photograph of Neil Hannon, The Diving Comedy peforming live at Manchester Academy
It’s been a while

With one thing and another it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog.  A big part of this was being based in not so sunny Telford which made getting to any decent gigs more of a challenge than I had the energy for exceptional cases when the effort was worth it (such as the Hadouken gig where the barrier came down 30 seconds into their first track).  The good news is I’m back in Cheshire again and this makes the gig scenes in Manchester, Liverpool and nearby Stoke-on-Trent much easier to keep track of.  So what else have I been up to?

Well August saw me hitting the festival circuit again with my annual visit to Summer Sundae at De Montfort Hall in Leicester where I managed to catch bands such as Stornaway, Frankie and the Heartstrings, headliners Mumford and Sons as well as the girl with the shorter than short hotpants Eliza Dolittle.  It was a good weekend but I can’t help feeling that with the departure of festival organiser Richard Haswell, the lineup has suffered quite a bit.  It felt much more like the traditional corporate money making festival this year than it ever has done in the past and whilst it was much more of a commercial success this year it will be interesting to see if the hardcore Summer Sundae fans still plan to attend next year.

Later in the month I covered the Festinho festival for Virtual Festivals which (if they can survive their current financial problems) could well become my new favourite festival.  Organised completely by volunteers, Festinho is focussed on raising money for the Action for Brazils Children Trust.  It’s not the best organised festival I’ve ever been to, but the quirkiness of the bands that played and the magical atmosphere it generates is hard to resist.

September saw the visit to Manchester of one of my favourite up and coming bands – Two Door Cinema Club as well as the start of the four month festival that is The Warehouse Project.  The music world descended on Manchester again in October for the In The City conference and showcase events.  If you like discovering new music you really can’t go wrong with In The City and I found some great bands including, D/R/U/G/S, GallopsThe Kill Van Kulls (thanks to Karen McBride) and for those that like their music harder and heavier – Chickenhawk.  Also in October we’ve had visits from the gorgeous Imelda May, the moody I Like Trains and the infectiously cheerful Holloways.  It was good to see them back on the circuit after the trouble they’ve had over the last couple of years, and I really hope we’ll be seeing more of them.

More recently I’ve been shooting The Divine Comedy with support from Irish Singer Songwriter Cathy Davey and few people there will forget their beautiful cover of “I Only Have Eyes For You” or Neil’s impromptu cover of Blue Monday from New Order which sent the crowd wild.

BANDS: The Divine Comedy – Images by mike gatiss

In between gigs I’ve been busy hunting out new bands to shoot and a favourite resource for this has been online radio shows from Salford Radio’s ‘Shell Zenner and Recharged Radio’s Minki’s Magic Moments, incidentally Minki is also the lead singer of 50ft Woman, another band worth checking out.

Well that’s enough from me for now, promise not to leave it so long next time.