Daddy Long Legs @ Louisiana, Bristol
Review by Kevin McGough, photography + notes by Will Fahy (W)
Photography kit: Nikon D750 + 70-200mm 2.8 / 50mm 1.8 / 18-35mm 3.5-4.5
There is something refreshingly raw and untamed about Brooklyn based trio Daddy Long Legs.
Fusing everything from rock-n-roll to punk, gospel and delta blues their music cuts through the British invasion adaptation of the genre and strips it back to its wild, pseudo-religious roots.
For those not born in the sixties there is a pureness to it all that makes it feel totally new, exciting and still dangerous. Their passion and authenticity taps into that electrifying, passionate and sprawling magic that great American roots music has always expressed, something that reflects its genesis in Southern works songs and spirituals.
Their passion and authenticity taps into that electrifying, passionate and sprawling magic that great American roots music has always expressed, something that reflects its genesis in Southern works songs and spirituals.
Although none of them hail from the Deep South they exude a certain Southern charm reminiscent of prime-Stones, thanks in no small part to their authentic approach and undisputed love for the genre.
(W) As with all Louisiana sold out shows, this was really tricky to shoot. Kev and I were squeezed against the wall about 7 or 8 rows back isn't ideal for any photographer.
The Louisiana has no pit, and I left my dash to the front too late for Daddy Long Legs as the room had filled up really quickly. The room hadn't been completely full for Red Hot Riot, so I had space to politely squeeze through the crowd to the front and grab a few shots without getting in the way!
Luckily I could still just about access my kit bag, it's a relatively small room. But in these conditions, where I really couldn't move - I reached for my trusty Nikon 70-200 2.8, giving me the focal length to pass over the crowd, being 6ft tall helps here. I love using my 70-200 for music photography anyway, I like to shoot quite tight to really frame the expressions and emotions on the performers face. Of course you still need those wide shots to really catch the setting, atmosphere and energy of the show, but proved hard to get into a position where clean wide shots were possible.
Wandering through the crowd armed with a generous glass of white wine, which he proffers to the assembled audience, lead singer Brian Hurd looks every inch a riverboat dandy as he channels his inner preacher. Always one step ahead of the law; fleeing through the delta like a mid-west hurricane, with a bottle of bourbon in one hand and all his worldly possessions in the other.
Armed with his bullet harp microphone Hurd’s harmonica is intoxicating, with his vocals given a rich warm overdrive by the vintage device, as he leads the crowd in a
foot stomping thriller with opener ‘Dead & Gone’.
Its a firebrand start that romps along like an out of control freight train driven by the incendiary harmonica playing, that can’t but make the sold out crowd smile and release itself to the rambling rhythms.
Leaning on all of their studio albums (2012’s Evil Eye, 2014’s Blood from a Stone & Lowdown Ways, which came out earlier this year) they move through the slow swagger of the titular ‘Blood from a Stone’ to the even more rootsy new song ‘Glad Rag Ball’.
(W) I really liked this shot. Phones at gigs can be a total pain, but it's the way it is now. So I like to make the best of it, you can get some really atmospheric and unique looking shots in these conditions.
“Clap your hands and stomp your feet”
implores Hurd as they bash through ‘Evil Eye‘, with an ode to blues legend Howling Wolf with is unmistakable refrain of “howl, howl, howl.”
Throughout Murat Akturk (on guitar) provides the eye of the storm and has more than a hint of Johnny Marr about him, armed with slide, silk shirt and slick mod style.
Drummer Josh Styles provides the relentless rhythm, brandishing his maracas at each member of the band and audience with a menacing psychosis of a (non-homicidal) Phil Spector, bespectacled with trademark dark shades.
“Give Daddy the guitar” whispers Josh Styles as Hurd moves over to guitar before they launch into ‘Bad Neighbourhood’.
Overwhelmed by the Louisaina heat Hurd finally relinquishes his western bow tie to reveal a sweaty mess underneath, although he is at pains to note that they are “not even fucking close to done yet.”
After a short break which they they tell us was “just [as we] needed refills on these beers” they return for a short encore that climaxes with closer ‘Motocycle Madness’. Initiated with the Daytona hum of Hurd’s harmoica shuffle it’s the perfect end to a incredible night that is sure to reset anyone’s love for Americana.
Red Hot Riot
(W) With the freedom of a little space to move, I could easily get right in the action for Red Hot Riot 50mm 1.8
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