Band Duty - 229 The Venue



What an incredible night this was! 

Last Sunday I was out on band duty, shooting the amazing IT rocking 229 The Venue on Great Portland Road in London. I met these guys when out shooting The Gift a few months back and was genuinely impressed with their sound. Fortunately, they loved my photo work so we've been working together since.   

IT are 5 piece progressive rock band; I think it's fair to say that I am not competent in the field of Prog Rock, in fact with my background being dance music this scene is is pretty much alien to me.  I do appreciate all forms of music, especially live music, so despite this not being my 'thing' it's always good fun to shoot these guys. 

This was my first time shooting at this venue, a single level basement music space with a decent size stage which under the house lights doesn't look much. When the lights go down and the stage lighting comes on however, the room is completely transformed. In these small venues I find that it's difficult to work the lighting, but here the low ceiling and decent lighting arrangement made for some great shooting. 

Nick Jackson - Guitar

Andy Rowberry - Guitar

Smaller venues to lead to more intimate events as you feel closer to the action, however these tend to lead to poor quality photos as the lighting doesn't necessarily spreads to all parts of the stage. In the case of this venue,  each of the band members received ample lighting to get decent shots, even drums!

Tom Ashcroft - Drums

Drums is notoriously difficult to shoot because the drummer is generally towards the rear of the stage and poorly illuminated. This combined with the speed at which they operate means that you generally cannot achieve a fast enough shutter speed to capture the action without either significant blurring, or image noise. 

If I was shooting flash this would not be an issue, but as I only shoot 'natural' (or in this case available) light it's far more challenging to capture the moments using the available light. I like it this way so as to retain the colour in the stage lighting and complex shadows produced by the multiple light sources. 

James Hawkins - Bass

Bass does tend to be another difficult instrument to shoot as the players tend to be further to the side and off the main lighting platform, in this instance sufficient light provided great shadows to emphasize James on bass. Pretty good job to!

These guys are serious about what they do and have a suite of records which are well written, catchy and rocky. As you can see, I am not qualified to talk about the music, so I'll leave that there and stick to the photography. I do recommend you check these guys out as they are genuinely nice lads and very good at what they do.  I am very much looking forward to our next upcoming project together, watch out for news on that!

See they're website here for more information:


Joining IT on the lineup was New York based Eden Song who were wrapping up their 7 night UK tour. Most of the bands i have been shooting over the past couple of years seem to follow the line up featured above, guitar, bass, drums, keys. These guys had a Koto, a stringed instrument in the violin family, and a flutist. These guys were good fun to shoot with their relaxed and even comical approach to their performance between songs. 

Barry Seroff - Fute

TD Towers - Bass Guitar

You wouldn't be surprised to hear that I had never heard of these guys before the night, but they were quite refreshing bringing some US humor to their gig. They certainly looked the part!

Kento Iwasaki - Koto

James Byron Schoen - Guitar

I was very fortunate that the guys were very relaxed about my photographic style and allowed me to do what I do to get these shots. I do find that some bands who aren't expecting a photographer look a little uncomfortable. Not these chaps, I was totally unhindered and felt like I had been shooting them for years. 

For fear of repeating myself, I have no words to describe the music. I strongly advise you visit the bands website over at and check them out for yourself. 

What I can say, is that progressive rock is a vastly underrated genre of music and I would advise that if you have not listened to any of it before you should get yourself to a gig like this and try it out for yourself. I've been shooting these gigs for a couple of years now and I always have a great time. 

Nick DiGregorio - Drums

I'll be looking to put together a post on how I've developed my gig shooting style soon, so if you are interested in learning how I went from never shooting music at all to being booked to take gig photo's keep an eye out for future posts. For the full image sets from this night click here to visit the relevant page. 

What do you think of these shots? Hit the comments below and let me know! 

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