Best of 2014
Last year was quite a busy one, and it was very difficult to narrow my favourites down to a Top 10. Although this year was busy, it wasn’t as busy on the gig-front, so it has been slightly easier to choose this time round with some stand-out moments from the year (though still not 10).
My favourite image from the year has the image above, taken during Hayseed Dixie’s set at Boomtown Fair in the UK in August. I haven’t shot anything in the UK for years, so it was great to get the chance to shoot a festival.
Although classic acts like The Wailers and NOFX were part of the line-up, my favourite band were probably Molotov Jukebox, who lit up the festival something wonderful with their onstage energy, and who have been providing me plenty of warm sounds to keep me cosy in the winter. In addition, my Molotov Jukebox report was the 2nd most popular post this year thanks to their promoting it on Twitter, which goes to show how important it is to have the bands support the work you do!
Not only were the live bands fantastic (including Russkaja, who I didn’t get to shoot owing to torrential rain and leaking stages), but the the night-time entertainment in the form of the Arcadia spider – a world-travelling structure equipped with flamethrowers, dry-ice, dancers and a DJ booth nestled in the belly of the beast – was the best time I’ve had in 3-inches of mud in the pouring rain ever.
Check out my live reports for Smashing Mag here:
Overall Report – http://www.smashingmag.com/en/archives/14881
Photo Report – http://www.smashingmag.com/en/archives/14892
The UK came to Japan in October when tech-metal band SikTh, credited with being part of the beginnings of Djent (a genre which may or may not exist depending on who you talk to), came over for a weekend double-header with Tokyo-based Cyclamen. It was a pretty intense two days with the crowd wedged into the uncomfortable depths of Shibuya’s sold-out Cyclone.
Cyclamen frontman Hayato thoroughly enjoyed himself during the weekend and SikTh were certainly glad to be back in Tokyo after an 8-year break.
Check out my Smashing Mag reports here:
Written report: http://www.smashingmag.com/en/archives/15617
SikTh photo report: http://www.smashingmag.com/en/archives/15697
Cyclamen photo report: http://www.smashingmag.com/en/archives/15764
In the past year I got to branch out a little bit from the usual Visual Kei shows, with more jazz, metal, ska and not a fair few ukeleles. However, I did still shoot a fair number of VK gigs, which never fail to provide good lens candy. The 3 images below are some of may favourites from the year, though there are a couple of others which are not up on the web yet, so you’ll have to wait for those a bit longer.
Check out the Rokkyuu reports here:
The other shows I’ve shot include The Ska Flames’ final show of 2014, celebrating their 30th year making music with a fantastic show at duo Music Exchange in Shibuya. At the same venue a few months before, I had been invited down to shoot The Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra. duo is a really good venue for large bands and with both The Ska Flames and WIUO featuring up to 13 members the stage is the perfect size, and has the best lighting I’ve been blessed with this year.
I also shot in some more intimate venues, including Batica in Ebisu – a tiny live house – and at Club Asia, a smaller live house with an interesting shooting set up which allows for some slightly more unusual perspectives.
Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra
Last and definitely not least, I need to give Ladybeard a special mention. Being the first show of the year in 2014, he’s had a lot longer to garner attention than my other posts, but it’s no surprise that he came out as the most popular post of 2014. Debuting in Japan back in January, Ladybeard has become quite the phenomenon over the past 12 months and if his live shows are anything to attest to, he’s only going on to bigger and better things next year,
That’s about it for 2014. Thanks to all the bands, venues, magazines and readers who have supported me and given me the chance to do what I love doing most. Lets hope there are even more fun times ahead in 2015.