Charlotte Marshall & The 45s – Cottiers

January 22, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

16/01/2016

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Charlotte Marshall & The 45s @ Cottiers, Glasgow

When Charlotte Marshall asked me if I would shoot the show at Cottiers on Saturday night there wasn’t any answer that entered my head but “Yes!”

“Charlotte Marshall and The 45s” is one of those bands that work…as a band.  To explain that last statement further. They fill every minute with shared, beautifully executed and tastefully considered, ego free glimpses of a small sample of what they are capable of.  The result is you are always left wanting more and this continues throughout the set.

I’ve already done portraits and interviews individually for Charlotte, Fraser and Tim (Clarke) for this site and over the course of the project hope to get all of the players on here as each one has a phenomenal talent and no doubt a story to tell.

There were 4 bands playing tonight. All good and all very different. Charlotte was headlining and, as is the case with most gigs of this nature, the first couple of bands played to a gradually increasing audience who took their time to warm up…literally. It had been snowing all day and looking at the turnout, I started wondering if the weather was going to have a serious impact on the gig.

As people came in I heard some muttering about the lack of seating and “Why is there that huge space in the middle? They could have put loads of seats there!”

I had a wee smile to myself. I’ve seen the band before and I know what happens when they get cookin’.

Photographically, Cottiers is a dream. Huge, ornate, dramatic. It’s an old church, originally decorated by Daniel Cottier and taken on by the Four Acres Charitable Trust back in the early 90s. Restoration has been ongoing since then and there is still some way to go. The obvious disrepair and grandeur adds an imposing and very “cool”, almost grungy element to the atmosphere. The clash of a modern LED lighting rig and hefty PA add to the incongruity of the venue. At this point it is worthy to note the huge efforts that are being put into to restore the site and it is heart-warming and exciting to know that we will have this venue for years to come and that it is being looked after.

As I stood at the front of the stage I turned around and behind and high above me against the faraway back wall, towered the pipes of the original church organ. Imposing and bathed in a dull purple LED glow. I couldn’t help wondering how the sound from those 150 year old pipes would have mixed in with a Nord Elektro.

A pulse of electricity went through the crowd, I turned round and Charlotte was on stage.

Opening track, boom! I had to work hard during the first track, there were solos going off like fireworks from one side of the stage to the other. Piano, then sax, then guitar and all the time Charlotte grinning, spinning and strutting all over the stage. There was no gradual build up here! These guys were “ON”. This was Audio Visual Central and the train had left the station!

Having played in bands for years, the standard of musicianship and professionalism is blindingly obvious to me but it is so slick that it looks effortless.

The horn section is just one of the things that sets the band apart.   Gordon Dickson(Saxophone) and Fenwick Lawson(Trombone) are amongst the tightest brass players you’ll find.  If you have horns in a band I always think it can be tricky to get the arrangement just right.  Too little and it looks a bit weird, too much and there’s no space for vocals and fills.  Some bands find it hard with 4 or 5 players but to have 7 takes a real talent and a lot of control but the 45s got the mix right all the way through the set.

Tim (Brough – Keys) and Fraser are equally as at home laying down the groove as they are blistering through their solos.  There’s no self-indulgence.  Get in…do what you need to do… and get back out.  Fantastic!

The guys holding it all down at the back are Tim (Clarke) on bass and Michael Harrison on drums.  Again, professional, understated and tight but with the ability to lift the roof and drive the groove to the limit when occasion calls for it.  Perfect!

Obvious also is the level of stage-craft that is demonstrated by Ms Marshall. From the outset she pulls the audience in closer, physically reaching out and breaking down barriers, removing inhibitions, encouraging engagement. She does this also with the musicians in the band, gesturing for them to push the boundaries. Always aware of everything around her, she tracks the players, the audience and even the photographer to make sure everyone gets what they need.

The set flew by far to quickly, incorporating mostly original material.  The one cover that did stand out was the opening number…”Soulful Dress” by Sugar Pie Desanto…what a track!!

I could go on and on but I’ll keep it short and just advise you to sign up to the band’s Facebook page below and get along to their next gig!

https://www.facebook.com/charlottemarshall45s

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Alan Anderson – Slouch

January 21, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
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Alan Anderson @ Slouch

Quite a few of the guys I’ve spoken to have mentioned Alan Anderson as a good guy and a great Blues man so when I got a Facebook invite to his solo gig at Slouch in Bath Street, Glasgow I decided to drop in and say hello…and I’m glad I did.

Alan is one of those unassuming individuals with a quiet confidence about him and as we talked it became clear that he’d paid his dues on various circuits.

His acoustic playing is superb and his laid back vocals and easy manner soon chill you right out and any stresses of the day fade away as he meanders his way through the set. The original material is quite moving at times as he openly shares the meaning behind certain lyrics.

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Alan Anderson @ Slouch

Alan is one of those players that like to connect with the audience and the eye contact plays a large part of this. Again, the experience shows through and there is a genuine warmth and quiet confidence from start to finish.

It’s one of those nights in Glasgow where hardly anyone is out so it’s quiet in Slouch tonight, it’s quiet everywhere tonight but the audience gradually builds and 2 things become obvious:

1. Everyone is a musician tonight
2. This is not the first time they’ve been here

Something else becomes obvious as each player goes up on stage:

They’re good…all of them…and when I say good, I mean…really good!

I’ll do a quick roll call

Eric Hathaway, Pete Parisetti (and his wife Angela), J B Taton and Martina Alberi

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Eric Hathaway @ Slouch

 

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JB Taton @ Slouch

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Martina Alberi @ Slouch

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Alan Anderson @ Slouch

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Pete Parisetti and Angela Higney

There was a great mix of styles thoughout the night. Jazz, Blues, Americana, Country, Cuban and many more.

I’d got there early and my phone died so I had no idea what time it was and to be honest I didn’t care. I knew Alan was on till half past midnight but I wasn’t going to stay till the end..I had a 6am start the next day.

The atmosphere was really relaxed and great fun and everyone was having a good time but I knew I should probably go so I said my goodbyes and got into the car. The clock on the dashboard said 00:25. Good job I never stayed till 00:30…I’d have been knackered in the morning!

Looking forward to catching up with Alan in the near future for more of a chat and a portrait.

 



All the World’s a Stage: Week 10: “Exhibition”

January 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

The following images are part of my “Walls” project and represent the barriers that we put up around ourselves.  The full narrative can be viewed in the link below…

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All the World’s a Stage: Week 9: “Ethics in Street Photography”

January 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Experiment:

  • Go out in public and ask 3 people to pose for you a certain way. Write about their reactions in your weekly journal.

I went out on a very cold and windy Saturday morning in Glasgow.  This was the only time that I was going to be able to complete this task and I only had till lunchtime to do it.  From the experience gained in previous shoots I decided not to rush it and if the opportunities arose I would take them.  After an hour, I had found nobody.  The streets were deserted due to the weather and I headed over to the Woodlands Road area.  It was there that I passed the Tattoo studio and one of the scariest looking guys I’ve ever seen was glowering at me as I looked in.  I walked past but thought…”You know he is a great subject and if you don’t go back you’ll regret it!”.  Turns out there was another guy in recently asking the same thing.

The gentleman’s name is Frank and he showed me some of the photos that had been taken of him at tattoo conventions and they were very good.  Frank was an experienced subject and acted very naturally.  I only had 10 minutes as he had a client arriving shortly but I made the most of it and asked him to adopt several poses.  I gave him a card and left with the offer that if I ever wanted to go back again I was more than welcome.  As I walked away I was buzzing.  Great experience and lovely guy.  Appearances can definitely be deceptive.

I learnt another valuable lesson and this is something that I do all the time and will need to come up with a strategy to prevent it.  I rushed it!  The settings on the camera were on AUTO ISO with a limit of 3200.  I had a wireless trigger and speedlight in my bag so could have dropped the ISO to the minimum and used the flash but I panicked a bit due to this completely new situation.  The shots were fine but they could have been much better.  The positive is that I’ll never forget to check the camera settings thoroughly when I am in that situation again.

Of the 2 other people I asked, one guy obliged and the girl declined but still a positive experience all round.



All the World’s a Stage: Week 8: “How to Edit Your Work”

January 09, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

Experiment:

  • Go out for an entire day and go shooting. When you go back home, select your best 3 shots. Then go back to your portfolio and select the best 3 shots you have ever taken.

These are the best 3 from today.  I’m normally pretty severe on editing and can quite quickly determine what images I want to keep from an individual shoot.  These images were all taken around the vicinity of the Riverside Museum by the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow.  There was good light and the subjects presented themselves consistently throughout the day.  There were a couple of locations that I found that would have been incredible if the right person had walked into them but it wasn’t to be today.

Going through the entire portfolio is another matter!  I have only been shooting for 2 years but already I have nearly 15,000 images in my library.  With regards to Street Photography, I have only been doing this since September last year so to pick from this portfolio is slightly easier, although I tend to think that at the moment, that the more recent shots are the best.  The test of this will be to keep going back and assess them.  I’m sure that old photos will have different qualities when they are left to marinate.


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