James Bay - Cambridge

At the end of the wedding season I always vow not to pick up the camera again until next year. Week after week of spending ten hours with the thing round your neck and a week of solid editing does nothing to make you want to photograph anything ever again. 

I’d not shot a show in ages until a few weeks ago when I shot Florence & the Machine in Sheffield, and….and I got the bug. Again. Dammit - so I got the applications in for some more shows. 

Now, when I start going through the listings, picking out the artists that will sell, artists that I like or think will be interesting to shoot, I don’t pay too much attention to the dates, so when they get confirmed it is always a surprise! I wouldn’t recommend that as a way of living if you have any kind of social life - but I have children, so not an issue at all. I am old though, and when I realised it was a Sunday I kind of resented having to drive 40 minutes to Cambridge for ten minutes work.

I’m nothing if not a miserable sod who had to be in bed by ten on a school night - so imagine my reaction when I was handed not one, but two passes as there was a special guest I “could not miss” - but no clues as to who it was. Great. Oh and it was in song 9. Brilliant. Sunday night and I had to stay until near the end of the set. It had better be worth it. 

It looked good when I realised there was only other photographer - always good, and he was really nice - Rich Etteridge, he’s dead good - google him. 

Anyway, having only one other in the pit means you have time to get a little creative, get some different angles and have a bit of fun without tripping over bags and lenses so I was quite happy. The crowd were nuts and a real mish mash. James Bay’s music is quite mature and isn’t what I’d call youth orientated at all, yet for every middle aged blues fan in the crowd there were 20 teenage girls screaming. Loudly. 

The way it works is that you get the first three songs to take photos then you are booted out of the pit. We sat up in the bar, still non the wiser as to who the guest is, so we squeeze back down to the pit and Ed Sheeran is mentioned and the roof could have been blown straight off. That Ed has an effect on those girls - hats off to him. Two photographers and a video crew - sweet! It turned out to be worth the journey and probably won’t be something that will be seen again anytime soon. It is moments like this that I feel incredibly lucky to do what I do and regardless of musical taste, couldn’t help but feel this was a ‘moment’, and sure enough a few hundred thousand Youtube views later, I was right. My full set is up here: 


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