B. Dolan’s “Church of Love and Ruin” @ Coalition

Very little can prepare anyone for a show like this. One can’t possibly watch enough YouTube videos to get an idea of what happens in B. Dolan’s “Church of Love And Ruin”, nevermind reading articles like this. In short, with virtually no break between the acts, What Cheer? Brigade (a 16-piece brass band) got everyone moving, Vockah Redu fucked with everyones’ heads, B. Dolan told us how it is, and Sage Francis broke it all down, nice and simple. A bang and a half, really!

From the photographer’s perspective I find Coalition to be quite a challenging venue. I have shot there before and have taken a note of a few things. It is a beautiful location on Brighton seafront with an arched bare-brick interior. It is quite large yet is still feels very intimate due to the fact that the is literally no space between the crowd and the stage, which is also at knee’s height. If shooting from the front row most of the time there isn’t more than 4 feet from lens to performer’s face – every sharp capture felt like a gift.

That arched interior I mentioned earlier is supported by pillars which block the sides. I have probably annoyed a few people and I apologise for getting in the way with my camera (and …kh-khem… flash), but after a couple of tracks I had no choice but to go into the crowd to get some distance.

On the plus side, the lighting in Coalition is perfect. Constantly moving and changing colour, it was an ideal combination of warm and cold. Each shot came out different from the one before. Occasionally I was treated with a blast of strobe lights, too. Whoever does the lighting in there deserves a pet on the back.

In the end, thank you to B. Dolan and Strange Famous and also to the One Inch Badge Records for putting on some of the very best gigs in Brighton. I strongly recommend keeping a close eye on their events page. If you are into B. Dolan and Sage Francis you might also like the El-P gig. Don’t miss out!