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Half Formed Things @ La Belle Angelle, Edinburgh

Half Formed Things pre-show portrait at La Belle Angelle, Edinburgh | 10.1.18

Half Formed Things pre-show portrait at La Belle Angelle, Edinburgh | 10.1.18

Personally, the most satisfying kind of music photography for me is when I get all access. When i’m allowed to lurk with my camera around a band all day, from load in to the final notes, and snap away throughout the long, meandering and challenging moments it takes to get to the even get to the stage, never mind the performance itself.

Half Formed Things, a wonderfully creative pop band from Edinburgh, were kind enough to ask me along to cover the entirety of their latest show at La Belle Angelle. From what I’d heard of the band before I really, really liked them so it was a no brainer to make the interminable train trip to the capital.

Half Formed Things soundcheck La Belle Angelle, Edinburgh | 10.11.18

Half Formed Things soundcheck La Belle Angelle, Edinburgh | 10.11.18

It was more than worth it. Throughout the day I got a brief insight into a band of incredibly well rounded musicians, not just players who know their own songs. The level of dedication to their craft was inspiring. Beyond that, their appreciation for the art of the band beyond their own instruments was a welcome change. I’ve found it’s not uncommon for a lot of musicians to be too involved in their own contribution to see the bigger picture.

Half Formed Thing’s bigger picture is wonderfully cinematic. Huge in scope and yet full of intimate, beautiful details. It became pretty clear to me early on that the personal sensitivity of everyone in the band played as big a role in their utterly compelling songs as their artistic sensibilities did.

Half Formed Things live @ La Belle Angelle | 10.11.18

Half Formed Things live @ La Belle Angelle | 10.11.18

That being the case, I can’t imagine it was easy for the band to have what was essentially a stranger following them around all day, and I’m incredibly greatful they had the patience to let me hang around with a camera in hand.

I’m also glad this gig was so well attended, because this band deserves the attention. There’s a raw nature to their music which makes it undeniably fascinating, without ever relying on the more obvious tactics more aggressive music uses to showcase that kind of honesty. If heavy music is the experience of raw emotion played out in front of you, then Half Formed Things are the reflections on those emotions bringing the sense of both scale and detail that only time ever does.

Half Formed Things soundcheck La Belle Angelle, Edinburgh | 10.11.18

Half Formed Things soundcheck La Belle Angelle, Edinburgh | 10.11.18

I had a really great time working with this band, and I’m really pleased with some of the results I came away with as well. 2018 has been a bit of an odd year for me with how I view the quality of my photography, but this set made me feel like I’m moving in the right direction. At least a little bit. On top of that, I think it’s some of my best live video work today.

Have a look-see at the work below. Let me know what you think. Or don’t. That’s cool too.

Calum McMillan