One of my favorite albums of last year is ‘All Things Will Unwind’ by My Brightest Diamond and after seeing Shara Worden perform some songs of it at the Haldern Pop festival in July of 2011, I also had the pleasure of doing a photoshoot with her during an interview session at the end of August of that year. At Haldern Pop Shara performed solo, which was great, but it also made me curious to see and hear a gig with more musicians to support her on stage.
This curiousity was satisfied during this year’s Holland Festival, which saw Shara get together with her drummer extraordinaire Brian Wolfe plus a string and wind ensemble made up of many nationalities (led by Nadia Sirota) for a performance of a lot of songs from ‘All Things Will Unwind’ mixed with songs from ‘A Thousand Shark’s Teeth’ and ‘Bring Me The Workhorse’. And it was absolutely amazing!
Besides photographing part of the gig, I was also present at the rehearsal/soundcheck (see the first photo in this post and all the black & white photos in the full gallery). And even if they played mostly fragments of songs during that rehearsal, it was already beautiful. Such a pleasure seeing great musicians work together and clearly loving what they are doing…
To give the sound engineer an idea of what they would sound like loud, during soundcheck, they also played ‘Inside A Boy’ one of my personal favorites (though I have many to be honest). The song really touched me, to the point that I could hardly continue shooting. But I’m glad I managed to take some photos anyway, hehe.
Later that night, the gig itself saw Shara, Brian and their ensemble taking it to a completely different level again, as it was simply magical. The audience in the fully packed Bimhuis were not just treated to great music, but the added theatrics (with Shara in a multi coloured dress, dancing and wearing a mask) and the sheer energy and emotion of the performance put the icing on the cake. These emotions were not just visible on stage, but there was really a connection between the performers and the audience. I could clearly see how people were touched by, for instance, ‘She Does Not Brave The War’, which Shara wrote for her grandmother (and many other unsung heroines).
After the regular set with the ensemble, Brian and Shara made it back to the stage three(!) times for encores. These saw them, amongst others shred it to ‘Inside A Boy’, literally freaking out to ‘Freak Out’ and last but not least perform a blazing version of Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’… Wow!
What more can I say? Best concert of the year so far and by far!
Full (huge!) photo gallery after the break (the black & white photos are from the rehearsal/soundcheck, the colour photos are from the actual performance)…
Enjoy the photos!