Aled Thomas shares some of the highlights of his music photography along with the stories that go with them
Eddie Murder, Mongohorn, Eamon Doran’s, Dublin. 16th November 2008.
I first saw Mongohorn in a venue called Voodoo Lounge (now a casino). I was too scared of them to approach the stage. They looked like they’d escaped from maximum security!
When I tentatively came to the lip of the stage, Eddie covered my head, shoulders and camera in his spit!
This shot was taken downstairs in a pub called Eamon Doran’s. Which used to be a scuzzy dive in the middle of Temple Bar, but is now a non-descript trendy bar, the name of which I don’t care to remember. They were later banned from there anyhow, for reasons which will become clear.
Over the years I have witnessed and photographed Eddie: crouched on the bass drum, fingering his anus while singing a cover of ‘Gay Bar’, and then proceed to place said digit in his mouth (and on one memorable occasion, in the mouth of a willing audience member); take off his shoe and repeatedly smash himself in the forehead with it, whilst signing the refrain from one of Mongohorn’s songs; stand on the stage, pissing into a pint glass while the band played a jolly beat, and then neck it in one; sing a song with a lit sparkler protruding from his bottom; sing a song while a girl chosen from the crowd whips him ceaselessly with a cat-o-nine-tails; harangue – along with guitarist Andy – audience members to the point where they leave the venue; cover himself in candle wax; sing while wearing a gimp mask; burn off all his chest hairs with the aid of an aerosol can and a lighter (this always at the end of the show, since it absolutely stank); and masterbate a prosthetic penis whilst signing a song about ‘your sister’.
In fact, it was difficult to shoot Mongohorn as they were constantly getting banned from all the venues in Dublin that had decent lighting due to their on stage conduct. That, coupled with the fact that they attracted all manner of waifs and strays to their shows.
I must say that it really has been a pleasure watching and photographing Mongohorn. A band that understand that a true rock ‘n’ roll show should be dangerous and unpredictable.
Nikon D300 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8D | ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1/80sec
Shoctopus, Grand Social, Dublin. 8th May 2011.
This gig is memorable because I thought I‘d had my camera bag – and consequently a large part of my equipment – stolen. It transpired that the kindly stage manager had locked it away for safe keeping. It was hard work trying to shoot the show while thinking about dealing with my insurance company, but I got this image, which I love.
Why are they wearing camouflage? It’s a secret.
Nikon D700 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8D | ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/100sec
Therapy?, The Academy, Dublin. 15th May 2009.
I’d been watching Therapy? and listening to their music for years, so I was excited to have obtained a photo pass to this show. When the band hit the stage, it soon become apparent that no one was going to turn the lights on! It was like trying to photograph a gig in a coal mine! I had to open up the aperture all the way, which I don’t like to do, but I got this shot at least.
Wallis Bird, The Academy, Dublin. 16th October 2009.
This is a gig I shot by accident. I was at the correct venue, but the wrong stage (there was a smaller stage downstairs, which I was unaware of). I was with Anthony Peyper, a photographer friend of mine, and since we were convinced we were in the right place, the security let us through to the photo pit.
I’d never heard of Wallis Bird before, but she was great to shoot. My friend actually captured me capturing this image.
After a while it began to dawn on us that we might be in the wrong place, but we figured we were better off where we were. I actually got a contact in Hot Press Magazine through this moment of serendipity.
Nikon D700 | Nikon 20mm f/2.8D | ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/200sec