Boring introduction…blah, blah,blahblah, yawn etc. I take photos at shows, then I edit them, then I look at them later, edit some again and wax lyrical to the internet why I changed my mind. I guarantee its less exciting than it sounds. If you can believe that.

The 1975 are bloody great. It’s expansive and ambitious pop music with a wonderful slice of self-indulgence and instrumental experimentation. I’m over the moon a band with this take on pop music can be so big. Pop music should be popular because it’s great. Not because it sounds a certain way. So hat’s off to The 1975 for going this far. Even if their taste in tasseled leather jackets leaves something to be desired…

Doing another one of those self-indulgent things where I re-edit my own RAW files after a while of living with them to see if I like them more, or less, or the same as the last time. If you get all giddy about moving about sliders in Lightroom I guess it’s fun. If you don’t…I can’t really imagine you care. So that makes two of us.

Anyway, I’ve committed to this farce so I’m going to carry on. City and Colour are a wonderful band, they make music that sounds like heartache feels, and Dallas Green continues to make me feel that my predilection for dressing like an old man in my mid twenties isn’t entirely lame…though I don’t have the advantage of that voice, being handsome or Canadian. Regardless, they’re a band I listen to a lot and hold in pretty high regard: the perfect soundtrack to melancholia or euphoria. Sometimes both in the same evening.

Though its painfully obvious that every band has a finite life time, even if a lot of them aren’t willing to accept that, it hadn’t ever really occurred to me that I’d be at the final Funeral for a Friend shows. They were technically the first “big” band I ever saw live (when they opened for Iron Maiden back in the day to the typical open minded response associated with metal fans: i.e. not open minded) and I’m genuinely sad to see them go.

I don’t have anything as trite or cliche to offer as “this band changed my life” or “this band saved me” or “I got their logo tattooed on my left ass check cause they really speak to me bro” but…I listened to this band, and particularly the two albums they chose to showcase at these farewell shows, a whole lot. Presumably hours logged counts for something. (See what I did there?) 

I do my best not to ever second guess my photography. Shoot in the moment, edit as soon after as you can while you still remember how you felt at the show, put it out and let it be. Because for me, it is all about capturing those moments. It’s not a canvas to be gone over and over and over until you find that finishing master stroke.

But that being said, anyone’s approach to their art is evolving so I became curious as to what I’d do if I went back and looked at old photos and edited them again a while after the fact. So…I did.

First off I went back to look at a few choice shots from the excellent Fatherson playing a sold-out show in the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh in…I don’t know..sometime earlier this year I think? I can’t remember. Who cares? It was well good anyway and that’s all that matters.

Tour is a strong word for 4 days away I grant you, but if I don’t use strong words to try and look cool then I’m out the game. Not a chance my natural good looks, wit and charm are going to cast that particular illusion.

Anyway, self-deprecation and procrastination aside, I went on what we’ll call a tour for the first time in November with who I feel I can legitimately call my bros in Swallows. The fine gentleman in the band were kind enough to invite me along to take photos and video of the tour. I guess they were just used to playing with my lens in their faces by this point and it’d throw them off if that wasn’t the case. So naturally I took up the offer with a tremendously enthusiastic, “Sure, why not?”

I’m a photographer in so much as I have a camera and people are lucky enough to let me take photos of them and I often get something in return for my work. For my money, that’s the definition of success as a photographer.

That said, 2015 brought me a bit more than I had before: it let me shoot a music festival and tour for the first time ever. I literally got to use a hobby that’s become a ferociously burning passion to travel the country. That’s ludicrous. And so awesome I don’t even have the words.

So here’s a selection of some of my favorite photographs I’ve taken this year a little bit about them, for photo geeks and non-geeks alike.

I’d also like to take this time to thank everyone who’s supported me in anyway, or given me any opportunity, to take photographs in 2015. You’ve been instrumental in what I’m calling “my success.” If you’d like to help me do the same in the coming year I’ll probably buy you a drink or something.

If you’re so inclined you can follow me on social:

Facebook: /GingerSnapsScotland

Instagram: @gingersnapsscotland

Twitter: @CalumMcMillan2 

Europe does it right. In Europe bands like Shining (not to be confused with the really rubbish Swedish band of the same name) play massive stages at festivals and are able to do some really unique things and expose it to a large, and receptive, audience.

In Scotland, they’re playing a tiny venue that isn’t even full because they don’t have the right hair cuts and don’t write songs about pizza.But that’s cool as well. You gain more internet points for going to incredible shows that everyone isn’t at.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this set. Rolo Tomassi are amazing, this gig was amazing, getting to photograph it was amazing.

It was hard to shoot, the privileged safety of a photo pit wasn’t an option and the crowd were exactly the way you’re always told the best rock crowds should be. I’ll happily take the bruises and aches to be at shows like this.

DIY is cool. I’ll always be cool. Not cool like hair cuts are cool, DIY ethics are resistant to trends, but malleable to the changing times. If you do DIY right it can be a hugely rewarding thing, and potentially even be successful, while sticking it to the man.

Which was well all know is the ultimate victory of rock ‘n’ roll. Or was. It’s currently vying for pole position with a real sweet haircut.

I’m forever writing nonsense like “music and art should challenge you” like some sort of desperately earnest teenager. And I do believe it should, but I wasn’t prepared for just how challenging “For The Consideration of Amateur Jockeys” would be.

Civil Elegies music is….probably best described as a reaction. Nothing here feels composed or structured. It feels like a the rawest of nerves being slammed repeatedly against each other with only the briefest rest bites which are positively pregnant with menace. You know when people describe Seal as easy listening? This is the opposite of that.