While 2018 has been a challenging year for many reasons, it has however been a brilliant year for gigs/festivals and ticking off a lot of bands on my photo bucket list. From a quick tally there were 27 gigs and 5 festivals, and I even had the chance to photograph my first major festival.
Black Stone Cherry – Dolan’s Warehouse, Limerick (5th June 2018)
Back in June I jumped on a plane to follow Black Stone Cherry around Ireland for a couple of days. After an early morning train from my home in Yorkshire to Manchester Airport, flight to Dublin and a 3 hour drive, we arrived in Limerick just in time to sample a pint of traditional Irish… cider in the pub next door before the venue’s doors opened. Upon entering Dolan’s Warehouse, it was mind-blowingly intimate, and I could tell it was going to be a night to remember. To make the night extra special it was lead vocalist Chris Robertson’s birthday and the whole crowd singing happy birthday to him will be a memory that stays with me for a while, especially as the footage made it into the band’s latest music video, but more of that later.
Three Days Grace / Bad Wolves – O2 Ritz, Manchester (9th October 2018)
After a thoroughly crap day at work consisting of never-ending meetings and countless conference calls, I could not wait to finally see Three Days Grace, a band which I have been following since my teenage years. The icing on the cake was the fact that my favourite new discovery, Bad Wolves, were supporting. While I wasn’t expecting a perfect performance from Bad Wolves as it was only a couple of days since lead singer Tommy Vext was hospitalised with a bronchial infection, their set however was phenomenal. The set delivered by Three Days Grace was equally impressive with the perfect combination of classic tracks for the crowd to sing along to and new tracks showing the slightly different direction of the band now that Matt Walst is at the helm.
- Shinedown – ATTENTION ATTENTION
- Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree
- Stone Broken – Ain’t Always Easy
- Bad Wolves – Disobey
- State Champs – Living Proof
Best music videos
Black Stone Cherry – Carry Me On Down The Road
This music video is pretty much a video diary of my summer. The video features footage from the band’s gigs in Ireland, of which I attended the ones in Limerick and Dublin, and clips from their European festival appearances including Nova Rock, where I bumped into half of the band in the press area and had a chat with about them about the then upcoming UK leg of the Family Tree tour.
Papa Roach – Born For Greatness
Having already released a lyric video and an official live video for this track, Papa Roach finally released the official music video for “Born For Greatness” back in February. The video features a series of performances all from artists with disabilities showing off their aerial, breakdancing and wheelchair motocross skills while the band perform in a warehouse. The video delivers a seriously strong message about the difference we can all make in life no matter what cards we are dealt, truly inspirational.
My favourite photos
- Shinedown – Nova Rock Festival (14th June 2018)
- Bad Wolves – O2 Ritz, Manchester (9th October 2018)
- Arch Enemy – Nova Rock Festival (15th June 2018)
- Crowd Surfer during Rise Against – Nova Rock Festival (15th June 2018)
- Skindred – O2 Academy, Leeds (27th April 2018)
You’ll see the pics scattered through this article!
Best music related memory
While it is impossible to pick just one best moment, however there are three standout memories for me:
While attending the Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls gig in Manchester on by birthday in April, I was approached by the support band’s management and asked if I could take a few extra photos for the band, this involved being allowed to go on stage and photograph them during their set. While this was a little bit daunting at first, this was one hell of an experience and a brilliant birthday treat from The Arkells and their management.
Accomplishing my goal for the year and getting my hands on a photo pass for a major festival was a huge highlight. The festival was Austria’s Nova Rock back in June and even the rain on the first day couldn’t ruin it. The line-up was brilliant, and the Austrian fans were so friendly, even if they did find my inability to speak German amusing.
Having my review and photos of Jaret Reddick’s Heartache & Hilarity Too tour shared on the Bowling for Soup page was a bit of a shock when it happened a couple of weeks after the show, but something I am massively proud of having followed the band since my early teens.
Worst music-related memory
The worst music related memory this year is from the inaugural Pop Punk Pileup festival that I attended earlier in the year, although the negative experience has nothing to do with the festival itself and was entirely the fault of a DUBS ear plug. While photographing bands, I always make sure my ears are protected and this day was no expectation. However after photographing what became my final band of the festival, when I went to remove the ear plug from my right ear, it had snapped with one half in my hand the other half being well and truly lodged in my ear… which required a trip to the Urgent Care Centre at Selby War Memorial Hospital to have it removed.
Best new bands discovered
Bad Wolves were thrust into the limelight due to the untimely death of Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan the day before she was due to record an updated version the 1994 track “Zombie” with the band. The band recorded the song in O’Riordan’s memory, with all proceeds going to her children. The track quickly became one of the biggest rock singles of the year. The band’s phenomenal performance when supporting Three Days Grace has made them one of my favourite newly discovered bands.
A family friend had been telling me about a new band from the Midlands for a while and when I finally got around to having a listen to Stone Broken I could see why she is such a fan. The band’s album Ain’t Always Easy has been on repeat for most of the year and I finally got to see them live at Winter Rocks Festival in December. I am really looking forward to their upcoming Home tour in early 2019.
Looking forward to in 2019
While there aren’t any single events that that stand out in 2019 just yet, I am looking forward to continuing to photograph and review many more amazing bands around the UK in the new year and hopefully cover Nova Rock again in the summer.
- All the Moshville Times editorial team, especially Iain and Katie.
- All the PR companies that have arranged photo passes for me.
- Bowling for Soup for sharing my review.
- The staff at Selby War Memorial Hospital Urgent Care Centre.