James Vincent McMorrow | Club Soda | Montreal Concert Photographer

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Irish folk sensation James Vincent McMorrow was in town last night in front of a very sold out Club Soda.  By very sold out I mean people were on the Facebook event all day asking for tickets and even standing in front asking if anyone had extra tickets… even the scalpers got to go home early on this night.

He had been in town before, notably back in late 2011 when he played in a pretty full smaller venue.  I seriously expect him back at the Metropolis, and again, having it sold out.

The vibe of the show was very low key… so very quiet I turned my camera to silent mode (makes the shutter less noticeable) as I could hear my clicks go off and I really didn’t want to disturb the very zen mood the artist created.  You really got wrapped up in his world.  Unfortunately, the lights were also very low key.  The opener, Canadian Aidan Knight, had barely any lights on stage.  And the McMorrow set was the same.  A few beams of light in the back, blue, red and purple low light.

There was no photo pit, and the crowd was pretty dense in the front.  So I managed to make my way (thank you for the fans who let me by!!) to about 1/3 towards the middle of the stage to have a slight angle.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to move through the crowd, so I picked the spot because he is a right handed guitar player and I could get his instrument in the shots (yes, prep work does pay off 🙂 ).  Shots ends up being a bit repetitive, so I made my way to the back for the last song I was allowed to shoot and shot from some steps, as well as a few from the balcony.  I’m not a fan of close ups from high up, so I kept it to further back group shots.

For you photographers out there, when I say low light, I was hand holding my 70-200 heavy lens shooting at ISO 6400, f/2.8 and 1/50 of a second.  Thankfully he doesn’t move much on stage and the crowd kept it’s feet planted so I wasn’t bumped.  I got as high as 1/200 on a few shots when the lights went up just a tad.  I’ll take what I can get.

I had to change up my regular dynamic shooting style and focused mostly on just him and the lights.  Waiting for times were his facial expression matched the mood of the music.  I didn’t want shots of him with a mouth wide open, that would give the impression of screaming, and that he rarely did.  I wanted calm feeling photos… even went closer in to somewhat match the intimate feel of the show.  I had first thought of going the full black and white route with the set, but decided on keeping some colour images in there as the lights, while really low, were still moody and again, adds to the feel of the images.

Little show photo tip… always be ready to shoot!  We had some decent normally coloured light on him between two songs, so I was able to not only get some good shots, but also got him smiling. 🙂

Check out the artist if you can.  Worth the listen and worth seeing live. 🙂

You can see the full set and read the review at La Bible Urbaine, the media for whom I was shooting.

Gear used:

Canon 5d Mark III + Canon 24-70 vI

Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 70-200 vI

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