The Sand People

I tried to capture this awesome band, The Sand People, with a cheap digital camera at a bar in San Francisco – a beautiful city I was fortunate enough to visit recently whilst on holiday.  Trying, and failing I think, to capture it in a black and white Charles Peterson style, a style reminiscent of the punk rock/alternative/grunge era of the 80’s and early 90’s, predominately in the north western United States of America.  It is period of music of which I am very fond of – probably no surprise to readers of this site!

The photographs definitely have the swirls of movement, indicating the music and the activity of producing music itself, but lack the clarity and the outline detail of the musicians themselves.  Still, it is interesting to try different techniques, even if it is with a cheap digital camera as opposed to my slightly cheaper film camera!

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If the photographs are reproduced, please credit the author of this blog as the photographer.

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Photo-Essay: The Joyful March

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.

Quote from Albert Einstein.

It was from the above quote that The Joyful March, a band formed in 2012 in northern England, took their name.  Tied by no particular genre, they play a variety of styles for a variety of venues across Teesside and the larger regional area, gaining fans wherever they play.  The band, currently a foursome, is led by Iain Hall who sings and plays lead guitar, who is backed by Michael Hart on rhythm guitar and keyboards, Michael Sirs on bass and Leigh Ramshaw on drums.  Playing an eclectic mix of rock standards peppered with modern classics, The Joyful March are also gaining confidence in writing their own material having produced various recordings, some of which are available to listen to on Soundcloud.

Having had the pleasure of watching them perform at a number of gigs, I am still thrilled when they take to the stage and perform knowing that Iain can produce blistering solos with passion whilst having a solid rhythm section supporting him.  Although a long time friend to the members, I can heartily say that when they are on the top of their game they produce music that profoundly moves me.  In particular it is their own songs that I love watching them perform, especially as they write their original songs as a band, building each section together and respecting each other’s artistic input.  I recently had the chance to watch them rehearsal and I took my camera along to take a few shots….*

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Michael plays the bass confidently, locking in step with Leigh to provide the backbone to the band. Eschewing the standard 4 string electric bass to play with a 5 string bass, Michael takes his role seriously but remains at the heart of the band, helping to offer it a homely rehearsal room at his own studio ‘The Noisebox’ in Hartlepool .

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Iain plays lead guitar and sings, a clear and moving front man who helps lead the band. Sometimes erratic, sometimes unpredictable, Iain is always watchable, especially during his blistering solo runs.

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The band have made some incredibly wonderful original songs which highlight their song writing ability and the urgency of their lyrics. To give a flavour of their original music, take a minute and listen here.

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Michael keeps to the background but provides the lush orchestral strings or twinkling piano for many of the songs, as well as assuming rhythm guitar when rock calls.

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Iain in full concentration as the band learn to play Jimi Hendrix’s song ‘Purple Haze‘ to include in their set list.  The film effects only add to the intensity of Iain’s guitar playing.

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Tired after a long session of rehearsing and learning new songs Michael looks for a break.

To get in touch with the band or to book them for a gig, please get in touch with them at The Joyful March Facebook page.

* Unfortunately the black and white film roll on my other camera did not develop, meaning the shots of the band as a whole did not come out.  All photographs taken with a Pentax S1a camera with colour film by the author  (If reproduced please credit and use CC).