In the Pit Festive Special: 2017’s Best Shots

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Calm and tranquility before the storm as Getintothis' Michelle Roberts captures the more peaceful side of Hope and Glory Festival before the carnage took over

Calm and tranquility before the storm as Getintothis’ Michelle Roberts captures the more peaceful side of Hope and Glory Festival before the carnage took over

It’s that time of year when we ask the Getintothis’ happy band of photographers to review their back catalogues and share a selection of their favourite shots from the past 12 months.

It’s usually three songs, no flash and then out. Assuming there’s a pit at all. Smaller gigs are more relaxed and there may be times when we can carry on shooting so long as we don’t get annoying.

So spare a thought for Getintothis’ Lucy McLachlan who went to Manchester to shoot Nick Cave and came back with some great images even when she was given only one song to shoot and then from the sides of the pit and “not in Nick Cave’s line of sight”.

Other bands wouldn’t allow us in at all and there was one occasion where we had to bypass the venue altogether and work out another route of getting in to shoot (and review). It happened, but it would probably be better we don’t say which gig that was.

The three songs thing needs revisiting on occasion, though. At Rebellion we arrived at the pit 5 minutes after Richie Ramone had come on stage – “Sorry mate” the steward said, “he’s already done three songs”. In five minutes. No negotiation. There should be a 10 song rule for anything Ramones related.

Tonstartssdbandht and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs were the opposite, both bands playing opening songs that went well into the 20 minute mark. We didn’t quite know whether we still got three songs or if we should bow out a bit earlier.

If it sounds like a complaint, it isn’t. We don’t always know what to expect and that’s part of the fun. Bands like Cabbage and OHMNS have a habit of wandering around the audience, so too did Heck at Wrong Fest – we knew there was something going on when the techs attached a 30m cable to the lead singer’s mic in the diminutive North Shore Troubadour venue. It turned out our position at the front, right by the stage, wasn’t the best place to be as the lead singer went on a walkabout tour of the venue.

There were cool bits as well, such as the cherry picker trip to the top of Sefton Park at Africa Oye, the week in Barcelona at Primavera Sound, Rebellion in Blackpool and Best of the West festival in North West Scotland.
Being a Getintothis photographer exposes us to new music and bands we may not have otherwise been to see. Highlights of the new stuff for this year includes Childhood (great 70s disco funk), Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes (superb, angry punk) and Anteros (glorious Blondie type pop). It’s been a fun packed year. And here are the shots from the team. Peter Goodbody

Gary Coughlan

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Gary says: “William Butler from Arcade Fire. Shot in Castlefield Bowl July 2017. I remember being really quite nervous about shooting Arcade Fire. I had no idea where the venue was (thanks Google Maps) or the particulars of the shoot. It was a crowded photo pit and there were a lot of people on stage. This image is one of my all time favourite shots because of the tones, angle and emotion. I had a vision of how I wanted the image to look and I achieved it. That was very satisfying.

The Wombats

The Wombats

Gary says:”The Wombats, Mountford Hall June 2017. If you want a good workout as a photographer I recommend trying to shoot The Wombats, these guys can move and have a lot of energy. I love the motion that this image captures. Mountford Hall is probably my new favourite venue for shooting; a low stage, killer lighting and easy access.

One of my favourite moments of the year was trying and failing to photograph “A Place to Bury Strangers” during Pyzk Fest. Just couldnt do it. Their light show was berserk. I had bet that nobody got a good image from that gig but Lucy McLachlan proved me wrong, and now I owe her a drink. I also loved shooting Threshold this year and look forward to Threshold18.”

Warren Millar

Creamfields

Creamfields

Warren says: “I picked the Creamfields image because I had never been there before this year and wasn’t too sure what to expect. I loved the whole three days if I was to be honest. Great party vibe going on and think this image sums it up more than any artist image I got that three days.”

Travis Barker - Blink 182

Travis Barker – Blink 182

Warren says: “I picked this one because its so hard trying to get a decent drummer image at gigs, even more so when you only get the first three songs at big venues like the Echo Arena where this was taken.”

Kevin Barratt

Sinkane

Sinkane

Kevin says: “A library on a Sunday night is not your typical place to start a venture as a gig photographer, but this was it for me, watching Sinkane in Liverpool Central Library as part of the excellent ‘Get it Loud in Libraries’ project. This shot was within the first minute of the band coming on stage, and as soon as I took it and looked down on the camera screen I knew I was going to enjoy this. I really like the powerful expressions in this shot, from the synchronised peace sign to the half business-like/half ‘we’re going to tear this up’ face expressions. Sinkane absolutely nailed it that night to a point where going to the library without the music just won’t feel right!”

Vogue Ball

Vogue Ball

Kevin says: “Admittedly not the strongest photograph you’ll see but I love the emotion in this shot. This was the fantastic House of Suarez Vogue Ball at Invisible Wind Factory, and the final piece of an intense and incredibly choreographed dance routine. For me the contrast in the dancers concentrated faces against the celebration from the spectators on the front row is what makes this shot.”

Steven Brodie

Local Natives

Local Natives

Steven says: “Local Natives were intense to capture at Sound City 2017, it felt like they had brought the Los Angeles atmosphere with them to Liverpool, the lead singer Taylor Rice got involved with the crowd (literally) as he jumped down off the stage and started walking in the crowd.”

Black Honey

Black Honey

Steven says: “Izzy Baxter of Black Honey sat right in front of me for this image at the Invisible Wind Factory and when singers do this at gigs I feel like it’s very personal and it instantly makes it a unique photograph.”

Keith Ainsworth

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson

Keith says: “Brian Wilson at the Exhibition Centre had such a lovely vibe. Everyone was so positive and the place was California for an evening. I got the shot when Brian looked straight at me. We had a moment!

Rongo Rongo

Rongo Rongo

Keith says: “Next up is a promotional shot I took for Rongorongo. It looks like a still from one of those old prison movies where you see the exercise yard in Alcatraz.”

Francesco Imola

Stealing Sheep

Stealing Sheep

Fran says “Stealing Sheep’s latest album launch at Buyers Club this August was one of those gigs that really make a photographer happy. It was such a joy to the eye, I couldn’t go home without a good shot. And there were many.

After a blissful 1-hour set, Stealing Sheep walked out the site, leaving everyone wonder for another hit. Yet, I doubt anyone was expecting such a powerful comeback on stage. The shiny costumes, scattering lights and the choreography, all made for a perfect, final set of pictures. Despite Buyers Club being a crowded and relatively tiny venue, I always love to shoot artists there because the lights and the general festive mood that’s in the air never fail to inspire.

Real Estate

Real Estate

“This is a shot of Real Estate’s newest addition, guitarist Julian Lynch, who has come to replace Matt Mondanile in 2016. It was taken during the band’s first concert in Manchester last June after years spent touring elsewhere and writing new music.

It took me half a second to say yes when was asked to shoot this gig – given Real Estate is my top one favourite band. Needless to say, I had the greatest time at the O2 Ritz that night. They say you get better photos when you’re shooting a band you like!”

Mike Burns

Mica Millar

Mica Millar

Mike says: “I really enjoyed shooting Mica, I think this shot shows the passion and energy she puts into her performance.

Gordi

Gordi

Mike says: “To be honest I’d never heard of Gordi but I have to say this is in my top three gigs from this year. Quite a sombre image but I think it works.”

Peter Goodbody

Grippers

Grippers

Peter says: “The Introducing Stage at Rebellion was where some of the best times took place. It was the also the perfect chill out room at a festival that was full on for a whole weekend in Blackpool. I’d never heard of Grippers, which is hardly surprising as my knowledge of Madrid punk bands is not extensive, but they just seemed to hit the sweet spot during the mayhem.”

Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes

Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes

Peter says: “Another one from Rebellion. And talking of the mayhem, Frank Carter was a full on part of it. Leopard skin leggings and tattooed just about everywhere he was an absolute gift to shoot. When he went walking on the upraised hands of the audience, I knew this was something special. We’re so lucky to get our places in the pit and this shot wouldn’t have been possible any other way. Just a superb moment.”

Lucy McLachlan

Cherry Glazerr

Cherry Glazerr

Lucy says: “This was one of my favourite gigs of the whole year and was a pleasure to photograph. Clem Creavy is so dynamic on stage it made for some great shots even though the blue lighting was a huge challenge and a learning curve for me in photo editing! This photo has got a lot of love this year which has been really humbling.”

The Cribs - Sound City 2017

The Cribs – Sound City 2017

Lucy says: “The stars seemed to align for this shot, the lighting was perfect and it all looks incredibly kitsch. The other side to this is that the pit was overloaded with photographers and the crowd at the time were so riled up and rowdy (think ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ chanting), I can’t quite believe this came out as well as it did!

Glyn Ackroyd

Africa Oyé

Africa Oyé

Glyn says: “Love the intensity of the young girl who looks like she’s totally lost in the moment compared to the joyful expression of the woman (her mum?) on whose shoulders she is sitting. Kind of expect their reactions to be the other way round.”

Edgar Jones Band

Edgar Jones Band

Glyn says: “As a precursor to the upcoming Capt. Beefheart weekend Edgar Jones and band were being filmed performing ‘Electricity’ on the prom in New Brighton earlier this summer. They looked and sounded great and drew some fairly astonished stares from many a passer-by.”

Tom Williams

Judas

Judas

Tom says: “Both my picks were taken at Sound City this year. The first is of the frontman for Judas. The reason I love this shot is the emotion that it gives off. To me the look on his face coupled with the smoke in the background and the single bright light in the background makes me feel like something big is about to happen, this is the bridge into the chorus of pure chaos.”

The Jackobins

The Jackobins

Tom says: “The second photo is of the Jackobins frontman and for similar reasons I love this photo. The colour is so vibrant and that coupled with the outrageous jacket he has on makes the shot pop big time. But it’s the way he’s performing which really gravitates me towards this photo. You can feel the passion, and you can feel the energy radiating from the image, and that’s what makes it a special one for me.”

Andy Sunley

Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast

Andy says: “This is Japanese Breakfast (Michelle Zauner to her mum) taken at a packed Liverpool Music Week show at EBGB’s. I tried to get a shot that was not the cliched “singer at the microphone” image that is so often seen in live reviews. I’m glad it worked.”

Kikagaku Moyo

Kikagaku Moyo

Andy says: “I’ve not done much for Getintothis this year. But here is one of my fave images.  I went to The Deaf Institute to see Kikagaku Moyo. This is one of the few decent shots I got. I could only get it to work in black and white”.

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