9pm O’clock, in the Mudd Club, I’m patiently waiting for the band to start their concert, my camera ready and my lens freshly cleaned. I feel nervous for my first concert shooting, but it’s going to be fine.
I arrived earlier, I wanted to be able to check the lights, see the scene configuration, find myself some good spots. Photographers are never late, and if they are, chances are good they do a crappy job. Before an event starts, you need to check quiet a few things, lighting conditions, spots, ideally you should also know in advance what’s going to happen so that you are already prepared for the moment. I went down in the basement, walked a few times around the scene to located where the band members would be, which projector is going to light them. Bummer, only one bright projector was directed towards the scene, that’s going to be challenging. I made some exposure calculation, 5EV, that’s going to be really challenging. The guitarist came over to pre-warm is amp, the saxophone player and the trumpeter brought their instruments on the scene.
Old school reggae was flowing out of the speaker over my head while I was waiting patiently for the concert to begin. People started to fill the small basement, but the concert was already running late by 20 minutes. Finally, after almost 1 hour of waiting, the band climbed on the small podium. I started my camera, rechecked the lighting and made a few more test pictures. It wasn’t looking good, as I suspected, most of the band was in the shadows, the only bright projector lit up the trumpet player and the guitarist, the rest of the band was completely in the dark and my ISO setting was already too high to my liking, I couldn’t push it higher.
The band began to play, I went closer to them, my 85mm doesn’t allow me to make larger shots, but I planned to go for the close up anyway. Focus on the eye, click, click, darn, he moves quickly, I hoped my shutter speed wouldn’t too slow. The concert went smoothly, I stopped shooting during some of the songs I recognized so I could also enjoy the music. One and a half hour of old school ska from Boston, a real pleasure. I tried a few times to get shoots from the musicians on the dark side of the scene, unfortunately, it never worked, so I focused my attention on the pictures I could get. The Void Union played for almost one and a half hour of a nice Old School Ska from Boston, mixed with some classics such as The Guns of Navaronne, The Tide is high and more.
After the concert, I went to the band, to congratulate them for their very first gig in France and to ask them were I could send them the pictures. Their friendly response motivated me to do more concert shootings.
You can look at the whole album on my Flickr