So, in 2004, when everything was in black and white, and my sixteen-year-old self rocked some facial piercings and jeans so baggy you could clean the floor with them… I watched my first ever live gig. In 2015 I got to photograph them as part of my job!
Papa Roach were my favourite band at the time (still a huge fan now, too!) and, man, did I fangirl. I queued up from one in the afternoon to make sure I got on the barrier. I discarded any bags and jackets so I didn’t have to faff with the cloakroom. I still have the ticket stub now, and magazine cuttings!
(This photo is from my 18th birthday, rocking my Roach T shirt, because – obviously – cameras weren’t invented when I was sixteen…)
Needless to say, it was an evening I’ll never forget. I came out shell-shocked, sweaty, and hopelessly in love with rock music… and the lead singer, Jacoby Shaddix, of course *swoon*.
(This is my fave shot of the night. I’ve order a poster print for myself. I’ll have Papa Roach on my wall again! Bigger version of this in the gallery in the bottom and also my Flickr)
Fast forward *coughs* eleven years, and a twenty-eight-year old me was privileged enough to bag a photo pass for their gig at Manchester Academy 1 (THE SAME VENUE AS LAST TIME! SQUEEE) on March 15th 2015.
I’ve done live photography before – ya know, what with being a photographer and all – but never for a band that I have had so much history with. I chose a curveball setup – my 16mm fisheye lens. Every single one of the twelve(!!) other people with photo passes were rocking prime lenses or stock lenses. I thought maybe I’d made a mistake? But, as it turned out, my lens choice was what set my photos apart from the rest a bit, and got the band’s attention (more on that later!)
At the big gigs, you only get to shoot the first three songs. Now honestly, if you put a gun to my head right now, I could not tell you what the first two songs were. I was in such a daze. There was Jacoby – inches away – and I think I may have grinned up at him like an idiot for a few seconds before my “Photographer Mode” kicked in. This was the band that I used to have plastered all over my wall. And here I was, in front of the barrier – even closer than I was eleven years earlier! Madness.
Anyway, I’ll pop a pin in the fangirling. I think I managed some kind of world record – in three songs, I shot 522 photos and racked up 13gb of images. My little camera was on fire!
After the gig, I posted some of my favourite shots to Twitter and Instagram and went to sleep. I woke up to 100000 notifications. Papa Roach had seen my shots and reposted them on their own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with credit to my profiles. Wow! The shots got thousands of likes, favourites, and retweets, and I gained a ton of new followers in the process. (Speaking of which, if you’re curious, here is my Twitter, Photography Facebook, and Instagram plug plug plug plug)
The next day, a very cool and commendable magazine contacted me to ask if they could use my shots in their next printed issue. Another pub cred for the portfolio! WIN.
Now I welcome you to laugh at my teenage mosher photos, as well as some other shots from the gig. There are a few high res ones on my Flickr page, if you wanted to see them without any compression.