Labrat Photos: Blog en-us (C) Labrat Photos (Labrat Photos) Mon, 16 Aug 2021 11:24:00 GMT Mon, 16 Aug 2021 11:24:00 GMT Labrat Photos: Blog 80 120 Buckle & Boots Buckle and Boots festival like so many other live events had been on ice due to the Covid pandemic. I was excited to be invited to shoot the festival but did have some reservations due to it being my first time amongst large numbers of people.

I know that the organisers would have taken all the steps possible and knowing how open the venue is I set off to the farm on Thursday night after cleaning my camera and lenses.

As I arrived at the farm after driving through the beautiful country park I recognised the familiar smile and welcome from the security. I put up my festival tent (Tesco Special) and headed to the barn.

The Hancocks and team had transformed the main stage bar area. The bar had moved from the centre of the barn to the full length at the back of the barn and a new seating area to the side of the stage. It was great to see Dave and team setting up the sound and lighting. Having witnesssed the skills of his team at Blackthorn Music Festival I knew that the sound and light would be brilliant.

The festival started with a great acoustic night in the new redesigned barn. It was also a great opportunity to meet up with friends and try to remember how to use my camera.

The Friday and Saturday were a blur of great artists meeting up with friends old and new and exploring the full festival site. I couldnt resist having a go at the axe throwing and at riding the mechanical bull. There were also the opportunity to seriously damage your credit card on clothing, boots and accessories. The boots were stunning and I was very tempted.

The food stalls have always been good at previous events and excelled at this event. The choice for vegetarians has also has grown with plenty of options from the various stalls.

The performances both in the paddock tent and on the main stage were simply brilliant. I recognised a few names from previous festivals and also from the awards night I photographed. A lot of credit must go to the organising team for such a brilliant line up under the difficult circumstances and restriction on travel. It was also great that artists had come from overseas to perform at the festival and the crowd left them in no doubt how much their sets were enjoyed.

On Sunday morning I attended the church service with Lynn Boyle and musician friends. The service included some lovely music and heart felt service by Lynn. Im not ashamed to admit to shedding a tear as it really hit home as I lost my dad in February. I challenge anyone to listen to Jade Halliwell sing Telephone and not be moved.

My favorite set of photos are titled 'Beautiful People' and are photographs of the people who attended the weekend. There were so many lovely people who I met over the weekend and it was great seeing people enjoying themselves.

I would like to thank the Hancock family for inviting me to photograph the festival and providing a lot of laughs, my fellow photographers for their company advice and encouragement, the artists for sharing their talent and especially all the beautiful people for allowing me to capture their moments at the festival.

Hope to see you all soon.


]]> (Labrat Photos) band crowd drum gig live music sing Mon, 16 Aug 2021 11:22:51 GMT
Stanley Invites Us Back Its the second night of Lancashire Briefs Monologues part of the Lancashire fringe Festival. I recognise some faces from the previous week but also a lot of new people. The format was the same as the previous week with seven actors performing monologues written by local writers. The layout of the room was the same but with more people standing at the backs of the room as all seats were taken.


The stories again were again on a wide variety of subjects and all were brilliantly acted. The range of topics included death, crime, age and more. Im not giving away details of the stories as Im sure they will be read and performed many more times. 

Again the capacity crowd were enchanted by each performance and were moved by the portrail of the characters. A lot of credit should be given to the writers and performers for a very entertaining evening. 

Thanks to Garry for the invitation to shoot. He is also responcible for this amazing 10 day festival.

The Stanley Arms were again great hosts for the evening.

]]> (Labrat Photos) gig live Sun, 23 May 2021 12:48:48 GMT
Not lost just not where I should be I had the opportunity to take a couple of shots of an orienteering competition organised by Pendle Forest Orienteering club. The club was held at Brun valley in Burnley.


There were two competitions on the day a junior and senior event. 

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The event was really well organised and fascinating to watch. The routes includes hard short climbs, made paths, woodland, parks and some very wet ground.

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All the competitors seemed to really enjoy the event and had a great morning.



]]> (Labrat Photos) brun burnley compass lost map mud orienteering pendle river run Sun, 23 May 2021 12:43:42 GMT
Jess Kemp at Deaf Institute

Its happened twice and must therefore be a tradition. The Jess Kemp Christmas Gig. 

Due to the popularity of the night it had to be moved to a larger venue. Thankfully that venue was the Deaf Institute which is one of my favourite venues. 

While waiting for the music to start I looked around the bar and recognised a lot of faces. The kemp family and friends were out in force. I also noticed the main man of Manchester gig photography Trust a Fox not only is he a great photographer he is also a top man. 

The night started with Evie who sang and played keys beautifully, the already full room feel silent as her voice floated across the room. What an amazing set really looking forward to seeing her perform again in future.

Jordan Drinkwater was next up to face the crowd. He played guitar and was accompanied throughout his set. The set was great with a cover of the best Christmas song ever written. Jordan is all over social media and well worth looking up.


















The stage fills with the band and then Jess takes her position centre stage. The set included many of the classics that Fans of Jess would recognise, Vondel Park, two coins and Camden. As well as some newer tracks. The band sounded great and really added depth to the songs. 

















I special mention has to go to Sam his playing was incredible and he never fails to impress.
















Thanks to Deaf Institute for the hospitality

Thanks to Kemp family and friends for tolerating me getting in the way.

Big thanks to Jess for the invite and great night of music.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Sun, 29 Dec 2019 23:07:57 GMT
Top Flight I was invited to attend and shoot the BCMA awards 2019. The event was being held at the Concorde Hanger at Manchester Airport. I walked towards the venue and got my first view of the concorde through the giant windows. What an iconic and stunning machine.

Entering the venue a red carpets leads into the main hanger the engineering masterpiece spans the space with decorated table arranged under its iconic wings. There are 2 stages and a band are sound checking and sounding great. I am now really excited for the night. 


















A guide from the centre invites a group to board the concorde and gives a brilliant informative and entertaining talk about the aircraft and some of its famous passengers. While on the plane I get to hear the second song of the night as a group of friends have a sing along in the aisle of the plane.

I meet up with the other photographers and Karl, Laura and team from Buckle and Boots festival who are responsible for this event. As more guests arrive the music starts on the main stage. There is a real mix of dinner suits, cocktail dresses, boots and hats anything goes and all the attendees seem ready for a fun night of great music and awards.

The night continued alternating between performances from both British and American artists on the main stage and presentation of awards on the second stage. The one thing that comes across in all the speeches is the mutual support for all involved in the industry. This included artists encouraging other artists to festivals encouraging people to attend the other festivals. 

















The music continued as did the drinking dancing and party. What a brilliant event in a unique venue.


















All the artists are well worth checking out even if you don't think its your style of music.

Gary Quinn, Emma Jade, Gareth Nugent, American Young, Lewis Brice, Twinnie, William Michael Morgan, Stevie O Connor and Kezia Gill


















































































Huge thanks to the amazing artists for entertaining me, staff at the hanger for their hospitality, all the guests I photographed during the night, my fellow togs and the festival family for the invitation to join your party.


]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer country crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Tue, 12 Nov 2019 23:22:12 GMT
No Flat Cap No Ferret Thursday Night and I'm in the pub. The Stanley Arms in Preston waiting for a series of monologues to be performed by Lancashires Peoples Theatre the night is part of Lancashire Fringe Festival. The festival consist of over 20 performances in 7 venues across the city covering 10 days. 

It feels a bit alien to me as a gig photographer there is no stage, no lighting rig, no security and no pit. There are chairs arranged in rows facing the centre of the room and they are full. There is still 10 minutes before the night is due to start and people are already standing at the backs of the room. The various actors performed in the centre of the room which resulted in a really intermit feel to the night.

All seven actors were amazing they played the roles so convincingly I was almost surprised at the end when we were introduced to some of the writers. The acts were very different but each really seems to stir emotions, from humour in the story of romance at Darwin Tower, sadness in a story of grief, hope and triumph in pregnancy and all available emotion in the watching of kids football. I glanced around the audience and very word was being absorbed, considered and believed by the audience. 

I was surprised that just over an hour had passed as the final act finished. I was disappointed as I could have watched another hour so good was the night.

As with all events at this festival there is no charge. A bucket is by the exit for any donations which from this performance were being donated to an arts charity.

If you don't think spoken word sound like your thing this is the best way to give it a go. No expensive upfront tickets just top class performances in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.

Thanks to Gary for organising the festival and inviting me to shoot the night. Thanks to staff at Stanley Arms for their hospitality and all involved with such a memorable performance. 


]]> (Labrat Photos) lancashire perform preston pub stanley arms theatre Fri, 17 May 2019 23:18:14 GMT
Chorltons Finest I haven't done much shooting recently for a variety of reasons. It was a nice to be asked to shoot some publicity photographs for Steedy. 

I rode down the highstreet taking in the relaxed Sunday evening vibe as people enjoyed food and drinks in the sun.

Steedy met me and on entering his flat it was evident he was a very talented artist. There were large graffiti pieces on boards propped against the wall. On the walls are hand drawn images and tattoo designs. Several guitars are propped in the corner of the room and notebooks contain handwritten lyrics.

I was then lucky enough to have a performance of his latest song Backflip. What a great track with a mix of traditional spanish sounding guitar with powerful lyrics delivered over the top. As soon as I get a link I will include it.

Thank to Jot (Rum thief) for making the introductions.

Big thanks to Steedy for making it such an enjoyable shoot and really looking forward to hearing more of your music.


]]> (Labrat Photos) Thu, 02 May 2019 22:22:58 GMT
Impossible Party Saturday night and the Party is on.  A friend of mine introduced me to a manager of company who holds a staff party in February.

The venue was the Impossible Club in Manchester. It is a great venue and I enjoyed the night.

The shooting of party people is not my style of photography but I enjoyed the challenge and learnt a lot. The acts on the night were also very good and I will credit them once I have their details.

]]> (Labrat Photos) Mon, 04 Feb 2019 22:40:32 GMT
A New One Unless You Have Heard It Before Jess Kemp performed at the Castle in Manchester. It felt like entering a proper old school boozer and was very inviting on a cold winter night. The room had a small stage at the end of the room sound desk at the opposite end and a strange high ceiling. 

It was great to see the clan Kemp and other familiar faces in the already busy room at the Castle.

The night was being live streamed by Show Stream who did a great job and clips from the night are available online.

The opening act was Lyza and what an opening. She had an incredible voice which was tender but also had an edge. She has a new single out SYA which is well worth looking up. 

Lyza introduced the next act Jack Woodward as having the greatest speaking voice. Well Im not sure that his speaking voice had the same effect on me as it did on a lot of the audience. What I can say is that is singing voice was first class. He has a great set of original songs including the one he performed on the X Factor Live Tour. He has a new single and more plans for 2019. 

Jess Kemp took to the Stage with Sam and provided nearly an hour of great musical entertainment. The highlights for me included when she put down the guitar and moved behind the keyboard. Her latest song Leave a chair out is an incredibly moving song and its no surprise it is getting such great reviews. She also performed No Shouting (or with an Irlam accent No Shoutin) which also had the crowd singing along.

In-between songs and instrument changes Jess chats and her open friendly style is instantly likeable. The quote of the night "This is a new one or it might not be depends if you have heard it before". Genius.

Sam Butterworth must get a mention as his guitar playing was incredible with a couple of great solos.

Thanks to Jess for asking me to shoot the night.

Thanks to Kemp clan and friends for making me feel so welcome.



]]> (Labrat Photos) band beer crowd gig guitar live manchester music sing Sun, 16 Dec 2018 23:35:47 GMT
No Rum or Criminal Activity I have enjoyed the music of Rum Thief since the first listen. I challenge anyone to listen to Dirty Shoes and not join in singing along. As well as his hard hitting songs there is also a more tender side to some of his tracks.

At every gig he plays a devoted group of family and friends are there supporting him and having a party. His band played a great set and also looked to be having a great time.

I was really pleased to see that Guy Fiddler the Harmonica Guy was at the gig to join Jot on stage and add that special harmonica sound to the song. The two of them sounded great together with the crowd joining in. 

All too soon the set was over the big lights came on and time to hit the road.

Thanks to Deaf Institute great staff and sound.

Thanks Jot and team for the invite.

Unfortunately the lighting was red lights and a lot of fog which made photography difficult. (Red lights should be saved for a brothel!).

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock rock and roll sing Wed, 08 Aug 2018 22:06:05 GMT
Wearing a beret and glasses  

Band on the Wall is one of my favourite venues in Manchester nice bar to relax in prior to the gig and then a great gig space with quality sound and lighting. I was here for Mica Millar performing as part of her Defender tour.

The support had to be changed at the last minute due to illness. While I hope that they make a speedy recovery it did give me the opportunity to watch the brilliant Jermaine Peterson. What a rich, deep and soulful voice. It was also very impressive that his full set was original songs and not a bad one amongst them. Jermaine was accompanied by a lovely female singer and talented guitarist both did their jobs perfectly.

I spoke with the video guys to ensure we could work together as it was going to be tight for space at the front. I was fortunate that they were nice relaxed guys and we had no issues and Im looking forward to seeing the results of their night.

Mica Millar took to a full stage to great applause from the full house at the venue. The full stage was due to 2 guitarists, keys, backing singers, drummer and a strings section. It says a lot about Mica that she has the skills to blend all these performers as well as her amazing vocals.

I was lucky enough to have watched Mica perform at The Deaf Institute and really loved her voice and performance. I was still slightly concerned when I looked at the stage that her amazing voice may loose some of its impact amongst the wealth of music on the stage. I was really pleased that her voice was still the highlight of the night with the musicians supporting her brilliantly.

The crowd loved every song and joined in with several, I was fortunate enough to be standing next to two ladies that have song with Mica and so had the best surround sound. On the subject of sound credit should go to the technician as the sound was perfect all night. Mica performed a brilliant set blending new and established songs with her usual relaxed style. 

After the final song the crowd continued to sing along to themselves. Mica joined them to sign CDs and thank all those that had attended and in the bar the DJ calmed the crowd with relaxed tunes.

Thank you to Mica and team for inviting me to photograph the event, to all the staff at Band on the Wall for looking after me.



]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music sing Fri, 06 Apr 2018 23:59:57 GMT
Survived Another One  

As we say goodbye to 2017 a quick look back

My friends from One Voice Community Choir performed at the Harris Preston. It was a great night.

The Sherlocks had another great year and just keep going from strength to strength. I also witnessed the fastest guitar string change by a vary talented tech.

Jordan Allen played an amazing set at 53 degrees Preston and is a name that will be all over 2018.

Rum Thief performed a charity night at Factory Manchester. Well done mate great night.

Orchid Hunters giving it plenty at Factory

Blackthorn Music Festival was once again one of the best weekends of the year. Brilliant music and staff thanks again to the Hancock family for the invite.

Sage Francis and BDolan performed in Preston. I feel lucky to have been able to watch BDolan on several occasions and it is always a great night.

Martha and the Vandellas yes the legend, played a full set and then stayed back to meet members of the audience at Live Preston

Jess Kemp put on a charity night at the Station Irlam with great acts to raise money for the Christie.

Huge thanks to all the great performers for asking me to shoot their nights. Thanks to the promoters and staff at the venues for accommodating me at the gigs.

Thanks to all the other gig photographers for their advice and letting me share a pit with them. All the best for 2018 






]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rap rock rock and roll sing Mon, 01 Jan 2018 01:03:50 GMT
Irlam all change Jess Kemp is a performer that I have seen many times and always enjoy her music. She called me to ask if I could shoot a charity night that she was putting on at the Station Irlam. I checked the date and was pleased to let her know I could make it. Then the fun began.

My car was leaking fluid and so that was not an option but not a problem the venue was a railway station. I could catch a train and even spoil myself with a pint or 2. I checked the times and the last one left at 22:00 no good. I got little V out of the garage and attached a case with my camera equipment to to the pillion seat and fired her up. It was an interesting ride on a dark foggy winter night but I made it.

The venue is the old station on the platform of Irlam station. It had been completely renovated and now housed rail memorabilia as well as a small bar and comfortable seating. The gig was to be in the coal yard room which is a great room with painted adverts on the brick walls. The lighting is edison style bulbs hanging from the roof beams. A christmas tree and fire in the corner gave the room real atmosphere. A banner across the back wall reminded me of the purpose of the evening as well as to entertain was to raise funds for The Christie.

Olivia Jade stepped up to the microphone and showed what great voice she has. At the request of Jess she even performed a christmas number I am a real christmas grump but even I enjoyed it!

Ashley Sherlock is a performer that I have been aware of and have wanted to see for a while and he did not disappoint. Great voice and guitar playing made for a wonderful set.

Carl North normally plays with his band the lonely hearts but tonight he was one man with his guitar. I knew from the first few chords I was going to like his music. Hard hitting blues riffs and a strong voice filled the room. A brilliant performance and I can't wait to see him with his band next year.

The raffle. It had to happen you can't have a fundraiser without a raffle! It also gave Sam who had sorted out the sound for the night to switch to performance mode. Jess and Sam compliment each other so well and with a medley of their great songs the room was alive. Jess has song lyrics with real meaning to her and also friends in the room I also enjoy the way she stamps out the base line with a stomp box. Sam switched guitars and styles as he accompanied her. I was really impressed he also included slide guitar to one of the songs. The final song showed how skilled they both are on the guitar as the tempo increased to a crazy level. 

Many thanks to Jess for inviting me down.

Thanks to all the performers for a great night and the Station at Irlam for the perfect venue.


]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer charity christie crowd drum gig guitar live music rock sing Wed, 20 Dec 2017 23:46:19 GMT
Ferret Goes Crazy  

Thursday night in Preston is not always the wildest of places to party tonight was different.

I picked up a friend and we headed to the Ferret unfortunately we were too late to enjoy their great food. I was impressed at the number of people already in the venue.

The first band on stage were Live at the Arcade and what a great start to the night. This scouse  4 piece were selected by BBC introducing and it was easy to see why.  The songs Tied up and Obsessed are on their web site and are worth checking out.

Sheafs have a great following and played a brilliant set. The new song This is not a protest had the room singing along as well as going crazy on the dance floor. This is another band that have been all over the BBC as wells playing some big stages. This is one band I would love to see in 2018 especially to see the front man going for it on a big stage.

I had a disagreement with my friend Chris about Jordan Allen. He loved his purple paisley shirt I was less convinced. This is the only disagreement that we had as both agreed he is a great performer and with the band put on a great show. Jordan keeps going from strength to strength  producing more great music. If you have not seen or listened to this band do it. Also full credit to the Allen army who sang along to every song.

This is one gig were the room felt at capacity from the first song by the first band to the last song. Thanks to Jordan for inviting me down. All the bands for amazing performances. The Ferret team for their hospitality.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live music rock rock and roll sing Tue, 05 Dec 2017 20:18:18 GMT
Epic Night with Bearded Men I was quite excited when I heard that BDolan was going to perform again in Preston. I was very excited when Dan agreed to let me photograph the night. 


It was a cold wet windy day as the tail end of the hurricane hit Preston. I was pleased to be in the venue out of the weather.  BDolan was already laying out merch which included great looking vinyl. It was probably a good job that I don't take a lot of cash with me!

The first act of the night was Person A who took to the stag with a good number of people in the venue. He performed a great set which went down well and had everyone warmed up. He performed a song accompanied by Tom on guitar dedicated to friends who are off traveling which went down well.

BDolan cuts a menacing figure as he stands in his black jacket hood shades onup back to the crowd. The background music level rises and BDolan starts his narration. The songs flow with the crowd instantly joining in singing along to the backing samples and responding to BDolan call and responses.

I am fortunate enough to have seen BDolan perform twice before and his songs seem more relevant now than ever. Look up the song "Who's side are you on".

The set went down really well with a good crowd making the room bounce to many of the songs.

I have listened to Sage Francis and was excited to see him live. He did not disappoint. He has a really clever set of lyrics and a lot of energy. He ran around the stage as he performed his songs and the crowd loved them all.

BDolan came back on stage to join Sage and they performed together. Individually they are great together they are even better. 

At the end of the gig both performers left the stage and spent a long time chatting to fans and signing autographs.


Thanks to staff at 53 degrees

Thanks to all 3 performers for a great night

Big thanks to Dan for inviting me down and getting these brilliant performers to Preston.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass crowd dance gig live music rap sing Wed, 25 Oct 2017 23:24:32 GMT
Going Underground I had a walk from the car to the venue and fired a few shots off while walking there is always plenty to shoot in Blackpool.

Bootleg is a subterranean bar with a nice vibe. It has various areas including bar area with tables, pool table, comfortable chairs and the stage area. The stage is low and relatively small. There is no pit or barriers for photographers.

The sound at the venue was good unfortunately the lighting was terrible. As ever I worked with what I had.

The Surrenders were the first band on and payed a great set. I had not heard this band before but I really enjoyed their set. 

No Hot Ashes were next to take to the stage and they didn't disappoint. The size of the stage restricted the dancing and on stage antics. I was pleased that they sounded as good as I remembered and the crowd seemed to enjoy the set as much as I did.


Unfortunately  it was 23:45 when they finished which resulted in me doing a cinderella style sprint for the door. 

Thanks to the bands for entertaining me

Thanks to MR Peeps for the invite 

Cheers to Bootleg Blackpool for the invite.



]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beer crowd dance drum guitar manchester music rock rock and roll sing Wed, 18 Oct 2017 22:50:00 GMT
Vegas in Manchester I met Nigel Cartner at Blackthorn Festival. He wrote reviews of the festival and was great company. At the 2017 Blackthorn Festival he told me that he had written a book and would I like to come to the launch. A night in a casino with 3 top music acts sounded good to me.

I was not in my natural habitat as I walked through the casino towards the private room with pull up display showing the book cover and tag line.

It was the first gig I had been at where my drinks change was passed to me on a small silver tray!

Thankfully Nigel and also lots of other friends from the music industry were already in the room and the first act was soon on the stage.

I have been fortunate enough to watch Jess Kemp play on numerous occasions. Her family had also turned out to support her. I have never seen Jess play a bad set and she didn't disappoint with her own songs a cover that related to music mentioned in the book.

Matt Fryers took to the stage and I instantly liked his voice and music. He really puts a lot of emotion into his songs and this resulted in a great set. He did an amazing cover of Hurt.

Mohawk Radio are a band that I have heard talked about a lot and it has all been very positive. Mia has a great voice and when surrounded by talented musicians it could only lead to a good things. 

Nigel did some readings from the book which just makes me want to start the book so Im off


Lost in Manchester Found in Vegas is available through Amazon.


Thanks to Nigel for inviting to his night

Thanks to all 3 acts for brilliant performances

and thanks to friends old and new for letting me shoot them.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bok crowd drum gig live music sing Tue, 03 Oct 2017 23:31:36 GMT
Circus Starr I took my boys to watch Circus Starr in Blackpool. This was the third year that we had visited which says how good it is. I was sat with my boys and had a line of bulbs across my view I thought it would be tricky to get any shots.

The circus is a brilliant display of what humans can do. The strength, grace and bravery of the performers was evident in every act. 

A very funny clown kept everyone amused while the equipment was changed between acts.

Thanks to all at Circus Starr

]]> (Labrat Photos) acrobat circus perform Wed, 20 Sep 2017 19:30:39 GMT
Needles, Fire, Lawnmower and Chainsaw I spent a brilliant day at Blackpool Tatcon. This was the second year that I had been invited to take shots and I had a great day.

The room has rows of booths with artists doing tattoo and at the end a large stage. There is also a separate room with trade tables.

The quality of the tattoos being produced had to be seen to be believed. On stage Johnny Strange help my attention with an act that included: cutting an apple with a chainsaw while blindfolded, balancing a running lawn mower on his chin and sword swallowing.

Am over 6 feet tall and so its unusual for me to sense being looked down on but today these ladies looked down on me. They also did a great stage act which included use of fire. The stage manager was looking slightly twitchy at the size of the flames.

Massive thanks to Anna and Sham for inviting and looking after me.

If you are tempted check out their work at inked tattoo Blackpool 

]]> (Labrat Photos) Sat, 26 Aug 2017 22:23:14 GMT
The Day the Music Didn't Die

I spent the day feeling upset and angry that people could go out to enjoy a night of music and it ended in tragedy. I am not a manc but I photograph most of my gigs in Manchester. I have met so many amazing people through the music scene. The one thing that I have learnt about Mancs is that they will not be shut up or put down. They will dust themselves off and come back stronger and louder.

Love and thoughts to all those effected by the attack.

See you at a Manc gig soon


]]> (Labrat Photos) Tue, 23 May 2017 22:10:37 GMT
Stealing Rum from the Factory The Factory Manchester is a venue housed in the original Factory Records building. As you enter a large picture of Tony Wilson looks down on you. 


The gig kicked off with Red Light Effect. I have not seen this band before but enjoyed their set. I also liked the sense of humour of the lead singer. The back of his t-shirt read "sing in tune drummer boy".


Mad Winter were next on the stage with a full crowd in the venue. This Manchester band really seemed to enjoy performing and played a good set.

Orchid Hunters describe their sound as "high energy grooving rock" and I agree. They have some videos on their Facebook so have a look. I really enjoyed their set and look forward to seeing them again.

Rum Thief are one of my favourite Manchester bands. I saw Jon perform a solo set and was transfixed by his style. He plays the guitar hard and yet has sensitive clever lyrics. He now performs with a full band and this has increased my enjoyment of the set. He was launching his new EP "Time To Make A Move". 


Jon also used the night to raise money for The Sanctuary which is a centre that provides a place of safety and support for adults at crisis point. Contact details are at bottom of blog.

The night also also provided people the opportunity to think about Priya and have a drink and dance for her.

The only downside to the night was the lack of time to enjoy the full set of songs planned by Rum Thief as time beat us. This just left me wanting to know when the next gig will be.


Thanks to the bands for entertaining me.

Thanks to Jon, family and friends for making me feel so welcome 

The Sanctuary can be contacted at

0300 003 7029

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Wed, 29 Mar 2017 22:16:34 GMT
Elementary Jordan Im sorry but I missed shooting Saytra Play due to a minor issue getting into the venue I could hear them and they sounded great. Definitely catch you next time.

53 degrees is part of the UCLAN buildings the room is a large rectangle with the stage at the end and a small pit in front of it. On arrival the room was at capacity and I battled my way to the front. On stage the opening act where on their knees with screaming guitars and the crowd loved it. 

Jordan Allen is a performer who I have been trying to catch for a while. I watched and shot him several years ago and have seen him go from strength to strength since. He has a full band and new songs the crowd loved him. 


The Sherlocks are another band that I shot a few years ago and they have really developed into a class act. It is a  sign of their quality the amount of airplay they are getting on the big radio stations. I would see them soon before they move onto playing the huge venues where you watch them on a screen!


It is quite a low stage stage and narrow pit which resulted in tight angles for shooting the pit was also a bit cramped due to a film crew sharing the space for the first acts.

I also want to praise the security staff at the event. Due to the shape of the room and the capacity crowd it was getting very warm and tight at the barrier. The staff quickly provided water and helped a fan who was getting too hot. They didn't make a drama just acted quickly and effectively.

Also a shout to the guitar tech working for the Sherlocks who was able to replace, restring,tune a guitar and passed it before the song finished.

Thanks again to the bands for allowing me to shoot them.

Thanks to the promoter for putting on a great show

Cheers to all at 53 for looking after me.




]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat crowd dance drum gig guitar live music rock sing Fri, 10 Mar 2017 23:23:56 GMT
Familiar Voices at the Harris One Voice Community Choir are based in Preston and were invited to perform at the Harris museum. I have been visiting the museum all my life and I still enjoy looking around at the exhibits and the building itself. The choir I have known for a very long as my wife sang with them when I met her and I used to run the sound desk for them at gigs.

The choir leader is the ridiculously talented Tyndale Thomas who is a very skilled singer, composer, pianist as well as choir leader. 

The man on the keys was just a young boy when I first met him but as I expected he has developed into a very special musician Aidan Thomas.

The Harris is a really interesting building but not used for live performances and so I was really interested to see how this night would work out. The choir performed a lot of songs that I was familiar with and also a couple of new ones I did not know.

The choir sounded great and the soloists sounding amazing I could have put my camera down and simply enjoyed the music. 


It was a tricky venue to shoot in as the pillars blocked the view from some angles and the room was quite dark. The Harris staff were really accommodating and allowed me to shoot from the first floor of the museum.

Many thanks to the choir for inviting me to shoot them and great to catch up with you.

Thank you to all the staff at the Harris for your hospitality.



]]> (Labrat Photos) choir gig keys live music pianist sing solo soloist Fri, 03 Mar 2017 19:48:42 GMT
2016 Survived 2016 Review


Is a group of artistic misfits from Blackpool and the Fylde. The some of us don't seem to think we would benefit from traditional groups but do appreciate the benefit of supporting each other. Through the group I met a wide range of talented artists all willing to help each other out and a committee that puts on great events. Look out for us in 2017. It was through a member of this group that I got to shoot Tatcon and Blackpool light switch on as well as exhibit my work and win best new comer at the Linda Eaton awards.

Playing Out

I often have time to kill while waiting for my children who attend lots of activities. These shots are from Fairhaven lake and start of the illuminations on a cold winter night.




I was introduced to Sham the owner of Ink Den formerly Dragon Tattoo in Blackpool at an ICan social. He invited me to his Tattoo convention. I didn't really know what to expect and I loved the event. It was a mix of great entertainment and Tattoo artists all demonstrating their skills. Burlesque dancers at 11:00 in the morning is one way to snap you awake at a weekend! Looking forward to attending the event in 2017 Thanks again Sham and team.

Check out their amazing work on Facebook and their website at inkden Blackpool.


Took the camera to Carfest North which was at the new venue of Bolesworth. Had great fun shooting activities during the day including an amazing jet ski rider. At night traded with the Mrs to determine who looked after the kids and who watched the bands. My highlights included Seal and all the people of a certain age embarrassing their kids by going crazy to insomnia by Faithless.

Have never managed to contact Carfest organisers to discuss photos if anyone can help let me know.



Crafty Vintage

I met the organisers of the Crafty Vintage events at a gig and they invited me to shoot one of their weekends. I have been fortunate enough to be invited to numerous events over the year. They consist of taking a great venue such as Houghton Tower or B? And filling it with a mix of craft and vintage stalls. There is then an area with a great bar and food sellers. A mix of top quality entertainment is the final ingredient. I think the thing that makes the events so popular is that the organisers are able to hand pick the stalls and entertainment this ensures are all top quality. Thanks again to Laura, Dave and Dan all the best for 2017

Crafty Vintage will be holding more events in 2017 including a new venue have a look, at their Facebook and website for details.



This a great festival with loads of amazing music all weekend and with free entry. I was only available on the Friday night. I headed to The Eagle Inn Salford. Had great meeting new bands and shooting at this unique venue. If you have never been go for a pint and check out the gig room.

Free gig good beer again they have a Facebook page that will detail the event.




The Ferret is one of only a couple of music venues in Preston, for a city of its size with a large student populations it seems to have a really pot music scene. The Ferret puts on top acts and is also a great pub with quality food. Please get out and support live music or be condemned to the tastes of Simon Cowell.

Facebook again is the best place to check out their acts.





Preston Swingaroo keep me on the bench for the nights their regular photographer Ruth is unavailable. They bring in the best acts to play and sing for the very talented dancers. It is always a great friendly fun atmosphere and they have cake! Hope to visit you again in 2017.

Last Friday of the month at the Masonic Hall Preston.


Blackthorn Music Festival

This was my second year at this brilliant festival held at a farm just outside Manchester. The headline acts this year were Craig Charles, Bootleg Beatles, stereo mcs and Maximo Park. A lot of the other acts including some of the unsigned acts could have taken to the main stage and given the headlines a run for their money. As well as the great music and food it is a great place to catch up with friends from the music scene. I'm already excited about the potential bands for 2017 just hope the Hancock can put up with me again.

Their Facebook and website will detail how to obtain tickets for this brilliant festival




Facebook website and twitter friends, I think all gig photographers go through times of doubt with regards to their photos. It is the comments and encouragement that help us get through these times. So a huge thanks to everyone who has commented on my photos. There are a few people who take the time to respond to my shots on a regular basis and your support is really apreciated.


I'm not sure if Manchester bands realise how many top quality photographers operate in the city. If you need shots drop us a line or speak to us at a gig. Nothing spoils a bands web site like crap photos. Thanks to all the photographs who have inspired, encouraged and tolerated me throughout this year. I wish you all the best for 2017.


Promoters and event staff. Thank you to all the promoters who have asked me to shoot their gigs this year it has been a pleasure and I wish you and your bands all the best. Thanks to security for preventing stage diving singers landing on me and idiots pouring pints on me it is appreciated.


On the music front we have said goodbye to some major artists. On a smaller scale 2016 has been a year when we have had to say our goodbyes to several local performers. In their own way they have affected many people and through their music and memory will live on. If you believe that there is a place after death it now contains some brilliant musicians and lovely people and should hold amazing gigs.

If you would like copies of any of my shots please get in touch. I also have a limited number of night out passes so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like me to shoot your gig or event.

All the best for 2017 and don't let the bastards grind you down.


]]> (Labrat Photos) Manchester band bass beat beer blackpool cake carfest charles craft craig crowd dance diversity drum falling gig guitar live manchester mr peeps, blackthorn, music rock rock and roll seal sing stereo mc sunset swing swingaroo tower vamps vintage Fri, 06 Jan 2017 23:30:25 GMT
Red lights are for prostitutes Preston has a new live music venue in what used to be the foyer of the guild hall and I was invited to shoot a one night festival called Fiesta Bombarda there.

As you approach the entrance to the guild hall there is a very nice looking villa Italia on one side and Review Cocktail Bar on the other. I stepped into the Review bar to have a nosy and a coke. It looks like it has been designed by Drew Pritchard with industrial table and chairs exposed brickwork and vintage lights.

It has a central round bar and the cool tunes were intererupted by the general chatter of guests and ferocious shaking of cocktails.

Into the venue and was met by large neon masks and large stage and DJ already spinning some tunes.

The crowd really are a mixed bunch from over 50s in vintage Hawaiian shirts, Glastonbury hippies, black tshirt wearing metal fans. It was a truly strange group, in only thing in common was the feeling that the night was going to be a bit special. I checked the photography rules with Dan the promoter and the guild hall security thankfully they were all relaxed and let me do my thing.

The stage was well lit and spots also shone out into the crowd there was a pit across the front of the stage and I had access to the wings to shoot across the stage. It looked like I had no excuses not to get some good shots.

A group called the Beatnik collective consist of individuals skilled with poi, juggling clubs, staff and nunchucks. Most of these contained LEDs to show them off in the club. It was almost hypnotic watching the movement of the lights and the bodies of the performers.

There were 5 bands lined up with the DJ filling the minimal gaps between them. I am pleased to say that the sound was top class and the lighting almost perfect.

The opening band kicked off the night as the venue was filling nicely.


All the bands played great sets I had heard Jeremiah Ferrari before and he always gets the crowd going with his great reggae sounds. The way his songs were sung back surgested he had a numerous fans in the crowd.

I love the sound of Dirty Bare Feet from the first song to the last the crowd were captivated and I hope to catch them again soon.

Riot Jazz consist of trumpets, trombones, sousaphone and singer. The main man came to the front of the stage and passed out Christmas goodies including chocolate and fruit. The crowd would need their energy as the place was bouncing. i said that the lighting was near perfect that was because the lead from Riot jazz asked for the lights to be turned down and a red cast put across the stage. Red lights should be reserved for prostitutes not gigs!

The party was still going when I made my excuses to leave I had loved it but was exhausted.

Thanks to the bands and performers for letting me shoot them. Thanks to Dan for the invite hope to work with you again in 2017

Big thanks to staff of the guild hall complex for your hospitality.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live music rock sing vintage Sun, 01 Jan 2017 15:02:59 GMT
Wise Men Headed East The Wise Men head East.

East Lancashire to Clitheroe for the Good Foxy Christmas Party. The night was held at the Grand Venue in Clitheroe which is a great space with bar and seating at the back on a raised level with large standing area below with plenty of room for dancing or a mosh pit. 

The first band were a new band to me Northern Sport Club seemed to have a confidence beyond their years and performed a good set. The crowd was a real mix with a lot of the bands family and friends in attendance. I enjoyed their set and credit to lead singer Millie for taking on a Nirvana classic and doing it well.

The boys from No Hot Ashes took to the stage and soon filled the standing area in front of the stage. The venue has a large stage and as usual Isaac took full advantage, stomping strutting and falling to it during the set. The standard of performance was as usual extremely high but we expect that from this band. They soon converted the crowd with their popular sing along songs including Easy Peeler which really went down well.

The Good foxy are local lads and the venue contained a lot of their family and friends who enjoyed dancing and singing to every song. They demonstrated great musical skills with a bit of banter with the crowd. Its was always going to be a good gig with them being on home turf and they didn't dissapoint.

Thanks to MR Peeps for arranging for me to shoot the gig.

Big shout to the bands for the great entertainment

Thanks  to the staff at the Grand Venue for their hospitality hope to be back soon


]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass crowd dance drum gig guitar live music rock sing Thu, 22 Dec 2016 00:49:05 GMT
Kick off In The City I couldn't see any evidence of the book launch as I entered Cosmonaut in Manchester. It was a nice bar and so I decided that I would use the toilet grab a drink and check the details online.

As I head down the stairs the beat from the tracks played by the DJ let me know I had found the right place. The small room was packed with a mix of people including a few I recognised. Photographers, musicians, promoters and artists all turned out to wish Photographer David Gleave well with his book launch.

The book is a collection of photographs he has taken on the streets of London, New York, Brooklyn, Brighton, Ibiza and Manchester. It was good to recognise some of his subjects in the book. If you like the sound of his photographs check him out.

I then moved on to a bar to shoot one of my favourite live bands. The Madding Crowd have several EPs out and an amazing stage presence. The band were on great form sounding amazing and they covered every inch of the stage. 


I started to shoot them but the performance was cut short by the venue owner. I will not go into details as I don't intend to give the manager a right to response. The band were obviously upset and deserved better. Thankfully the band and fans decided to take take the sensible option and left the bar before things got out of hand. 


]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd drum gig guitar live manchester music rock rock and roll sing Mon, 12 Dec 2016 23:55:17 GMT
Pizza, Taco, Pizza, Taco

Pizza from the real fire oven or Taco with vegetarian chilli. I was tempted to have both but decided to shoot first. This was the first time I had been to a Crafty Vintage christmas event and it was even stranger being there in the evening. A lot of the things that I like about the previous Crafty Vintage events were still here but the evening and christmas decorations added little something. 


There was the usual mix of craft and vintage stalls and also some great christmas crafts and gifts. The DJ was playing some quality music in the large marque and the heaters did a great job of keeping it warm despite the cold December night.

I did a bit of celeb shooting as DannyDelboy had visited the event with his family. He genuinely came across as a nice bloke. He visited all the stalls and was happy to share his knowledge and experience with the vendors. He also took time to talk to visitors and really seemed to enjoy the evening. It was fortunate that he didn't mind me shooting him so thanks Danny.

It was nice to see the Bread and Butter cocktail bar was displaying its "Best Pop Up Bar" certificate. Once again they were creating amazing drinks in the widest selection of containers.

The food is always great at Crafty events and the real wood fire at the pizza stand was giving off a lovely heat. Unfortunately a day at work followed by a shoot was taking its toll and so I headed home to get some sleep.

Thanks again to Crafty Vintage for asking me to shoot their event. Thanks you to the vendors and visitors for letting me shoot them. A big thanks to Danny for being such a great sport.


]]> (Labrat Photos) craft drink live music pizza vintage Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:45:42 GMT
Printing Photos I am ordering prints of some of my photographs. If you would like prints of my photos please get in touch for details.

South Lakes Animal ParkSouth Lakes Animal Park Red in the LakesRed in the Lakes

Rain at Blackthorn FestivalRain at Blackthorn Festival Sea Sick SteveSea Sick SteveSONY DSC

Watch the BirdieWatch the BirdieSONY DSC

]]> (Labrat Photos) band gig live music sing Tue, 29 Nov 2016 20:31:34 GMT
So Many Lights and Still Dark Live Room 19/11/2016

If at the end of the gig the crowd are still singing the songs, the security are insisting that people need to leave, the band members are wiping the sweat of their heads and asking if anyone knows where their clothes are and random strangers hug you and tell you "that was a proper gig they f@ck!ng smashed it" it's a clue it went well.

Scruff Of The Neck promotions know a good band and continue to put on great nights this was no exception.


The live room is a proper basement club from the moment you walk through the switched off metal detector on the way in you feel you are somewhere a bit special.

The club is darker than a goths wardrobe during a power cut. They have a moving light panel behind the stage that displays graffics and band names and one that has continuing changing patterns on the ceiling that are both impressive. Unfortunately I think this used the entire lighting budget.

The venue has no photo pit and the stage is low with just a barrier between fans and band until NYT climb it! This means photos have to be taken from in the crowd or side of the stage in the VIP area.

The first 2 bands Templars and Cordeliers played solid sets to a rapidly filling venue with a couple of interesting covers thrown including Elvis and Catrina and the Waves!

The templars even handed out their latest CD which Im looking forward to listening in the car this week.

As Cassia took to the stage the venue was at capacity and the vibe changed dramatically to a much more chilled relaxed feel. It felt like drinks should be consumed from half coconuts with feet in a swimming pool. They played a great set and the crowd loved every song and it was obvious a lot of the crowd knew every word to every song. These guys are destined for big things.

NYT NYT NYT NYT was chanted from the capacity crowd as the boys took to the stage. They played a great set and the room simply went off. The crowd sang, danced and bounced to every song. Had anyone arrived mid way through their set as well as missing 3 great bands would be totally confused as inflatable palm trees, bananas and balls and a semi naked lead singer was stood in the crowd. Im not going to describe exactly why you should have been there.

Thanks to Scruff of the Neck promotions for putting on a great gig.

Thanks to all the bands for a great set.


]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock room sing Tue, 22 Nov 2016 00:53:25 GMT
Dark Nights I had a bit of time to spare and the camera in the car so took a few night shots. The spitfire is located at Fairhaven lake and sits on a large green pole. I roughly removed this as it spoilt the shot. 

As I walked back to the car I liked the look of the moon through the trees and so took a couple of shots.

As it was freezing I didn't hang around and took a couple of shots at the start of the illuminations which a couple of weeks before would have been rammed with traffic.

]]> (Labrat Photos) illumination night plane road spitfire tree Sat, 12 Nov 2016 17:51:26 GMT
Its not KraaK AAtma


Are you looking for Kraak? Is probably not a question you should ask a group of lads in a dark alley in manchester. Thank fully they knew what I meant and were pleased to have found the venue.

Aatma is the new name for the Kraal gallery although nothing has changed it still feels a bit wrong, dodgy and secret as you walk down the alley through an unmarked door and up a flight of stairs.

As you enter the room the familiar face of MR Peeps promoter and lover of real music. The night was advertised as MR Peeps podcast Live. His podcasts are a great selection of new music and bands that you will enjoy.

Aatma is one room stage at front, bar at the back it is no nonsense which suited the night and Mr Peeps style.

Bang on time Mr Peeps jumps onto the stage informs the already full room "Don't stand talking or looking at your phones this is old school have a dance. This approach was continued through the night with exactly 15 minutes from one band finishing to the next starting no noise solid quality music.

Types played a great set and didn't disappoint tonight. A great set with quality songs had the place moving from the first song, At the end of the set the places under the air con were popular as the full venue was up to temperature.

Ist Ist are a great manchester that Louder than War described as " A melancholy sledgehammer" and they are usually right.

Set included: Brutalise, White Swan, Heaven, Emily, Nights Arm, Rats, Never, One to One, Heart Belongs to the Sea

The Jade Assembly also a favourite band from Blackthorn kept the quality and tempo high as the swaying mass of bodies moved and bounced as well as singing along with this band.

Set: one Last Time, Feel the Reign, Time for a Change, PMOTC, Show me the Sun, Got My Sun, Colossal

No Hot Ashes I have reviewed before and if you haven't taken my advice and seen or at least listened to them yet I wobble my head in despair. All the songs were known by the crowd and song at a great volume. I moved to photographing from the back of the room as it was obvious something had to give as the set built and built. 

Isaac the lead singer turned his back to the crowd crouched and then launched himself onto the outstretched arms. As he surfed the crowd I frantically tried to get the shot.

Set: Cigs, Smooth, Bellyaches, Skank, New 1, EZ Peeler, Cool Cat, Goose

After the set ended I headed for the door to see the bands stood chatting to fans and signing merchandise and tickets. Mr Peps was busy pouring shots for anyone that wanted to celebrate a great night of music.

It really was a special night with lots of familiar faces and a top set of bands.

Thanks to the bands for entertaining me, friends for tolerating me and Mr Peeps for inviting me

Also Happy Birthday for latter this week to the TOP TOG 'Trust A Fox Photography' 

]]> (Labrat Photos) Aatma Barron Delamere Kraal Mr Peeps Type band bass beat beer crowd crowd surf dance drum gig guitar live manchester music no hot ashes podcast rock sing Mon, 19 Sep 2016 23:05:43 GMT
Turned On Turned On

Dawn my friend and fellow photographer obtained me a wrist band to Blackpool Lights Switch On.
We stood on the comedy carpet facing the stage as a young local singer performed to the ever increasing crowd.

The night consisted of performances from singers, DJs and dancers.

The performances of the night were by Fatman Scoop who whipped the crowd up the crowd to do anything he asked. Diversity danced and threw themselves around the stage in their Special way.

The lights were switched on by Dame Barbara Windsor. She had been evacuated to Blackpool from London as a child and it was obvious she has a soft spot for the town.

Thank you to Dawn for the wristband. Thank you to the organisers and staff for a well run event.


]]> (Labrat Photos) band beat blackpool crowd drum gig lights live music sing Sun, 11 Sep 2016 20:34:13 GMT
Skin, needles and Knives
A lady stands on stage breathing fire, behind me are booths filled with people having the most intricate designs inked onto their bodies and it's only 11 in the morning.
It's my first visit to annual Tatcon held at the Norbreck Castle.


Event takes place over four days and I attended on the Sunday. I collected my wrist band and entered the first room of the convention. It was set out with stalls and tables and chairs as a chill out zone. The stalls ranged from cake and fudge producers, clothing, skin treatments and a company that makes custom chairs for tattoo studios. Along one side of the room was a shooting gallery with the chance to let rip with air soft pistols to fully automatics.
The corridor to the main room contained a table full of taxidermy birds of all shapes and sizes. They would not suit my home decor but they did look great.

When I entered the main room the scale of the convention hit me there are rows of booths each with a different tattoo artist and their set up. It was interesting to look at the portfolios of the artist and the quality of the work was staggering. As I walked along the lines of booths the breadth of styles became obvious the only constant was the quality.

At the end of the room was a large stage and the first act on was burlesque dancers. The act included fire breathing, balloon swallowing and sword swallowing.

The noise that the knife made as it hit the thick wooden board left me in no doubt about the danger of the act. The board that they embodied in was held across the torso of the glamorous assistant. If the knives were not dangerous enough the act progressed to very solid looking axes thrown either side of the assistant.


I took another tour of the booths and again was really impressed by the quality of the artwork and also the chilled attitude of the recipient. One man was actually asleep as the artist continued to work on a large back piece.

It was now my turn to pick up the needle. I pulled on a pair of black disposable gloves tested the foot peddle and dipped the vibrating needle into the small pot of black ink. My left hand stretched the skin as my right directed the needle to complete the lettering. I finished the lettering with a new respect for the artists. I did enjoy the piece of banana left from the skin I had just tattooed.


On the main stage a band played classic tracks with the guitarist striking some great rock star poses.

The last act that I watched really made me want a drink. The performer swallowed swords allowing a member of the crowd to remove it demonstrate it was a solid metal sword. He also was able to hit a straw held in a volunteers mouth with a bull whip.

I would like to thank the organisers for the invitation and for looking after me during the day. I have nothing but for respect for the skill of the tattoo artists.

Also thank you to the clients who were happy for me to watch and photograph them as they received new tattoos.
It was also really good to meet up with members of Ican who were supporting the event and the fellow photographers had plenty of opportunities.

Thanks again to all at Ink Den Tattoo Blackpool.


]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer cake crowd dance drum gig guitar ink live music rock sing skin Tue, 23 Aug 2016 20:02:54 GMT
Live Room

I was asked to shoot a gig at The Live Room Manchester. It was my first visit and I like it. It reminded me a lot of a night club I frequented in Preston. The walls are black and it has low ceiling. There is a separate VIP area with a great view from the side of the stage.

Unfortunately one of the acts had to pull out, fortunately Doug Brickhall stepped up and took the first slot of the night. He showed his class by borrowing a guitar and playing a great set. I could have pulled up a chair grabbed a pint and listened to him play and sing all night.

Look forward to hearing him play again soon.

Kath and the Kicks really do kick it with a hard rock/punk sound. Kath dominated the stage with a great voice, quality guitar and slight snarl. She is backed by 2 great musicians. There are a lot of videos on you tube of Kath and the band. She also has a new CD out. Look out for Lazy days, All My Time and Catch the Storm if you check them out live.

It was an interesting venue to shoot at due to the lighting system. The ceiling is a mass of colour change LEDs constantly moving and changing in patterns to the music. The area behind the performers is one large scrolling message board displaying the artists name in LEDs. This combination gives a great effect for the crowd watching but makes it very tricky to shoot.

I really enjoyed the night and the venue and look forward to more nights here in the future.

Thank you to the bands for asking me shoot the night.

Thanks to Live Room for the hospitality.

Lab rat



]]> (Labrat Photos) Wed, 13 Jul 2016 22:25:43 GMT

I went to a gig without my camera as the show was being photographed by a fellow photographer Trust a Fox Photography. I have also had a few late nights editing lots of poppies and crafty vintage shots. It was officially a night off.

The night was held a pub I had not been to before called The Old Nags Head in Manchester. I arrived at the venue and was pleased to a see a space just before it to park in. I headed into the pub to find the walls covered in framed photographs unfortunately I didn't have time to study them as I wanted to catch all the gig.

The first act was a lady called Kate Bendelow. She is a great poet and also had some great banter between poems. Anyone with children or who have been forced to spend time with them will appreciate her humour. She provided a great opening and set a high standard for the night.

Ryan Jarvis is well known on the Manchester music scene and has recently supported some big acts. There is no hiding his Manchester roots and his thought provoking lyrics and brilliant delivery make him great to watch.

Marvin Cheeseman is a poet that I was really looking forward to seeing. I had watched clips of him and found him to be brilliantly entertaining. He contrasts the in your face hard hitting compare JB Barrington with his quiet gentle delivery style. He read his great poems one of my favourite being his take on "If". Have a look online or ever better go and see him perform.

Mike Sweeney is a radio Dj also front man for Salford Jets and traditional Salford bloke. If the younger generation believe they invented the "No Fucks Given" they have never met or heard Mike tell his stories. Don't be fooled into thinking that as he has been around for a while thats all in the past I get the feeling he would love it to kick off just so he could get involved! He told brilliant stories of his musical past during a questions and answers session with JB Barrington. He then sang several songs and explained the art of song writing/theft. His rendition of Woody Guthries "This Land is your Land" with his own last verse sounded great with combined voices of most in the room.

JB Barrington was the host for the evening and his rule for the evening was "when someone is performing you shut the fuck up". This no nonsense approach and ability to say what everyone is thinking sums him up.  His poems mix nostalgia, humour, observation and medical conditions. There are some great clips on you tube. He also has a book out with many of his best poems. He reads his poem in a fantastic way with his salford accent brilliantly hitting every word despite the speed of delivery.

Steve Harris should not be allowed out. He made me laugh at things that I simply shouldn't laugh at. Im not going to repeat his jokes but they included issues such as his MRs, spitting on bees, upsetting US Marines and fat people. One of the funniest things involved the man mountain of a bouncer if you had been there you could have enjoyed it. There was an attempted heckle that was slammed with the line "They said comedy would make me a sex magnet, well I have just attracted a cunt.

The landlord of the pub joined the action by going on stage and reciting a poem about his best mate. It went down well and he seems a top guy.


The last laugh of the night is on me. I left the pub out the door down the street and my car was gone. I walked up and down the street swearing and stomping like a nutter with tourettes. I then noticed I was on the wrong street. I went back through the pub and out the opposite door to my waiting laughing car.

Huge thanks to all the acts for such great entertainment.

Thanks to all at the Old Nags Head for great hospitality in a proper pub. 

All photographs are provided by and remain the copyright of Trust a Fox Photography. Please do not copy or use without permission.



]]> (Labrat Photos) comedy crowd gig joke live music poem reading Mon, 13 Jun 2016 22:16:37 GMT
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow The tittle of the blog is from the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

I had provided some wildlife photographs to a friend who asked if I could provide a photograph of a poppy. I knew I had seen some but where.

I pass this busy roundabout often and had seen poppies had grown around it. The only problem is that it is in the middle of a very busy road with the memorial across from it. The second problem was the number of ugly road signs in the area.

The answer was a very early morning lying in the grass and poppies in the middle of the roundabout. I was passed by a couple of cars and did get a few concerned looks.

I think it was worth it.

Always appreciate feedback

Peace labrat

]]> (Labrat Photos) flowers memorial poppies war Tue, 07 Jun 2016 22:56:42 GMT
Swingers return visit Swingaroo Vintage Dance asked me to shoot this months dance and I was only too happy.

The night consisted of live music from Louis, Louis, Louis who I had been told were brilliant and they lived up to exception. They were very well received from the opening song to the final goodnight baby. 

One of the features of Swingaroo Vintage dance is the cakes which are arranged in a room between the dance floor and the bar. The one I had (yes just the one) was really good. No soggy bottoms here.

The dance floor was busy from the first dance to the last and i think one or two hardly left it all night. I am always amazed at the skill and stamina of the dancers and I was exhausted watching.

Thanks to Swingaroo organisers for inviting me down, staff at the Hall for looking after me and the dancers for letting me shoot them.

Swingaroo Vintage Dance is held the last Friday in the month at Preston Masonic Hall.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass cake crowd dance drum guitar live music rock and roll sing swing vintage Sun, 29 May 2016 19:00:33 GMT
Back to the Future


Really looking forward to taking photos at Preston Swingaroo Vintage Dance on Friday night. I have heard great things about the band. I things its going to be a lively one.

This photo is from the November 2015 dance. more photos at

]]> (Labrat Photos) band dance music rock and roll vintage Tue, 24 May 2016 21:06:58 GMT
The sting of sweat in my eyes Sunday night the band are sound checking and its still light it must be summer.

As regular readers of my blog and viewers of my shots will know I am a big fan of No Hot Ashes and was pleased to be asked to shoot them as they returned to the Ferret Preston.  One day I will get to the Ferret early enough to eat as the plates of food heading out of the kitchen looked great.

No Hot ashes have a new single out Cool Cat which has some great artwork and is worth checking out. They played their usual great energetic set and soon had the place jumping. It was easy to spot their fans in the crowd as they joined with what are now the bands classics Skank, Easy Peeler and Goose.

Isaac was on fire with his great voice and high energy performance. I had never noticed before how good Luigi sounds as he joined Isaac with the vocals on several tracks. Jack always seems to be really focused during the performance and plays the cool funky bass lines. Matt as ever held the whole band together with a solid drumming performance. 

As they finished their set I turned away from the stage and could not believe the number of people in the bar it was virtually full. Every credit to the band they wiped themselves down and spent time talking to their fans and signing merchandise.


Get Inuit from Kent were next to hit the Ferret stage. I was unsure if there would be a language barrier but their music soon overcame it. As the band lined up I must confess I was confused as I could not determine what they should sound like from their look.

The geeky looking front man soon had the crowd onside with a great range and catchy lyrics. The band behind him played some great tunes with classy guitar riffs. The now full room bounced to every song.

The Spring King had recently played on Jools Holland and had been listed as one of the top Manchester bands to watch in 2016. This is impressive but Preston folk like bands that walk the walk. These guys walked the walk. The set up on stage is slightly unconventional as the drummer is also lead singer and so had one guitar to his left and 2 more to his right. All my photos had to be taken from the stairs as the room was at capacity and I would have had no chance amongst the crowd.

As I said in some places with the hype around a band "they would be must be good" in Preston its usually more "lets see you impress me then lads". Impress they did, really tight band and great song vocals its easy to see why they have been tipped for bigger things.

Thank you to MR Peeps the oracle of Manchester Music for the invitation and also copy of the No Hot Ashes limited edition Cool Cat artwork.

The bands for working their butts off to produce a great night off music

The Ferret Preston for their hospitality defenetly on for some food next time

The promoters for bringing 3 amazing bands to play in Preston


]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live music rock sing Wed, 18 May 2016 19:22:59 GMT
Camden in Manchester Camden in Manchester at Academy 3

Jess Kemp is a singer songwriter from Manchester. I have seen her play several times and was pleased when she asked me to shoot her EP launch. It was obvious from her emails that she was very excited to be headlining at the Academy in Manchester. I was really pleased it was the academy but for selfish reasons It has a nearby carpark £2 all night, a sainsbury for drive home munchies and a really professionally run venue with great sound and lighting.

At the venue I met up with Jess Kemps driver, PA, security, merchandising manager, sound quality technician, front of house, roadie and fan her dad. Note to all musicians be nice to your family they may come in handy. A large number of the Kemp clan arrived later to enjoy the gig. 

The promoter ran through the rules for the night and I headed into the green room to meet the artists. It was a very relaxed and happy room with all artists looking forward to performing at this great venue.

The time keeping is usually spot on at the Academy and bang on time The Claremonts took to the stage. This 4 piece band from Manchester played a great set and the classic influences showed through (smiths, stone roses etc). One of the nicest things about the band was the grin on the drummer Imogen's face. If a band enjoy playing the crowd enjoyed listening. I am expecting to hear more from this band.

The Roasts are another young band but the confidence and swagger of the lead singer showed no nerves playing to this large and now loud crowd. Again another accomplished set with the band picking up on the energy from the crowd.

The photo pit was getting a bit busy but all played nicely and hopefully got their shots. As I sat at the end of the set I spoke with a father and daughter who had come together to enjoy live music. I hope when she is old enough my daughter won't be too embarrassed to be seen with me in public.

INK a five piece band from Manchester had a much more funk sound than the previous bands. The combination of funky bass, sax and great lead vocals instantly grabbed your attention. The now full venue sang and danced to this exciting band.

AEIM are 3 very skilled lads with a synth driven classic sound that took me back to music I liked to listen to. They describe themselves as "The space between everything else, filled with massive, wondrous noise. They truly are wondrous and I found my self dancing along to their tracks.

Jess Kemp I have never seen play with her band and I was slightly nervous. I love listening to her play and sing and so really hoped that the band would add and not detract from the performance. I should have trusted Jess more they were amazing. All the songs had the original great song writing skills but had transferred wonderfully to the new band sound. 

The crowd loved the performance and many were seen singing along to their favourites. Jess has plenty more gigs lined up and is well worth seeing.

Thank you to Jess Kemp for asking me to shoot the event. Thank you to The Academy and their staff for looking after me and for the Kemp clan for not minding being photographed.




]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Thu, 05 May 2016 19:34:43 GMT
3 Lessons Learnt In my previous blog I posted a description and some shots taken at sunset on Lytham beach. I learned three lessons during the shoot and would like to share them.

I met a photographer who was shooting in what I would consider a typical landscape photographers style. He was set up on his tripod patiently waiting for the light to be exactly as he wanted. He did not move place or change position of his camera for over an hour. I spoke with him then took shots of the decaying metal structure of the pier. the sunset, the photographer, went for a walk and then a couple more of the structure and sunset.

He got the shot he wanted a stunning sunset.

Lesson 1 There are many varieties of photographer and although it may not be your style there is always something to be gained from looking at a different style to your usual style.

There were several photographers on the beach and I noticed that they were all focused on shooting the same image sunset on the horizon and why not it was lovely. I turned around and took shots of the sunset reflected in the building windows. I shot the underside of the pier and also one of the other photographers. 

Lesson 2 Don't follow the herd. Take the photos that you like not what you think you should be taking. If it doesn't work out nothing lost.

I took my shots packed my bag and went to the nearby pub for a coffee

Lesson 3 The temperature drops when the sun goes down. Be prepared for it.

As ever feedback and comments welcome just be nice.

Cheers Labrat

]]> (Labrat Photos) beach cold evening lesson night photo photographer pier sun sunset Sun, 17 Apr 2016 23:03:56 GMT
Bye Bye Sunshine I had time to play tonight as my son was in the cinema. I spent some time flying my kite and then got the camera out.

The sky was amazing and I don't feel that I really did it justice. 

I had a walk under the pier and loved the rusting metal structure

no one to thank except nature!

]]> (Labrat Photos) beach cloud pier sand sea sky Fri, 15 Apr 2016 23:00:11 GMT
Vintage Morning I was invited to photograph the Crafty Vintage event at Brockholes Nature Reserve on Saturday morning. The sun was shining and the car park quiet as I arrived. The Crafty Vintage team and stall holders were busy sorting the final touches as I walked around.

I was impressed by the number of vendors at the event they fall into 3 main categories Craft, Vintage and Food.

The food includes an amazing cake stall that sold huge slices of cake. They were bigger than you would slice for yourself even if you were on your own! The other food stands had good quality food with great smells coming from the pizza in the wood fired oven. It was also good to see a vegetarian and vegan food stall. If your dog is feeling left out there were doggy treats with dog beer to wash them down.

There was a huge array of vintage clothing, hats, accessories and household items. My friends from Swingaroo would have had a field day. The crafts included some lovely carved wood, hand drawn pen and ink images and robots made from recycled materials. It was the perfect place to find that item you don't find in the shops.

There was also a bar and take away bottled beers from the Beer Brothers. As I left the sun was still shining a number of people were looking forward to being photographed in the photo booth held in a vintage VW from Chase the Sun.

There is entertainment on all day from singers to magicians if I didn't have plans I would have stayed all day.

Thank you to Crafty Vintage for inviting me down and to the vendors for letting me point my camera at them and their products.




]]> (Labrat Photos) art bar brockholes cake craft dance food handmade magic music vintage Sun, 10 Apr 2016 00:03:07 GMT
Farmhouse in need of slight renovation I had access to this derelict farmhouse. It has been unoccupied for many years and is not in a safe state. I took the photos as it will not be safe to enter until building works have been completed and various groups have an interest in it.

Please stay safe and don't enter buildings without permission.

]]> (Labrat Photos) derelict farm old Tue, 05 Apr 2016 21:53:41 GMT
Best Photograph I have updated my best shot gallery.

I don't know which my best photographs are. There are some that may be technically correct that don't do it for me and others that technically are all wrong but just have that something about them.

I am also interested in which shots you like as often the shots other people really like surprise me.

In the end its all down to personal opinion

Thank you for taking the time to view my photographs and a special thanks to those that leave comments or feedback it is always appreciated.

Please get in touch if you would like me to shoot for you or for copies of any of my shots 

Rick Labrat

]]> (Labrat Photos) Thu, 31 Mar 2016 20:10:43 GMT
Do I Just Push the Button Had a family day out at Blackpool Zoo. my son was practicing for his teenage years and didn't want to come. He agreed when I let him take my camera.

I borrowed it back to get a couple of shots.

He looks so deep in thought


I love the sleek lines


This just made me smile


How I feel going back to work while kids are off



]]> (Labrat Photos) animal bird blackpool camera monkey zoo Mon, 28 Mar 2016 19:05:28 GMT
Beer, Barrels and Banter This year was the 23rd Annual Preston Beer festival. It is a charity event and held at St Walburge's church Hall.

Friends of mine Rick (The Younger) and Chris had volunteered to join the organising committee and so arranged for me to shoot the event. It takes place Thursday to Sunday and so I attended Thursday and Friday night.

The hall is a great building with high roof and stone walls the 60 plus kegs looked great lined up on the racking against the stone the wall. The stage was also set up ready for the live music.

The Thursday night we were entertained by Jam Buddies two guitar playing friends who have played together for a large number of years. They played a great set covering decades of classics and the second half of the set turning into a fun sing along.

The Friday night entertainment were old favourites of the festival Mooncoyn. They played a superb set of songs that had people singing and dancing and shouting for more at the end.

I can't review the beers as I was driving and also couldn't trust myself to take reasonable shots after beer (10.4%). The selection looked good and the crowd could be heard making favourable comments. It was also really good to see some of the brewers come down to the festival to taste the rivals and discuss all things ale.

Thanks to the committee for inviting me down and to my new ladies who provided the perfect supper of butter pie. (apologise to those who have never enjoyed the joys of a butter pie. It is like a gastronomical hug).

I hope that some of my photo followers will come down for a pint or two next year I will give you a heads up when dates are finalised.

]]> (Labrat Photos) CAMBRA ale band bass beer brewer drum folk gig guitar half live music pie pint sing Fri, 11 Mar 2016 19:40:23 GMT
Hip Hop til you drop Sunday night at the Ferret Preston the EP launch for Razorrawks. 

This is the shortest write up for a good reason the review by CREEP is far better than I can do! Read CREEP review from the address below check and check out my photos best of both worlds. Then look up these artists and buy their work.

DJ Trauma started the night on the decks.

Lewis Whiteside apologised for his content with a smile and launched into great hip hop set.

















Booth Boxers are a skilled pair from the East who with DJ Trauma behind them performed an amazing set. Their CD 'The Enigma Code' is well worth a listen.

















Razorrawks deserves all the positive comments that his CD is getting. He has clever content and brilliant backing tunes. I challenge you not to shout along the words "music to snap your neck to"

















Many thanks to Razorrawks for inviting me down. Thanks to all the acts for entertaining me on this amazing night. As ever the Ferret were perfect hosts.


]]> (Labrat Photos) Wed, 20 Jan 2016 22:15:07 GMT
Swingaroo Party I was invited to shoot the November Swingaroo Vintage Dance. I believe the photos describe the night better than my words so I will keep it short:

Venue: Masonic Hall Preston

When: Last Friday of the month (December dance will be on the 18th due to new year)

What: A live band or singer a room full of lovely people dancing or enjoying the music

The organisers are friendly and make you feel welcome

The live acts are always top quality

The vibe is fun and friendly 

There is a bar with efficient friendly staff

They have home made cake!

Thanks to organisers for the invite, thanks to staff for their hospitality and thanks to the Buddies for an amazing performance


















































]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass crowd dance guitar live music sing Tue, 15 Dec 2015 00:42:00 GMT
Singing, Sneering,Snarling and Stomping Singing, sneering, snarling, stomping
In 2014 I photographed Madding Crowd at the Eagle Inn Salford and Friday night I was back as they shared the headline with 99 Degree.
The Eagle Inn in Salford is a traditional pub with a secret. At the back of the pub is a door that could lead to a kitchen or cleaners cupboard but through it is a short corridor that leads to the gig area. It is a double weighted room with stage at the front sound desk at the back and a viewing balcony at first floor height.
The opening act was Elijah James Who started with an amazing cover. Which was great and worth checking out online. He continued to play great song and has a gentle voice that is very easy and pleasant to listen to. My favourite song was don't sleep to well simply a great song. I hope to catch him soon playing a longer set.
The Blinders are a 3 piece band from Doncaster now based in Manchester. Who play their own original songs that have dark edge to them.
They play night and day on 21 January and also have tracks on the internet to check out.
The Madding Crowd have a new drummer and credit must be given for anyone trying to keep up with these guys. I'm not sure that they always know what will happen during a song for every credit to Sav who did a great job.
The moment the first chord is strummed until the reverb finally dies away it is pure musical entertainment. I cannot stress enough how this band needs to be seen live to fully appreciate them.
They have a great selection of songs from the anthem like stomping performance of Walking in the Rain to the sat on stage calm of Want to die
It is no surprise to find out that the band contains successful actors as the really do perform their songs from stomping around the stage, dancing in the crowd to kneeling and lying on the stage in exhaustion.
It is also good that they do play he occasional calm slower song to allow the audience to confirm they re not just a novelty act but accomplished musicians and wordsmiths.
There is video being released of the gig but I would urge you to see them live and promoters to put them on a bigger stage both physically and metopherically
99 Degree are the last band of the night and are a psychedelic Garage Rock Band (their description not mine)
from Manchester. The front man had to contend with a troublesome bandana but still managed to give a great
I can understand why this band and Madding Crowd get on as although different sounds their is a
common thread running through their music. They played a great set including Dead or Alive and Heart of the
City which are both available on soundcloud. These tracks show that they have a good selection of their own
Once again thanks to the Eagle for the hospitality, all the performers for the entertainment and crowd for letting
me get in their way.
If you would like to use or have a print of any of the shots get in touch Labrat
]]> (Labrat Photos) Manchester band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Tue, 15 Dec 2015 00:28:13 GMT
Three for the Price of None 13/11/2015
The Ferret Preston
No Hot Ashes
New York Tourists
A handful of flying saucer sweets with the band logo on them. If thats not imaginative promotion at its best I don't know what is, although may be a bit dodgy trying to explain to the law why you carry round a bag containing CDs and a jar of sweets. Mr Peeps knows how to promote the No Hot Ashes boys although their music does a good job on its own.
Despite suffering from a cold/manflu frontman Isaac gave it all singing, playing and stumping around the stage. He never fails to give a great performance.
I'm not sure who was to blame or if it was the occasion but the tempo of their already fast tempo songs seemed to increase tonight leaving Matt the drummer looking like oxygen may be required, fair play to him he never missed a beat.
Jack on bass is far too talented and once again provided a great bottom line to the songs. Slightly more refrained than Isaac, Luigi is a quality guitarist and also provides the vocals on some of the tracks.
The boys style has been described as funk with punk with rap. I have never really got my head around these descriptions, I prefer great music, ok music or crap. I may have sub groups such as in the car, chilling or in bad mood type music.
The best thing find 10 minutes have a listen for yourself or even better spend a night watching them. I think they are a great band to watch but what do I know!
New York Tourist are a new band to me and I like them. I'm going to start on the non musical aspect they have a t-shirt design featuring a skull and band name that is one of the best band t-shirts I have seen in a while. If I hadn't been so busy trying to time my shots with the occasional beam of light to hit the stage I would have had one.
BLACKBURN: I give you 1 minutes to recall famous musical acts from Blackburn........ Give in!!
Well this could be one in a short list.
The band to took to the stage with encouragement from the crowd of fans that they had brought with them. They played a great set of drum based rock. All member are talented musicians and together have some great songs.
They have a great set list including my favourite Colours as a local band I hope to see them again soon.
Dexters are a band that I have heard about and seen on listings many times but this was the first time I have been able to watch a full set.
They have been described as the bastard child of The Clash, The Jam and The La's and I don't disagree.
The venue was packed it was very dark, very hot and the music was very loud it was perfect for this band. They play a great set of songs which will soon be favourites of anyone who hears them.
They are on their second albumn and have supported some class acts as well as filling venues in their own right. They are a london based band and I hope they make the return trip up North very soon.
If you want to know how the megaphone comes into play go and see them!
The price of admission for 3 great bands free.
Unfortunately the Ferret is a hard place to take shots it is ridiculously dark and the stage is low but I had a go.
Thanks to Mr Peeps for the invite
Thanks for the bands for entertaining me
Thanks to Ferret for your hospitality.
]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live music rock sing Tue, 17 Nov 2015 23:12:42 GMT
Putting on the Ritz The Ritz Manchester

10 November


Vintage Trouble

A cold wet Tuesday night and road works on the outskirts of Manchester did not put me in a good mood for a night at a gig. I entered the Ritz and my mood lifted as there was already a buzz in the air. The first drum beats and I was in the Slydig zone.

Slydigs are a band that I have been fortunate enough to photograph and watch live on numerous occasions and I can say they just keep getting better. They played a great mix of new songs and some of their classics. The crowd instantly appreciated the quality of their music and would have kept them on stage for the full night.

Photos to follow

















It says a lot about Ty Taylor the front man for Vintage Trouble that he had introduced Slydigs to the stage himself. The next time he entered the stage he was wearing a black trousers, cummerbund and red jacket. I have never seen a front man cover as much ground or be as entertaining. During the course of the set he walked along the rail of the photographers pit (the security staff faces were a picture), he climber onto the rail of the balcony to sing down to the crowd and also walked into the middle of the crowd to sing some songs.

I had watched clips of the bands performances but nothing beats seeing them live. It is no surprise that they have an amazing list of artists that have requested the band to open for them. Ty has an amazing voice that men are jealous of and woman become like unstable teenagers falling in love for the first time.

















The band are a great tight unit and the advantage of Ty going walkabout is that the musicians get to show their skills including blues guitar as good as you will ever hear.

















Look these bands up on line go and see them if you have a bad night there is no hope for you!!

Many thanks to the Slydigs front man Dean for sorting my access

I feel that I was at a gig that will be reminisced over for many years to come thanks to both bands for that.

Thanks to staff and management at The Ritz for a great venue I hope to visit again soon


]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Sun, 15 Nov 2015 20:56:49 GMT
A Game of Two Halves  

Sunday 26 October
Night and Day Manchester
No Hot Ashes
Walking on Cars
Sunday night in Manchester and back in Night and Day. It was good to see so many familiar faces and also the NHA boys ready to hit the stage.
The stage was dark as the NHA boys began their set, the loyal fans joined in and sang along to every song. As ever the band showed how they combine skilled musicianship with boundless energy to give a great performance. It was great to hear Easy Peeler played live. The set was finished in style with an amazing performance of Goose.
Really looking forward to catching them at the Ferret Preston in November.
Half time; diet coke and a catch up with a few of the usual suspects. Also a chance to cool off as it was hot in the venue.
Walking on Cars are a new band to me but the large number of Irish accents in the crowd indicated they had more than a few fans waiting for them.
The stage was the typical Night and Day very dark as the band positioned themselves on stage. The music started and a first for me at N&D I was hit by a wall of bright lights. The band had brought their own lighting rig and were not afraid to use it. After some speedy changes to my camera I was able to shoot their set.
They played a great set of songs with a wonderful ability to mix established covers into their own songs.
I hope that they come back to the north west soon as I would like to catch them again. I must also give their support team a shout I have never see a man tune so many guitars during a set.
Thanks to the bands for great performances.
Thanks again to night and Day for their hospitality
Also big thanks to Manchesters own MR Peeps for the invite.
]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beat beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music night and day rock sing Wed, 28 Oct 2015 20:33:05 GMT
From Shoulder Op to Hip Hop 2 My physio is going well and range of movement is increasing so I thought I would see if the shoulder was gig ready. I went for something a bit different an American rap and spoken word artist with support.

Venue: The Ferret Preston

Night: Thursday

Cost: £7 in advance

B Dolan from Rhode Island was headlining on his first trip to Preston. I have heard some of his music before and was excited at the chance to see him live. before he got to the mic a full support had their chance.


















Razor Rawks was first to pick up the mic. He is from Preston but now lives the wrong side of the river. He is rightly proud of his home town and this comes through in his delivery no fake accents here. It may not be pretty, it may not be polite but it is honest and it is quality. He does a great political song with clever lyrics such as describing parliament as Eaton Mess. Also loved his use of the line "The kind of beats to snap your neck to". Have a look at his site for more information, tunes and description of Flat Cap Rap.

















Roman Scott and wingman Louis (Half Crown Band Member) had travelled from their hometown of Brighton. Randy plays keys and beat box while Louis raps. The boys seemed to be enjoying the tour and have a great song about the homeless as well as showing their free style skills.

















If you take a computer game obsessed ex teacher give him a laptop, skills and too much energy you have MegaRaw. He used to teach kids back home in the states but tonight he educated the crowd to his style of Philadelphia computer game influenced hip hop. It took him no time to have the hands up in the air and crowd jumping around. He also showed a great sense of humour messing with auto tune for one of his tracks. His partner in rhyme Storyville had the crowd bouncing and loving his delivery to keep their party going.

Buddy Peace is a digital miracle workerhe mixes scratches and plays digital drums faster than anyone I have ever seen. Do not underestimate him from his appearance he played some amazing mixes.

To be polite B Dolan has a presence. He is built like a brick out house and has a cold sinister stare.

















He stood in near darkness and the crowd waited. His dj Buddy Peace dropped a beat and Dolan in a calm collected manner delivered his lyrics. I was transfixed from this point onwards. He has the ability to deliver machine gun style fast gritty hard lyrics and then switch to a moving slower calm monologue. All the time Buddy Peace is keeping the beat with samples, scratches and the occasional Klaxon.

At one point a photographer decided to climb onto the stage to get a different angle. I feared for him as as he was removed from the stage by Dolan who reminded him "This is my work space". I thought I caught a slight smile as he released him but it could have just been the lights.

At one point he killed the beat and delivered a speech worthy of any great narrator both for passion and honesty. Before one song he told the crowd to put away their phones and listen to the song and simply remember it. If I don't get the chance to see him perform again I will not forget the night I witnessed B Dolan.

















He has a lot of songs available through his web site. Make sure you check out "who's side are you on" and "film the police" a clever reworking of a classic.

Thanks to the artists for entertaining me

Thanks to The Ferret for their hospitality













]]> (Labrat Photos) BDolan bass beat crowd dance gig live music rap sing Mon, 21 Sep 2015 22:43:41 GMT
Wild Horses wouldn't keep me away Jess kemp at The War Horse Chorley
I was pleased when I read that Jess Kemp was playing a gig in Chorley as it's only a half hour drive from home.
The War Horse is a new build pub in the middle of a large modern housing estate. The pub is part of the Hungry Horse chain and has a large eating area and smaller areas restricted to over 18s. It was in the over 18s area that Jess had set up and was preparing to start her set. The area had a good number of people without being overcrowded. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly as Jess kicked off her set.
I loved her opening comment that the pub was "the nicest smelling venue she had ever played".
I lost track of how many songs Jess packed into the first half of her set. The crowd immediately warmed to her and were singing with her before the end of the first half. The variety of songs she performed is incredible and included Valery, Walking on Sunshine, you got the Love, Summertime Sadness and one of her own songs Forget You.
The crowd were ready for the second half and Jess didn't disappoint. As well as a selection of covers Jess played 2 of her own songs "stars" which has its video released early September and "2 coins" my favourite of her songs. She tried to end the set with her interpretation of uptown funk but her new found fans insisted on more songs and Jess obliged. I really enjoyed the set as well as the pub and hope to return to see more live music.
Thanks to Jess for providing great entertainment
Thanks to Managment at The War Horse for allowing me to shoot in their pub
]]> (Labrat Photos) chorley gig live music sing Sun, 16 Aug 2015 23:47:51 GMT
Blackthorn Virgin Blackthorn Music Festival I spent the weekend at Blackthorn Music Festival and these are my ramblings. If you want any of my photographs send me an email to Location: The festival is held at a farm in a beautiful valley with a river running along one edge and surrounded by tree covered hills. Camping: They have several camping areas from a meadow to a hill top all are spacious with plenty of room for the tents and space for games or lounging around in a morning. They also have a small separate field next to the river for those Glamping. This has large cream bell tents set up complete with lights. Food: Along one edge of the main field are the food stalls which include: curries, burgers, pizza, hobo meals, pancakes, Spanish doughnuts. They all stayed open until late and breakfast baps and coffee was on sale for those needing to reset the system in a morning. Shopping: A line of tents at the bottom of the main field contained the shopping area with everything from a guitar pick jewellery to goth fashion. The inflatable instruments were also very popular with the rock gods! Art: A tent adjacent to the meadow stage contained artwork from various artists including a selection from Manksy (still trying to get my hands on one, hint hint). The canvases, mugs and T shirts emblazon with "Love" all looked great but also are part of a great project. They are produced by Jay for charity and he has a really inspirational story. Your homework is to look him up, hear his story, buy a mug, tshirt or canvass and your life will be instantaly improved. There are also several artists on site sketching the scenery and also the performances. They are very talented and I would love to shoot the same scene they are sketching and compare results. In the main barn a cartoonist was busy teaching a group of children how to draw cartoons. In the time it took me to take a few shots he had drawn a great cartoon of me. It will soon be on my office wall. Thank you. Security: I feel that I must give the boys a shout. I was greeted at the gate by a happy helpful member of the security team and this set the tone for the weekend. They even brought a new meaning to high level security as they sat on the raised hey bales to watch the performers crowd. Drink: The large barn contained the bar with a great selection of drinks and the got to have branded glass. The ones at Blackthorn are plastic with a handle and at first glance looked they could have a medical use. The design is actually really good and allows for the glass to be stored in your belt to free hands to take shots. I can also confirm that they are able to hold hot coffee as I left my camping mug at home. Staff: The BMF team are amazing I'm not sure were they kept the vat of red bull but they deserve to sleep for several days solid when the festival is over. They all worked so hard and did an amazing job. Thanks to all. Festival goers This is the friendliest festival I have been to from people making each other brews on the campsite to sitting chatting about music sitting on bales in the sun. Thank to all the great people who were happy to be photographed. Sound: All three stages had great sound for every performance. It is a job that is often forgotten until things go wrong but due to their skill and hard work it all went really well. Music: I nearly forgotten to mention that there was a little bit of music on over the weekend. The only problem with multiple stages is that you can't see all the acts. The main stage is a big stage held in a large barn with bales around the edge to sit or dance on. it is across from the main bar with tables, chair, bean bags etc. The Meadow stage is held in a held in a cream tent with cushioned beer barrels to sit on. The size and proximity to the performers made this a really intimate venue. The Beat stage is held in a blue tent giving it a more club like feel similar to the venues I normally shoot in and nearly as dark! I can't do justice to all the acts that I watched over the weekend. My advice would be to look them up on the internet as most have videos or songs to check out. Here are a couple of stand out performances: Logan Stryx is living proof that you should not judge a book by its cover. He has a great voice and sings a beautiful tender song about his son that always brings a lump to the throat. If you were suffering from a hangover he is better than aspirin. The Mantells are fronted by Tom with brothers Dale and Lewis on guitar and drums. Even Dale breaking the bridge on his guitar couldn't stop them! Gary Quinn is the sort of singer that men could hate if he wasn't so bloody nice. It was worth turning around during his set just to watch the ladies and possibly some men, they melted as he talked about his songs with an accent that was smoother than a Baileys over ice. It was easy to hear why he is an award winning singer with clever lyrics and amazing voice. Little Sparrow and band showed that are skilled musicians and singers in a great set. I could have sat back and watched them perform for the rest of the day. The Enemy headlined the main stage on Saturday night and the crowd went wild for them. I was surprised how many songs I knew and the photos may be a bit dodgy as it's hard to keep the camera still while dancing. JJ Rossa sings and plays a mean guitar while performing an amazing mash up of songs. It was the performance that left you singing for hours after she finished. No Hot Ashes are a band that I have seen and shot several times before. They always give it 100 percent and gained more fans with this performance. Have a listen to Goose on line if you missed it this weekend. The Clone Roses, Happy Mondaze, The Smiths Ltd filled the barns with classic tunes and great performances on Friday night. It was like having your Cd collection played live (maybe I'm just showing my age). Millie Manders is what happens when you release talent combined with attitude. A great performance that was just too short. This is one performer that I will defenately but looking out for. Clint Boon is a legend and played amazing songs that had everyone singing along on Friday night. Also showed what a nice bloke he is taking the time to talk to fans and stand with them for photos. Got home and realised that I took shots all weekend but failed to get one of me with him. There are also dozens of acts that I caught part of their sets and this showed the amazing amount of musical talent. Live music is far from dead. Thanks to organisers for inviting me to photograph your festival and making me feel so welcome. Big shout to all the performers who entertained me over the weekend. Huge respect to the BMF team that kept the festival running you deserve your beds. Cheers to Mr Peeps Manchesters hardest working promoter for telling me about your great festival. Check him out for all things gig wise. Please check out @loveartuk12 and his project. Big shout to my brother and sister photographers and please stop being so bloody good! Labrat ]]> (Labrat Photos) band blackthorn drum enemy farm gig live manchester music performance rock sing smiths Thu, 30 Jul 2015 02:06:04 GMT Sun Sea and Spray Had a morning appointment at hospital to review my shoulder operation. Had a talk with consultant and physic about about how far I can move arm. The results are if careful I can use my camera again.

i walked to Blackpool to take shots of the graffiti.


A lot of it was from the previous weekend Sun Sea and Spray festival. Artists from all over the world had attended and painted at various locations.

















The skill and size of the pieces was incredible. Hope you take time to look at the full gallery.

















Always appreciate feedback.



]]> (Labrat Photos) art blackppol graffiti picture spray tag Wed, 15 Jul 2015 23:10:54 GMT
How old are you?? I have not posted a blog, been to a gig or even taken a photo for over 3 weeks. The reason is a bit embarrassing.

I went with my son to the BMX track and decided that I had to have a go. The first few laps went fine and then I managed to drop it.

I landed on my shoulder and managed to dislocate my collar bone. As its my right arm and moving my arm causes a lot of pain I have not been able to do a lot.

The hospital consultant will make the decision on Tuesday but I think it will require surgery. I will keep you posted and will be back with more photos and blogs as soon as possible.

Cheers Labrat

]]> (Labrat Photos) Sat, 23 May 2015 21:15:55 GMT
Chased by Nuns

I was asked by Levypark productions if they could use some of the photos that I took of The Fall for a documentary. It was about Action records in Preston. This is a great independent record store known to lovers of real music shops far and wide.


















They used the shots and invited me to the shop to watch the first screening as part of National record Store Day.

I had a great night and met some interesting people. The video is available at and the photos of the fall are in my folder Salford Music Festival.

Thanks to all at Action Records for the hospitality and to ?? for making the photos look good.

Hope the store has a long and prosperous future.

How about similar videos for other great establishments in Preston or Manchester?

]]> (Labrat Photos) action records,shop,store,preston, crowd music Tue, 21 Apr 2015 22:04:10 GMT
Storming The Castle Storming the Castle


The Castle Hotel


Ryan Jarvis

Dirty Sterling






























This was the latest of the Mr Peeps presents gigs in association with YO Clothing (love the clothing I'm a size large in tops if you are interested!).


It would be easy to walk pasts the Castle Hotel as it sits between the larger brasher fronted establishments on Manchesters Oldham road. You enter into a busy front bar with a corridor leading to an outdoor smoking area and a door with a classic Mr Peeps poster with Sold Out written across. I'm not surprised the gig is sold out it is not a big venue and Mr Peeps has a reputation for putting on class acts at good venues with a little added Manchester flare.


Ryan Jarvis took to the stage in front of a full house and for a young lad showed no signs of nerves. He set to work showing what one guitar, one voice and a set of well written songs can achieve. It was obvious that his own songs had real meaning to him and he performed with just the right amount of emotion. It was nice to hear plenty of references to his home town of which is rightly proud.

He also showed a great awareness of the other bands on the up at the moment with his version of Hourglass by Catfish and the bottlemen. The set included:

Busking Tune

Shine for me

By the water


Outside this town

Shy away


How did we get here, my dear

A great opening to the night well played sir.


Dirty Army..

Dirty Army..


It was fair to say that Dirty Sterling had brought a few fans with them from Scunthorpe and they made their presence felt.



This three piece really did do damage to the high wooden ceiling above the crowd at the castle. It was high energy, telling it as it is music from start to reluctant finish. The only break was to enjoy shots of the Mr Peeps branded Bourbon Whisky that was passed around the room.



The highlight for me was a traditional sounding blues track Whisky Chase with up to date lyrics that summed up the bands attitude. Find a recording and play it loud. While searching have a look for the track Jumping in Puddles a track that shows the softer side of the band and a great track.





























The fans seemed to know every word and sang and danced to every track. I hope that they make a return to Manchester soon their set included:

Do I want to dance

Get into trouble

The system

Understanding man

Go with the flow

Jumping in puddles

Rock and Roller

Come back















Velocets have played a lot of gigs around Manchester and I always seem to miss them. I was really pleased to be able to see them live at last.




























The place was now bouncing and the crowd loved the performance. Unfortunately my notes and set list did not survive the shower of champagne from the Mr Peeps branded bottle that was opened in traditional style and passed around the band and crowd. The next best thing to hearing them live is to get on to the internet and give their songs a play, but really they need to be experienced live.






























All three performances deserve a lot of credit. Mr Peeps never fails but to put on a quality night with his own special extras. The sound was top quality and the crowd were well and truly up for it.



I hear that Mr Peeps is going to need a few days to recover from the night but will soon be back planning his next night of quality live music. He may well be wearing more quality threads from YO clothing and I'm still a size large in tops!






























A final mention must go to my photographer friends who were out in force last night. I hope the bands realise how lucky they are to have such talented and dedicated people working hard to document these gigs. Big love and hugs to you all and looking forward to seeing the results of your nights work.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Mon, 13 Apr 2015 18:37:23 GMT
If the devil makes music like this Im off to hell Ruby lounge goes off!

I had a change of plans on Saturday, I was intending to go to Kraak to watch and probably shoot the amazing line up off:
The Backhanders
The Moods
JB Barrington
It was always going to be a quality night. Trust a Fox Photography has some great shots of the night.
My plans changed and I went to the Ruby Lounge to watch a performer that really impressed me the last time I caught him at Band on the Wall. Kindest of Thieves, one Man, one guitar, one drum machine and a cymbal. He sounded amazing and the full house at the Ruby Lounge really got behind him. I was intending to try and get some film of him but the room was too packed to set a camera up! The now full venue really seemed to be enjoying his music and humour. Once again he gave a great performance and put the crowd into a great mood for the headline band.
The headline act The Devil Makes Three have traveled from Vermont and are in the middle of a European tour. They have been around for years and have a massive loyal following. 
I have never seen the Ruby Lounge so packed or heard a crowd in such good voice from the first song to the last.
The band consist of lead guitar Pete Bernhard, guitar and Bango Cooper McBean and Lucia Turino on Bass all three also took turns to sing. They were also joined on stage by 2 fiddle players.
They played a long set but it didn't feel too long due to the variation in their songs. All the musicians demonstrated that they were all very talented and prepared to really go for it. The crowd seemed to know every word. Possibly because they are a band that they will only see live a couple of times they were really making the most of it.
The energy and tempo of the band was infectious and with random arms being linked and dancing in the crowd the energy levels soared. There was almost a battle within the band to show who could play the fastest and most skilled and I am not prepared to call it. I have received information that the two fiddle players are from a band called Brown Bird. Think it time to look them up.
I love bands that make an effort to meet with their fans after a gig and all members of Devil Makes Three came off stage and went into the crowd to talk with fans and sell their merch.
Most people that arrived at the gig were devoted fans of the band everyone leaving the gig was now a devoted fan of the band.
Many thanks to Kindness of Thieves for the invitation. Thanks to all the performers for amazing sets. Also thanks to the Ruby lounge for great sound as well as typical Manchester hospitality.


]]> (Labrat Photos) band crowd dance drum gig live manchester music rock sing Tue, 24 Mar 2015 01:08:35 GMT
A night with Swingers in Preston Another night of swinging

The nice people at Swingaroo Vintage Dance invited me back to take shots of their latest night in Preston. 
The entertainment was provided by a very talented female vocalist Jess Roberts.
I started the night in true Swingaroo style listen to some classic music from the DJ whilst enjoying a delicious cup cake. As the room filled and the dancers took to the floor I once again felt under dressed and inadequate in the dancing department. The vintage dresses and gentlemen In suits and hats always impress and give a real look of class. 
1212 88
Swingaroo have some experienced dancers who patrol the room and ensure that anyone who would like to dance have a partner. I think the male dancers enjoyed the night even more than usual with an influx of young ladies who are using the night as a hen party. It's not long before they are really enjoying the dancing. 
Jess performed a great set singing many of the classics with her beautiful tone. I think many of the dancers could have happily just sat and listened to her but that's not the Swingaroo method. As she sang the floor filled with dancers and we all drifted off to a more stylish era.
33 1515
Thanks again to Jess for entertaining me, the dancers for demonstrating their skills, Swingaroo for inviting me and all the staff at the hall for their hospitality.
Hope to see you all again soon.
]]> (Labrat Photos) beer crowd dance gig live music sing Sat, 07 Mar 2015 19:25:51 GMT
Thieves use revolver in crowd to get blank cheque 13/2/15

Band on the Wall Manchester
Kindest of Thieves 
Black Sonic Revolver
The Madding Crowd
Blank Cheque
What a great venue. I enjoyed the relaxed bar area while waiting for the gig to start and met up with the bands and fellow photographer David Kitson.
Kindest of Thieves is one man, one guitar and a drum machine. He started with a great line that he uses a drum machine as it won't sleep with your ex!
His approach and attitude was very relaxed and gave the impression that he could not believe people would make the effort to hear him sing. 
After one song I could see why people would definitely make the effort. He is a great singer and player with a unique sound. I am not going to try to describe his sound as he admits that it is a bit weird!
I really enjoyed the songs 'Come See to Me', and 'All I am guilty of is being lonely'.
Black Sonic Revolver
The boys are back with a new line up and album. It is worth getting the album just for the photo on the CD not that I am biased.
Some things remained the same great songs, tambourine thrown into crowd to play and a great singalong from the fans.
The line up has changed and some new songs. The set felt more professional and polished whilst still maintaining the BSR party mood. The Cd is well worth the fiver asking price.
The madding crowd are one of the most entertaining bands I have seen. I was not sure if I wanted to watch them again as I could not believe they could be as good as last time I photographed them.
Ben the lead singer who has some bottle, he starts the set singing unaccompanied which grabs the audiences attention. I am not going to describe the full set as it will spoil it for those who take my advice and see them live. Here are a few things to look for:
The bass player prefers not to face the crowd
The lead singer wears silver shoes and jacket and part way through seems to be in prayer
The guitarist was wearing beret and mac and ended one song playing whilst lead on the floor.
The drummer sticks to holding it all together and plays a solid set.
I was not the only fan in the crowd judging from the T-shirts and crowd volume to their song 'Walking in the Rain'.




















 Once again a great energetic performance with quality songs.
As soon as the first song started I remembered that I had seen Bank Cheque before. They have a distinctive style and sound. The band mix classic tracks with their own tracks. It says a lot about the quality of their own tracks as they slip in so easily with the classics. 
One of the highlights of the performance was the saxophone playing that lifted the whole performance. The band have great support and they danced from the first song to the last as well as singing along to every song.
I had a really great night at a great venue with quality entertainment.
Thanks to the bands for great performances, Dave Kitson for the drink my shout next time and all the staff at Band on the Wall for a brilliant venue and real hospitality.
Looking forward to my next visit already!




]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beer crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Wed, 18 Feb 2015 20:49:27 GMT
No love its not that kind of singles night Ugly man records singles night at Dulcimer Bar Chorlton Manchester.
Warning: Do not pick up an envelope from the doormat announce to your wife its tickets for the gig on saturday and then pull out tickets with 'Singles Night' written across them!
The line up:
Chaz Rigsby
Sea witches
The falling
Little secrets
The room was filling nicely as I arrived and was pleased to see some familiar faces the boys from The Falling and Guy from Ugly Man records.
The evening started with a lesson in what can be done with a guitar and good voice. Chaz performed a great set my favourite being a track called "Truth". I only had one problem with his set and that is that it was too short I could have listened to him all night.
The Sea Witches line up makes a refreshing change with female base and lead singer. They also had some atmospheric background effects. Each song was performed with real passion with Tempest being the highlight for me. I could imagine this group making a concept type album with long instrumentals. The room was now rammed and all were captivated by the set.
I have heard and shot The Falling on several occasions and there mix of great musicianship with clever lyrics is very impressive. On first listen you just enjoy them as good songs. The second time you hear them you realise the true feeling behind these men who want to tell it like it is. They give you an opportunity to think about the direction we are all moving in. Like all great protest songs they leave you enjoying the set but also thinking about the songs.
They proudly produced there new single with one of my shots on the cover. It's worth buying for the sleeve alone! To be fair the songs are pretty good too.
The Little Secrets are not going to be little or secret for long. There new single All I Need deserves to do well and I'm sure it will. I'm going to list the set as any one of these could do well and I want to be able to say that I told you so:
Hourglass, Go, Today, I Belong, Right Through You, All I Need
It has been a great night of music and once again Ugly Man Records has found quality acts all different but all hugely entertaining.
]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Mon, 09 Feb 2015 23:49:56 GMT
Tuesday the new weekend? Tuesday live at lock 91 Manchester

Dee Olares  
Level 22
The Marivaux

Monoman consists of a great female vocalist with backing DJ. With a great voice and quality backing this was a great start to the night.

Dee Olares are two females singers and a guitar player provides their music. It was impossible not to enjoy this trio. My favourite song of theirs was 'ain't no good'. The trio sound really good together as the singers voices are really complimentary and the guitar player is very talented. 
The cover of the 1991 hit for Ce Ce Peniston song 'Finaly' went down well with an appreciative and large crowd.



















Level 22
Guitar, singer, keyboard, DJ and not one but 2 saxophones. What a great sound  they produce but my favourite song only required keys and he lead singers amazing voice. I must track down this song as it was amazing and you could feel the crowd hanging off every word. I think the reaction of the crowd was felt by all i the band as the rest of the set was played with grins and a real confidence. 



















The Marivaux

Once again these boys performed an amazing set. They have polished their established songs to a faultless level. The new songs slip easily into the set and soon feel like old favourites. It was also good to see bass and drums not afraid to show off their skills.




















The upstairs at Lock 91 is a long room with a vaulted ceiling and a small bar and balcony overlooking the lock. The bands were set up at the far end and next to the bands was the familiar face of fellow photographer David Kitson who takes great photos of bands. 


The only issue on the night was that there was a small problem with the lighting which didn't affect the crowds view of the bands but did make it very difficult to photograph. 


Thanks to all the bands for great performances. Big thanks to Tuesday Live and all at Lock 91 for your hospitality.

]]> (Labrat Photos) Manchester band beer crowd dance drum gig live lock91 marivaux music rock sing Sun, 08 Feb 2015 22:41:36 GMT
2014 Survived A photo review End of year review

What a great year 2014 has been. This is a review of some of my highlights.
Carfest North as I didn't have a photo pass so I found a space at the front and chatted to security. The two acts that I photographed were Simple Minds and Sea Sick Steve. I felt sorry for the accredited photographers as they got a really short time to get their shots as I had the full set. I'm not sure if Jim Kerr realised that I was the only photographer or he is just really professional as I felt he stared straight down the lens.
I shot the making of the video for the Marivaux single and now have even more respect for videographers. As a stills photographer I never have to worry about continuity and still couldn't believe the work that went into the video.
Jack JohnsonJack Johnson
I received a Cd from the band Knighthood who have used some of my shots on the inlay of their latest CD. I was thrilled to see more of my shots in print. 
The falling also used a shot of mine on the front of their latest CD and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product.
I travelled up to bootleggers bar at 23:00 and stayed until 03:00 for two nights to offer my support and to take shots of John Powney as he completed a 48 hour charity drumming marathon.
Swingaroo organise vintage dance nights in Preston and I was asked to cover a night as their resident photographer was unavailable. I thought guitarists could move fast but these dancers really go for it. What a great night and I would recommend it.
4 venues in 1 night as part of the Salford music festival. It was a very busy night running between the bars but the great acts made up for it. On the second night I was lucky enough to be shooting JB Barrington and the fall.
7 acts in 1 night at Night and Day. Ugly Man Recording had a wild Christmas party with 7 acts taking to the stage. The night was greeting sorting out and editing the shots was horrible.
Bouncing floor at The Deaf Institute added to the challenge of shooting a great night arranged by Mr Peeps. As the crowd danced the floor moved so much it affected the shooting but this didn't detract from the night.
The best part of the year has been meeting some really great people and far to many to thank them all. They range from very talented and hard working musicians to the people that read and comment on my blog or photos.
At the gigs I have shared the pit or front of the stage with some inspirational photographers. The quality of their work is amazing and even more impressive is their attitude and willingness to share advice and offer encouragement.
The only negative of the year are bands that copy my photos and use without permission or even a credit and those who fail to keep to their side of a deal. It is fortunate that they are very much in the minority.
I hope to shoot more bands at more venues. I would really like to shoot a festival and also more photographs taken in daylight!
To all who have been nice to me Thank You and I hope that you have a great 2015.
I always appreciate feedback on my shots so thanks to those who took the time to leave feedback on my site.
]]> (Labrat Photos) Manchester band bass beer bootleggers cake cap crowd dance drum fall gig guitar habit hotpot kendal knighthood linty hop live manchester marivaux music night and day preston rock rock and roll sing swing vintage Fri, 02 Jan 2015 20:17:33 GMT
Ugly Man Beautiful Sound Ugly Man Christmas Office Party
The party was held at Night and Day and I met a happy Tom from the Mantells outside. He was saying what a great year the band had enjoyed including reaching 140 in iTunes Charts.
I went in and realised that I didn't know the real name of the boss behind Ugly Man Records, first dilemma of the night, do I guess who could be the boss and introduce myself by asking if he is ugly man. Do I look for someone I recognise and tell them that I am looking for an ugly man. I then noticed a man who seemed to know most people in the bar and risked an introduction. I must thank him for the invitation to his party and his hospitality (He isn't ugly either).
I thought that I had misread the invite as it looked like 7 acts and that sounded impossible. It worked but was a little crazy. I struggled to get the shots and keep up with who was who so apologise for any errors. In brief there were no crap acts so that helped!
Anthony Grantham formally of Marion started the party demonstrating his guitar and vocal skills. He has some good hard hitting songs and I will be looking out for more songs from him in 2015. I believe the best description of his music was "Slutty Sounding".
The Falling played a great set the last time I watched and shot them at Night and Day. I was also pleased to see the proof of their Cd cover which uses a photo of Brian's shoe that I took at the last gig. They have been working hard gigging and also promoting the White Ribbon charity to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Their song These hands is helping to raise money for this important cause. Please have a look at the web site the statistics will shock you. 
The band sounded great and I'm sure that they picked ups few more fans of their music. Looking forward to getting hands on a copy of the Cd next year as well as watching them play live.
Lucy was a decoy great name, great sound the t shirts were quality and popular as well! A great band from North Wales with a new EP due next year. Get on the web and have a listen some really good music.
The Sugarmen travelled across from Liverpool to show what all the hype is about. It's all deserved as they played one quality song after another to the appreciate crowd. They have tracks on sound cloud that are well worth a listen.
The Mantells are a 3 piece band consisting of Tom Barrow and brothers Dale and Lewis Moran. They have had an incredible year including the release of their single Men in Suits. A new song of theirs Payday Playboys also went well with the crowd. Good to see the boys having a bit of fun and wearing santa hats and giving us a christmas song.
James and Chris from Manchester band Alias Kid took to the stage and demonstrated that the hard work the band put in pays off. Alias Kid have a debut album due out next year and I will be looking out for it. It was such a shame that they could not play for longer as I could have listened to them for a lot longer.
The Fores had made the journey from their home town of Leicester. They didn't hold anything back and must be the first band to nearly end up in the crowd during the first song. It seemed that they put all the energy that they would use for a full set into their shortened set. The songs kept coming with more and more manic performance on stage. At one point all members of the band with the exception of the drummer balanced on the edge of the stage and played for the large number of fans they had brought and large number of fans that had gained. It was a shame that they had such a short period of time as the crowd would have loved more.
Ugly Man Records has a real ability to find really quality acts and I would have been happy to spend the night listening to any of them. I would keep a note of the names and watch their web sites as they all have big plans for next year.
I must also give a shout to Mr Peeps who was out supporting local music visiting at least 2 gigs during the night. Great to see you again and so many exciting plans for next year. My copious coffee consumed during editing now tastes even better. Owe you one!
Thanks to all the bands for demonstrating how much great music there is around.
Thanks to Night and Day for their hospitality and surviving a tough year.
A bid Thank you to Ugly Man Records for introducing me to so many quality acts and arranging for me to shoot on the night. I am looking forward to more of your nights in 2015.



]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beer dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock Sat, 27 Dec 2014 11:33:01 GMT
2 Great Bands 1 Great Venue SONY DSC
You could launch a space ship with that. This was the description of the kit being lifted onto Bootleggers Bar Kendal from the Exploding Sun van.
This is one great venue it has a good stage, bar, gallery, friendly music loving crowd and Chris on the desk doing a great job with sound and lighting.
I wrapped my hands around a coffee and began to feel my fingers again as the bands conducted their sound checks.
The first band had traveled down from Carlisle, The Sun Explodes play progressive rock and play it well. As they worked through their set it got more energetic including jumping from the stage to play guitar amongst the crowd. They also managed to dive off the stage onto each other at one point. Look them up on You Tube for a drum cam view during their great song Seven Three One.
As with all good bands they stayed to watch Knighthood and chat with their fans both old and new after their set.
The knighthood have a good reputation and they have just released their latest Album Bad Habits which is worth a listen. The band consist of Paul Curtis on lead guitar who dispite not feeling 100% demonstrated what a great musician he is. Frank Knight is the voice of Knighthood and he nails song after song. He also has the appearance of a man who has been there and done it which makes all the songs feel sincere. Luis is an amazing bass player. Shaun Phear was hidden at the back but made his presence known on the drums and did a great job.
Thanks to The Exploding Sun and Knighthood for an amazing night of music.
Thanks to Bootleggers for their hospitality.
2 great bands 1 great venue
]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass beer bootleggers crowd dance drum gig kendal knighthood live music rock sing Thu, 18 Dec 2014 22:39:06 GMT
Lancashire La La La SONY DSC


The Lancashire Hotpots played 53 degrees Preston for the last time on Saturday night. I have seen them play here before and its always a great crowd heres how it went..

Young Rick had tickets in hand as we headed for a pre gig pint it was obvious that many others had the same idea. The place looked like a pigeon fanciers convention with flat caps as far as the eye could see. The fans of the band are really dedicated and there was an assortment of the bands brilliantly funny Tshirts on show.

53 degrees is a great venue I collected my pass and went to tell security what a great job they do and how I admired them also confirmed that the '3 songs and out of the photo pit' was really just guidance. I stashed my gear and prepared for the first act.


The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican. What a name and What a performance. The took the crowd from chatting about parched peas and ferrets to bouncing the floor to their version of Jump Around. I have to admit even though they are from the dark side (Yorkshire) I loved their performance. Have a look at their web site and check out their tracks on you tube, you will be humming "If I could punch  face it would be Justin Biebers" all day!




















The crowd were now well and truly up for it. The hot pots played great song after great song with crowd joining in for every one. They played all their classics complete with hat changes. They also introduced a new member of their family onto the stage to add fiddle to a couple of the tracks. 


The conga consisted of most of the crowd and members of the band and snaked all around the venue. As well as numerous waist coat and flat cap wearers I was passed by all the members of the nativity scene!


















Bernard Thresher slowed things down with a song called Carry you Home. It is a song about getting old and the importance of mates and loved ones. During the song I noticed a few couples move a bit closer and groups of mates nod in approval (we are from Lancashire and don't do emotion).


The silliness was soon back on track and I would challenge anyone not to giggle at Master baker song!


The Northern Anthem that is Chippy Tea was song in full force and is still a fame favourite of many.


It was also a slightly sad night as 53degrees will not be hosting bands next year and I would like to thank all the staff for looking after me so well at every visit.


Thanks to Young Rick for sorting out the night and also posing for photos with fans.


A big thanks to The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican for trying to change my view of Yorkshire folk.

A huge thanks to Lancashire Hotpots for the photo pass and another great performance.


]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass cap crowd dance drum gig guitar hotpot live music preston rock sing Tue, 09 Dec 2014 00:01:24 GMT
Swingers Party I was invited by a friend to take shots at her monthly vintage dance. It was themed on the back to the future ball and held in Preston. I was not quite sure what type of people dressed in period clothes to listen to a band and also dance. The answer is a mix of people all really nice and very talented. It made me ashamed of the effort that I put in for a night out when my definition of effort is a shave and matching sock (to clarify I wear the rest of the clothes as well). The gents had smart 3 piece suits with 2 coloured shoes. The ladies wore beautiful dresses many that they had made themselves.


The band (Doug Pekins and The Spectaculars) describe themselves as an 'Authentic Show stopping 50's Rock 'n' Roll and Rockabilly band'. They were great and worked there way through classics and also some of their own songs. One of the highlights was when they switched places and instruments to allow the drummer to be the lead singer for one slower romantic number. The band fitted perfectly with the dancers and I was unsure who would give in first as the tempo quickened to unbelievable levels on the stage and on the dance floor.



As well as the live band the music was selected by DJ Joe Bazooka who from the reaction of the dancers know the songs to play and when to play them as the dance floor was full all night.

I will have to plead ignorance on the technical side of the dancing but it included rock and roll to lindy hop and looked great fun. One of the nice aspects of the night was the great friendly atmosphere with dancers switching partners and all having a great night.


















One of the most impressive dances is when without warning a song is played the dance floor fills and a vintage form of line dance takes places.

I would have been happy to sit listen to the great band and enjoy the delicious cakes that were on offer but the dancers really made it a memorable night.

Thanks to Swingaroo for the invitation and hospitality. 


The amazing and very stylish dj has his own blog at and is also available for functions.


Doug Perkins and The Spectaculars can be contacted through their web site at


]]> (Labrat Photos) band cake gig linty hop live music rock and roll sing swing vintage Wed, 03 Dec 2014 22:48:30 GMT
Ten out of ten for High Nines  

Good Bye to High Nines Hello to Feed the Kid

The gig was held in Academy 3 which I like as it as has good sound and more than 1 light!
I had seen one of the bands before and seen the name of the headline band quite a few times. I smiled at the lady on the reception desk and requested my photo pass only to be told a polite version of your names not down! Thankfully a revised list appeared and I was issued the wristband of photo happiness. 
I went into the hall and smiled and chatted with security staff next to the pit. If any security staff read this I think you are all wonderful. I'm sorry that I can't always count to three when you tell me it's first three songs only. I'm sure that it was a long intro and not 2 songs. 

The venue was already looking full and the first band took to the stage. I had not heard of the first band on. Hotspur Press played a great set with a couple of memorable elated acoustic numbers. The lead singer has a great voice which was enjoyable to listen too. They also played some more rock numbers to show off their versatility but it was the slower numbers that really impressed me.
They finished their set and took the time to say hello to their fans the number of which I'm sure had increased after this performance. They also handed out copies of a 6 track CD which is a favourite in the car at the moment. Well done boys professional start to finish.

The second band are called Second Hand Guns. I'm now concerned that I may be getting special branch knocking on my door to ask questions after google searches for the band resulted in some very strange results.
Again another solid set with skilled musicians and good songs.

It was a strange night for High Nines as they had announced that this was to be their last gig together. I had seen them before and listened to their tracks a lot. Despite the obvious emotion they played all their great tracks and smashed a classic cover for their final song. 
It may just be me but their was a long look into the crowd from the lead singer at the end of a couple of the tracks. There must have been some real mixed emotions.
I know that some of the friends of the band are feeling sad about the end of the nines but I'm sure that the members will be back on stage in some role soon. 
All the best for the future boys and keep in touch.

















Feed the Kid great band name and obviously popular by the size of the crowd at the gig. The lead singer had a slight Russell Brand appearance but thankfully was better to watch and I understood his words. They played a confident set with many of the songs being song back at them from the crowd. They already have a good following and Im sure it will increase with gigs like this.


















Thanks to Manchester Academy for the hospitality.

Thanks to the bands for a great performance.

Thanks to Scruff of the Neck promotions for a great night.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Wed, 19 Nov 2014 09:34:43 GMT
In print Today I received a CD in the post. Is it sad that I still get excited when I get a package to open!

The Cd inside was from the band Knighhood and was their new album Bad Habits. I first met Knighthood when I watched them play at Bootleggers bar Kendal. I have seen them several times since and really enjoy their company as well as their music. All the band are great musicians or singers and they work hard on every track they produce. 

I was really pleased when they asked if they could use some of the shots that I had taken at the gigs for the CD inlay. Im now looking forward to seeing the boys in manchester and kendal

30 Nov Manchester Bierkeller

6 Dec Lounge 41 Workington

11 Dec Bootleggers Bar Kendal


Luis GutarraLuis GutarraAn amazing player and great entertainer. Paul CurtisPaul CurtisLead guitar player.

















Frank KnightFrank KnightThe voice behind Knighthood.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass crowd drum gig guitar habit kendal knighthood live music rock sing Thu, 13 Nov 2014 20:11:35 GMT
Just good Kraak "Sherlocks Army.. Sherlocks Army" rang out at the Kraak Club before they played a note. It was fair to say that the crowd were up for it.





















Glyn Sharpe usually plays with his band over at the dark side (Yorkshire) but had agreed to play a solo set at Kraak. He decided to play Paul Weller songs and reminded me of how many good songs this includes. Just prior to him going on the dj played Underground and the crowd had song along so this was a good sign.

He played and sang all the classics including a great version of English Rose and had the crowd singing along to Underground. There were really good numbers in the club and they really appreciated the playing and voice that so suited these songs. Im nearly tempted to travel to the other side to listen to him with his band.



I had seen the Sherlocks play in Manchester before and had enjoyed their set. This was different this was their gig, their crowd and they were really up for it. As they climbed onto the stage the shout went up for Sherlocks Army and this repeated at every opportunity. There was not much chance as the band stormed through an impressive list of songs including 'One of a Kind', Time to Go' and Chasing Shadows.



I took a step to on side to review the shots that I had and spotted a familiar face in the crowd. Mr Peeps who is a promoter and true supporter of live music and all things manchester. If he has taken time out to see the band they must be on the up.

On stage the boys are really enjoying themselves and smashing song after song. The crowd started to go a little crazy this involved stage diving and surging to get to touch of the band.

I have never seen the Kraak club go for it like this and I don't think it will be long before The Sherlocks are back in Manchester.


















Thanks to the Kraak for looking after me, Sherlocks for inviting me down and the Sherlocks family and friends for making me so welcome.



]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Tue, 04 Nov 2014 17:39:48 GMT
Chewing the Steering Wheel 2 hours, 2 long boring frustrating hours, 2 hours reading the details on the van in front, how many safety and quality scheme can a builder belong to?

It should take 45 minutes but roadworks on M6 changed that and now I really wish that I had not drunk a large travel mug of coffee!

I was really annoyed that I missed In Quarantine We Trust as I heard him play and photographed him at the Antwerp Mansion and it was a really solid acoustic performance with a great voice. Im really sorry mate.

It always catches your eye when there is an unusual line up on stage like a bit of brass or harmonica but with Sipsmith and Twyne I was spoilt. They are a four piece consisting of guitar, drums, violin and cello from Manchester. Unfortunately I only caught the last two songs but they sounded great and got a good reception from the Night and Day crowd. It was really refreshing to hear a different  sound especially when it sounded like this.


















Saytr Play were still on a high from a gig at 53 degrees in Preston and the energy was high not just for their set but as they sang and danced to all the other acts. They have some really good tunes that are played well and simply make you grin and want more. They have an EP on soundcloud  'Day Saver' have a listen then go see them live.


















I hope the Ragamuffins won't be offended when I say they look like a strange mixture of musicians waiting in line for an audition. Then they start to play and somehow it works. I have never seen a trumpet player stood with a guitar around their neck. I was slightly disappointed that he didn't try to play both at the same time. They play indie pop with slightly manic style that I loved. They have a large set of songs on sound cloud going back 3 years and it is worth checking out.

Host should have been poor. I say this because you would not expect 5 top class bands to perform before the headline act. I was wrong another set that you would have gone home happy if they were the only band that you watched. Some clever lyrics and nice guitar work came together well. SONY DSC


All followers of my blog will know that I have been shooting the Marivaux for a long time. It was good to see so many familiar faces at the club ready to support their boys. A lesson here for all new bands when you finnish your set grab a drink and talk to the people who have watched you. It will build you a solid fan base who will be there for you. 

I must say it was good to see that the friend of the  Marivaux Jack Johnson made it to the gig. He is an actor and model who had the lead role in the bands videos. I know that he is busy as he has some exciting projects on the cards. Good to see you again Jack


Guy Fidler played the first notes of Altitude and the room bounced. The timeless blues sound of his harmonica sounded amazing against the guitar and drums of the Marivaux band. It was then Marivaux classics for the rest of the set. The room seemed filled with people who know every word, chord and drum beat of their songs. The boys responded as a band should and it turned into one of those had to be there nights. 


The sweat was dripping from all the band members as well as the crowd who had been dancing from the first song. Unfortunately the time was called and the band staggered off the stage. I listened as people headed out into the Manchester air still singing to themselves.


















The band are now off a quick european tour that I have no doubts will be a great success. Check out the details on their web page and give a heads up to anyone that you know in the areas they are playing.


As ever thanks to all the staff at Night and Day for their hospitality, the bands for all putting on such a great night and the extended Marivaux family for the welcome.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass crowd dance drum gig live manchester marivaux music night and day rock sing Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:55:00 GMT
Caption Competition Caption CompetitionBlack Sonic Revolver played the Ruby Lounge and I took this shot. I will post out a print or 2 (UK only sorry) for the best caption to this photograph. It was taken during their gig at the Ruby Lounge. Please leave me a message with your caption and I will ask the band to choose the best one. Entries must be left by 17:00 Sunday 26th October.

]]> (Labrat Photos) band caption competition gig live manchester music sing Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:18:17 GMT
Lounging with Ruby Saturday night and the familiar drive to Manchester, heading to the Ruby Lounge to watch 2 bands I don't know and Black Sonic Revolver who I have heard and shot before. The night was put on by Northern Contribution who have promoted great acts at previous gigs so I was up for this one.

The Ruby Lounge is a bigger venue than first appears and seemed quieter than previous gigs as Seabirds kicked of the night. They played a good solid set with some nice tunes. I may well be checking if these guys have anything on the web to listen again.

SeabirdsAt the Ruby Lounge

I had heard good things about the next band Shakedown Stockholm. I give credit to any singer willing to start a song without accompaniment as there is no place to hide. The two vocalists did a great job and sounded amazing together. Their voice work so well together as they are similar in many ways but have a pleasing difference. They have some good gigs coming up and I would like to shoot them again.

Shakedown StockholmRuby Lounge

Shakedown StockholmBlue lights made me feel blue!

I am really disappointed with my shots of Stockholm as the lighting beat me. The only lighting used during their set was a set of blue LEDs. As the performers were wearing dark colours they basically disappeared. Sorry guys.

Black Sonic RevolverHe has seen the lights BSRBroken

BSR headlined the night and played their classic tracks as well as search for new band members to join them on tambourine.  They also invited the audience to return the football to them with the offer of a pint.

BSRWork those fingers

Unfortunately the venue needed a few more people to give it real atmosphere and I left feeling a bit flat.

The best thing about a slightly disappointing night is the short wait to do it all again!

BSR FamilyGreatest Fans

Once again thanks to Northern Contribution and BSR for inviting me down, the bands for entertaining me and Ruby Lounge for their hospitality.

]]> (Labrat Photos) Tue, 14 Oct 2014 16:58:19 GMT
Salford Music Festival or 4 venue 4 acts per venue I was pleased to be accepted into a group of Photographers that shoot the Salford Music Festival. I put my request in to shoot JB Barrington on Saturday and was free Friday. I was asked to try to cover the acts playing at Monton on Friday night.

Monton is great for a night out easy parking and a good selection of pubs with a great atmosphere. A regular told me that it had a dark past but money had been spent and was now a great place to be.

I must thank the other photographer on the night Theo Dibbits for showing me around the area and giving some great tips.

The venues consisted of:

The Bluebell a large traditional pub

The Park another large pub with a traditional social club type appearance 

Playfoots a smaller modern bar

The blind Pig a modern bar with staff that kept passing with very tempting looking food.

All the bars seemed to have loyal friendly customers who enjoyed the music and were happy to chat to the stranger with the camera. The staff are also very friendly and enjoyed having the festival running in their bars. As ever a big thanks to all venues for being so accommodating to me it is appreciated.

Martin PluckMartin playing at Blind Pig

Martin Pluck has a very strong image in suit and hat he explained his journey from Scotland to new home in Leeds. I think that they are lucky to have him I could have listened to him play and sing all night.

While Martin was playing at the Blind Pig Kate Ashton Butler arrived guitar in hand. I thought she had got the timings wrong but she had arrived early to watch and support the other acts. I feel that this kind of attitude that gives Manchester Music its friendly reputation. 


KateKate at the Blind Pig.



















Kate has a lovely delicate voice and was very popular in the bar. I scribble notes to remind me of the acts and realised that I had written 'Kate-Pig' to remember the venue. I then passed her the book to write her contact details. I can confirm she is definitely not a pig and didn't take offence

J WilsonJ Wilson plays at the Park.

J Wilson was unfortunate in that his set was interrupted but like a true professional he took a break and came back with great guitar and vocals to please the crowd in the Park.

Tools of the tradeMano plays at Playfoots


Mano Mcglaughlin played the first set of the night across from the Park in Playfoots a small trendy looking bar. I would recommend making an effort to see him live or at least look him up on the internet his song Peach got Bones deserves to do well. I really enjoyed listening to Mano and noticed Martin nodding in appreciation of Manos talent.

Bones Bones

















Bones are a duo of female singer and male guitar and vocalist. They played at the Blue Bell and went down really well.


A quick run back to the park for Phil Middleton as well being a great played and singer Phil has the ability to take a well known song and give a real twist, this can provide a marmite love or hate moment. I loved it and again could have stayed and listened to his performance all night. 



Friday night done and Im shattered. I must give credit to the sound engineers who kept the levels brilliantly each covering numerous venues and doing a great job.

Saturday Night The Big One The Fall

I arrived early at Lower Kelsal Social Club to get organised. It is a great venue and was already filling nicely. I spotted a couple of Characters from the  Manchester Scene JB Barrington poet and MR Peeps promoter and general interesting bloke. They have been working together on a new project that looks brilliant and Im excited about but that for another day.

Benefit State

The first act to take to the kelsal stage was the band Benefit State a local punk band with great musicians and a solid punk singer. The night was off to a great start.

Trojan Horse Trojan Horse

















At the end of the Trojan Horse gig you are left open mouthed thinking did I really just see that as the band pick themselves of the floor and retrieve their instruments from the crowd. A write up cannot do justice to the energy of this band see them live at the earliest opportunity.

JB Barrington JB Barrington

















JB Barrington stood at the mic and looked across the full room at the Lower Kelsal. The crowd looked back not sure what to expect as he introduced himself as a poet. Then he hit them with his machine gun style fast yet clear with no words wasted JB is able to convey loss, memories, humour, disgust (grapes of wrath) in an amazing way. Even before he has finished the first poem the crowd are his hanging of his every word and recognising every point made. If you have a negative view of poetry look him up online or see him live it will change you. They say you should always leave the audience wanting more and that is exactly what happened as time was called on JB.

The FallMark E Smith

The main act of the festival are The Fall with the unique front man Mark E Smith. You will struggle to find a performer who has produced more songs or done more in their career than Mark E Smith. He has numerous books written about him. His fans are crazy about him and his music. Its doesn't matter if you can't understand him as their are several hundred fans reciting the lines at the same time.

The Fall has two drummers to keep the continuos heavy beat as guitars and keys add the music and Mark his special vocals. He may be getting on but Mark still has a presence and old habits die hard as he pushes over stands and glares at the crowd.

Salford Music FestivalAwaiting the Fall

A huge thanks all organisers of the Salford Music Festival for letting me be involved and congratulations on a great weekend.




]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass drum fall gig live manchester markesmith music sing Sat, 04 Oct 2014 21:07:32 GMT
The Phoenix Lives A Bass player and friend Luis asked me to take some shots of a tribute band that he plays in. I must confess that the music is heavier than I normally listen to but gave it a go.

The venue was The Layton formally the Layton Institute, this should have given me a clue as to what I would find. It looked a big venue from the outside and I skipped in just before kick off. I pushed open the door and found myself transported to The Phoenix Club without MR Potter. The oversized bar had 3 customers and they are now all looking at me. I see a door with the gig poster on it head for it at a slight run and up a flight of stairs into a large venue with stage, balcony, bar, gig Followers and Luis.

The room is a great gig venue and Luis is ready to go. I say a quick hello to the other band members and get ready to shoot them. 

The Metaleeka band played a great set with some of their loyal fans almost playing as well on their air guitars. They played all the classics and had an audience sing along to seek and destroy. The night finished with a punk song 'So What'.

If this is your kind of music this is your kind of band and worth checking out.

Thanks to Luis and the band for inviting me and to the Layton for their hospitality. This is a great venue and don't be put of by the entrance




]]> (Labrat Photos) band bass blackpool gig layton live metaleeka metaleka music sing Wed, 24 Sep 2014 22:25:03 GMT
Don't forget your raffle ticket  


The Kraak venue entrance is in a narrow alley and the name could be from substances bought in similar surroundings. Thankfully tonight the alley was full of real music fans going to the latest MR Peeps gig. As you entered the venue a grin from the man himself welcomed you and he pointed out a large fabric square attached to the wall. "Make sure you sign it then in future when this gig is talked about we will really know who was here".

The other unconventional part of the night was a raffle to win some clothing and other goodies from Merc clothing who had teamed up with MR Peeps. The pile included shirt and numerous polo shirts worth over £50 a piece. Someone will be going home very happy. I suddenly feel very scruffy in my usual photography gear of black combats, doc martens and black t shirt.

This may seem strange but Im not going to write a lot about the music as this is done better by other writers  including:





Jordan Allen has had nice things said about him by BBC6 Tom Robinson and who am I to disagree. He was accompanied for several songs with guitar and box drum. He has a smart business like appearance but his lyrics show a rougher edge. He played great set both solo and accompanied. He has a free gig on Friday 19th at the Blind Tiger Bolton and I would recommend seeing him for yourself. If you are disappointed I will refund your entrance fee!



















Veocets consist of 3 young men from Manchester and they played  a great set to an appreciate crowd. They have a good web site with several of their songs at www.veocets

They had plenty of energy and some really good songs to please the now nearly full house.


No Hot Ashes relaxed with a beer as the raffle took place with several people very pleased to have attended. Mr Peeps also offered a drink from his own branded bourbon!

The boys from the NHA were really up for the night and excited to demonstrate that they deserved to head a bill. They stood on stage backs to the audience as the drummer tapped out the time for the first song. It then went off as the guitars kicked in and the players danced around the stage. The energy and songs was were non stop with an almost stunned  crowd. The velocets recognised an opportunity to go for it at the front and were soon joined by large numbers of the crowd.


After the gig finished and most people started to leave I looked around and laughed to myself, only at a Mr Peeps gig would you see  raffle tickets and cork from his own branded champagne amongst the bottles and cans waiting to be swept up.


Once again thanks must go to Mr Peeps for inviting me to shoot another memorable gig, the bands for working so hard to provide some really quality tunes, Kraak for the hospitality and great sound quality and once again the other photographers for educating  and tolerating me.

Some one asked how you tell which photographer is which, here is my guide:

Photographer Appearance  Actions
Gary @GBH68 retro T shirt Looking for pint
Billy @bise123 Manc T Shirt Looking for action shot
Mike @midi_photos Well turned out Looking for perfect angle
Rick @labrat167 Black combat and T Looking for lens cap
Sara @sazzle316 She's a woman too many styles to list! Looking for perfection in her shot


]]> (Labrat Photos) band crowd dance drum gig guitar harmonica live manchester music reggae rock sing Sun, 07 Sep 2014 19:17:33 GMT
Flying with Eagles Saturday night and Im driving to Manchester for another night of live music. The venue is a traditional looking pub The Eagle Inn salford. Once you have navigated the local looking boozer the door opens onto a great performance space. Imagine ripping the internal walls and ceiling from  small house and you are close.

It was good to meet up and catch up with DS Promotions who did the hard work to put the night on. They have a habit of finding great acts and so I was looking forward to this gig.

Im going to be accused of stalking her but once again Jess Kemp opened the night with another example of how great one musician and singer can sound. Im sure playing guitar, stomp drum while singing or playing harmonica must be an extreme form of rubbing head and patting your stomach. Thankfully Jess nailed it again. It is about time she got in the studio as I believe she would sell a lot of copies. Once again she played mainly her own songs with a couple of covers. I still think her song 2 coins is one of my favourites (sorry Jess if I got the tittle wrong). Talking to Jess she has a crazy busy schedule and so no excuses not to hear her yourself around the North West. Look her up under: Jesskempartist

Jess Kemp at Eagle InnJess Kemp at Eagle InnSONY DSC

The Montoyas played a great set with great guitar work backed by a heavy drum beat, Monkey off my back is a great song and worth having a look for on reverberation. Im not sure if Dave the drummer was ready to release some tension but he really drove the band and they responded to make a great set. 


The Madding Crowd consists of  musicians of which at least 2 should be sectioned for their own safety. Ben wore silver jacket and matching boots and sang unaccompanied for the first verse before the rest of the band kicked in. I always think this is a brave way to start a gig but he pulled it off. What happened next really needs to be seen to be fully appreciated it included: spoken word, bass played so chilled her pulse was checked, lead singer putting everything into every song and showing real feeling, the blood drip from the fingers of a player onto the strings of his guitar and finally a guitar forced against a wall and subjected to sexual advances. They also managed to play some great music. Listening to Madding Crowd is good but they need to be seen.


The amplified Bandits are a 5 piece who soon demonstrate that you don't need 20 years experience to perform a solid set. They performed Men in black with a great confidence and continued to stay at this high standard for their set. This band has so much time to produce further great songs and develop. At present they have 2 songs on sound cloud that show the high standard of their performances.


Big thanks to Dave from DS Promotions and also the Eagle Inn for making me so welcome

]]> (Labrat Photos) "jess kemp",montoyas,"maddingCrowd","amplified bandits" band crowd dance drum gig guitar live manchester music rock sing Tue, 02 Sep 2014 00:53:28 GMT
Please respect the neighbours and leave the venue quietly Friday night at Night and Day Manchester. This is a great venue I have heard some good bands and it always has a friendly welcoming atmosphere.

Rum Thief played the first set of the night still on a high from his successful single launch. I was too slow getting the camera sorted to get any shots but he has not changed from my last blog and set of photos he just has a slightly larder grin.

I had not seen the first band before and felt daft as I kept missing their name. I will remember it now as they played a great set. Y-Key Operators from Manchester formed in 2011 and sounding good. They brought some good support easy to recognise in the bands t shirts which looked good (size L should fit me if they read this).

Y KEY Operators

Y-KEY Operators


















Dirty North played next and showed the diversity of music within such small area. This band are well known and respected and I had looked forward to hearing them. I don't know how bands go about choosing their names but this I like. They play a fusion of rock,rap and reggae or Wythenshawe Dub which sounded great.

Dirty North

Dirty North


















A heard and photographed Black Sonic revolver when they headlined at Kehoes in July and really enjoyed the night. Tonight they had a party on stage. It felt like your best mates had invited you round to join them. They passed the communal tambourine and invited the player to join them on stage. I never realised that a tamberine could be played badly but it can. Thankfully the band played to their usual standard and it all sounded great.

Black Sonic revolver

Black Sonic Revolver Black Sonic Revolver

















Black Sonic Revolver Thank you and Goodnight

The DJ finished the night with some seriously good tunes obviously with a manchester bias which was no bad thing.

Thanks to all the friends I know feel that I have at Night and day and also to Night and Day for being so accommodating.

Hope the neighbours slept well.


]]> (Labrat Photos) Black Sonic Revolvers"," Dirty North",band, manchester,drum,guitar,rock,reggae,harmonica,crowd,dance,sing, Rum Thief Sun, 24 Aug 2014 19:02:44 GMT
Sorry if I made anyone pregnant! Rum Thief held his single launch at Mono in Chorlton Manchester. he had described the venue as intimate. I was looking forward to the night for several reasons including knowing all 3 acts and how good they are, meeting up with a friend I had not seen for 20 years and taking some shots.

I met my friend had a chat and then headed into the venue, I found my way downstairs into a nice green room complete with drum kit. I was thinking that it was good for drummers to be able to warm up prior to playing when I realised this was the performance area. Rum thief had booked a small venue as he was not sure who would turn up.

He underestimated the number of people who appreciate a great band and with 3 quality acts the place was rammed. I also noticed the main man of Manchester promotions MR Peeps hiding at the back. Jess Kemp another musical talent I have photographed was also amongst the crowd.

The first act I had heard before and he plays a great blues set. Jackson Wolf instantly had the crowd onside with his quality guitar and blues voice. I was stood next to 'The Harmonica Guy' Guy Fiddler who played brilliantly on the Marivaux songs. I feel he was stitched up when the Wolf asked if anyone could join him and play blues harp. Guy did not let him down the pair played together and almost competed to show their respective skills.

Jackson WolfJackson Wolf Blues as it should be.

 The next band The Marivaux are one that I have followed and photographed on numerous occasions including during the making their video. The main man and actor from their videos Jack Johnson also down to support them. Have a look on you tube for their videos.

The marivaux played a great set to a very full, hot, sweaty but appreciate house. It was great to hear so many people singing along to their well known songs. I have never known them play a bad gig and they didn't start at Mono.

Matt from The Marivaux

Marivaux guitar headSONY DSC

The main man and band Rum Thief played their usual style. He explains that he does not do precise accurate playing with delicate vocals but plays and sings in his style. It is refreshing to watch such an honest all out performance. He nailed every song and we could listened for another hour except the room may not have survived. If you want to watch and sing along to an honest singer songwriter he is your man.

Rum Thief SONY DSC


















As with all great gigs there are people in the background grafting to make it happen and Rum Thief gave a special mention to Sara Smith who helped put the night on.

Congratulations to all three performers for a memorable night.

The title of this post is credited to my friend who when the room reached capacity declared that "It is so packed in here I had better apologise incase I get anyone pregnant"

]]> (Labrat Photos) Jackson wolf Manchester Marivaux Rum Thief blues gig live momo music packed rock single Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:33:27 GMT
Fastest Photo Shoot I was asked by "Faith in Fools" to take some shots for the release of their new EP. I have liked this band for some time and was pleased to be asked to take the shots for them.

As with all things it was never as simple as I first thought! I only had 25 minutes to get the shots. They had an idea for the shoot and a great setting. I thought that the shots turned out ok due to the time we had. I would really like to do the shoot again with an extra two hours.

As ever let me know your thoughts. The bands EP is available on www.reverbnation under faith in fools

Faith In Fools Poker NightFaith in Fools shoot for the new EP

]]> (Labrat Photos) band brass cards cheat faith in Fools gig poker rap retro sing style vocal wigan Mon, 11 Aug 2014 00:03:04 GMT
Carfest North Family Camping! We spent the weekend at Carfest North. I shared a tent with my 2 boys and the boss shared with my daughter. Friday and Saturday consisted of very heavy rain and as I can't afford a replacement the camera stayed safely in the car.

I was looking forward to Sea Sick Steve and so took the camera and my son and headed for the front 20 minutes before he was due on. We managed to get a spot to one side of the stage but right at the front.


I then spent the entire set singing along and merrily snapping away. I found it a bit frustrating as I could only shoot from one position the shots came out ok. Steve put on a great performance and lived up to all expectations.


After his set I took my son back to the tent and bored the boss with a description of the set complete with photos and reconstruction. She was very keen that I went back and took more shots rather than singing to her, very generous.


I fought my way back to the same spot and took shots of Simple Minds. I have never been a big fan was surprised how many of the songs I knew.

The set went down well with many of the songs sung back to the stage by the delicate mass voice of middle aged men.



]]> (Labrat Photos) carfest chris evans festival gig live music north sea sick steve Tue, 05 Aug 2014 23:06:25 GMT
I love Air Con I had spent the day feeling like I was melting and I found relief as I ran down the steps into the Ruby Lounge Manchester. Air con and a pint of diet coke with ice the world felt  better place. 

The first band Clay Garden had a nice tight sound and deserved to be higher up a bill and Im sure that they will be headlining very soon. Clay GardenSONY DSC


It was Pusher next on stage as the venue had filled nicely. They played a good set with a couple of tunes you would not mind being stuck in your head


Blossom consisted of all the band members in black trousers and turtle necks with complimenting necklace. They had to sound great or would have really looked like muppets. Thankfully they sounded great with a nice musical retro edge. They have great description of their style on their website.

BlossomsSONY DSC

Northern Contribution should be commended for finding 3 good acts and thanks to ruby lounge for break from the heat. 

]]> (Labrat Photos) Sun, 27 Jul 2014 22:27:16 GMT
Never judge a book by its cover Kehoes Manchester on a bright sunny evening. To be fair from the outside it is not the best looking venue. The reason that I was here was to take shots and offer my support to Sara Smith a great photographer and also promoter. This was her first time putting on a night at this venue.

Once inside the friendly atmosphere and quality of the sound relaxed me. I was soon chatting to other gig goers and awaiting the first act.

What a start little did I realise that the relaxed girl I had chatted to was such a confident and accomplished singer and songwriter. Jess Kemp played a great set of her own material with a great twist on modern songs.

Jess KempSONY DSC  Citizen John Doe raised the tempo and volume with a set that really got things going and was appreciated by the growing crowd.

SONY DSC Forbidden Lands sounded like they have played together for a long time. They are a tight group with some great original songs. They are due in the studio later this year and I am already requesting an advance copy.

SONY DSC Black Sonic Revolver are a band I have heard good things about. They are well worth looking out for with a great set of songs. A special mention should go to their new drummer who held it all together well.


]]> (Labrat Photos) Black JessKemp Sonic citizen doe forbidden john kehoes land live manchester music revolver sara smith Sun, 20 Jul 2014 22:01:32 GMT
Time off for good behaviour This is the second weekend in a row without a gig. Last weekend I was on call for work and this weekend was my daughters birthday. Spent friday cutting out Grufalo  masks and tonight rebuilding the house.

I have a few gigs in the pipeline that I am starting to think about:

Northern Contribution have a good looking line up planned at the Ruby Lounge, Sara Smith is planning to hold a great night very soon and MR Peeps or Slice of Nice always have plans!

All those out this weekend have a great one and have a little jump around for me,

]]> (Labrat Photos) Sat, 12 Jul 2014 18:23:17 GMT
MR Peeps Worth the Work I have followed a music promoter MR Peeps on twitter for a while. I like his recomendations for bands to listen to and seems an interesting bloke. He put a gig at the Deaf Institute in Manchester and so I got in touch. It looked like a good line up with bands I had heard good things about.


No Hot AshesSONY DSC

Mr Peeps must be the one of if not the hardest working promoters that I have met. The reason for his hard work showed on the night. He had a real buzz about the gig and by kick off at 7:30 the place was 3/4 full. The place was full was full by the second band and really going for it. The photographs of the final 2 bands may be a bit blurred as the floor was bouncing! I can't remember a gig where the floor seemed to move so much due to the bouncing crowd in perfect time with the acts.


Mr Peeps found time for all and even charmed some of the crowd with his own branded bars of chocolate. He was good to talk to and his knowledge and love for new music was evident.

I don't know if it was due to Mr peeps or the reputation of the bands but all the known and respected photographers descended on the Institute. I had met some before like @Trust a fox and Gary @GBH68 @seagravephoto and met a couple of great photographers for the first time @midi_photos and Sara smith photography.

The BackhandersSONY DSC

The music was incredible with each act giving it everything to the appreciate crowd. Im not going to describe the acts as they do it better through their sites and sound cloud. please have a look you won't be disappointed and let them know labrat sent you!

Puppet RebellionSONY DSC

Once again a big thanks to staff at the Deaf institute for their hospitality, Mr Peeps for the invitation, fellow photographers for the lesson in how to do it properly, the crowd for making the atmosphere and the place bounce and the bands for some amazing tracks.

Much appreciated Labrat

]]> (Labrat Photos) Ashes" Backhanders Hot Manchester Moscow No Puppet Rebellion", deaf Institute live mr Peeps music photo Mon, 30 Jun 2014 18:21:33 GMT  

I was asked if a couple of my shots from the Drumathon could be used by the charity. I was more than happy for them to use them. If anyone else would like to use any of my shots use the contact button to get in touch.

I asked the charity to provide some more details about their work.

CancerCare help local families affected by cancer and other life
limiting conditions living in North Lancashire and South Lakeland.
Delivered by qualified and experienced staff, CancerCare's wide range of
free professional therapy services are designed to help individuals and
their families come to terms with and manage the challenges of a serious
illness and include: Counselling, Hypnotherapy, Alexander Technique,
Aromatherapy Massage, Creative Art Therapies, Support Groups,  and a
Children and Young People's Service. CancerCare has two dedicated
centres based in Kendal (The Lakes Centre, Blackhall Road) and in
Lancaster (Slynedales, Slyne Road) and  also provide outreach services
in local hospitals. For more information please visit


]]> (Labrat Photos) Fri, 20 Jun 2014 17:19:50 GMT
Faster hav it Aidan at the Jalapeño stand I took Aidan to the Manchester Drum show on Sunday. He had a brilliant time playing on huge range of kits and we met some really ice people. his favourite activity was the World Fastest Drumming Uk stand. He had a go with playing using sticks and also double bass pedals. He did really well and was made up with the posters that Sean gave him.

I would like to thank all the exhibitors and fellow drummers who took the time to talk to Aidan and make him feel part of the drumming scene.

Special thanks to WFDuk and Jalapeño Drums for letting him play for so long!

]]> (Labrat Photos) aidan beat cymbal drum drummer manchester drum show son sticks Mon, 09 Jun 2014 17:17:07 GMT
The Ruby Lounge On 29 May Slydigs played The Ruby Lounge in Manchester. I was looking forward to this gig as I have been listening to tracks from their new record Down with the Mockery. On the way to the gig I met the lead singer Dean and was invited to join them for a pre gig pint. It was a good crowd around the table with the band, management and photographer who took the shots for the record and web site.

The Ruby Lounge is a good venue with a large stage but like most of this type of gig the lights are either low or one strong colour red/blue. This can make photography a bit tricky. Radka the other photographer walks to the sound/lighting desk explains that the lighting is no use for photography. The engineer looks stunned but knows better than to argue and changes it to her liking. I stood in awe!

Weatherbird and The Incredible Magpie band provided the support and both played great sets. Weatherbirds The Incredible Magpie band


There was a buzz in the room from before a booted foot set foot on the stage for the Slydigs set. They played an amazing set mixing the new songs with what I consider to be classics from their earlier EP's.

Slydigs Deans BootsSONY DSC

If you haven't heard them play check out their web site and go to one of the gigs you will not be disappointed


]]> (Labrat Photos) ruby lounge slydigs Sat, 07 Jun 2014 19:18:09 GMT
The Mad Mansion I was invited by The Marivaux to their singles release party held at Antwerp Mansion Manchester. The outside of the building is coated in some of the best art I have seen in a long time.Inside it felt like I had gatecrashed a squat and I should have brought a sleeping bag. It was also very dark will be ok when stage lights go on. I went back outside and met Guy the Harmonica man relaxing on a painted bike, Not only is he a great player he is also a nice bloke and very easy to spend time with.

I heard the first act start and went to find it still very dark. Oli McDowell played a great acoustic set and deserved a bigger audience than was present. He was followed by another very talented guitar player and singer. Have a listen to him online search for In Quaranteen We Trust.

oli McDowellSONY DSC

Then the bands started Jela, Outreach Project, Rum Theif, Dirty Brunswick and finally the band of the night The Marivaux. All the bands played amazing sets and the crowd just got bigger, louder and bounced that bit higher with each act.


The Marivaux played the best set I have seen them play and it was great to climb onto the stage and see the guys up close. I noticed a lot of familiar faces in the crowd from their gigs and also the making of the bands latest video.

The MarivauxSONY DSC

The single is designed to look like a record although many of the crowd may be too young to appreciate it. The new design on the T shirt also looks really good.


A thank you to all at Antwerp mansion looking forward to visiting again. A huge thanks to all the bands for putting on a great show. I hope you all like the shots and I look forwarding to hearing you again soon.

A massive thanks to The Marivaux and crew who really made me feel welcome and one of the team. I wish you all the best look for the future and especially for this single.  










]]> (Labrat Photos) Thu, 22 May 2014 21:41:43 GMT
48 Hours of Drumming 48 hours of drumming to raise money for charity. 

I went back up to the Bootleggers bar in Kendal to support John during this challenge. Once again he had great support and bands during the night. I drank coke and am glad that Bootleggers make a good coffee as I was starting to feel it.

]]> (Labrat Photos) Thu, 08 May 2014 23:06:07 GMT
48 Hour Drumathon


John Powney intends to drum for 48 hours for cancer charities.


]]> (Labrat Photos) Wed, 07 May 2014 01:20:07 GMT
Manchester Style What a great night!

I met with the boys from Brassdebate in big hands as they finalised arrangements for their set with The Kings Men. These boys take their playing seriously and ran through the sound check and made slight alterations to their parts.

Into the Academy 2 to take shots of The Kings Men and shared the pit with Gary (twitter GBH68) and the legend that is Trust a Fox Photography. It was great to watch these guys work and then see their finished product they both nailed the gig and are good to spend time with. I have heard horror stories about photographers in the pit but it is great to share a gig with such good photographers who are willing to share advice and tips.

The Kings Men did a great set with Brassdebate adding that extra something with the brass.

A DJ then took over and had the rapidly filling Academy bouncing to classic Manchester tunes. I could have listened and relived memories from many happy nights.

JB Barrrington. What a great performance from this Manchester poet. Have a look for him on youtube or the Web he is brilliant.

As Northside took to the stage you realised how up for it their fans are. Even before a note was played various chants about the benefits of Manchester rang out. They played a great set and the crowd loved every song.

]]> (Labrat Photos) Tue, 06 May 2014 19:05:25 GMT
Got to Pay the Bills Unfortunately I am on call this weekend which means no gigs for me. I was going to try to take some shots of my children put was having so much fun playing I forgot to take any shots.

Hopefully next weekend I will be meeting up with a friend to listen to and shoot his band the Zoiks. I have my fingers crossed it will be in a venue with space and decent lighting as I really want to get some good shots for him.

Have a great easter Labrat

]]> (Labrat Photos) Fri, 18 Apr 2014 21:25:31 GMT
50p for the meter Smiler at Night and Day Bar The Marivaux invited me to a special gig at the Whiskey Bar in Manchester. It was held in the still which was a  brick walled cellar. It made for a great atmosphere but no good for photography. It meant I had to put the camera away and enjoy there performance. There was a great crowd and combined with great music made for a memorable night.

I dived through the crowds and ran the short distance to Night and Day Bar. I was just in time to catch a great band who had travelled from Hull. Smiler had a great set and are worth watching out for.

The headline act was All The Kings Men who are lead by Matthew Hollands a great guitarist. This is another band worth looking up on the web.

All The Kings Men where backed on stage by 2 of Brassdebate a group of brass players who really add that extra something to the songs.

Thanks again to the bands for the invite and venues for making me so welcome


]]> (Labrat Photos) Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:31:46 GMT
Vidtza with Slydigs and Brassdebate I went to take a few shots of Slydigs as they performed for a live intranet stream on Vidtza. As well as the normal band they had a keyboard player and a brass section. I have heard the brass section before and they add a special edge to the tracks, they also have the great name "Brassdebate"

The studio soon looked very small as they all took their places but the sound was great. All the tracks are solid rock and roll with Deans amazing voice.

Im really looking forward to hearing these guys play live again as they always put on a good show.

]]> (Labrat Photos) Wed, 09 Apr 2014 19:26:32 GMT
Night and Day I was slightly cautious when invited to a gig on April Fools Day. This gig was anything but a joke 4 great acts at a quality venue. The four bands were: Man and the Echo, The Sonik Seeds, Slydigs and Dexters. I have heard slydigs several times before and they never fail to impress. The other bands were all new to me but due to internet I had been able to listen to some of their tracks. Dexters at Night and Day BarDexters at Night and Day BarPhotographs from an amazing gig in Manchester. A great headline performance with plenty of energy.
These shots are unedited.

One of the nice things about the night was meeting some really interesting people who all had a love for live music, photography or both.

The venue has only limited lights and so I always find it a challenge to get good shots of fast moving performers. 


]]> (Labrat Photos) Thu, 03 Apr 2014 21:34:10 GMT
Earplugs Required I went to the Blitz club in Preston to photograph Knighthood. The other bands that performed were heavier than my normal musical choice. Its always good to experience other types of music but was grateful for my earplugs they were angry and very loud.

]]> (Labrat Photos) Wed, 26 Mar 2014 21:59:32 GMT
Get it sorted The thinkerThe thinker I have been meaning to sort out a website for my photographs for a long time. I have eventually made a start and this is it. I now have the difficult job of selecting images for the site and getting it off the ground. I think I may have a few late nights.


]]> (Labrat Photos) Mon, 24 Mar 2014 23:28:44 GMT