Last night Amoriste launched their new EP, Under The Hours Of Satellite Towers, with a great launch party at The Queen of Hoxton in London. The EP is great – but don’t just take my word for it. Have a listen at the band’s website, or download the tracks from iTunes.
I was fortunate enough to get an invite after taking some pictures for the band back in May. They confirmed they were still okay with cameras, so my friend Steve and I went along for some great music and a few snaps.
The doors opened at 8 pm, and Pete Buffery from Pickpockets and Skyrockets soon got the audience started with a set of lovely tunes on his acoustic guitar. After a short interval with time for everybody to get their glasses filled, another band took to the stage, with a set that got crowd even more ready.
When Amoriste took to the stage at 10 pm, the club was packed with well over 100 enthusiastic fans and party-goers. The excitement was evident, with tangible electricity and buzz as the crowd roared at the first chord. From here onwards, it just got even better and better as the band worked their way through the songs on the new EP. After the planned set, the steadfast applause resulted in several encores until they finished off with a couple of old classics, including Back In The U.S.S.R.
The crowd loved the band, and it was clear that the band also thoroughly enjoyed the gig. Big smiles, happy faces, and very energetic songs. All in all, it was a fabulous gig for everybody.
The party also signalled the start of the band’s UK tour, with planned stops in Brighton, Cambridge, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh. The fans all over England and Scotland can look forward to a great show.
Photographically, I had gone out on a bit of a limb. Instead of my trusty wide-to-normal zoom, that always delivers clear and sharp images, I had brought only two primes – a 50/1.4 and a 85/1.4. This allowed me to keep the flash switched off during most of the evening. The zone of acceptable sharpness is razor thin at f/1.4: 5 cm in front and behind the focus point at 3 meters distance, only 2 cm on either side at 2 meters distance, and most of the time I was working that close to the band, constantly with a foot actually touching the front of the stage. Even with the fast lenses, I was shooting at between 1200 and 4000 ISO, so any underexposure right away resulted in very noisy pictures. Ironically, I was probably thinking too much about this issue, so ended with a number of shots where Liam’s white jacket was way over exposed.
Having a 50mm as the widest lens also meant that most of my shots include only one musician – simply because I couldn’t get far enough away from the stage without getting into the buzzing crowd, but then I wouldn’t have been able to see the stage… somehow photography always ends up being about compromises! That made me wish I had brought the zoom, although I would probably have been tempted to just keep that on all evening, thus not capturing the beautiful out-of-focus highlights that the two primes give – and that would have been a shame.
At the end of the day, I am happy with the outcome. After culling the almost-in-focus or the overly noisy pictures from the batch of nearly 700 frames I shot, I’ve got 80 I’m pleased with. This is a lower percentage of keepers than what I normally get, so in the near future, I’ll will have to engineer opportunities to work on careful focusing and exposure of moving subjects in dark rooms. Maybe also, just for good measure, a bit of practise of balancing flash with ambient light. That’ll be fun, and will hopefully prepare me for the next time I’m fortunate to find myself in a pub with a great band like Amoriste.
As well as the pictures in this blog-post, I have assembled a small slideshow with additional and larger pictures here.
Edit 29/07: Apparently the 2nd band that played that night didn’t like the pictures I took of them, and I have been asked to remove them. I have complied with this and also edited the text above to remove any references to their name or their website.