This Past week Barney Artist saw himself and his Latest Project Painting Sounds sell out the O2 Islington. The lyrical artist hit a milestone and know to many as Ray Faring; Raymond Palmer shot for the evening and it was a new experience from him and found a huge amount of respect for him and decided to share the experience with photos and she words.
People often ask me what I look for when I’m shooting. Personally, I never know how to answer that question. You just know when you see it. Something that needs to be captured, something special, a particular angle or perhaps a particular moment. The evening I spent watching Barney Artist live was full of moments just like these.
Prior to last Sunday, I had never seen Barney Artist live. I’d heard a couple of tracks, and I knew he was crazy talented (really – crazy, talented) but I hadn’t seen him on stage. So when I found out I’d be shooting his first big headline gig at the O2 Islington, I was really interested to see what was in store. My expectations were high, and he did not disappoint.
If you like good music and a good time, you need to go to a Barney Artist show. The energy he brings to the stage is intoxicating. He makes you want to sing, dance, skank and just get involved.
Barney Artist has a raw talent and knows how to use it. The engagement Barney has with his audience is really special, there’s a real connection and you could definitely sense it. As Barney said himself, “It felt like i actually had a fanbase that connected with my music and because my music is so personal, it felt like they connected with me and my story’’.
Barney started the set with several high octane numbers, when he performed Rubicon it became very clear what kind of show this was going to be. It was only the second song of the night and I knew, as a photographer, that this set was going to keep me on my toes! He creates so many moments on stage, there’s so much movement, but also so much detail to be captured.
Having growing up in a era when grime was at its most high, it was only right for Barney’s DJ to hit us with a classic blast from the past. Whilst performing a song titled Beep Beep he randomly decided to drop Wiley’s Eskimo beat in the mix whilst Barney dropped some lyrics over it. The crowd went crazy and for a moment, I did too.
This wasn’t the only surprise he had in store. About half way through the show there was a great moment where Barney’s DJ played a set of pure hip-hop and garage classics while Barney cut shapes on the stage. The crowd loved it.
The second half of the set demonstrated his versatility as an artist and a performer. Tracks like painting slowed the pace right down and gave me an opportunity to capture the intensity with which Barney delivers his lyrics. There was a real stillness at one point, it was powerful, and a pleasure to shoot.
He also used the second half as an opportunity to shoutout the musical collaborators, all of whom, in his own words, he would not be ‘here’ without
His producer Alfa Mist came on to spit some very impressive bars and singers Tom Misch, Emmaive and Rick David all lent very strong vocal performances.
At the end of the show, the crown cheered for an encore. Barney came back on stage with all the energy that he opened the show with. There was a particularly unforgettable moment (and a gift for me as a photographer) when he asked the crowd to all turn the torches on their phone on, and wave them in the air. The room lit up. A sold out gig, and every eye on one person.
I hope this will be a game changer for Barney; an artist who is clearly, demonstrably very, very special. So glad I got to shoot this, definitely one to look out for!
All photography By RayFaring