Updated following my repeat visit to 229, where Amoriste played again Saturday evning.
Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of photographing Amoriste at 229 in London. They were the first band of the evening, and the venue was as large as a ballroom (actually, 229 holds weekly ceroc lessons, so maybe it is a ballroom). Sadly, there was only 20-30 people who had made the effort to come see them, so there was some empty space.
I always think it must be hard for a band to motivate themselves in situations like that, but Amoriste didn’t seem to suffer from that problem. The audience was treated to a first class gig with energetic and melodic songs, and there was no sign of the band giving any less than their usual 110%. They are repeating the gig tonight as warm up for Redtrack’s album launch party, so hopefully the place will be packed!
From a purely egoistical point of view, there were benefits to the less than full venue, as it meant I could move around, and even get far enough back to get a couple of full-length shots of the entire stage without having to switch to a wide angle lens (my 85/1.4 is four times as fast as my wide angle zoom).
The lighting in the club was an experience. LED lights are very harsh, and red light is notoriously difficult to deal with for digital cameras. Any lighting guy who washes the stage with red LED lights should be force-reincarnated as a photographer (or as a frog in France), but this was exactly what happened 90% of the time. Added to this was some blue and green accent lights (also LED).
I like skin looking skin coloured on photos, even if there are some wild colours in the background. But try as much as I did, there simply was no way I could tease anything that even resembled skin colour out of the pictures. So after a while, I decided to embrace the colours rather than fight them.
The result is a series of pictures that look less “natural” than what I normally strive for. I’m not a big fan of post processing that takes a perfectly good image and attempts to make it look like something that was developed in used coffee grounds and fixed in orange juice (I’ve heard that the combo actually works). And if I happen to snap something with these “qualities”, I often delete them as part of my first filtering. But, hey, every rule deserves to be broken every now and then!
Some of the results look a bit like psychedelic pink posters from the 1970s. The colours are posterized, there is very little definition in the midtones, and the highlights are blown sky-high. Call me crazy, but I actually quite like them, and think they’re a decent representation of what the concert felt like.
Updated 20/9: Amoriste was playing at 229 again on Saturday night, so I went back there to hear them again. They are that good! Fortunately there were a lot more party-goers this time, and the audience got what they came for. Great music with great energy. The LED lights still gave colours that were off the wall on the pictures, but by now I had learnt to just go with the flow. Groovy, man, groovy (does anyone say “groovy” anymore, or am I showing my age here?)
There is a slideshow with additional and larger pictures from both gigs here.