September 29, 2021

Trip the light fantastic, is that what they say? – Well the lights did trip on a few occasions but thankfully only during rehearsals.

I had the greatest of pleasure last weekend to photograph the 80’s / 90’s glam rock cover band Glamtastic at Montgomery Town Hall. Consisting of band members Sandy Spandex Vocals, Captain Fabulous Guitar, Dazzle Groover Drums, Felix Delight Bass, Sparkly Keys Keyboards, Dolly Pants on Saxophone and the amazing Danny Quavers Guest Vocalist; the shoot schedule was for an evening of rehearsal and the main event live performance, the request was to capture the atmosphere, excitement and emotion of the band – why emotions, well this has been a long journey for this band and was planned to go live 2 years with a few challenges in-between plus the dreaded Covid putting a dampener on things, this band had been through a lot to get to this point. But their effort and patients had clearly paid off.

The attention to detail that had been planned into this - not just the detailed list of requirements for my shoot from Tony (aka Captain Fabulous Guitar) but in the promotional material, from ticket sales including personal lanyards which made the audience feel all that more special, to a very organised bar queuing system which, from this casual observer, seemed to work very well.

Included in the entertainment for the evening was an interlude video show where the band played pre-recorded Glamtastic video mock ups of Pans people and popular songs in their very own “unique style” which kept the audience engaged, entertained and in tears of laughter.

Glamtastic are a bunch of very skilled entertainers, they work together in perfect time and even at one point when the drummer’s foot pedal broke mid song, the bass player picked up on this and filled in while the lighting crew came to his aid with the infamous duct tape and our drummer Dazzle Groover was soon back in the business – professionalism throughout.

Then there was the lights and sound system provided by being a bit of a geek myself when it comes to audio equipment – this setup was catnip to me. An impressive array of control panels, lighting effects, power displays, distribution boards and all beautifully setup and controlled by….. a tablet – amazing!

The sound system was just perfect, I hate it sometimes when you get to a live event and the sound grates on the ears and becomes painful to listen to, well this set up made the band sound amazing, the bass guitar and kick drum you could feel from deep inside you, the lows were so low and went below the hearing range so you just felt that sound pressure through your body, the mids were soft and warm, the highs provided detail and blended with the mids, the vocals came through with warmth and clarity, symbols and tambourines were clear and crisp.

A very pleasant weekend of photography and a chance to meet and get to know some lovely band members, record some amazing costumes, a very happy audience, emotions and a few iconic shots of band members.

On the photography side, the normal challenges of low light or where there was light which varied with the stage lights, catching it to good effect. For the audience, 2 speed lights left and right of the stage to provide a fill light into the audience and one at the rear which was a bit of an experiment to try and get some rim light effect on the audience – that proved more difficult due to the changing light levels from the stage lights rotating to cover the audience but did in fact work on occasions, enough to get a few good shots but the main benefit coming from the front lights to capture all of those amazing outfits and seeing the audience having such a great time.

For the band members on the stage it was a case of capturing unique moments and taking advantage of the smoke machine and lighting to create effect. Luckily the stage lights provided some nice diffused lighting which could be used for profile shots, when you could catch it - of band members.

The most valuable asset to all of the photography during the live performance though was in fact being there for the rehearsal, getting to know the song list, how, for example, Karen (aka Sandy Spandex) performs and her stage performance in terms of her physical reactions to the songs and her interactions to the other band members.

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