Live4ever’s Photography A-Z: Part 5 feat. The xx, Years & Years, Zara Larsson and more

As one of Live4ever’s longest serving photographers, Gary Mather has been a regular in photo-pits for years. With a bit of unexpected time off right now, he’s gone back through those extensive archives and picked out some of the best shots from some of the best gigs we’ve featured on these pages during the past decade. It concludes here with ‘V’ through to ‘Z’:

The Vaccines (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

The Vaccines (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

V is for: The Vaccines

I love this band so much; energy, vigour, cool, swagger and killer songs in abundance. Nothing more needed to say!

The Wonder Stuff (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

The Wonder Stuff (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

W is for: The Wonder Stuff

Everyone has that one band; the first album you bought, the first band you saw, the first picture on your wall…Well for me, The Wonder Stuff falls into every single category and more. Miles Hunt to me was like Elvis Presley to my Dad. I wanted the long hair, I wanted to live in Stourbridge, the Brummie accent, the leather jacket. I wanted to play guitar (that never happened), I wanted to sing (that never happened even more than wanting to play guitar never happened). The Wonder Stuff shaped the entirety of my life (big claim I know) from the age of 16, they navigated me to the music I listened to, the bars I drank in and the people I hung out with. They were the first band I ever photographed on some sort of professional level and probably one of my most photographed to date.

The xx live in Manchester (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

The xx live in Manchester (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

X is for: The xx

Shot back in 2017, and my resounding memory of the gig is the stunning stage set in which they performed, it was like some sort of light encased cage/cube. It complimented the electronic music to a tee and was the perfect setting. I will be honest and say this was one of those gigs when I knew the artist but had never actually listened to them besides what glimpses I had caught on the radio.

Years & Years (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

Years & Years (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

Y is for: Years & Years

My only reference to Years & Years is what I can sometimes hear blaring out of my daughters bedroom (and as my Dad would say to me ‘too bloody loudly’). I have to admit, I was absolutely overwhelmed. Such a fun shoot and what a performance. I knew the confetti was coming in the first 3, but my dilemma was should I go wide or tight in. My mind was kind of made up when I realised I had left the 14-24mm in the press tent so I had to make do with what I had. The confetti was super dense and just trying to find Olly, never mind trying to capture the moment, was my immediate problem. The hardest part was trying to keep Olly in focus and not the confetti, so as it dispersed I crossed my fingers and fired off what I hoped was a somewhat sharp image. It seemed lady luck was onboard and I managed a pretty decent capture.

Zara Larsson

Zara Larsson (Gary Mather for Live4ever)

Z is for: Zara Larsson

2017 and Parklife Festival in Manchester, another artist that is totally not on my musical radar but again I was blown away with the performance and production. Absolutely stunning in white and flailing those long blonde locks she absolutely slammed her set at the festival. I think every photographer who was at the festival headed to the pit for her set, and totally justified too.

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