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JD McPherson Review: A Photographer’s Perspective

JD McPherson Review: A Photographer’s Perspective

Meet Nick Brooks, a professional photographer with a penchant for live music. Here is Nick’s recent gig experience with JD McPherson at Brighton gig venue, Concorde 2.

It is the second time this year that JD McPherson has played Brighton and although he is from Oklahoma this doesn’t seemed to have diminished his following in the city. It may not have been a sellout gig but it was certainly a decent sized crowd. JD’s blend of rock and rock, in the more classic sense is a nice change from the music that crowds the charts.

Concorde 2 is always a great venue to see a band…

Good sound and lighting and the comparatively small size means that even on a Thursday night the atmosphere was jumping. I’m not sure if it was planned but whilst waiting for the bands to come on there seemed to be a flash mob on the dance floor, all very choreographed but helped get people into the swing.

The support band where a local group, Red Raucous…

There cover of “I’m Shakin” by Little Willie John was catchy enough and certainly the highlight though their lack of stage presence made the whole performance a little tame.  As a photographer, I did not appreciate what I can only assume was a set list taped to the mic stand. It made taking photos a frustrating affair and despite the temptation, I guessed it was not appropriate to get on stage during the set to remove it.

When JD McPherson arrived there was a massive cheer from the crowd…

He told a couple of (self-confessed) terrible jokes and got on with what he’s good at; playing his guitar. He covered the majority of both his albums (and a new song) during the two and a half hour set.

It was pretty much as I expected; his live performance was echoed by the albums. It’s always nice going to a gig where you discover that the singer can sing in real life and it’s not just been put through auto tune. Throughout he didn’t move around much, aside from a jam with the bassist and introducing the other members of the band performing (classy touch).

After two hours he had a fake curtain break and the crowd stomped for more, he came back out for a further three songs and gave the crowd a great Thursday night.

Throughout the lighting was very consistent and a massive help, if slightly unusual…

During JD’s set the smoke had mostly dispersed which meant the lighting wasn’t quite as effective as it should have been, which was somewhat disappointing.  As with all live music that I’ve ever shot the lighting was better at the end; which is always infuriating if you only get the first three songs.

I found myself alone in the pit for the entire gig and the lack of any security meant I had no one to force me to leave (or put the camera down). So, I took photos until the end without any pressure to do so quickly, which meant that I was also able to get absorbed in the music. The freedom also gave me a little more room to play around with camera angles and switch lenses without falling over anyone in the dark.

All in all a pleasant experience, however I must remember to bring ear plugs with me next time. I doubt sitting right in front of the speaker is very good for my hearing.

I went home with my ears ringing but with a smile on my face.

You can check out the full gallery below:

Column and Photography by Nick Brooks

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