A catch up for April and May including a trip down Wembley Way…..

I have been a little quiet on the socials lately, but not because I haven’t been busy, far from it.

Behind the scenes I have been very busy with promo shoots, portraits and various other projects which unfortunately I am unable to share right now as there are a few things coming up where they may well be appearing, so for now, just take my word for it.

I am proud of the work we’ve been doing and can’t wait to share some of it…

I ended April with a flurry of shows over a week with shooting When Rivers Meet with Troy Redfern twice, in Southampton and Newbury, with a trip to Oxford sandwiched in between for the fabulous Larkin Poe, as they started their UK/European tour. I was there shooting and reviewing for Rock ‘N’ Load.

Both dates for When Rivers Meet and Troy Redfern were wonderful, with Grace and Aaron Bond performing with a full band on their debut headline tour. These guys have become more and more known over the last few years and especially throughout lockdown where they had a very strong online presence and really did make the best of a bad situation happening in the world. They have deservedly started winning awards for their music and are fast becoming one of the must-see live bands on the circuit today.

I was lucky enough to take a few portraits of both Grace and Aaron and of Troy, and hopefully will be able to share some of those with you soon.

I was very impressed with Larkin Poe who I have been wanting to catch live for a few years now. Their performance was top drawer and the sheer joy of finally standing on that stage, kicking off their UK/European tour after so many false starts over the last few years, was etched across their faces throughout as they looked so happy to be there performing at last, for all the lucky people in attendance including the aforementioned Grace and Aaron, who were just there as fans.

May 3rd saw me meeting up with my old mate Jack J Hutchinson, to do some new promo shots for some up and coming projects. The brief was to try a look that was slightly away from the normal Aviators and Black hat, and to give a softer, less harsh appearance. I think we really did achieve this and cannot wait for the images to start appearing as these are some of my favourite shots that we have ever done together. The finished images in my opinion, are pretty damn awesome.

Saturday May 7th saw me at Nozlite, down at The 1865 in Southampton. Nozlite is the baby brother of Nozfest, the brainchild of Jodie Bowie, who always gives us a wonderful line up of acts. This was no exception with four amazing and talented bands on the bill starting with Bournemouth boys Skinny Knowledge who kicked off the evening on fine form with their high energy and full-on set with their main man Andy taking the lead and treating the crowd to a wonderful opening barrage of music.

Next up were the Devon youngsters Ethyrfield, who have been tearing up stages everywhere for the last few years and are currently on tour supporting Von Hertzen Brothers around the UK. They consist of brothers Zach and Ben Cornish on bass and guitar, and Dan Aston on drums. They have a wonderful old school style with some wonderful rock way beyond their young years. They really have the quality and the musicianship to go very far indeed.

Main support were the Swiss rockers now based in London, Daxx & Roxane who without a doubt, always put on one of the most highly energetic and full throttle sets of any band out there. Tonight, was no exception when from the first note, Cal Wymann was leaping all over the stage and never stopped for the whole set. This was another wonderful performance that had the crowd just as worn out by the end of it had the guys on stage. Daxx & Roxane are not a band to be missed.

Headliners were the Norfolk rockers Bad Touch who have been entertaining audiences throughout this land and abroad for over a decade now, and never disappoint. Frontman Stevie Westwood has a wonderful stage presence and leads the crowd through a fabulous set of songs old and new and once again they prove why they are worthy headliners. Great performance from a great band including a fabulous cover of the Alanis Morissette track 'Hand In My Pocket'.

This was another wonderful event under the Nozfest umbrella.

Now, since last year and beyond, The Dualers have been trying to complete their ‘Road To Wembley’ tour which was to see them play their largest ever headline show at the amazing and iconic Wembley Arena in London. Well May 14th was to be that date after a few rescheduled shows for obvious reasons over the last 12 months or so.

Now The Dualers are a 9 piece (although tonight was a 10 piece), Ska and Reggae band from South London. They started when two brothers started out busking many years ago on the streets of southeast London and attracted a huge following. People were blocking streets as the crowds built stopping to see their performances. They even got one of their songs into the UK singles chart at number 12 as an independent artist with no industry backing. They were going from strength to strength then the brothers Tyber and Si Cranstoun parted ways with Si pursuing his own path while Tyber continued with The Dualers.

This night was to be a celebration of all those years of hard graft spent on the streets honing their craft and it was to be a special night for other reasons as Si would be joining his brother on stage for a special one-off performance.

It was to be a little busy around Wembley as not only were The Dualers playing their biggest headline gig ever, but there was also the matter of a small football match going on at Wembley Stadium, which is next door to the arena. This saw 90000 football fans attending the FA Cup final and meant that the whole area in and around Wembley was extremely busy.

Now doors opened around 5:30 to 6:00 with people slowly filling up the arena. By the time the first act was on stage at around 7pm, The Moochers, and there was already a large crowd in attendance. It didn’t take long before the place looked rammed, right across the floor as well as up in the wings and at the back. It really was impressive to look out onto a sea of people and was just fantastic for the band to see so much support for them on this special occasion.

Main support was from the wonderful Marley Experience who, as the name suggests, are a tribute to the amazing Bob Marley. This was a great way to get the crowd in the right mood ready for the main event.

Ten past nine saw the band take to the stage and the noise was deafening. The hairs must have been standing up on the back of the necks of everyone on that stage. It was an amazing atmosphere, which only escalated when Tyber took to the stage.

The huge crowd were lapping up every second and when they announced that their new album was finished and to be released in August, it all went up a notch.

They played a few new songs for the crowd which were all received positively, then for the moment a lot of long time Dualers fans had been waiting for, the moment the brothers were reunited on stage for the first time in many years. The crowd went wild, and for the few songs that they shared on stage, it was obvious to see how much everyone enjoyed it. This will not be a long-term reunion, but for this special night it was a perfect accompaniment to a wonderful evening.

The time flew by, and suddenly it was time for the final few songs, but not before they brought onto the stage, friends, family and many others who have helped them get where they are today which was a really lovely touch from the band.

This really was a special night for all involved and thoroughly deserved. It was also a special night for myself as I got to shoot with full access in one of the most iconic arenas in London. It has changed orientation over the years, but still an amazing and iconic venue.

The rest of this month will see me doing some promo shots down in Bristol with Sons Of Liberty, before a wonderful catch up with the Gorilla Riot guys when they support Airbourne down in Somerset, so still a busy few days left in May.

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