Easy Star All-Stars @ The Zoo

Although it’s mid-week, there’s a more than healthy crowd at The Zoo for the Easy Star All-Stars and it’s been a while since it’s been one of those really hot and sweaty nights that you often get there.   Getting there just before the band start there’s the initial semi-circle of fear that arcs around the front of the stage, which allows me to stroll up to the front and centre of the stage for once, before the circle closes when the band comes on stage.  I’m left stranded in a fairly good spot, as opposed to my usual although tactic of squeezing in at the end very end of the stage, although I have the bassist’s microphone stand in the way of getting anything good of him. 

The All-Stars’ female vocalist (whose name I don’t know and can’t work out from their MySpace bio and Google) is really quite beautiful and extremely photogenic and the fact that she’s positioned right under a light makes photographing her a bit easier.  In the end I photograph for 4 songs; it was quite dark for the first two so I make up for it in songs 3 and 4.

Tonight also makes a new first for photographing at The Zoo in that I’ve been given an AAA pass.  Disappointingly I haven’t brought a flash and I’m not quite sure what it entitles me to photograph to so in the end I just use it to take a few shots from side-stage.  Much of the discussion related to the ‘first three, no flash’ rule centres on photographer access and about how historically the best shots usually haven’t happened in the first three songs and often haven’t come from being take in the photo pit (with Pennie Smith’s Paul Simenon photo, taken from the side of stage, being the most obvious example).  Photographing from side of stage at The Zoo isn’t quite the same… so I don’t really get anything special, just the usual shots you would expect to get at a small venue of the performers’ backs…

The band are touring their just released cover of The Beatles‘ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘, ‘Easy Star’s Lonely Hearts Dub Band‘. The songs are undeniably fun, after all there’s never a bad time to hear Beatles songs, but the main trouble is that they’re just too engrained into modern culture, and nothing more than the Sgt. Pepper songs, so on one hand the songs sound fantastic, on the other we’ve heard it all before.  Covering ‘Dark Side Of The Moon‘ and ‘Ok Computer‘ in a dub reggae style has more impact as no one really expected to hear 70’s prog rock and 90’s prog rock (let’s be honest…) reggae-fied.  Maybe they would have been better off covering something a bit less obvious from The  Beatle’s catalogue, as opposed to the album that Rolling Stone considered The Greatest Album of All Time in 2003 (even though we all know that it’s not even The Beatles’ best album…). It’ll be interesting to see where the Easy Star All-Stars go next; I think my money is on a reggae version of  ‘Blonde On Blonde‘…

More photos on Flickr.

4 Responses to “Easy Star All-Stars @ The Zoo”

  1. Andy Bassford says:

    The really quite beautiful and extremely photogenic female vocalist is Joanne Williams, from Brooklyn, NY. She has sung backup with the Wailers, Burning Spear, Diana King, and too many others to count both live and in the studio. I am glad to see her getting wider exposure in a featured role, which her talents deserve. (There is an English vocalist named Joanne Williams who also does recording work; different person.)

  2. Justin says:

    Thanks Andy. She is listed on their MySpace page but I managed to miss her when trying to find out who she was. That’s a pretty impressive CV. She was excellent and sang beautifully.

  3. Alisa says:

    The singer’s name is Joanne Williams! She’s an amazing singer and a wonderful spirit! Clearly you captured this on film. 🙂 Thanks for sharing these beautiful photographs!

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