HiFi Serious Tour UK
From out of the blue an old friend of mine who I’ve not seen in over 15 years send me a message from the U.S. It consisted of just the lyrics to the first verse of the “A” song “Took It Away”. There followed a text conversation about how that song transported us back to when we were close friends living in the same neighbourhood back in the early 00’s. One text message read, “Are “A” still going?”.
I’d not heard anything about A in many, many years so I decided to find out. A quick search online revealed an upcoming tour playing their album “Hi Fi Serious” in its entirety.
After some emails with the tour manager suggesting I cover the tour, I was invited down to a rehearsal space in Essex to meet with the band. Tenuously, I had worked briefly before with bassist Dougie Poynter whilst on assignment for Sony Pictures in London and I’d had a brief chat with guitarist Mark Chapman in Kingston Upon Thames before a gig way back in the late 90’s. It was a complete blast to meet them and we got on right from the off. I was struck immediately with the passion and enthusiasm everyone had for the upcoming tour and the prospect of it being documented in photographs.
Giles Perry, Adam Perry, Jason Perry, Mark Chapman, Dougie Poynter
A couple of weeks later and I drove down to Brighton to cover the opening show at the Concord II venue. With gale force winds lashing the coast and torrential rain hammering down on the venue I was wondering if a decent crowd would show up in such conditions. As I was preparing to shoot portraits of the band backstage, I checked out the crowd from the wings. It was a full house. I made a few individual portraits too and a really nice group shot in a corridor before the guys took the stage. Great to see everyone pumped with energy before playing to a full house.
I have always liked shooting in smaller venues. There seems to be more energy coming off from the stage directly to the crowd at point-blank range. The band can see and feed off the energy coming back at them from the reactions of the crowd at such close quarters. It’s my job to record that vibe in the photographs. It was great to hear Jason’s inimitable, adlib banter with the crowd between blazing through the songs whilst wearing his Deliveroo anorak and pizza box on his back. It’s hard to shoot when you’re laughing your ass off.
The next night I shot was Manchester. I had a little more time to work on some good portrait shots before the guys took the stage.
With some excellent light playing across the stage I was able to pick out the moments weaving in some nice compositions. During this show I somehow got an epic wide angle leaping shot of Dougie which is one of the stand out performance shots of the tour. Other notable shots are this composition with Mark and Jason.
Jason Perry, Mark Chapman
As the tour went on, I was able to cover some great stuff in Norwich, with some tremendous fun being photographed backstage. During the show I was able to get some interesting viewpoints from behind the stage and from the wings to show the interaction between the band on stage and the crowd.
In the capital, the vibe before the final night of the tour at the Shepherds Bush Empire was tremendous. It seemed there was a fervent following out in force.
A memory that will stay with me for ever would be the audience yelling their guts out along to the hit “Nothing” especially the last chorus where collectively the band and crowd were putting out so much seismic energy the hairs went up on the back of my neck.
In my time as a professional shooter, I’ve shot a lot of big acts and shows in a lot of places. I’ve loads of great memories from those shows but, to me, the Hi-Fi Serious Tour with A easily stood out. I think there are a few factors to this. Firstly, there was a real sense of fun and the guys were clearly relishing serving up their tunes live to their fans on this tour. The venues were of a size that there was plenty of energy whilst maintaining an intimacy which was the perfect combination to yield a great set of shots every night. The camaraderie was clearly tremendous amongst the band but, in addition, this extended out and included the tour manager and techs. Everyone was considered as the same team. During the whole tour, it was great that everyone considered me a part of this amazing crew and it was a privilege and an honour to be a part of it.
Dougie Poynter, Adam Perry, Jason Perry, Giles Perry, Mark Chapman, Dougie Poynter
Until next time…