Update. New photos of their Video Shoot have been permitted. You can see the band give an awesome performance on http://www.terrylee.net/music/ssavideo/
Starting from the back there’s Rob, I have always wanted the drummers to be the heart of any band and Rob certainly filled that criteria. Matt from PRG lit the drummers position perfectly so that there was a key light behind them. Add a smoke machine delivering a fine haze it really provided a template for some scorching thunder from the drums.
The lead guitarist Noel was setting a new benchmark, as far as this photographer was concerned, in how to give a performance. Paul Jackson from The Swamis last weekend gave an outstanding performance with a raw intensity. Noel’s was more controlled but no less engaging to watch. It was as if he knew when I was pointing the camera at him and he knew what pose to give me! A real joy to shoot.
Moving to the Bass player Darren who I believe is the brains of the outfit. His performance was very slick, and he knew where he was in each song and what his body needed to do to give his act a very refined polish. He was he most seriously looking which gave a emotive contrast to Ellie’s wild child lead vocal responsibilities. They say opposite’s attract, well in this case opposites work well together.
“Being just good looking is fine, but having a presence is far more important when fronting a band”
Finally, Ellie. Without doubt she is beautiful but I wasn’t impressed with that, I wanted to know what the camera would tell me. During SSA’s sound check I was concerned that she would provide me with the magic I needed to pick up. Being just good looking is fine, but having a presence and being able to take the listener onto a journey is far more important when fronting a band. Because of this, she showed real passion and genuine likability infront of the lens. Like Noel, she knew how to commit to her performance and she really shines through the lens. You simply cannot fake that.
By the time SSA were ready to come on the evening had settled in so Matt’s lighting could really come in on it’s own now. The sky had be problematic getting the colour tones right which meant some of the earlier shots required a lot of manual adjustment on my Nikon to compromise the ever changing exposure requirements.
Anyway, back to SSA. They took me by surprise, I had expected their first song to be an average performance while they settled into their new surroundings and warmed up to the crowd, but Noooo, they went full on, straight in and I needed my Nikon to keep up with them! I had to switch off RAW mode so I could shoot at the full 8 frames per second; I was frantically looking for the right exposure level and because Matt (the lighting guy) used different types of lights they each had different colour temperatures which meant some of my shoots were coming out blue when they should have been purple.
“Ellie was belting out the song and was giving it her all!”
This was happening during their first song and in the end I switched the white balance to Auto. Ellie was belting out the song and was giving it her all, Noel was really going for it and looked like he was really loving it, Darren was simply cool as a ice providing the groove. I could see the crowd’s feet tapping away to Rob’s beat, and all this in their first song. But I couldn’t get distracted, I had to get the best shots, I had to be in the right positions and I needed those special angles.
Catching a breath!
After their session ending, the audience had disbanded there was a moment for everyone to catch their breath. However, this photographer was still buzzing! I am like a big kid after shooting an amazing performance; mix in the heartbeat of the drums, the groove from the bass and the thumping riffs of from the lead guitar and of course the gorgeous Ellie who can be photographed from every angle it was a rush.