Vampire Weekend @ First Direct Arena, Leeds

Vampire WeekendLeeds Arena, Nov 2013

My third night in four at Leeds Arena. Cream-crackered. Can’t believe it’s over three years since Vampire Weekend last played in Leeds on their Contra tour. THREE YEARS. As appearances are such a rarity, I was keen to get in to shoot this one.

I’d seen some impressive shots from the London date of the tour, and the stage setup looked pretty cool. Lots of Grecian pillars and massive mirrors made for an impressive backdrop. Vampire Weekend also had an impressive support act in tow, too – festival favourites Noah and The Whale. Success!

Given the high profile support, I opted to get to the Arena early. I don’t much tend to shoot support acts these days, but I consciously made an effort for this one. And, unlike most support acts, they were pretty well lit. Once our three song allocation was up, we were allowed to stay in the crowd and watch the rest of Noah and The Whales’ set too, which was a pleasant surprise – it made a nice change not to get frogmarched out of the venue between acts – so whoever made that call, thank you! :)

When Vampire Weekend took to the stage it was pretty much as I’d expected it – pretty well lit, with lots of fancy paraphernalia about the place. I didn’t have the luxury of an empty pit this time, but given the band don’t move that much it wasn’t too much of a problem. Actually, it’s not fair for me to say the band don’t move – Bassist Chris Baio did enough moving for the entire band! Sadly, his side of the stage was in darkness for much of our three song allocation, so couldn’t get many shots of his funky moves. C’est la vie…

Been good spending so much time at the new arena, getting familiar with the environment and getting to know the faces that work there. I’m delighted we’ve finally got one, and plan to spend plenty of time there in the future.