how we mean to continue.

On the way home from what I guess you could call my other job this evening, I was rushing to get home as I did want to try and catch some of the Football ( ManUtd – v- Everton ), I noticed the size and clarity of the moon this evening, well it is a Supermoon isn’t it, almost mesmerising, so the first thought was lets get home and get the camera out. Don’t think I have done it much justice here at all, but it’s going to be a busy week so hopefully an early night tonight and hoping even more that I can get some sleep and the little guy won’t be waking us up at 5:30 – well we can all hope for these things can’t we.

 

Tomorrow evening we are planning on taking in the Wild Lights Exhibition at Dublin Zoo, have heard lots of great things about it and many families that have loved seeing it, so hopefully the weather holds up and his lordship manages to stay awake and take it all in 😉   He loves bright coloured stuff, so should be right up his street. will bring along the camera if it’s permitted. Either way hopefully it will light up his happy little face and we’ll have a fun evening out.

Wild Lights – Dublin Zoo

wild-lights-433

 

Of course there’s work this week, which will more than likely be very busy kicking off the new year, and there’s a lot of other external obligations that will take up a lot of time this coming year, and have to always ensure that I don’t push it all too far and try and improve health wise over the next 12 months, it is very easy to try and do everything and run into a brick wall, but I’m also determined to do as much as I can with the camera and a lot of music, listening to or checking out live. To this end will be starting by shooting The Dedication show on Saturday at the Button Factory, some cracking bands on the bill once again and will be fun to catch up with some friends as always, that being followed up with the wonderful voice of Geoff Tate, with his band Operation Mindcrime, again playing the Button Factory and specially playing what is in my revolving top 3 albums of all time, ‘Operation Mindcrime’, should be a cracking show, the last acoustic Tour that Geoff did was very well received indeed and can’t wait for this one. The music on this album still creates tingles up and down my spine, and I have no doubt at all when the intro’s kick in the same will happen.

 

OperationMindcrime-ButtonFactory-11-01-2018

 

Not a bad way to kick things off with January normally being a quiet month, lets see how we get on and hopefully I’ll have some decent shots to add to the site and pass onto the guys.