I decided to put off uploading the first part of this blog post as I knew I’d be seeing The SoapGirls again soon, so I’m combining a couple of events into this one post.
I saw TheSoapGirls once before on this tour, that was in Rotheram at The Trades for their first Saturday show of this current ‘Sniff My Strap’ tour. Since then they have been off around Europe touring for the last month and now they are back on UK soil to carry on over here.
I made the short journey to Derby as The SoapGirls were playing at The Hairy Dog, with Next Year, Desensitised, Pretty Addicted and Fahran supporting on the night.
This was my first time at this venue, and as with any new venue to me, I’d taken a look online to see if I could see any photos to get an idea of what I’d be facing when I turned up, but I found an article about this venue recently having a refurb, so even if I did find any photos, I didn’t know how up to date they’d be, so I ended up going along not really knowing what to expect. When I first got there it looked interesting, a decent sized venue with a raised stage that wasn’t too high or too low, and some lighting that could potentially look really good, but you never can tell until the bands come on as to what you’re going to get.
The first band on were Next Year, who said they were from Leicester but I hadn’t heard of them before, even though that’s where most of the gigs I go to are. They played for about 30 minutes, as did all the support acts, and I did spend the first part of their set trying to figure out my angles, finding out what looked good. There was plenty of space to move around, this would change later on, but I managed to grab a few photos from different areas and then put my camera away to watch the rest of the set. I did get my camera out once more as the lighting changed from the reds/pinks that it had been, to a kind of green and purple mix, which I thought looked really good and would have preferred it to have been like that for the whole show, or at least a bit more than it was, but what I prefer isn’t necessarily what others would prefer, so I just have to work with whatever is there.
It was a good set, always hard to be the first band on and even harder being the first band on a Sunday evening gig, but they managed to get a decent crowd watching them and put on a good performance. Crowd interaction between songs, keeping things flowing nicely, I’ll be sure to check these out again sometime, and being the band closest to where I’m from, probably the most likely of the support bands that I’ll see again soon.
Desensitised were up next and I’ve only seen them once before, but I know a lot of people who are really big fans of theirs. Before they started their set, even though there was a lot of space around there was already quite a few people right up against the stage, which made it difficult to get photos from different places, especially getting wide shots of the whole stage, but I managed to take a few. For the first couple of songs I didn’t take any photos as the lighting was very pink/red and I hoped it might do as before and change a bit, but it didn’t seem to, so thought I best take a few photos anyway. There seemed to be a bigger crowd for these, but it might have just been more condensed towards the stage, however I do know they have a big following, and being local, from Nottingham, I’d expect them to have a fair few fans in attendance for this gig.
It was a really good set, again playing for about 30 minutes and playing mostly original tracks with I think one or two covers thrown in there. A band that even though I’ve only seen twice now, and them being quite local to me, I really should get along to a few more of their gigs. Sounded good, fun tracks, will definitely keep an eye out for future local gigs.
Next up were the band that apart from The SoapGirls, I was most looking forward to seeing, Pretty Addicted. Another band that I’ve only seen once before live, but since that gig a couple of years ago I’ve been keeping up to date with what’s been going on. There have been a few issues with band members leaving and the struggles of trying to find new members, but hopefully this new lineup is here to stay and there can be some fantastic gigs put on.
With the last band having lots of people close to the stage, I decided to try and grab a place around there as well with my aim to take a few photos there and then move around a bit, and that’s what I did. Again, the lighting seemed to be a lot of pinks and reds, but it is what it is and it looked great, just that my camera doesn’t seem to like those colours very much.
I ended up moving towards the back later on in their set, after I’d taken some photos, so that I could then just enjoy the set and it was great. Very different to the rest of the lineup but they certainly had everyone’s attention in that room. I’ll be keeping my eye out for any headline shows they have coming up as 30 minutes just wasn’t enough. Fantastic band, fantastic set, if you’ve never heard or seen them before, it’s an experience, but one you need to have.
Main support band was Fahran, and before they went on I was talking to one of the other photographers there who said they were really good, so I was looking forward to this, even though before the gig I hadn’t even heard of them. As soon as they started their set I knew it was going to be a good one, the lighting changed and the band came out on stage with the members headbanging, hair flying all over the stage.
There seemed to be a bit more room to take some photos while they were on, which made it easier for me to grab a few photos and then enjoy the set. The lighting was spot on, it had gone back to the green/purple lighting used earlier on in the night, and stayed that way for the most part, so I could get all the shots I needed in the first couple of songs and then only take my camera out if something specific was happening that I wanted to capture.
These really surprised me. As I’d never heard of them I wasn’t expecting much, but they were really good, could almost be my favourite support set of the night, but to be fair, each support band was amazing and put in a fantastic performance, with very different sounds.
Fahran finished their set and it was nearly time for what the majority of people had come for, The SoapGirls. As the front of stage had got a bit crowded earlier on in the night, I decided to do a similar thing to when Pretty Addicted were on and that is grab my spot at the front of the stage, aim to stay there for the first few songs and then move around a bit.
The SoapGirls played for around an hour and a half, which is pretty standard for the shows I’ve seen them play, but unfortunately for me the lighting went back to being mainly pinks and reds. I was positioned about centre stage and had a few shots I wanted to get, the main one being Mille bending over backwards, which I managed to get a couple of decent photos of, and then I was trying to capture some jumping shots, which I failed to do. After a few songs I moved away from the front of the stage and instantly regretted it as the lighting changed for the next song. Isn’t that always the way.
As I was walking around I spotted their manager Sam, and she asked me if I wanted to get a few photos from on the stage, and I’m never going to pass up that opportunity, so for the rest of the gig I was taking photos from backstage and to the side of the stage. Again, I was trying to capture a couple of jumping photos, and I did, but I’m not 100% happy with those, but there’s always next time.
It was another wonderful set from The Soapgirls, playing for around 90 minutes, you definitely get your moneys worth. Playing a mixture of new tracks, and tracks from their previous two albums, they have plenty of material to perform. Unlike other shows I’ve been to, there wasn’t as much audience participation in terms of getting people on stage, although with their set coming to a close they invited some ‘bad bitches’ onto the stage to party with them, and the stage was full.
What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday night. 5 fantastic bands, something for everyone and a new venue for me that isn’t too far away so I’m sure I’ll be back in the near future.
After their set, the night was over, but they stuck around to hang out and chat with their fans as they always do. I stopped around for a little bit but had to leave pretty soon after it had finished. It was a fantastic show and I have plans to get along to a few more on this current tour, I’m looking forward to the next one.
The next gig was another new venue for me, The Voodoo Lounge in Stamford. Again, I’d looked at photos online to get an idea of the stage and lighting setup, and from some photos it had promise as it looked like there were some decent stage lighting and access to the side of the stage, so I was looking forward to getting to the venue and checking it out.
I arrived around 5-10 minutes after the advertised doors opening time, grabbed a drink and headed downstairs to the music venue. Overall it looked like a very nice place, upstairs had the bar and seating area and a dedicated music venue downstairs which had a unique look. I noticed that there was access to take photos at the side of the stage on both sides, but one side had been blocked off and was being used as the band storage area. I’m sure if I’d had a word with Sam (The SoapGirls manager) then I’d have been allowed down there, but as I could go around the other side, it wasn’t an issue. I saw that they did indeed have some decent stage lighting, and it was in a good place at the front of the stage, as well as at the back to light up the drummer and back of stage, so thought it should be a pretty easy job to get some good photos.
The first band on was Fyzz Wallis Band. I’ve seen these once before when they supported Hands Off Gretel in Peterborough and on that night they only had two members, so it was good to see them with all three band members this night. A tough spot to open up on a cold and rainy Thursday evening, but they had some of their fans in attendance who knew where the audience participation came in, and they put on a good set for the audience that was slowly building up.
I didn’t take too many photos of Fyzz Wallis Band and that was mainly due to the lighting as when the band first went on stage there were only about 3 or 4 of the 7 lights that were aimed at the front of the stage that were actually on. This changed later on for I think the last song when they were all put on and it got a bit better, so most of my photos of this band were taken right at the end of their set.
The next band on were March To The Grave, who had put up a big banner at the back of the stage, so you won’t forget who these were. They opened up with all band members on stage apart from the lead singer who came from around the corner and performed the first song off stage and in the crowd. It was an eventful set, the lead singer having numerous outfit changes, mainly by taking off items of clothing along the way, he must have been really hot at the start of the set, and various different wigs/hats/glasses were also worn. They played a really good set to what was now a good sized crowd and everyone seemed to be into it if the audience dancing and singing along was anything to go by.
Headliners for the evening were of course The Soapgirls, and people were starting to make their way to the front of the stage. As there had been a bit of a space for me to move around a bit for the previous bands I was able to get a variety of different angles, but I thought this would change for The SoapGirls so as I had an idea of a couple of images I wanted to capture, I made my way to the front of the stage with my intention of staying there for a few songs and then moving off so I wouldn’t be in peoples way for too long.
Just a brief word on the lighting, and while it was really good at times, it was a bit too central for my liking. With Mille and Mie standing at their mics, it could have been a bit better if the lighting was aimed more towards them, but this did mean that when Mille moved towards the middle of the stage as she does quite a lot, the stage lighting was really good. I’m not knocking that lighting at all, I totally understand how hard it is to set up and please everyone, even talking to another photographer on the night, he was really happy with it, and it looked great from out in the crowd, which in the end is the main thing.
It was another fantastic set from The SoapGirls, who played for around 90 minutes, including a lot of material from their next album, with the occasional song from their previous 2 albums thrown in. While I know the songs from their last albums, I’m starting to get familiar with their new stuff and really looking forward to the album release when it happens.
After moving out of the way from the front of the stage, I walked around to the side of the stage and this gave me good access to take photos of Sam, the drummer, which isn’t always easy to do as they are often stuck at the back of the stage with very little lighting on them, but it makes a nice change when you can get to the side of the stage in certain venues.
I managed to get the images I was looking for, mainly being one of Mille when she bends over backwards, and one of her jumping. I’ve got a few images already of her bending over, and while at the last gig I did manage to catch a couple of her jumping, at that point I was on stage and it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. This time I managed to get a better image, but I’ve also worked out which songs certain things tend to happen in, so I should be better prepared for the next gig to capture the images I want to.
Again, there seemed to be less times during their set that they got people on stage compared to previous tours, but as it got towards the end of the set and they were about to perform ‘Bad Bitch, they did get a few people on stage with them, who then were also back on stage for the final song.
After the gig had finished, as always, they stop around chatting to their fans and selling merch. I managed to grab a few photos with them, but before long we had to leave that part of the venue as they were closing up. Due to the design of the place, we could wait upstairs for a bit and as they finished packing away, loaded the van up, a few of us ended up stopping around and chatting for a while into the small hours of the morning. It was great to catch up a bit as I didn’t get much of a chance to after the last gig.
It was a great night, three fantastic bands and hopefully it won’t be too long before I see them again on this tour.
If you are interested in going along to a gig, all of their tour dates can be seen on their official website
Just as a quick note, there are quite a few photos in this post, it may lake a bit of time to load, and there will be some nudity in certain photos