About a year ago I took my new camera to the perfect day out – a one day music and beer festival courtesy of our local Battersea brewery (Sambrooks) and reignited a bit of a passion I’d long given up on – gig photography! Back in my heady Cardiff days I used to photograph bands for the student paper and even flirted with a little freelance work for NME and Kerrang. Sadly, being forced to act like a grown up and having a job, along with living in somewhat outlandish places got between my camera and live music and I was forced to take an extended break from combining the twin vices of live music and photography (although it has to be said I do not regret the outlandish places for a moment!).
Well, as you can see, all of that’s changed somewhat! After being outwitted by all the fancy new buttons on the new camera several times I was lucky enough to get a few good shots at Beer By the River. On the day, two bands, Finger Trap, and Issimo stood out as exciting musicians who put on one hell of a show. All of this meant I was very excited when a little while back I was invited by Issimo to take some photos of them at the Bedford in Balham.
I’d not been to the Bedford before and was very pleasantly surprised to discover a somewhat quirky but rather lovely venue lurking at the back of the pub – The Globe Theatre. True to its name this crazy and magical place is set up as a circular theatre space with an upstairs balcony plenty of dark wood pillars, the mother of all glitter balls and a really rather good sound. This is one of the more unusual venues I’ve been in for a while, and despite the shape of the place, a world of innovative sound proofing, and a resident sound man that knows his stuff and his kit really well results in really good acoustics. On the bill this particular Thursday night were Hayley Harland, Ed Goodale, Jake Morrell and Issimo. All of whom are performers whose love of music is clear to see and together they delivered a really pleasurable and diverse evenings music very much appreciated by the small crowd.
Now there was almost certainly Wandle-related befuddlement last time I saw Issimo, but I could have sworn there were only two of them… This time Issimo brought all the Issimites with them too (including the first run-out for the new drummer). The addition of bass, drums, keyboard, trumpet and flute (yes, flute!) lends Issimo a much deeper and more varied palette of sounds to work with than I remembered, and make use of it they do! If Issimo’s eclectic brand of funky pop with it’s strong ska, reggae and (dare I say) even a dash of latin/carnival influences doesn’t bring a smile to your face and make you feel an uncontrollable urge to move to this music there’s probably not much anyone can do for you…
This is a band that really gets a kick out of being up there on stage performing. A great way to end a lovely evening in an unusual venue I’d love visit again.
The Bedford 03/03/2016
More photos here…