More performances from Festival Square, MIF

More views from Festival Square at Manchester International Festival 2011

Sunday 10th July. First up, on the decks is Dom Sotgiu from Manchester’s finest reggae label, Blood and Fire. Dom dropped his usual mix of righteous dub, roots and reggae on a hot summer’s afternoon in Festival Pavilion. A perfect soundtrack to the mellow warmth outside…

(Click/tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser)

Next, an evening view of Festival Square, with gorgeous fading light providing a wonderful close to an afternoon of perfect warm summer sunshine. Manchester felt just that little bit more continental, and plenty of people took advantage of the conditions to sit out and enjoy a drink and a chat, surrounded by music and mellowness.

I only realised when I was stitching this together that I’d caught Damon Albarn, who’d been starring in Dr Dee, as he bobbed out of the Pavilion. Paparazzi pano 🙂

(Click/tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser)

Also on Sunday 10th, the wonderful Candi Staton (in her second performance of the Festival), live in the Theatre. She held the crowd utterly enraptured with her sweet soulful voice. I was really impressed by the sheer presence she commanded, leading a very tight band and backing singers and rocking the place. A very special moment from a gospel / soul legend.

(Click/tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser)

Below is the ever-sophisticated Barry Adamson, in conversation with Dave Haslam. An intimate, enlightening and often hilarious insight into the history and motivations of this Mancunian musical luminary.

(Click/tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser)

Finally, I had genuine difficulty standing still during this set by the Disco Mums, Manchester’s very own maternal disco & boogie posse. Five ladies with children, attitude, funk… and record boxes stuffed with pure dancefloor gold! Sunshine outside, and sunny vibes inside, on a family-friendly Sunday afternoon in the Festival Pavilion.

(Click/tap the image above to view a fullscreen panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser)

Graduale Nobili choir live in Festival Square during MIF

I’ve been shooting a series of official panoramas at this year’s Manchester International Festival, working for Toasted Productions on their wider media package for the festival. Now in its third year, MIF is going from strength to strength, with another selection of well-received original productions encompassing the full artistic spectrum. All of which helps Manchester make an even bigger mark on the global cultural map.

The location for this view is Festival Square, when Albert Square outside the City Hall is transformed into a cosmopolitan continental village for two weeks. On this, the opening weekend, we couldn’t have been luckier with the weather. Mancunians basked in the warm sun, and in the dulcet tones of this choir performing a cappella to the crowd.

Graduale Nobile are a 24 piece choir from Iceland, and they’ve been in Manchester for the last few weeks to support Björk‘s new show, Biophilia. I saw the opening night of Biophilia and truly loved it: an inspirational, ambitious and unpredictable performance with a host of talented performers… including this choir*. With its octagonal set and incredible visuals I would love to have shot a 360° of the Biophilia set…

Incidentally this panorama has already been published on the MIF website, but for the Flash version I’ve taken the liberty of adding some audio of the choir which I’d captured at the time. This hopefully gives a more powerful impression of the sheer impact and joy of their performance on this gorgeous summer’s evening.

*I’ve not been exposed to this much choral music since I was at school (I can still summon up parts of Orff’s Carmina Burana and Handel’s Messiah almost verbatim when prompted!) And if you, like me, are interested in all things Icelandic, you may enjoy some panoramas I shot there in 2008, on a short but perfect autumn break.

HTML5 version

Click the icons above to view a fullscreen 360° view of the scene with Flash (for desktop) or HTML5 (for mobile). You can also view the location in Google Earth. Happy viewing!

Friends of Mine Festival, Cheshire

This is the deserted Bowl Stage at the Friends of Mine festival after the acts had finished on the Friday night. Although I was predominantly on the lookout for good stills at the festival I couldn’t help but stop to grab this panorama. I was taken by the desolate emptiness of the space, and the contrast between the starry sky and the bright lights and litter of the performance area below, with the Elizabethan stately home in the background. It’s rare to catch a space like this so bereft of festival-goers, but a late night, long exposure treatment caught the moment well.

I’d won a pair of tickets to the event, held at the stately Capesthorne Hall in the bucolic, rolling Cheshire countryside, so a mate and I rocked up with a tent and enough food and beer for the weekend. The weather constantly threatened the festival, but largely held off blighting the performances, confined largely to nightime showers and winds.

The festival was a little underattended, but we caught some good acts and managed to get a few nice snaps as well. Spending the weekend in the great outdoors with good beer, good company and a varied soundtrack was the perfect spring tonic… even if the sunshine was somewhat lacking!

HTML5 version

Click the icons above to view a fullscreen 360° view of the scene with Flash (for desktop) or HTML5 (for mobile). You can also view the location in Google Earth. Happy viewing!

English Electric live at Terrorist#13


English Electric plays a live set at Terrorist#13.

Shot this on a night out at Terrorist in Manchester: this is inside the incredibly small DJ booth at the Number 1 Club. I say small because I shot a panorama here in May 2006 when Legowelt played, and in the old One Central Street club there was a massive space for performers. I turned up expecting the same thing this time, and was taken aback by the tight squeeze. You can see the old panorama here: it was tough shooting 38 shots in a club environment with my first kit, with lots of visual oddities.

Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash, or for more info in Google Earth.

Hudson Mohawke, Squarepusher & Andrew Weatherall at Warp20 (Sheffield)

A selection of 360° panoramic photos of the Warp20 (Sheffield) gig at Magna. Stunning venue, great soundsystem and lighting, and superb music from 20 years of Warp artists. A night of unbridled quality in Warp’s former home city.

Firstly, two shots of Scotland’s most talked about hip hop producer, Hudson Mohawke, whose debut album ‘Butter’ is released on Warp Records in October. Believe the buzz surrounding him, this guy has more talent than his years might suggest; and his bass heavy, wonky, glitchy, electronic hip-hop electronic sound (and visuals) tore it up. The album should be a belter…



Secondly, label stalwart Squarepusher raised the pace and ripped up the place with an exclusive solo set of dancefloor-orientated tracks. Micro-processed amen breaks, thumping 4/4 beats and neon-drenched acid and bass, enfused with a frenetic funkiness I’ve not heard from the man in years.


Finally Andrew Weatherall, the chairman himself, on the decks for a set of perfectly chosen and mixed warehouse classics. Wall-to-wall acid house, bleep techno and other tracks ideally suited to playing in a giant former steelworks in front of 3000 people. Probably the highlight of my night was when he dropped LFO vs FUSE’s ‘Loop’ over the top of the David Holmes remix Sabres of Paradises’s “Smokebelch II”. The roof nearly came off the building. He may be a DJ and producer with few peers, but Weatherall’s breadth of musical taste is so widely varying you never quite know what you’ll get when you see him play: however this ranks as one of the very best sets I’ve heard him play in the last 15+ years. Especially good to photograph him again almost a year after his appearance at Autodisco, when I wasn’t able to shoot a pano as it was just too dark.


Honourable mentions also go to Harmonic 313, Nightmares on Wax, Clark and Forgemasters, who all also played (and rocked it) on the night; and special thanks to the Warp staff for making this happen.